Patrons stepping into the Westerbeck Recital Hall on the night of November 14 were greeted by a wide variety of instruments completely covering the stage. Tad Carpenter and the Concert Percussion Ensemble would soon come out on the stage and use every one of those instruments to create a wide variety of sounds that filled the hall with rhythmic beauty
A quick glance at the various drums around the room is all one really needs to understand the purpose of each different instrument. The small frame of the snare drum makes snaps of sound in quick procession, while the large, almost barrel shaped frame of the Timpani makes it pretty easy to discern which instrument is creating the booming bass tones filling the room. There was even the appearance of a Bongo in one of the pieces.
There was also a wide variety of mallet instruments like the xylophone and marimba, each of them seeming to serve the same purpose. But as soon as the first notes were struck it was easy to tell the difference between each of them. The music they created was diverse.
“We use a lot more concert literature, and we play a lot of jazz and Latin pieces,” said Director Tad Carpenter. “Tonight we played some Brazilian pieces as well as some swing and contemporary pieces.”
Each of these pieces was created by the same instruments on the stage, with the exception of one piece which required a member of the ensemble to bring a set of chimes out from backstage.
“I think we can create more music than if we were just using marching drums because we have all the mallet instruments,” said Carpenter.
The performance itself was impressive, which is amplified when one sees that many of the performers played a wide variety of instruments. Pedro Contreras, a trumpet player in the marching band who made his first appearance in a percussion ensemble at this event, played three different instruments including the marimba and bass drum.
“It’s different, you have to learn your own individual part as opposed to the whole group having the same part,” Contreras said about the difference between playing percussion versus the trumpet.
“These you have to prepare a little bit harder (than a marching band performance) just cause every instrument is heard and every instrument is seen,” said Carpenter, “Where in the marching band you can kind of hide behind someone because you’re marching and moving while this is pretty exposed.”
Though that added pressure didn’t deter Abraham Perez, who made his debut at PCC that night.
“It was a great experience, it was a very great experience I love it,” said Perez, who also mentioned that he would like to continue with percussion at PCC and well into the future.
The ensemble will be trying to perform this recital again for the Child Education Center at the school at a later date.