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A heart pounding percussion performance

SalmaPaola Baca
UTEP Percussion Ensemble at the Fox Fine Arts directed by Andy. P Smith.

Musicians strike at their instruments, some with sticks and some with their bare hands. From drums to marimbas, a variety of percussion instruments were played together to give a thrilling performance. Directed by Andy P. Smith, the program was given by the UTEP Percussion Ensemble at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall, which featured special guests from Eastwood High School Percussion.  

Combining modern sounds and styles with regional and folk music, the night was filled with heart-pounding music.  

With blends of different music genres and instruments, the program managed to mash up different styles simultaneously.  

The musicians did the same as seen in the first part of the performance called “Funkadunk” where drummers tapped on wood blocks and drums, sometimes playing on each other’s instruments.  

“I think tonight’s performance is very groovy, I think percussion isn’t like the other ensembles in a way that it’s more modern and you can dance to it,” said Salma Duarte, a music education major at UTEP. “I think it’s really fun. I think that it is different from other percussion performances. Like everybody has to be in touch with each other for it to work out.”  

Moving on from the thrilling and intense performance of the program’s opening, the following act sounded like something straight out of a Nokia ringtone library. “Six of One” by Chad Floyd was played with the whimsical sounds of xylophones and glockenspiel.  

Melodies came together as each performer struck their metal and wooden blocks with grace; the uplifting music was enough to put a smile on peoples faces.  

The third part of the program “Brazilian Suite for Tambourines” consisted of a quartet performance, the energetic styles inspired by Pixinguinha, a renowned Brazilian composer. With the slapping of the tambourines and striking of zills, the performance made four tambourines have more energy than a whole band. People could feel the energy and Brazilian melodies pulling at their bodies to burst in dance. By the end of this portion, the applause could not match the sound of the tambourines.  

Stepping away from the college performers, a special trio from Eastwood High School performed “We Three” composed by John H. Beck. Some could say they were on par with their fellow college student performers, as they played with the composure of professionals.  

With a more modern approach than some of the other performances, these students left an impression on their seniors.  

“I like the high school trio’s performance, it was like ‘Wow, I never did that in high school,’ I know they’ve come so far,” said Christian Behier, a kinesiology major at UTEP and audience goer. “(I like) more modern stuff like the tambourine quartet, (that) was pretty cool. Number one, number one on my list.”  

Following the astounding performance by the high school trio, a UTEP trio also made the stage their own. The three were circled around sets of gongs and bongos, with one big concert bass drum in the middle.  

Before anyone knew it, the sounds of the instruments echoed through the music hall. It was almost ritualistic, the way the three bashed on the drums in a rhythm, like clockwork. Taking turns and moments to play the same beats at once, this trio did not come to play around.  

The last part of the program was “Promise Music” by Cliff Walker. It involved a variety of percussion instruments used throughout the concert. From small wind chimes to big tubes filled with water, each player of the last performance worked together to deliver a final performance. Everyone on the stage knew their place and did everything to give the audience a reflection of the program’s mix of styles and instruments.   

Elisha Nuñez is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Elisha Nuñez, Staff Reporter
Elisha Nuñez is a multimedia journalism student with a minor in marketing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He works as a reporter for The Prospector, and loves to write about arts, culture, and people. This semester, he wishes to do more freelance work for publications in and outside of El Paso. After graduation, he would like to experience multiple positions at different places, and even has plans for continuing his current education outside of the U.S.
SalmaPaola Baca, Contributor/Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a junior at UTEP majoring in engineering leadership with a concentration in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography/videography enables her to be a contributor and photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography.
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