rules change when ‘In-Pulse!’ takes the stage on April 8
Percussion players don’t usually blow into their instruments, but all the rules change on Sunday, April 8, when members of the Purdue Percussion Ensemble use balloons to make music.
The Purdue Percussion Ensemble and the Purdue Winter Drum Line present "In-Pulse!" - a concert which juxtaposes classical pieces with more off-the-wall works - at
7 p.m. April 8 in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center. Admission is free.
Tuxedos suggest a formal piece when musicians walk on the stage for "Balloonology," but the clothing is a fooler. The fun-loving tune calls upon musicians to make jazz-like music out of the sounds created by blowing up balloons, letting air out of balloons, rubbing balloons against the musicians’ teeth and poping balloons among other antics.
"It’s a fun piece and the students are going to ham it up," says Pamela J. Nave, assistant professor at Purdue University Bands, and the department’s percussion specialist. Ever since Nave’s arrival on campus in 1999, percussion concerts have become showcases for the non-traditional as well as the traditional.
Making students, and the public, realize that complex and entertaining musical rhythms can be produced by something as simple as a balloon in "Balloonology," or a wooden pole in "Stick Schtick," is her goal. These unconventional pieces also tend to be attention grabbers. "As much fun as they are to listen to, they’re equally as much fun to play," Nave says. "And they’re not as easy to play as they look. They’re hard to put together."
The "In-Pulse!" concert takes its name from a Jon Whitlock piece that spotlights the snare drum. Attention shifts to a variety of different percussion instruments as the concert progresses from tenor drums in "The Phantom of the Phield," to the xylophone in "Fluffy Ruffles," to marimba in "Marimba Spiritual."
" ‘Marimba Spiritual’ is a totally different piece than anyone has ever presented at Purdue before," says Nave. "It’s a Japanese piece with lots of yelling, a drum solo and massive percussion."
The evening’s most traditional moment will come when Michael Bottorff, a senior English education major from Richmond, presents "Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra" by Robert Kurka.
One of two special guests on the concert is the Tri-County High School Percussion Ensemble directed by Bottorff. It continues the eclectic nature of the event with such tunes as "Brooms Hilda," inspired by Stomp, and Vic Furth’s "Encore in Jazz."
Performing as a guest soloist is Arthur Lipner. Folkloric music of cultures from around the world present a constant source of inspiration for this professional vibes and xylophone player who has several CDs to his credit.
Lipner plays a dual role in the event, performing his music during the concert, and talking to students in a pre-concert clinic. At 5 p.m. in Loeb Playhouse he will give a free presentation on "Practice Techniques" that is applicable to all student musicians, not just percussionists.