Sunday, February 21, 2016

Percussion Showcase: Program Notes

The featured work on the program is one of John Cage’s most innovative and revolutionary works from the 1940’s entitled, Credo in US.

This highly experimental work calls for one percussionists playing gongs, tom-tom, and tin cans, with another playing tom-tom, and tin cans, and an electronic doorbell “buzzer”. A third performer plays piano and tom-tom, while the forth performer plays pre-recorded classical music over a sound system, while mixing in random music and sounds generated by tuning-in to local radio stations. This fascinating work stands as one of the first examples in modern music where electronic and pre-recorded sounds are mixed with live performance, and is a highly influential work, both in its scope and in its imaginative nature.

 The HSU Marimba Band will follow, and they will be featuring a set of music inspired by the Marimba traditions of Africa. Two of the works that the band will present are arrangements created by Valerie Naranjo of traditional Gyil music of the Dagara and Lobi peoples of Ghana, West Africa. The third piece that the band will play is an adaptation of a traditional Shone Mbira melody from Zimbabwe.

 Also performing will be a marimba quartet playing a truly virtuosic marimba piece by the Australian composer Nigel Westlake entitled, Omphalo Centric Lecture. Both captivating and mesmerizing, it explores the beauty of the sound of the marimba in its full range and capacity.

 The show will end with a West African Drumming Ensemble, led by HSU student teacher, Joe Bishop. This group will be performing a suite of traditional Mandeng Drumming from West Africa using all indigenous instruments (Djembe, DunDun, & Balafon) and featuring driving rhythms and a dynamic rhythmic interplay.

 All proceeds from this special concert will be donated to the Humboldt State Calypso Band Steelpan Renovation & Tuning Project. The Calypso Band is now in its 30th season and its steelpans are in desperate need of tuning, painting, repair, and refinishing. The Humboldt State Calypso Band Benefit is a project that was initiated in 2010-2011, the band’s 25th anniversary year, with a goal of significantly repairing and improving the overall condition of the instruments used in the Calypso Band.

Thanks to contributions from parents, alumni, faculty, the HSU Music Department, the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, the HSU President's Office, and members of the community, we have made significant progress toward our goal. There is still much work to be done. We need your contributions to Keep the Humboldt State Calypso Band thriving for years to come!

--Eugene Novotney

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