By Lopa Banerjee, Contributor
Late afternoon Saturday, April 7, the UNO Department of Music performed its annual Day of Percussion at the Strauss Performing Arts Hall. The annual collaborative event celebrated by the Percussive Arts Society and the Department of Music, it featured some great clinics from the percussion department, performances by talented percussionists from Nebraska as well as by nationally renowned artists. With all the new, experimental attributes of classical percussion that were featured during the day, it remains one of the most significant annual events within the UNO School of Music community where percussion students and professionals share the gift of music in an inspiring setting.
I discovered the rich history and heritage of the annual event during a conversation with Thomas Roland, the director of percussion studies at UNO.
“I have been associated with this event of rhythms for as long as 10 years now and can vouch for the significance it has for the music students and the music fraternity within UNO,” he said, emphasizing its significance as a day that celebrates the classical forms of percussion. The repertoire for the day was vast and inspiring, starting with clinics and performances from the UNO School of Percussion from 8 a.m. to 5 pm., followed by an evening of impressive solo performances, performances by the UNO Percussion Ensemble as well as the featured performance of the day, the New York percussion band Talujon, mesmerizing the audience with classical percussion since 1990.
“With our wide range of clinics and performances that feature artists from Nebraska as well as nationally renowned bands, we expect to touch upon the broad spectrum of artistic forms within percussion,” Roland said. He said that the experience of having these composers and ensembles in a platform like this would facilitate the development of classical percussion at UNO.
While the solo performances of the day included improvisatory compositions by talented percussionists like Nick Angelis, the symphony of intricate sounds and rhythm featured by the UNO Percussion Ensemble in their “Water Music” composition skillfully integrated the classical elements of percussion in an orchestra setting. With the soulful performance of the acclaimed band Talujon, the audience was treated to the sheer passion and exuberance of classical percussion. All in all, it was a day of celebrating the ardor and essence of percussion, which, according to Roland, would go a long way in promoting the glorious heritage of percussion in the city and the Midwest.