Iowa Days of Percussion

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Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Robin Engelman, Russell Hartenberger, Garry Kvistad at the Iowa Days of Percussion

The Ensemble performs and presents workshops at the Days of Percussion in Grinnell, Iowa

NEXUS, the Toronto-based percussion group, is now in its 35th year of performances in solo recitals and with symphony orchestras worldwide.  On April 11 and 12, 2006 the ensemble participated in the two day Percussive Arts Society percussion symposium hosted by percussionist Mark Dorr and the Grinnell College Department of Music.  NEXUS activities included the following:

NEXUS Concert

The culminating event of the two day symposium was an evening concert on April 12 at the Herrick Chapel on the Grinnell College campus. As part of the college’s performing arts series, the concert was attended by an audience consisting of about 400 regular subscribers and visiting percussion students. Works by Nexus members Russell Hartenberger and Robin Engelman were performed as well as an African Mbira tune, some traditional ‘Rope Drum’ beatings and a new work by Canadian composer Christos Hatzis. An enthusiastic standing ovation immediately after the final chord of Bob Becker’s ‘Bye Bye Medley’ prompted a concluding encore, also featuring Bob’s xylophone virtuosity highlighting the tight ensemble playing for which NEXUS is recognized worldwide.

Percussion Workshops

During both of the residency days NEXUS’ five members presented workshops for the gathering of young percussionists and percussion teachers from all over Iowa state.  The topics included:

‘Creative Music Making’ presented by Bill Cahn

‘Xylophone History and Performance Concepts’ presented by Bob Becker

‘West African Drumming Workshop’ presented by Russell Hartenberger

‘History of the Snare Drum: Its Notation & Performance Practice’ presented by Robin Engelman

‘Sound Science: Acoustical Properties of Percussion Instruments’ presented by Garry Kvistad

Percussion Ensemble Masterclass

On April 12 NEXUS became the audience for performances by Four percussion ensembles -  Grinnell College, Central (Iowa) College, Iowa State University, and Northwestern (Iowa) College – providing valuable observations and insights into the music and the performances.

Nexus acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

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