The University of Arizona’s Percussion Studio, one of the most forward-thinking in the country, has been awarded grants from the College of Fine Arts and the School of Music to assemble artists through video conferencing technology. This exciting initiative, called the Distant Drumming Series, first took place in 2010 featuring performers from the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.
As a result of the Distant Drumming Series, the UA’s Rosewood Marimba Band sprang back to life after a decade-long hiatus. Performers in this elite group are admitted to the band only after highly competitive auditions. The music they make is sublime because of both their exceptional talent and the quality of their instruments. A rosewood marimba can cost as much as a new car, but percussionists say the unique sound justifies the extra dollars.
The Band will showcase its instruments and percussion prowess in a lunchtime concert at Academy Village Tuesday (April 30), beginning at 11:30 a.m. Ivan Trevino’s 2011 composition “Bloom” will set the toe-tapping mood. Trevino began his musical career as a garage drummer in a rock band (true of many present-day percussionists), and he brilliantly applies his rock drumming expertise to rhythmic functions in a keyboard ensemble.
The group will also perform contemporary compositions such as the “Stress Ballet” by Ivo Weymans, wherein melodies and motifs pass among four marimbists. Three selections by Jason Beck, known by his stage name “Chilly Gonzales the Musical Genius,” have been adapted from solo piano to a duet between vibraphone and marimba. And there’s a finale you won’t want to miss!
Submitted by Stan Davis, Academy Village Volunteer