The Percussion Ensemble Spring Concert explored a beautiful mix of sounds from around the world. Students performed a variety of music from international composers on April 10 in Yeager Recital Hall. The Percussion instruments included rattles, cymbals, gongs, hand drums, shakers, marimbas and more. 

Ensemble director and music instructor Isaac Pyatt focused on the complexities of sound from various instruments to create harmony. He said a talented musician can alter any object to create beautiful melodies. Pyatt said he hopes he can transform student experiences and enhance their musical journey through percussion instruments. 

“It was a lot of energy and a lot of excitement, especially in the second half of the program,” Pyatt said. “And a lot of beautiful colors showcasing all the different sounds that can be made by a percussion ensemble.”

Pyatt said percussionist instruments have influenced his music career since the sixth grade. He continued his passion into college to discover the vast opportunities percussion has to offer. Pyatt encourages students to learn about the different forms of chamber music. 

“They can take their past musical knowledge, learn the technique and the colors of percussion through playing this ensemble,” Pyatt said. “As well as developing the percussionist people's impressions their whole lives, developing their skills and having fun making music together with all these different players coming from all over campus.”

Ruth Cruz | Elon News Network
Director Isaac Pyatt explores Brazilian mythology with Ney Rosauro’s “Mitos Brasileiros” section on April 10 in Yeager Recital Hall. Sophomore Joey Krucke plays the bongos in the lower left corner.

Freshman Jeanne Blau is a band scholar and has participated in many musical performances. She said the Percussion Ensemble offers a new challenge to improve her skills with these instruments. 

“I enjoy music a lot,” Blau said. “I think percussion ensemble is a good way to get more into it. It's a good challenge for me. A lot of pieces are more abstract or a little more difficult. I enjoyed the hands-on connection with instruments that allowed me to enhance my skills.”

Blau played the gong in “Aurora Borealis,” which featured work from American composer Marilyn Bliss. The score had a powerful, quiet, and mystical aspect. Bliss explores the beauty and unpredictability of the northern lights with a mixture of soft sounds. Blau said it was a great experience to pursue her interest in percussion. 

“This is a great way to start,” Blau said. “Everyone should play instruments because it’s super fun. It's been a lot of practice and a lot of work. So I'm glad to have done it and I feel good.”

Sophomore Joey Krucke is a music performance major who has been a member of the Percussion Ensemble for the past four semesters. For the ensemble’s spring concert he was a part of “Mitos Brasileiros,” featuring the work of Ney Rosauro. The music in this section shares a story from Brazilian folklore. Rosauro’s piece brings characters to life with a mix of jarring, upbeat, and exotic sounds from Brazil. 

Krucke said growing up music has influenced their passion for percussion instruments. 

“Music has been a very large part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Krucke said. “It's definitely a big passion of mine. I do really enjoy playing music, one of my favorite things is to just walk up to an instrument and play it. I love getting the opportunity to be part of these ensembles, contribute to them, and get to be part of that part of that sound.”

Krucke played auxiliary percussion instruments such as the xylophone, marimba, and bongos. He said he is eager to participate in future ensembles — exploring the variety of sounds it has to offer. 

Freshman Lexi Francis found this opportunity to connect with friends and learn more about Percussion instruments. She said it allowed her to develop musical skills beyond the trombone.

“Definitely my first time participating in percussion ensemble performances,” Francis said. “It’s really just about having fun with people you're friends with. It is just about learning new stuff and having new experiences as part of the reason why we play music we do is because it's more experimental. It allows us to sample a variety of music instead of just sticking with the same old instruments.”