Percussion ensemble prepares for its first full-length performance

Luis Martinez, Entertainment Editor

Eastern’s percussion ensemble is preparing for its first full-length performance of the fall semester.

The performance is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday in the Dvorak Concert Hall in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Jamie Ryan, a percussion professor at Eastern, said the percussion ensemble usually performs at least one full-length show during the fall semester.

“Usually, our percussion ensemble plays once or twice a semester in Doudna,” Ryan said. “We’ve had a couple of gigs, performances, short ones, on and off campus, but this is the first full-length concert of the semester.”

Ryan said the ensemble usually performs one in the fall and twice in the spring semester.

“We did play once on the music department’s collage concert that features pretty much all of the performing groups in the music department,” Ryan said. “(We’ve played for) a variety of things, it could be a concert venue like we have at school, it could be a some kind of outdoor music festival.”

Some of the pieces the ensemble will be performing featured modern and accessible chamber music, along with some more traditional percussion pieces. The ensemble will also be performing pieces from both Cuba and Brazil.

“It’s all very modern and accessible chamber music for percussion, meaning it’s small groups of percussionists, anywhere from four to five people to about 12 or 14,” Ryan said. “So fairly small groups compared to an orchestra, concert band or a big band or something, and the music ranges from very sort of traditional to march-like percussion music that you might have heard from a military band even 200, 300 years ago to very modern chamber music.”

The Joliet Junior College percussion ensemble, lead by Adam Cowger, will also perform on Sunday, playing three pieces and a collaboration piece with Eastern percussion ensemble.

“(Cowger) is a friend of mine and we’ve been trying to do some collaboration the past couple years,” Ryan said. “We’re having them play three pieces on our concert as well and it looks like we may play one piece together.”

The Eastern ensemble this year features a mix of both percussion major and minors and some non-major students.

Ryan said this year’s ensemble features solely undergraduate students. All of the students who are in the percussion ensembles had to audition to see if they would be able to handle the rigorous amount of practice that comes with preparing for the concert.

“We rehearse three times a week,” Ryan said. “The percussion ensemble is a course, so they take the course and they receive a grade based on their preparation, their progress and ultimately their performance.”


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]