Saturday, May 03, 2014

Calypso Band and Percussion Ensemble Present Rhythmic Premieres

 The Humboldt State Calypso Band has been around for 28 years, but has never performed a full-length panorama piece composed by one of its own members. At least not until Saturday May 3 at the Van Duzer Theatre. 

 Matt Norman’s “Pandemic,” composed in the classic Panorama style, will premiere that night. That’s in addition to the usual high-energy dance music the Calypso Band always provides. 

 Earlier in the evening, the HSU Percussion Ensemble performs another world premiere: a work by HSU alum Dante De Silva called “Engine Room,” commissioned to celebrate the HSU centennial.

 Director of both ensembles Eugene Novotney calls it “an epic work. Almost every percussion instrument that HSU has in its inventory will be on stage for this performance.” 

 “The piece is both beautiful in its melodic approach, and at times, barbaric in its rhythmic interplay,” Novotney said. “It is a true masterwork for percussion instruments in both its concept and in its vast scope, and it is destined to be a major addition to the repertoire for percussion.”

 The Ensemble also performs “Piru Bole,” a classic composition by John Bergamo, the American percussionist and composer from California Institute of the Arts who died in October. In 1987 he performed this piece on the Fulkerson Recital Hall stage with the HSU Percussion Ensemble. 

 A suite of traditional Mandeng drumming from West Africa and a special presentation of Brazilian samba by the HSU World Percussion Group completes the first half of the concert. 

 In addition to “Pandemic,” the Calypso Band selections in the second half include “Fire Down Below” by Boogsie Sharpe and two pieces by steelband legend Ray Holman: “If We Really Want” and “We Just Can’t Go On Like This.”

 Humboldt State Calypso Band and Percussion Ensemble perform on Saturday May 3 at 8 p.m. in the Van Duzer Theatre on HSU campus. Tickets are $10/$8 seniors and students, $3 HSU students, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Directed by Eugene Novotney and Howard Kaufman, produced by the HSU Music Department.

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