MPA Mourns the Loss of a Legend

12MPA and the greater percussion community in Minnesota and beyond have lost a legend. Dick Rausch, a long-time instructor of the Rocori High School Drumline and namesake of MPA's Dick Rausch Instructor of the Year award, passed away at age 63 on Nov. 22. He was a teacher, performer, friend, and mentor to so many in the percussion community in Minnesota, though his influence reached far beyond. His impact is impossible to summarize, but this tribute from one of the people who knew him best might come close.

A Tribute to Dick Rausch
by Randy Hansen

Dick Rausch passed away on November 22nd, 2015, at the age of 63. He leaves behind a rich and full legacy as an entertainer, musician, drummer, teacher, and mentor. He had a passion for youth and he was a humble giver of his time and talents. On a personal level, he was loved by everyone that had the opportunity to know him.

He began his lifelong love for music and entertainment at a very young age, approximately 3 years old. Encouraged by his mother and grandmother, both musicians and entertainers, he started seriously pursing drums at the age of 10 and was on a quest for perfection for the next 50 years. As a middle school and high school student he spent virtually all of his time; many days for 10-12 hours pursuing his craft. His instructor during that time was DCI legend Tom Roe.

At the age of 15, he began to gig professionally with local rock and country bands. Limited only by his age and need to attend school, he entertained with some of Central Minnesota’s greatest musicians. After high school graduation in 1971, at the encouragement of Mr. Roe, he joined the world famous Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps where he secured a spot in their snare line under the tutelage of one of DCI’s top drum instructors, Fred Sanford, and others. Returning home from Casper, WY in the fall of 1971, he again returned to his greatest love, the drumset, and traveled around the Midwest and throughout Canada as a professional musician.

While continuing to travel and perform for many years, he also found a new love for teaching and mentoring students through his hometown school district and, in the mid 70’s, he took his place alongside of Tom Roe and began teaching the Rocori Drumline. A few years later, when Tom Roe left Rocori to pursue other interests, Dick took the reigns as the lead drum instructor for Rocori; a position that he held for the past four decades. During those 40 years, Dick has made an impact of hundreds of students as a teacher and mentor. He lead Rocori High School Drumline to several state and national championships. He was instrumental in the formation of MPA and independent percussion sections of WGI at the national level. He was also recognized by MPA membership as an inaugural member of the MPA Hall of Fame and has an annual award, for instructors, in his name. Many of his students from those past 40 years remain active in the arts today as musicians, drumline instructors, band directors, and a host of other positions within the music and entertainment fields.

In 1983, he co-founded, with one of his former students, a professional drumline called Kracker Jacks. As a Kracker Jack, he wrote and taught all of the music and marching, was an active player, and instructed 100’s of local, regional, and national talents from high school, college, and DCI drumlines. During Dick’s 20 years with the Kracker Jacks, the group performed for millions of people around the country and received hundreds of award. The Kracker Jacks have also been acknowledged by numerous charitable organizations and a flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of its efforts in supporting young people throughout Minnesota.

In addition to Dick’s involvement with students at Rocori High School and Kracker Jacks Drumline, he also instructed students of DCI drum corps included the Blue Stars and the Colts. He also gave private and group lessons at his home and through local music stores, including Kracker Jacks Drumshop; which he co-owned for a short time.

Although it would be impossible to show Dick’s impact and accomplishments in a couple of paragraphs, his true legacy is reflected in the accomplishments of all of those students and friends that have been impacted through their relationship with Dick Rausch.

The percussion community has lost a legend with the passing of Dick Rausch.

Show Coordinators Wanted!

MPA is hiring show coordinators for the 2016 competition season to help make sure our competitions run smoothly. We need multiple people in this paid position to be able to cover the full competition schedule. Please direct questions to Board of Directors member Joe Asleson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The job description and online application follow.

2016 MPA Solo and Ensemble Contest Feb. 27!

The annual MPA Solo and Ensemble Contest is a great opportunity for students to advance and show off their musicianship skills by preparing a solo or ensemble piece. The 2016 contest will take place Feb. 27 between the afternoon and evening portions of the WGI Minneapolis regional at Elk River High School.

Early-bird deadline for registration and payment is Feb. 6, 2016, which includes a discount off the entry fee.

FINAL deadline for registration and payment is Feb. 13, 2016.

Click here for the application and entry-fee payment.

MPA Seeks Ad and Sponsorship Sales Rep

The Minnesota Percussion Association is seeking an advertising salesperson to sell print, digital, and other types of advertising and sponsorship opportunities to businesses and organizations who want to reach the MPA audience.

Duties will include prospecting, helping develop ad sales materials, building and maintaining relationships with advertisers and sponsors, receiving advertising materials and forwarding them on to production, and helping coordinate the contract and bills payable processes with advertisers.

This is purely a commission-based position, with a generous commission percentage to be negotiated.

The ideal candidate will have experience in advertisement and sponsorship sales, some familiarity with the marching music activity and a willingness to learn more about it, and the ability and desire to commit to helping strengthen MPA through ad and sponsorship sales.

Interested candidates should contact MPA President Vlad Boz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Congratulations on an Awesome 2015 Season!

The 2015 indoor season was another awesome display of our drumlines' talents and dedication to excellence in the performing arts!

MPA Championships

Congratulations to all of our units on strong endings to their MPA seasons March 28 at St. Cloud State University!

The class champions were:

  • Scholastic Regional A: Henry Sibley High School
  • Scholastic A: Burnsville High School
  • Independent A: Phoenix Drumline
  • Scholastic Open: River Valley Percussion Theatre of Elk River High School
  • Independent Open: River City Rhythm
  • Scholastic World: Eden Prairie High School
  • Independent World: Minnesota Brass Indoor

WGI Championships

MPA had a huge showing this year at the WGI Percussion World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, with eight ensembles representing us in extremely tough competitive classes and two earning finals spots:

  • River City Rhythm earned fourth place in Independent Open finals and won the Fans' Favorite Award for the fourth year in a row.
  • Shadow Indoor Percussion earned 11th place in Independent Open finals after being promoted from Independent A class this year.

Solo and Ensemble Contest

Congratulations to all participants of the 2015 MPA Solo and Ensemble Contest for wonderful performances! The class winners were: 

High School Age

  • Concert Percussion Ensemble: Elise Borman and Olivia Jones – Eagan High School
  • Keyboard Solo: Tanner Tanyeri – Shadow Indoor Percussion
  • Cymbal Ensemble: Jack Squier, Elizabeth Vo, Loraina Tillmann, Ben Kuttner, Tatum Slepica, and Ike Gehlen – Phoenix Drumline
  • Snare Ensemble: Natalie Fideler and Eli Clements – Burnsville High School
  • Bass Drum Ensemble: Alex Hughes, Deryck Lawson, Jacob Edwards, Cayman Hensel, Andrew Peterson, and Adam Arbuckle – Burnsville High School
  • Drumset Solo: Mitchell Nelson – Rochester Lourdes High School
  • Tenor Solo: Jack Johnson – River City Rhythm
  • Piano Solo: Hailey DeMotts – Baldwin-Woodville High School
  • Snare Solo: Matt Kronlokken – Eden Prairie High School

Independent Ensemble Age

  • Keyboard Solo: Calvin Lipetzky – River City Rhythm
  • Cymbal Solo: Jacqueline Gaetz – Minnesota Brass Indoor
  • Snare Solo: Kyle Tsuchiya – Minnesota Brass Indoor
  • Snare Ensemble: Andy Eklund and Kyle Tsuchiya – Minnesota Brass Indoor


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