Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Birthday Party with HSU Calypso Band & Percussion Ensemble

The Humboldt State Calypso Band celebrates its 25th anniversary with a composition appropriately called Birthday Party by Len “Boogsie” Sharp, during its December 4 concert in the Van Duzer theatre. The Calypso Band was founded in the spring of 1986 by Dr. Eugene Novotney, who is still the groups’ leader and director. This is the first of a series of concerts all year celebrating this milestone.

But before the celebration starts, the HSU Percussion Ensemble tackles a major work, Toccata for Percussion Instruments by the Pan-American composer, Carlos Chavez. Dr. Novotney notes the variety of instruments used, from native Mexican claves and maracas to Asian gongs and standard European orchestral instruments such as timpani, snare drums and xylophone. “Musically, Chavez combines exciting rhythmic passages and sudden dynamic changes with slower passages that employ exotic scales and timbres,” Dr. Novotney said. “The result is a piece that is both fascinating and profound.”

The first half of this joint concert ends with the World Percussion Group performing a suite of traditional Mandeng Drumming of West Africa, as well as Afro-Cuban folkloric music with all indigenous instruments.

Then after the break the Calypso Band takes over with Birthday Party and its patented program of high-energy dance music exploring traditional and contemporary music from the Caribbean, Africa, Brazil and the United States.

The Humboldt State Calypso Band prides itself in maintaining an accurate and authentic connection to the roots of the steel band movement and the innovative musicians of Trinidad, the island on which this unique percussion phenomenon was born. In addition to its regular performances at Humboldt State and throughout Northern California, the band has undertaken tours to San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Oakland, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Eugene, OR and Seattle, WA.

The joint performance of the Calypso Band, Percussion Ensemble and World Percussion Group is Saturday December 4 at 8 pm in the Van Duzer Theatre on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. First 50 HSU students free with ID.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal, Humboldt Beacon.

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