PROJECTS

New Recording

I recently recorded Nicholaus Meyers' solo suite for marimba, Four Reflections for Marimba, and his marimba duet, Just Us, with Nick himself. The recordings will be released in Spring 2019. These works are available at www.permus.com.  

Performance

COMA (I AM IN PINK) by Jenny Olivia Johnson (2014)

My year-long collaboration with award-winning composer Jenny Olivia Johnson culminated in the world premiere of COMA (I WAS IN PINK), her piece for percussion and sound sculpture, at the 2014 Percussive Arts Society International Convention. The next phase of this collaboration will involve a version of the piece for an interactive exhibit at an art gallery.  

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Research

Healthy Body, Mind, Art: I believe that artists can create more freely when they are healthy. In addition, percussion is a demanding sport! I recently joined the Percussive Arts Society Health and Wellness Committee, and am currently taking Alexander Technique lessons with Xochi John!

Podcast: My new podcast, Art Lives, features interviews with artists about their art and their lives. Through these conversations we learn the commonalities and the uniqueness of every artist’s path. I hope this podcast can inspire people to make art, to seek new art, and increase empathy in our world.

Wolof Sabar Drumming. An ongoing effort to study, share, and archive this fantastic music from Senegal.  Please email me for resources from my 2016 PASIC clinic,   "Unlocking Sabar; Performing and Listening to Senegalese Drum Music" with Dr. Sonja Branch.

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Lectures and Publications

"Bernard Woma: Learning Dagara Gyil," Percussive Notes, Volume 54, Number 4 (September 2016):  30-31.

"Improving Percussion Sounds," Instrumentalist, Volume 67, Number 3 (October 2012): 24-27. 

“White College Boy Steelbands” in 1950s Trinidad: How Middle-Class Teenagers Helped the Steelpan Gain National Acceptance"  Paper presented at Percussive Arts Society International convention, Austin, TX, Nov. 9, 2012

“Places and People: The Origins of Grassroots and College Boy Steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago,”  Paper presented at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, Oct. 30, 2012. 

"The Steelpan Timeline." Continuing project on the evolution of the voices of the steel orchestra. Lectures at Youngstown State University and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. 

"Healthy Artistry? The pursuit of Art, Health and Happiness." Continuing project; lectures at Youngstown State University, Eastern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  

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DMA Document: “White College Boy Steelbands” in 1950s Trinidad: How Middle-Class Teenagers Helped the Steelpan Gain National Acceptance 

Abstract

This document highlights the increased involvement of “college boys” or “white college boys” - secondary school-educated middle-class light-skinned persons - in steelbands in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Following an introductory overview of the demography of Trinidad and Tobago, the history of Carnival, and the interregnum of the temporary instruments used between the ban of indigenous drums in the 1880s and the invention of the steelpan at the end of the 1930s, this document will examine the history and membership of these college boy bands, with particular emphasis on the Hit Paraders. The involvement of these bands in the steelband movement helped to refute the government’s racist, classist view that steelpans were insignificant instruments. Two factors that highlight the vital role played by these college boy steelbands are discussed: commercial sponsorship of bands, and support that bands received from the People’s National Movement Party. A detailed timeline of steelpan invention and innovations is also included. 

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Notable Recordings

“Percussion Music of Nicholaus Meyers,” Spring 2019 release.

"Overtures from Overture Hall," Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison, WI, 2009, Ion. 

“The Madison Symphony Orchestra: Farewell to the Oscar Meyer Theatre,” Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison, WI, 2003, Ion.

“Llamadas; Violin Music of Classical Bolivian Composers,” Javier Pinell, violin. Tallahassee, FL, 1999.

“Twenty,” Waubonsee Community College Steelband, Sugar Grove, IL, 2004, WCC.  

Photo: Sabar drums on the roof of the Konate house, Guedaiwaye, Senegal

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