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Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Linda Cajigas
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Alumnus donates 'Saturday Night Live' drum set to IU Jacobs School percussion department

April 17, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Jacobs School of Music alumnus and "Saturday Night Live" band drummer Shawn Pelton recently worked with percussion students in Bloomington and donated a drum kit he used on the set of NBC's Emmy Award-winning late-night comedy showcase.

Drummer Shawn Pelton donated this set used on "Saturday Night Live" to the IU Jacobs School of Music.

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"This is such a wonderful gift," said John Tafoya, chair of the percussion department. "The faculty and students are so grateful to Shawn for this donation and for the time he spent with all of us during his visit. It doesn't seem that long ago that Shawn and I were classmates here at IU, and I am so very proud to know that his incredible musical accomplishments are now appreciated throughout the percussion and music world."

Pelton earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the IU Jacobs School of Music in 1985. He joined the "Saturday Night Live" band in 1992 and regularly appears as the drummer in the concert series "Live From Daryl's House." Known for his versatility and ability to encompass a wide variety of musical styles, Pelton has performed and recorded with artists such as Sheryl Crow, Billy Joel, Van Morrison, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Simon, Jacobs School alumnus Chris Botti and many others.

From left, professor John Tafoya, Shawn Pelton and professor Steve Houghton.

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"Shawn has an open invitation to come and work with our students, as he always brings a well-tested approach to making music in today's marketplace," said Steve Houghton, professor of music in percussion and jazz studies. His 'real life tips' for playing on SNL every week to performing at the White House in front of the president are always brilliant and hilarious at the same time. He is a generous pro that I want my students to be around whenever possible."

The drum set donated by Pelton will be integrated into the Jacobs School's percussion department inventory and will be used by students in various performances, Tafoya said.

"As a working alumnus in the constantly evolving music business, it was inspiring to witness first-hand the world-class depth, broad stylistic range and modern sense of vision within the IU percussion department," Pelton said. "The percussion faculty is a real dream team that offers everything for an aspiring performer."