Experience ‘Percussion Under Construction’ at Loeb Playhouse
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Flying drumsticks don’t seem out of place at a percussion concert but saws, hammers and crowbars? When the Purdue Percussion Theater presents “Percussion Under Construction” on April 13, anything and everything becomes a musical instrument.
The free concert, featuring percussionists from all Purdue Bands & Orchestra ensembles, takes place at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center. In past years, the annual percussion event has become known for featuring everything from crazy to classical works and director Pamela Nave says this year will be no exception.
Along the way, she hopes “Percussion Under Construction” will give the audiences clues as to what goes into the “construction” of not only good percussionists but interesting percussion works.
Expect the Loeb stage to look like a construction site to begin the event. “We always have a funky opener,” says Nave. A construction video kicks things off followed by the percussionists, dressed like Village People performing “YMCA” as a prelude to “Men At Work” when hammers and saws start making their own brand of music.
Taking the construction theme to a different level, the concert offers the audience a unique experience with the four instruments that musicians have to master – snare drums, timpani, marimba and drum set – to construct percussion. “We call them the four food groups of percussion and to be a percussionist you have to be extremely proficient on all four,” she says. Piling sound upon sound, all the instruments will play in controlled cacophony “offering a snippet of what we experience all the time in rehearsals,” she says.
From that point, pieces will be presented in order of their difficulty starting with the easiest works for percussion. The challenging ending to the concert will be “XPLOSION,” a work for drumline “that’s loud and hard and fast,” Nave says. With the addition of special effects, “it’ll be amazing.”
Highlights along the way include an original piece for marimba and percussion ensemble written by Bonyea Killebrew, a junior from Kokomo, IN. Titled “Machine Planet,” the piece serves as the ultimate example of construction because the composer is also performing it. “We are planning on entering this piece in the Percussive Arts Society’s large composition competition,” Nave says.
A minimalistic look at construction is featured in “Omphala Centric Lecture.” Like other minimalistic art works, “it’s not what people are used to because there is no melody,” Nave says.
It’ll be easy to find patterns and rhythms in “Wop Upside the Head,” a light-hearted piece where drummers make music on detached drumheads. “They’ll play cool patterns and are working on interesting visuals to go with it. It’s one those fun pieces that’s really difficult.”
“Sprint” is a musical race. “It’s a technically difficult piece for marimba and percussion ensemble that requires fast hands. Simulating a race it begins with the pop of a starter gun and the marimba plays this nasty monster lick that just progresses through the whole piece,” Nave says.
The concert also feature a guest spot that will be filled by the Decatur Central High School Percussion Ensemble performing Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the A Train.”
Forward to a Friend