Third Coast Percussion visits Wattenbarger

Internationally recognized Third Coast Percussion entertained its audience in Tennessee Tech’s Wattenbarger Auditorium Thursday evening, Oct. 22.

Referred to by The New York Times as “hard-grooving” musicians and by The New Yorker as “vibrant” and “superb,” Third Coast Percussion performed eight contemporary percussion pieces during the concert, one of which the group’s very own David Skidmore composed in 2014. Skidmore’s piece, “Trying,” layered different rhythm cycles throughout the piece. The other pieces performed were created specifically for Third Coast Percussion.

Four of the pieces involved everyday percussion instruments such as bass drums, cymbals, xylophones and marimbas. The other four pieces took a different approach. “Table Music” involved hitting hollow wooden tables in different ways to produce different sounds. “Music for Pieces of Wood” involved hitting slabs of wood in different ways to create a variety of sounds; the audience seemed to really enjoy this piece. “Shi” involved hitting plastic chopsticks on different objects, which created a different kind of percussion sound.

The piece that seemed to be the audience’s favorite was the second movement of “Resounding Earth.” This particular work was composed by Augusta Read Thomas and used Asian prayer bowls to create resonance throughout the entire auditorium.

“All of these pieces are all different genres of classical percussion music,” said Colin Hill, assistant professor of percussion.

Hill and Center Stage teamed up to get Third Coast Percussion to visit campus. Even with the partnership, Hill found sponsorships with Remo Drum Head, Zildjian Cymbals, Pearl and Adams, and Vic Firth. Between the four sponsorships, the companies generated $1,000 to help Third Coast Percussion visit campus.

When asked why Third Coast Percussion was the ensemble chosen to perform on campus, Hill said it is impressive that this group performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention offered annually by the Percussive Arts Society, a professional percussion organization.

“That’s all these guys do … just travel the world to perform their music,” said Hill.

Gabriella Norris, a junior at Tech, said she was glad she attended the performance.

“It’s not what I expected, but it was an interesting sight to see, and it sounded great,” said Norris.