BY MEGAN RUGE AND PARKER THOMAS – STAFF WRITER
The University Percussion Ensemble held its spring performance on April 20 in Stretansky Concert Hall. The concert included several different pieces that showcased different percussive instruments, some conventional and some unconventional.
The repertoire included pieces that showcased battery percussion and melodic percussion. The pieces ranged in style with some intense, booming pieces and a ragtime piece written originally for piano.
“The ensemble has been preparing this repertoire since the fall semester,” first-year Alyson Callahan said, a member of the ensemble.
“We took the first semester to really get it down and now the second semester for perfecting it and getting it ready,” she said.
As a smaller ensemble of five people, the impactful performance allowed the members of the ensemble to play several different instruments, Callahan said. Though it allowed the members to step outside their comfort zones, the small number of members meant there was no room for mistakes.
“The focus is more oriented toward the player than the conductor,” Callahan said.
The program opened with a piece called “Shock Factor.” During this piece, the percussionists were able to use vocal technique to emphasize the large moments.
Callahan and her fellow percussionists were given cues, on which they would use their vocal percussion to draw more attention to the mood of the piece. The piece ends with the percussionists yelling, “shock factor,” to enunciate the ending mood.
The last piece in the program was called “Sizzle.” Throughout the mainly-battery piece, the percussionists again used vocal technique to emphasize the large moments, but this time, instead of demonstrating the “shock factor,” the percussionists used their voices to mimic the sizzle of the cymbals.
“It was one of the things that we had to work a little to coordinate because, yeah, it’s different than playing a percussion instrument,” Callahan said. On April 21, the University Chorale, directed under
Jason Vodicka, associate professor or music, performed its spring semester concert in Stretansky Concert Hall.
The forty-strong chorale sang 11 pieces accompanied by several other musicians throughout the performance.
The program began with Robert Fuhrer’s “In te Domine speravi, Op. 296, No. 2.” This was followed by Dietrich Buxtedhude’s piece of the same name, “In te Domine speravi, Bux WV 53” and then a Hungarian folk tune arranged by Bardos, titled “Tambur.”
For both of these songs, the chorale was joined by senior celloist Jamie Marrs, while junior Tyler Mariano accompanied the Buxtehude piece on piano.
The fourth work of the evening consisted of the fifth through ninth selections of Johanns Brahms’s “Ziegeunerlieder, op. 103.” The group was accompanied by sophomores Ariana Dellosa and Kasey Lynch on piano.
The choir then performed Giovannia Palestrina’s “Interpolations on ‘Sicut Cervus,’” followed by “Lava Me,” by James Whitbourn, and Herbert Howells’ “Like as the Hart,” for which Associate Professor of Music Gail Levinsky joined the chorale on soprano saxophone.
The women then broke from the group to perform “Kaki Lambe,” a traditional song from Senegal. First-years Carissa Sweet and
Augustus Black joined the women on percussion. The chorale then re-formed to sing “We’ll Shout and Give Him Glory” from ‘The Olive Leaf,” followed by two American folk songs, “Shenandoh” and “Old Dan Tucker.”
In the finale piece, the chorale was joined by pianists Mariano, sophomore Madeline Benjamin and first-year Ben Nause, senior flutist Kaela Bitting, senior clarinetist Alexis Bixler, and percussionists Sweet and Black.
Vodicka expressed that the chorale’s overall repitore was more difficult and challenging than in the fall and that he was proud of the group’s performance.
“We had about twice as much time to put together the concert than we did in the fall, but the music was at least twice as challenging,” Vodicka said. “I think they really sang it well.”
The program was dedicated to late chorale member sophomore Emma Cook, who was acknowledged by Vodicka and members of the chorale as a strong leader of the group.