The curious intersection of a music student’s head and a flying mallet

By Jon Tewksbury Posted: December 20, 2018 4:55 p.m.

Hannah Wildman and the infamous mallet
Hannah Wildman and the infamous mallet Photo by External Relations

A video of the University of Regina Wind Ensemble’s performance of Holst’s First Suite in E-flat has gone viral after percussionist Hannah Wildman was struck by a flying mallet during a December 4, 2018 concert. As of today, the video has had more than 33 million Facebook views and has been picked up by several international websites and news outlets. We caught up with Hannah just before her final exam to find out more about the person behind the viral sensation.

Hannah, what are you studying at the University of Regina?

I am in my fourth year of music performance and I will be done my degree in the spring after I perform my final recital. I have been involved with the U of R Wind Ensemble as a percussionist since I first started at the University four years ago. It is part of my degree requirements, but there is never a dull moment!

How has the U of R music program shaped you as a musician?

They have provided me with the many tools needed to become a skilled musician. For example, the ear training classes I took with Dr. David Dick were some of my favourites, and the things we learned in his classes have been useful in teaching my own students about ear training. I think the viral video will put the U of R music department on the map globally. If some people in other countries were thinking of studying abroad but not sure where, this might put a name in their brain and help them choose the U of R.

Where was the concert and who took the video of the performance?

The concert was at the Riddell Centre University Theatre on December 4, 2018. The video was taken by our wonderful and helpful theatre techs Ken Young and Morley Crowle. Ken was backstage when the incident happened and happily agreed to send me the clip of the incident. Those two have always gone above and beyond for me personally, as well as for the music department, so I am forever grateful to them.

What went through your mind when you were hit by the flying mallet?

A lot went through my mind when the bass drum mallet hit me. My first thought was, "Do I stay on the stage? Do I leave? Is the band going to stop? Oh, I hope the band doesn't stop!" Then I thought that I better head off stage to make sure I wasn’t bleeding. I did not want to let the Wind Ensemble down, so as soon as I knew I was okay, I came back on and played in the third movement. Thankfully, I didn’t even miss any of the notes!

What did you think the first time you saw the video?

I laughed really hard. I didn't realize that it had knocked me back like it did and I got a really good laugh out of it. Actually, the entire music department got a good laugh and it's been a great thing to joke about down in the music lounge.

Which media outlets have contacted you about the video and did you think the video would go viral like it has?

An article was first published by Classic FM and after that the video found its way onto the front page of Reddit, then everywhere else after that. Just this morning the Globe and Mail contacted me for an interview, so it is really neat to see the U of R Music Department in so many places. I kind of thought that maybe the video would go viral, but I definitely did not expect to have over 30 million views across thousands of different social media pages and websites.

What are your plans for the future?

After finishing my degree in the spring, I plan to teach at Long and McQuade, where I have already been teaching percussion for a few years.

How is your head now?

I oddly have a bit of a dent at the impact site on my head, but overall it seems to have healed fine. Thankfully!

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