Keene State College’s Percussion Ensemble turned buckets and flower pots into instruments in their final concert of the semester on April 29.
In addition to using traditional percussion instruments, the ensemble used buckets and flower pots in several of the pieces in their program. This led to the concert getting its name: “Buckets and Flowerpots.”
“Percussion is basically hitting, striking, scraping anything you can find,” Percussion Ensemble co-director Christopher Swist said. “It’s not like the other classical instruments in the sense that you can create percussion instruments out of pretty much literally anything.”
The ensemble performed six pieces, each with its own distinct sound. Inspired by street performers in New York City, “Just Buckets” featured a trio drumming on buckets. In front of the group was an empty hat in which audience members could toss money into, acting like real-life street performers.
The performance also featured an original composition by co-director Amy Garapic and ensemble member Garrett Currier titled “AGGC for 2.” In her introduction of the piece, Garapic said it is “part composition, part improvisation.”
Garapic and Currier could not be reached for further comment on “AGGC for 2.”
Percussion Ensemble, joined by Swist and Garapic, closed out the evening with a tribute to the late composer Chick Corea, performing his piece “500 Miles High.” Swist said the tribute was the piece he was most excited about performing.
“It’ll be a nice tribute to Chick Corea,” Swist said. “That’s probably the highlight for this one.”
Guitarist Andrew Szmauz joined the ensemble for the concert’s finale. Szmauz said performing with the ensemble gave him the chance to step outside his usual style of performing.
“It’s a different experience as a guitarist to play with multiple percussionists at the same time because I primarily play classical guitar, but I played electric jazz guitar in the ensemble last evening. So that was pretty cool,” Szmauz said.
“Buckets and Flowerpots” was the first performance the music department has been able to hold with a live audience this year. Swist said the nature of percussion provided more options to adjust to social distancing guidelines.
“The choreography of percussion actually, in a weird way, can lend itself to COVID because we can adjust more,” Swist said. “It’s not a big problem for us, other than just trying to stay distant and make sure we’re all using our own instruments.”
The event was performed in accordance with COVID-19 regulations, with all performers wearing masks and distancing at all times.
For more information about other music events, concerts and recitals, visit the Redfern Arts Center website.
Caitlin Howard can be contacted at: