On the stage of the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, three Butler ensembles performed last Sunday afternoon in the School of Music’s showcase concert.
The percussion and wind ensembles, as well as the chorale, played pieces they prepared in just over three weeks.
The first group to play was the percussion ensemble, with performances that looked rather non-traditional in many senses. Upside down tambourines made an appearance on stage in their first piece, “Fanfare for Tambourines.”
The last piece the percussion ensemble played was a traditional West African rhythm called “KUKU.”
For this piece, the drummers were arranged in a half-moon formation, and each was playing a different-colored djembe. A djembe is a traditional African drum that is put between the players legs and played sitting down. Against the black of the performers’ outfits, the drums created a mirage of colors onstage.
After the percussionists left the stage, the chorale brought a very different attitude. Their selections were of a more quiet and intense variety.
From “Pure Imagination” seen in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” to “Requiem,” a piece written about the 2004 Asian tsunami, their voices filled the theatre with an eerier quality than the drums and tambourines had achieved.
At the end of the concert, Butler’s wind ensemble performed. They were led by Michael Colburn, former director of the United States Marine Corps band, in his debut performanceas a director at Butler.
The wind ensemble’s performance was much more upbeat than the chorale’s. Many of their pieces had the qualities of a march and were fast-paced and more zealous.
The entire wind ensemble displayed passion under the leadership of Colburn that had previously not existed. They played with an air of importance and the various sounds of the ensemble blended together with very few blemishes.
The concert lasted for two hours with each group performing between three and five pieces. Overall, I would give the entire a performance 4 out of 5 stars.