Cello, percussion groups to entertain with modern styles


Members of the cello choir rehearse for their upcoming concert called “Tranquility.” Photo: Olivia Prairie

Looking for a musical experience that’s a little different from your average choir or piano concert? Then the cello choir concert on March 31 and the percussion ensemble on April 2 may be just right for you. At these concerts, you’ll be able to enjoy a more imaginative side of music with a variety of both classical and modern pieces.

The cello choir concert, featuring a mixture of student and faculty musicians, will play a collection of pieces centered on the theme “Tranquility,” focusing on the quiet and calming qualities of modern cello music, such as Atonin Dvorak’s “Silent Woods” and Arvo Part’s “Fratres.” Faculty cellists include Bob Jones Academy music professor Ms. Amber Eubanks and BJU adjunct music professor Dr. Yuri Leonovich, who specializes in modern music theory and instruction.

“I’ve enjoyed learning the new repertoire,” said Meredith Keen, a sophomore orchestral instrument performance major. “Dr. Leonovich brings modern music experience to the table, but he also ties it to older, more traditional music as well.”

Since the cello choir plays only once a year, the concert offers a unique opportunity to enjoy an advanced string ensemble playing more modern, theory-based compositions. “It is a very specialized concert,” Leonovich said. “You’ll have the chance to listen to music you wouldn’t normally find at an orchestra or band concert.”

Quite different from the cellist, the percussionist is often the loudest player in the entire orchestra, and he often has to manage several different instruments, even throughout one song. The percussion ensemble concert on April 4 will feature 12 such players, performing a variety of 20th-century pieces, such as experimental pieces by Michael Colgrass (“Percussion Music”) and George Hamilton Green (“Ragtime Music for Xylophone”). Mr. Rob Schoolfield, director of percussion studies and ensemble director, encourages students and faculty who plan to attend to keep in mind the unusual nature of percussion music. “Listeners have to remember to listen with different criteria than with piano, for example, where the pitches are fixed,” Schoolfield said.

The percussion ensemble concert will also premiere a piece written by Forrest Brazeal, a senior computer science major. Titled “Pi a la Mode,” the piece builds off the mathematical qualities of the number pi (approximately 3.14) to create different musical and percussive effects. “The melodic and rhythmic elements are all built using musical representations of the number pi,” Brazeal said. “There’ll also be a visual surprise, if you’re paying attention.”