The NAU School of Music will present the NAU Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Steve Hemphill, in concert on Friday, April 25. The free concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Ardrey Memorial Auditorium.
The concert will feature guest composer/performer and NAU alumnus Josh Gottry; a guest percussion ensemble from Coconino High School; a guest percussion duo Avenue Deux with alumni Julianne Layton and Chris Vennel; and the NAU Panorama Steel Pan Ensemble.
Opening the concert will be Brett Dietz’s Sharpened Stick, a highly energetic quintet based upon a Native American war song and dance. From legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea, Children’s Songs – Set 2 will be heard as arranged for two vibraphones and two marimbas. The Coconino High School ensemble will perform Jim Casella’s Technology for large ensemble.
The premiere of Steve Hemphill’s Canyon: 6 Portraits will feature the pairing of projected images of regional natural canyons with multicolored sonic portrayals by a percussion sextet. The guest duo, Avenue Deux, will perform Purity 2 (2012) by Tomasz Goliński—a first-time performance at NAU.
J.B. Smith’s Slap Shift will bring playful Afro-Cuban grooves to a dancing intensity, as played by six “congeros” in synchronized conga drum rhythms. A highpoint of the evening will be the introduction of Josh Gottry’s quintet, Woodwork, for four marimba players and solo cajon (box drum), which will be performed by Gottry. This just-completed work was composed for the NAU Percussion Ensemble.
To cap off the night, NAU’s Panorama Steel Pan Ensemble will perform three popular tunes: the beautiful bossa nova, Wave (by Antonio Carlos Jobim), and two spritely calypsos from Trinidad, Mama Look a Boo Boo and Wine on a Bumsee.