A Pleasant Surprise: Armstrong students perform in percussion ensemble

By Claire Golec, Staff Writer

Over 50 students, faculty and community members gathered in Armstrong’s Fine Arts auditorium on April 15 to attend the Percussion Ensemble.

Stephen Primatic, Armstrong professor and Percussion Ensemble Director, conducted the ensemble, whichwas comprised of percussion majors and minors and other Armstrong students. According to Primatic, these concerts are held twice a year.

The performances covered music by various percussion specialists, composers and professors like Fred Emory Smith, Chad Heiny and Lynn Glassock. One of the pieces, “El Vuelo de la Mosca,” was arranged by Primatic himself. According to Primatic, the composition means “the flight of the flock” and was composed by Brazilian composer Jacob Bittencourt.

Although Primatic says there was no particular theme, each piece conveyed a certain charm. With every note, audience members were enchanted with the harmonious sound of various percussion instruments.

Primatic described the concert as a pleasant surprise.

“The percussion ensemble concert will be entertaining. Most people think of percussion as just drums, but it involves melodic percussion instruments as well. The stage will be covered with instruments,” Primatic said.

Herbie Peterson, sophomore and computer science major, said that he really enjoyed the ensemble. His favorite composition was El Vuelo de la Mosca because it was a fun and interchanging piece.

“Dr. Primatic arranged the piece and it was a really fun piece with all the trading between the marimba players and those others,” Peterson said.

The ensemble began with Steve Riley’s mysterious-yet-lively “Storm Warning & Dance” and ended with Lynn Glassock’s soft-yet-energetic “Teamwork.”

Freshman music major Karin Ruiz said that this was not only her first time performing in a percussion ensemble, but her first time playing percussion instruments as well.

“The most difficult thing was to learn my first piece, ‘Teamwork.’ It was a big piece to start with. It was gratifying that Dr. Primatic put that responsibility over me even though I was new. It was more gratifying the end result, being able to play it right. And the most exciting [part was] sharing more time with new people doing something I had never done before,” Ruiz said.

Jacob Hartzog, sophomore and music performance major, has been passionate about music ever since elementary school.

Hartzog says he feels anxious before performing, but the feeling he gets while on stage is always rewarding.

“Before a concert, it is common to be pretty anxious. What first comes to your mind is the thought of messing up at a crucial part of a piece or dropping your sticks. You just have to push all that to the back of your brain and just focus on having fun and just play,” Hartzog said.

For Primatic, the most challenging part was finding composition that fit well with all the musicians.

“Since many ensemble members are not percussion specialists, it was challenging to find literature that was approachable by the less experienced students while still being interesting for the more advanced players,” said Primatic.

As the ensemble concluded, audience members stood up in unison and applauded.

Sophomore music major Kaitlyn Purcell has attended several Armstrong music events.

“This is one of the most interesting performances that the music department has just because it has a lot of unturned instruments and so you usually don’t get to hear a lot of that,” Purcell said.