Come on and feel the beat

November 27, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd University's December concert for percussion players has a decidedly world-beat vibe, said Michelle Humphreys, director of Shepherd's percussion ensemble.

"Each year I try to give them a glimpse of other cultures, so that they can understand the role of music in other cultures," said Humphreys, a professional musician and music instructor from the Baltimore region.

Tuesday night, the percussion ensemble and the university's gamelan ensemble will perform music from around the world. The free concert is at 7 p.m. at the Frank Center theater.

Humphreys said the concert will give audiences an appreciation for the unique challenges percussionists face.

"For percussionists, there are so many instruments they have to master to get their degree," Humphreys said. "It's not just a violin, or just a French horn. More and more they're expected to be conversant in world music - it's a lot to cover."


The music department's Balinese gamelan ensemble, a music ensemble of traditional Indonesian instruments, will perform for the first 20 minutes of the program, Humphreys said.

Six musicians, including the ensemble's director, Pratimawan Supartha, will perform with the gamelan ensemble. At least one of the pieces will have dance accompaniment, said Ann Munro, coordinator of the music department's preparatory division.

The percussion ensemble will perform during the second half of the program, playing music from Africa, Latin America and Norway, Humphreys said.

The ensemble will perform "Gahu," from an Ewe social dance in Ghana, and another piece inspired by Ugandan music, "Akadina Trio," which requires three musicians to play one, five-octave marimba.

Soloist Heather Nowell will perform a contemporary American piece by Rebecca Kite, "For Alice," on marimba. Other works include "Latino," a trio by David Eyler, and "Gainsborough," based on the work of 18th-century British painter Thomas Gainsborough.

If you go ...

WHAT: Shepherd University percussion and gamelan ensembles perform

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2

WHERE: Frank Center Theater, on the western portion of Shepherd University's campus, off Duke Street, Shepherdstown, W.Va.

COST: Free

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