JU Percussion Ensemble

Cha Thorpe

Photo by Grace Singer

Jacksonville University Division of Music presented JU Percussion Ensemble along with musical guest Avant World Ensemble in Terry Concert Hall October 9. The concert included everything from sounds as far as India all the way to a Michael Jackson Tribute Medley. The concert was filled with variety and musical pleasure for everyone.

JU percussionists are composed of student musicians trained in the art of performing an array of different as well as uncommon musical instruments from all over the world.

Senior Rachel Harding has a great esteem for the talents of the musicians.

“As a vocalist, I really admire the percussionists because they have to be so versatile and able to play a variety of instruments,” she said.

Reflective Peace for Gamelan arranged by Tony Steve, assistant Professor of Contemporary Music and Percussion was one of those worldly pieces.  A gamelan is a traditional Indonesian ensemble featuring xylophones, drums, bamboo flutes and it would not be complete without a gong.

Much hard work went into this musical voyage the musicians took the audience on, from the art of mastering each instrument to the speedy transition into the next piece to be performed.

“I thought it was a very well-played concert from all angles. The students were not just technically adroit, but they were ‘present’ in all of the intangible parts of music that allow the moving molecules of air to become art and not just another school concert,” Steve said.

The concert continued with a guest performance from the Avant World Ensemble. Professor and saxophonist Joe Yorio and the Avant World Ensemble brought a colorful performance to life with instruments from around the world to tell cultural and musical fables to the audience.

“It was a real pleasure working with JU Percussion, all of the students musicians are tremendously talented and professional,” said Yorio.

The Avant World Ensemble have essentially been together for 15 years, but the artists that came together for this performance have collectively been together for just one month’s time. To indulge in future performances, Avant World Ensemble upcoming events include performing at local yoga and pilates studio Ananda Kula in January and February. They are well known in the city to bring forth worldly masterpieces of tasteful musical art to audiences whether large or on a more intimate scale.

Sophomore Breanne Wildner also shared feelings about the concert and the musicians.

“The performance was great,” she said. “All of the musicians are super talented. These past weeks I would walk past the rehearsal room, and they all were working really hard to give a great performance today.”

Needless to say the concert left a lasting impact on everyone from the audience members even to the performers themselves, the music and cultural rhythms and tempos from around the world was a pleasant change from more traditional concerts to which we are accustomed.