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Eastern Percussionists Perform!

Published on December 18, 2017

Eastern Percussionists Perform!

Talented percussionists at Eastern Connecticut State University recently entertained audiences that included Eastern students, faculty, staff and local community members at Eastern’s state-of-the-art Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall.

The concerts included performances by Eastern’s Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Group, World Percussion Ensemble, Korean Samul Ensemble and students in the Music Cultures of the World class.

The concerts, which were presented on Dec. 3 and 7, were comprised of diverse and entertaining musical selections that featured timpani, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle and tambourine.

The Eastern Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Group and the World Percussion Ensemble presented a winter concert on Dec. 3. The ensembles performed a broad spectrum of musical styles from the original and transcribed works of the percussion and marimba ensemble repertoire. The Percussion Ensemble performs large ensemble works while the Percussion Group and World Percussion Ensemble perform smaller works and chamber repertoire.

Conducted by Jeff Calissi and Matt Bronson, the ensembles performed seven selections from a variety of composers and styles. The World Percussion Ensemble came out strong with an opening performance of “Samba Batucada,” a traditional parade music selection from Brazil that entertained the audience with synchronized musical phrases and choreographed movements.

The Eastern Percussion Group performed “Triskaidekaphobia” by Josh Gottry. The title of the piece is the term for a phobia of the number 13. Despite the perceived triviality of that phobia, the composer noted how there is often no labeled 13th row on most airplanes or 13th floor in many hotels in order to make people feel more comfortable. The song is a tribute to those who cast off unusual fears and superstitions. The unique song provides an exciting and energetic look at the number 13, featuring 13 instruments and 13 pulses in every pair of measures.

The Eastern Percussion Ensemble performed “Three Brothers,” a very early contribution to chamber music for percussionists composed in 1954. Written for snare drum, bongos and timpani, the three instruments serve as “brothers” throughout the piece. The ensemble also performed “Peril of the Bells” by Rick Dior, a take on the Christmas song “Carol of the Bells.” The arrangement included aspects of African and Brazilian drumming, as well as extensive mallet percussion parts. The beautiful rendition used a wide range of ethnic percussion intstruments such as congas, bongos and djembe, a West African skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands.

The Dec. 7 concert featured performances by the the Korean Samul Ensemble, World Percussion Ensemble and students from the Music Cultures of the World Class. The concert showcased a variety of different cultures merged musically in order to provide a unique and entertaining show.

The Korean Samul Ensemble performed a traditional Korean piece of the Samul nori genre titled “Beonyeok!” that was originally designed to entertain villagers in a agricultural community on holidays or other celebratory events.

The World Percussion Ensemble performed “Guaguanco,” a rhythm derived from a traditional Cuban rhumba. The piece included conga drums and different patterns and tones to create an interlocking melody throughout the ensemble. The ensemble also performed “Rhythm Chant 2 + 10,” a piece for a variety of traditional ethnic instruments from around the world. The piece provided the audience with an ambient and relaxing soundscape of different cultures.

Students in the Music Cultures of the World class also performed at the Dec. 7 concert. With many of these performers having no prior playing experience, their performance of “Small Disturbances” by Mitchell Mollison demonstrated the immense amount of skill they acquired during the fall 2017 semester course. The piece uses two similar pitches played together to create small disturbances to the sound, like ripples in a pond.

Percussion studies at Eastern provide the opportunity to explore all facets of percussion performance and education. Students are provided with a variety of enriching musical opportunities regardless of major.

Written by Jolene Potter

Categories: Music