Percussion ensemble delivers exciting performance full of variety

Friday night in the McAfee Concert Hall, the Belmont University Percussion  Ensemble put on its once-a-semester concert under the direction of Christopher Norton, the director of percussion studies.

The focus shifted from one side of the staging area to the other, up to the choir balcony and back to center stage as varying groups of four performed where its respective instruments were staged.

The opening piece, “Doomsday,” was metallic in sound as four students played metallic instruments, wood blocks and timpani to achieve the sound of impending destruction.

Another small group of three performed Invention No. 2 and “found sounds” from kitchen and garage, including things like ceramic flowerpots, cooking pans and wood planks.

The variation of sounds throughout the concert grasped the audience for just over an hour.

From drum controllers creating electronic sounds to bass drums with symbols and pipes taped to them, the evening was never shy of exciting.

The concert included many modern pieces, but the J.S. Bach prelude arranged by Norton and Ryan Blihovde, a student, for large keyboard orchestra showcased the the marimba and other keyboard instruments.

The hall amplified every stroke of on the marimba’s wooden keys from the highs to the deep lows. The cohesion achieved by the 13 mallet players transformed the evening and was reminiscent of the work of Bach.

The final piece, “Catching Shadows,” left an impression of awe in the mind of the listeners. The combination of mallet instruments, a rain stick, drums and singing created a tribal effect as well as a rock vibe.

The ensemble began the piece facing backstage and, one by one, the members turned to play their part. As the piece came to a close, members turned their backs to the audience, creating a sense of finality.

The standing ovation given freely and almost instantaneously by the audience reflected the impact the performance had and with it  the bi-annual Percussion Ensemble concluded a diverse and delightful program leaving audience member in awe.

This article was written by Olivia Taylor.

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