Frank Arsenault

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Frank Arsenault
Portrait of Frank Arsenault
Background information
Born (1919-05-21)May 21, 1919
Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States
Died December 26, 1974(1974-12-26) (aged 55)
Genres drum and bugle corps, marching band
Occupation(s) clinician, teacher, competitor
Instruments percussion
Years active 1929 – 1974[1]
Associated acts The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, etc
Notable instruments
marching snare drum

Frank Arsenault (May 21, 1919 – December 26, 1974) was an internationally known American percussionist, teacher, and clinician in the areas of marching percussion, rudimental drumming, drum and bugle corps, and marching band. He was a full-time Staff Clinician and Educational Field Representative for the Ludwig Drum Company. He is also well known in his field for his signature playing style, for his many championship titles, and for his recording of The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Frank Arsenault played rudimental snare drum in the field of competitive drum and bugle marching corps in the 1950s. He was associated with the Skokie Indians and the Chicago Cavaliers, being credited with both groups having risen to national prominence.[3] He was a member of the Lancraft Fife & Drum Corps in North Haven, Connecticut.[4]

Arsenault retired from competition in the 1950s. He then became a full-time Staff Clinician and Educational Field Representative for the Ludwig Drum Company, traveling extensively. He was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society's Hall of Fame in 1975.[3]

The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos[edit]

The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos
The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos
Studio album by Frank Arsenault
Released 1950s
Recorded 1950s
Genre instructional rudimental percussion
Language English
Producer Ludwig Drum Co.
See also: Drum rudiment for details on the 26 featured rudiments

List of selected solos:

Frank Arsenault received longstanding celebration in his lifetime and beyond,[1] by being featured prominently as the solo performer on the 1950s traditional recording titled The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos. The rudimental percussion community granted him a generally iconic status, in the forms of both his audio performance on the record, and in his portrait as a marching corps figure on its cover. A colorful illustration of this portrait would later be featured on the covers of the Rudimental Contest Series by Arsenault's eventual student, Mitch Markovich. As the rudiments became commonplace musical practice over the decades, the general rudimental notation was printed and distributed widely and usually free of charge by the National Association of Rudimental Drummers,[5] sometimes featuring Arsenault's portrait.

Originally produced in the 1950s on vinyl record,[2] the recording was updated with a 1982 cassette format[6] and a 2003 compact disc format, each featuring the same contents as on the original vinyl.[7] These albums are distributed with their own printed copies of the respective rudiments and solos. Audio samples are available online from the Lancraft Fife & Drum Corps.[4]

In 1960, there was an unrelated publication done by Arsenault's fellow contemporary master educator, John S. Pratt, consisting of the sheet music of just the standard 26 rudiments.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

A 1962 Ludwig Drummer Magazine article hailed, "The Frank Arsenault recording of The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments[7] has become the basic guide for building percussionists in school music programs across the nation."[1] In 1975, William F. Ludwig called it, "the acknowledged 'Bible' of rudimental drumming" and added, "A recap of Frank Arsenault's formative years describes a progressive sequence of superior achievements."[1]

Now, what have we done with our American NARD rudiments? Well, for one, I am very proud of the fact that we have the best drummers in the world -- be it dance, concert or military. ... I could name many more of the famous percussionists who are rudimentally trained -- such as Bobby Christian, his son Norman Christian, Frank Arsenault, Mitch Markovich, etc., etc.

— William F. Ludwig, Sr., then President of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers, The Importance of Drum Rudiments[9]

He was a perfectionist. Frank Arsenault had big arm motion but was very fast—a very open style with high attacks. He was a human machine.

— Ken Mazur, The Perfectionists: The History of Rudimental Snare Drumming From Military Code to Field Competition[10]

Though never translating the rudimental range with original architecture like John S. Pratt or Mitch Markovich Arsenault nonetheless chronicled the accessible 26 Standard with sharp procedure adaptability, creating proficiency criteria—benchmarks—for generations of drummers.

— FutureRhythms.com[11]

I was fortunate to be in the audience for this special night [in 1968] at the Civic Opera House. The Glenview (Chicago), IL-based Drum Corps Digest magazine presented this showcase featuring 10 outstanding drum and bugle corps, along with two featured soloists - Mitch Markovich and Frank Arsenault.

— Steve Vickers, publisher, Drum Corps World newspaper[12]

Teaching[edit]

Notable students of Arsenault have included the following:

Family[edit]

Frank Arsenault's late brother, Eldrick J. Arsenault (1923—2004), was also a skilled and respected percussionist, as a fellow member of the Lancraft Fife & Drum Corps.[13][14]

Death[edit]

Frank Arsenault died on December 26, 1974, due to a sudden heart attack. An obituary written by William F. Ludwig was sent to members of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers.[1] Another obituary was written by the Percussive Arts Society.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g William F. Ludwig (January 15, 1975). "Frank Arsenault obituary". National Association of Rudimentary Drummers. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Frank Arsenault (195?). The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos (1 sound disc : 33 1/3 rpm, mono. ; 12 in.). Contest solos written by members of the Slingerland Board of Advisors, score ([6] p.), inserted. Contest solos arranged by the Educational Department, Ludwig Drum Co., score ([4] p.), inserted. (Music LP ed.). Chicago: Ludwig Drum Co. OCLC 2977061. Retrieved April 3, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Percussive Arts Society: Hall of Fame". Percussive Arts Society. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "The 26 Standard American Rudiments as played by Frank Arsenault National Rudimental Champion". Lancraft Fife & Drum Corps. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ "N.A.R.D. Rudiments". Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ Frank Arsenault (195?). The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos (audio cassette) (Musical Cassette ed.). Cleveland, Ohio: Ludwig Drum Co. (published 1982). OCLC 21281733. Retrieved April 3, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ a b Frank Arsenault (195?). The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos (CD audio) (Music CD : CD audio ed.). Ludwig Drum Co. (published 2003). OCLC 62558377. Retrieved April 3, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Frank Arsenault (195?). The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments (Musical score ed.). Rockville Centre, N.Y.: Belwin (published 1960). OCLC 14944204.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Ludwig, Sr., William F. (1972). "The Importance of Drum Rudiments". Ludwig Drummer (Chicago, Illinois: Ludwig) (1972). ISSN 0459-9810. OCLC 6887564. 
  10. ^ Ken Mazur. The Perfectionists: The History of Rudimental Snare Drumming From Military Code to Field Competition (PDF). Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  11. ^ "Teachers -- Mentors -- Gurus". Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  12. ^ Mitch Markovich, Frank Arsenault. Fantasy in Brass II (two audio CDs, liner notes) (digital remaster ed.). Madison, Wisconsin: Drum Corps World. "I was fortunate to be in the audience for this special night at the Civic Opera House. The Glenview (Chicago), IL-based Drum Corps Digest magazine presented this showcase featuring 10 outstanding drum and bugle corps, along with two featured soloists - Mitch Markovich and Frank Arsenault." 
  13. ^ "Find A Grave: Eldrick J. Arsenault". July 25, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Dan English Trophy Page". Lancraft Fife & Drum Corps. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ Frederick D. Fairchild. "PAS Hall of Fame - Frank Arsenault". Retrieved April 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]