Saturday, December 05, 2015

Calypso Band & Percussion Concert Notes

Notes by Humboldt State percussion program director Eugene Novotney

The concert will start with a energizing set by the youth percussion group, We Got the Beat. We Got the Beat is a fun and interactive, hands-on, musical experience for young student musicians from 2nd to 7th grade based in Fresno, California.

 Led by percussionist Brenda Myers, "We Got the Beat" performs on a wide variety of percussion instruments and in many musical styles. They have performed throughout the state of California for events such as the California Music Educator’s Convention in Sacramento, the National Association of Music Merchants Trade Show in Anaheim, the Big Fresno Fair, and at the Oakland Day of Percussion with Pete Escovedo. They bring energy, excitement, and a high level of musicianship, and will fill everyone’s hearts with the joy of music.

In addition to starting the show, WGTB will be presenting a pre-concert set at 7:30pm as the crowd enters the theatre.

 The HSU Marimba Band will follow WGTB, and they will be featuring a truly virtuosic marimba piece entitled, Omphalo Centric Lecture, composed by the Australian composer Nigel Westlake. This piece is both captivating and mesmerizing, and it explores the beauty of the sound of the marimba in its full range and capacity.

 The first half of the show will conclude with the World Percussion Group, directed by Professor Howard Kaufman. The WPG will be presenting an authentic arrangement of Samba Maracatu from Northern Brasil on all traditional instruments. This arrangement is as good as it gets, and will feature a 30+ piece samba band playing authentic instruments from Brasil filling the room with pulsating sound.

The second half of the concert will showcase the festive island sounds of the Humboldt State Calypso Band. This fall, the Calypso Band is gearing up for their 30th anniversary by playing their “greatest hits” from the past 30 years of shows at HSU, as well as some new tunes never before heard at HSU.

The band will feature three Panorama compositions on this show - Ray Holman’s, “If We Really Want,” Boogsie Sharpe’s, “Misbehave,” and Andy Narell’s, “Coffee Street” - as well as a full mix of Calypso dance music. Many student steelpan soloists will be featured throughout the evening, and the Calypso Band’s performance is guaranteed to get you up on your feet!

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. The band is dedicated to the performance of traditional and contemporary music from the Caribbean, Africa, Brazil, and the United States.

 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. Founded in 1986 by the band’s director, Eugene Novotney, the Calypso Band is celebrating its 30th anniversary at Humboldt State this spring, and holds the distinction of being the first ensemble of its kind in the entire California State University System.

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