Sep 082008
Authors: Trevor Simonton

Audience members were brought to their feet at the premiere performance of the University Center for the Arts Monday evening.

Featured percussionist and CSU professor Eric Hollenbeck was received with the cheers of an audience of about 100 students at the new Casavant Recital Hall, and was sent home with a standing ovation.

“Every time I watch him I realize how amazing he really is, and how much I need to work to be that good,” said Tony Hofmeir, a junior music education major and student of Hollenbeck.

“He’s hilarious,” Hofmeir said. “When he teaches he invokes a bit of fear, but it pays off in the long run. He makes it a lot of fun.”

Hollenbeck kept the crowd laughing in between sets with his infectious sense of humor.

He also educated his audience, explaining the history, themes and techniques used for each piece.

About halfway into the recital, somebody bumped the light switch, and the stage went dark. But Hollenbeck’s concentration was unaffected. Luckily for him, this happened in between sets.

“I used to get nervous before performances when I was in college,” said the 38-year-old performer. “I would just hope that I didn’t end up in a heap in the corner of the stage crying, but you learn that people tend to enjoy the performances, and I don’t get nervous anymore.”

Hollenbeck has been a musician for 23 years — he has played over 60 recitals on three continents.

“It’s a good time; it keeps me out of trouble and off the street,” he said.

Though he started with piano, he said that his uncle got him into the drums before he was 11, and when he was a freshman in high school he began studying under a man named Herb Flower.

“That’s such a 70s name,” Hollenbeck said, laughing. “He was a wonderful player.”

Flower encouraged Hollenbeck to grow away from a standard drum set and planted the seeds of passion for the marimba — now Hollenbeck’s favorite instrument.

Hollenbeck dedicated last night’s recital to his wife, who was recently diagnosed with endometriosis.

To aspiring musicians, he offered the following advice: “As you go through your careers, always remember why you got into music — it’s fun.”

Senior Reporter Trevor Simonton can be reached at

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