ASU Percussion Extravaganza: “To Give You Form And Breath”

By Noah Schafer |

Music was in the air on Sunday, April 28th in the San Luis Valley. The Adams State University Percussion Ensemble returned to the Richardson Auditorium for their semesterly performance. This semester’s program, directed by James W. Doyle, D.M.A., was entitled “To Give You Form and Breath,” named after the piece by Inti Figgis-Vizueta that was commissioned by the Adams State University Percussion Ensemble. The concert was made possible through the Research and Engagement Grant from the Office of Title V Initiatives Center for Teaching, Innovation, and Research. This grant helped provide commision for the Percussion Ensemble to do the performance and without it, it wouldn’t be possible.

The spirited and powerful performance began with “Halil” by Leonard Bernstein, featuring Adams State music performance/music business major Emily Johnson, and “Phonophobia” by our very own Adams State composition major, Brandi Quinn. Along with strictly instrumental performances, viewers were also greeted with performances involving different mediums like film, projection, and literature, combining these mediums with music to make a unique and fun show. These multi-medium performances included “La Siréne/The Mermaid” by Gene Koshinski, accompanied by Georges Méliès’ silent film, La Siréne (1904);  and “Music for Pieces of Wood” by Steve Reich, accompanied by projected images of the sculpture series “Rin,” by upcoming Fall 2019 Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Professor Koshi Hayashi from Gunma University, Japan. Other performances included “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: ambedo” by Annika Socolofsky, which featured four percussionists on one vibraphone; “Ember” by Alyssa Weinberg, a unique and innovative duet performed by Dr. James W. Doyle and junior Delaney Armstrong; and “Death Wish” by Gemma Peacocke.

It is appropriate to say that this semester’s Percussion Extravaganza was a success, especially with the amount of diverse performances. Many people I talked with after the show seemed to also be in awe of the students’ performance. As I walked out after the auditorium, I was delighted to hear others’ compliments about the uniqueness and musicianship of the performances. I even heard one person exclaim, “I need to come to more of these!”

I was also able to talk with a couple of the students who were able to show their talents on Sunday. Kevin Johnson, who performed “La Siréne/The Mermaid,” said, “It was great to finally be able to show the world the hard work I have put into this piece the past few months. I loved every bit of it.” Brandi Quinn, the composer of “Phonophobia,” also commented on how gratifying it was to show her talent to the public. “We have all been working so hard with this and having to go to school on top of it… it was nice to finally see all that come to fruition.”

Music in college, like college athletics, requires an immense amount of time and energy that is combined with the stress of a regular student, having to pass classes and often being the leading example for others. What is different about music compared to athletics in college is that unlike athletics, students who partake in music only have one or two opportunities a semester to show their talent and hard work. From the performances I was able to see and what the performers said to me, this way of doing it makes it all the more worthwhile for the students. It allows them to see a goal, longterm, and work for it relentlessly.

 

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