On Sunday, Feb. 25, UR’s Department of Music presented the student body with a free Percussion Ensemble concert. The Percussion Ensemble, directed by graduate student Margaret Billin, included sophomores Chris Brown, Kyle Adams, Harrison Gordner and freshmen Colin Kinz-Thompson, Jeff Englander and Ryan Weller.
The performance consisted of two acts divided by an intermission. The first four pieces, “A La Nanigo” by Mitchell Peters, “Music for Pieces of Wood” by Steve Reich, “Snare Drum Duet No. 13” by Garwood Whaley and “Tom Tom Foolery” by Alan Abel were all traditionally composed works. After the intermission the group presented the awed audience with improvised material that consisted of the pieces, “From the House,” “Contained” and “Cups 2007.”
The six talented performers used an array of percussion instruments that included the tympani, tom toms, snare drum, brake drum, triangle, tambourine and the wood block to execute a phenomenal performance. These instruments were used to emphasize environmental and societal sounds that remain unnoticed.
When performing “House,” individual group members made household sounds by hitting the trash can, continuously opening and shutting the door and rubbing across the railing and other metal objects. Together, these sounds coincided in a harmonious melody that often goes ignored in the household. In “Contained,” the group pulled out plastic and paper items from the Upper Strong Auditorium lost and found box and offered a new perspective to the noises created by plastic bags and empty soda cans.
“Cups 2007” was a creative piece in that the performers created tunes solely using paper cups; moreover, with systematic movement, the performers fashioned a new and unique sound. The group proved that if you stay attentive to your surroundings, rhythmic sounds and plush melodies can be heard in every iota of your environment. After the show concluded, members of the audience greeted the group and began to express their respect and gratitude for the unique and unforgettable demonstration of melodical creativity that they had just seen.
Overall, the group presented an indisputably brilliant performance and was overwhelmingly hailed with zest and admiration by all those who attended.
Those who were unable to attend the Percussion Ensemble presentation can rest assured that the music department has plans to rock the River Campus in the coming weeks. In March alone, the UR community will be graced by the performances of the wind symphony and the jazz ensemble in Strong Auditorium on March 1 at 8 pm. The groups are directed by William Tiberio and Miles Brown.
Moreover, on March 3, the Symphony Orchestra will seize the hearts of all music enthusiasts with Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6,” which is just one of the many classical heartthrobs that will be presented.
Both events are bound to send echoes of wonder reflecting incessantly within the stately halls of Strong.
Tase is a member of the class of 2010.