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Illinois State University’s Student Musicians take Kemp Hall

Written by on November 11, 2019

NORMAL – The Illinois State Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Dr. David Collier and Dr. Ben Stiers, presented their fall concert in Kemp Recital Hall.

The ensemble performed renown pieces like: marimba quintet, Gravity by Mark Mellits,  Catching Shadows by Ivan Trevino,  Fractalia, a quartet, by Owen Clayton Conden, Trio by Joe Tompkins and Insomnia by Cody Holmes.

Student Ryan Laucicello finished the concert with a marimba solo and expands on the challenges of the concert.

“The most challenging aspect of this concert was the idea that we constantly have different ensembles playing with different people,” said Laucicello. “Whereas in an orchestra setting there is a set number of people you are playing with and you don’t have to adjust to everyone else every time the song changes.”

Gravity, a piece that went back to the basics, made the crowd fall silent. This piece featured a group of student musicians solely playing triangles.

Collier explains the smooth movements of the musicians’ arms as they made the sound “fall” and elongate the tune with a simple stroke of the instrument.

“What draws me to percussion is the simplicity of sounds that come together and make pitches and tunes,” Collier said. “Since I was a kid I have been banging on instruments, and it all started there.”

Collier explained that he belongs to a number of community bands and continues to play for his own enjoyment.

“There is nothing more inspiring than my students and seeing them grow as musicians,” said Collier. “Eventually I will get them to leave with that professional training experience.”

Next week several members of the ensemble will make an appearance in a student recital. The Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, and Percussion ensemble will have a few more concerts this semester on Nov. 19 and 20.