NAU Percussion Ensemble to deliver diverse performance

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.