“Hands clap in concert, not applause”

The department of music presented the Cardinal Percussion Ensemble last Monday.

For most pieces, normal percussion instruments were used, but one piece used no instrument more complex than two sets of hands.

“Clapping Music,” composed by Steve Reich and performed by Chris Ohmer and Mike Richards, used the simplest instruments man has at his disposal to perform an unexpectedly complicated piece.

Tapping into a primal element often ignored in a traditional ensemble piece, Clapping Music’s difficulty lay in the necessity that both Ohmer and Richards remain completely in sync and precise in their body movement to turn the act of clapping into a complex music composition.

As the piece came to a close, it was clear that both performers were relieved to have pulled it off so well.

“I honestly wasn’t sure we could do it in the semester we had,” biochemistry sophomore Chris Ohmer said. “But when we put our minds to it and worked together, it all fell into place.”

Other music ranged from keyboard pieces to a steel drum island rhythm, and while every piece offered a unique taste of what the ensemble could offer, a few select songs offered a taste of what intricate pieces the group’s skill could truly produce.

“Walking Together,” played by Evan Gill and composed by SVSU alumnus Nicholas Chernich, acted as one of the most intriguing and hypnotic pieces of the show.

Requiring Gill to wield four mallets, the complex piece’s slow rise and fall in tempo drew the audience into the dramatic and ever-shifting piece. The complexity added by the use of multiple mallets gave Gill’s performance a sense of two independent forces simultaneously working together and in contrast of one another.

Hauntingly beautiful as it echoed through the Rhea Miller Recital Hall, it was only one of many great pieces that night.

Several other pieces from the night also showed the great skill the Cardinal Percussion ensemble had to offer. Group pieces, such as “Rainbow Ripple” and “Sugar Boom Boom” offered beautiful uplifting tones and quick tempos while songs such as “Equal Fire” and “Ceremonium” offered harsh snare and bass tones not so unlike the music heard upon a clashing battlefield, shots ringing left and right.

The song “Lift-Off,” performed by a trio on snare and bass drums, was an outstanding dramatic piece that all but would have stolen the show had it not been for the many amazing pieces that surrounded it.

Music Director Brandon Haskett was pleased with the performance.

“This young group has progressed well. All the performers are certainly relieved and we now have a great base to build upon for next year’s show,” he said.

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