BIOGRAPHY: Eric Perrilloux
Copland. Leonard Bernstein. Eric Perrilloux. All master composers and
arrangers. When it comes to the world of marching percussion, Eric’s
achievements are legendary. I first became aware of Eric’s arranging
prowess in the early sixties listening to his work with the New York
Skyliners. Teaming up with the great Hy Dreitzer, this duo painted a
musical picture that had a style of its own; powerful, dynamic, but most
importantly an absolute perfect marriage of brass and percussion. Take a
listen to the Skyliners at the 1966 “Dream” contest. Right from the
start, Eric’s drum line roars while playing “Charlie Welch”. What a
contrast with his sensitive, humorous interpretation of “Once in Love
with Amy”. The drum break during the concert of “That Old Black Magic”
explodes with the sounds of a full Latin percussion section. How he got
that authentic feel using just snare, tenor, bass and cymbals is
absolutely amazing! That’s true genius in action.
When Eric came to St. Rita’s Brassmen in 1969 he made an immediate impression. Taking this developing drum line to the next level, he created arguably the greatest snare-drumming trio in drum corps history. John Oddo, Mark Holub and Frank Nash formed one of the tightest and technically proficient snare lines you will ever see. Couple that with a nationally recognized marching timpani section and Eric had the Brassmen at the top of their game. What a blast we had playing those parts. From “Ride of the Valkyries” to the popular “West Point Alma Mater”, performers, fans and judges alike marveled at the unique twist Eric put on each arrangement.
What made these compositions so interesting? Eric certainly had a mastery of drum rudiments. But it was his uncanny ability to enhance each brass chart with musical interpretation of the highest integrity that set Eric apart. He took his many influences (he loved Joe Morello’s work with Dave Brubeck) and blended them into presentations that were thrilling to watch, as well as listen to.
Eric Perrilloux. Master drummer and arranger. Talented instructor. Leader and friend.
Thanks, Eric for enriching our lives with your gift of drum corps drumming at its best. Your legacy will live forever.
By: Jim Drost