Contemporary percussion, hand drumming ensembles to perform Dec. 9

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Prof. Cheryl Grosso will bring her direction and musical perspective to a Friday, Dec. 9 percussion concert in the University Theatre of UW-Green Bay’s Theatre Hall.

Grosso will direct the University’s contemporary percussion and hand drumming ensembles during a 7:30 p.m. concert, the 17th of the 2011-12 season for UW-Green Bay. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, with information available at

The show kicks off with the Contemporary Percussion Ensemble performing works from a variety of modern composers, including Emanuel Sejourne, Christopher Deane and John Bergamo. Sejourne’s “Akadinda Trio,” a piece inspired by the mallet playing of Uganda that features three players on the same marimba, is the first work of the concert. It will be followed by percussionists Benjamin Hogan and Adam LeGrave playing a series of duets by Bergamo, using vibraphone and marimba. Other ensemble highlights include UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Michelle McQuade Dewhirst (French horn) joining Grosso, Hogan and LeGrave for George Crumb’s “An Idyll for the Misbegotten,” a serious 10-minute work with a virtuosic French horn.

The first half of the concert will conclude with “Ogoun Badagris,” by Christopher Rouse. The piece derives its inspiration from Haitian drumming patterns, particularly those of the Juba Dance. The piece contains two “dances” — a highly erotic ceremonial dance and a dance at the point when demonic possession occurs. The performers shriek “reler” — the Voodoo equivalent of the Judaeo-Christian ‘amen’ — at the conclusion of the work, Grosso said.

UW-Green Bay’s Hand Drumming Ensemble will take the stage after intermission, performing a series of five pieces composed by Grosso herself. Grosso wrote one of the pieces, “Rhythm Chant AB,” specifically to feature Hogan and LeGrave playing pandeiros, which is a drum not typically used in the hand drumming ensemble. During the same piece, LeGrave will improvise on cajon, a drum — resembling a wooden box — also not typically used by the group.

UW-Green Bay Contemporary Percussion personnel are as follows: Kaitlin Hobbs, Benjamin Hogan, Adam LeGrave, Jamie Rodgers and Morgan Westlund. Hand Drumming Ensemble personnel are Justin Foth, Michaela Hogan, Leah LaMalfa, Gregory Mueller, Benjamin Hogan, Meghan Kielpikowski, Adam LeGrave and Kevin St. John.

UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive, is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.


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