Students show percussion skills

Students put their percussion talent on display in the College’s second annual Percussion Studio Recital. Held on Feb. 22 in the Mayo Concert Hall, the performers brought percussion, which is usually relegated to the musical background, right to the front.

“In a concert band or a symphony orchestra, the percussionists lead the rhythm of the ensemble and provide many different orchestral sound colors,” percussion professor and faculty advisor William Trigg said.

Each piece was greeted with an eager and welcoming silence as the audience sat in anticipation. The songs, which ranged in tempo and volume, took the audience members to a different world only to return when each piece was completed.

The recital featured 12 of the College’s classical percussionists. John Holmok, junior music education major, opened on the snare drum with Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic’s “Pezza Da Concerto No. 1.” He was followed by senior music majors Jason Price on timpani and Colin Murray on tuba in “A Thing for Tuba and Timpani” by Thomas N. Rice.

The timpani remained at center stage for Elizabeth Lagerstrom, junior music major, who played “March” from “8 Pieces for Solo Timpani” by Elliot Carter. Though Lagerstrom’s piece was slow-paced, sophomore music education major Joe Espineira then played the timpani in a thunderous rendition of “Improvisation,” also from “8 Pieces.”

Junior music major Antonio Padron serenaded the audience on the marimba, playing “Rhythm Song” by Paul Smadbeck. Music majors Vikki Bell, senior, and Katie Kellen, junior, also used the marimbas to perform a duet entitled “Fission” by Alice Gomez.

Next on the drum set was junior music major Caryn Feder, playing “West Side Impressions” by John R. Beck. After the show, Feder commented on the difficulty she had getting her piece to “speak and groove.”

“It’s not an easy piece, and it took a considerable amount of practice to get it up to the level I did for the show,” Feder said. “As it is just for drum set, you really need to find a way to make the melody of the pieces recognizable to your audience.”

Jan William’s “Variations for Solo Kettledrums” was also performed on the timpani.

Sophomore music major Scott Burrows followed on the marimba in the next piece, Ben Wahlund’s “With Sunshine In His Face.”

Burrows was joined on stage by Holmok on bells, Kellen on xylophone, Romero on vibes, Bell on timpani, Espineira on the tambourine and maracas and senior music major Rusty Woolf on the drum set. To end the night, the group presented Houliff’s arrangement of Wilson and Love’s “Good Vibrations.”

The recital was first initiated as an annual event when percussion students thought of the idea. Trigg allows performers to pick their own songs. The pieces are ones the students are currently working on or interested in.

Freshman English major Ray Fallon attended to watch a friend perform and enjoyed the show.

“My favorite piece was by Erik Romero on timpani; he did an amazing job of handling some very interesting variations,” Fallon said. “As a Beach Boys fan, though, I especially enjoyed the ‘Good Vibrations’ finale.”