The free Winter Drumline Percussion Ensemble Concert was held on April 18 in Hoag Recital Hall and featured 10 songs performed by the Colorado State University-Pueblo Drumline and Percussion Ensemble.
The CSU-Pueblo Drumline is a class that is opened to anyone as long as they have at least a year of Drumline or marching band experience, whether it is through high school, drum corps or college, said Eddie Dowdle, the Drumline director, in an email.
Dowdle said that the spring Drumline class supports the ThunderWolves Marching Band drumline at football games and events around Colorado.
Dowdle is a private percussion instructor, drumline coach and concert band percussion section coach, who has taught and written music for many Colorado high school drumlines.
At the concert, the Drumline played four pieces: “My Independence,” “Low Five,” “Stool Pigeon” and “Rocket.”
Each section of the Drumline: the tenor drumline, bass drumline and snare drumline performed a song separately with the fifth piece performed by the entire drumline, Dowdle said.
“My independence” emphasized the tenor drumline by using five to six single headed drums, which permitted the melodies to be achieved in the music and cadence of the Drumline, according to the concert’s program. The tenor drum was first seen in European military marching bands in the early 1800’s.
The bass drumline performed the song “Low Five” using five or more bass drums of various sizes, which provided a foundation for the Drumline’s music and grooves. The bass drums also help military marching bands to keep troops in step for ceremonies, according to the concert’s program.
“Stool Pigeon,” the brand new piece, which the snare drumline performed, was a unique performance originally intended for around eight players performing on bar stools. The CSU-Pueblo Drumline used snare drums with one performer using a wooden stool.
All sections of the drumline performed in the song “Rocket,” which is a piece that is used to keep athletes and fans’ spirits up while ensuring that the band stays in step during their parades, according to the program.
Aaron Turner directed the CSU-Pueblo Ensemble. Turner is also concert percussionist, a drum set artist, a music educator and a composer, according to the program.
The CSU-Pueblo Ensemble performed six songs: “Fanga,” “No Woman No Cry,” “Conga,” “Gending Bali,” “Edge of the World” and “Mas Fuerte.”
“Fanga” is a Liberian piece that was popularized due to Babatunde Olatunji, an internationally renowned percussion teacher from Nigeria. Other West African Drumming features music from countries such as Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali and Sierra Leone and contained cross rhythms, polyrhythms, and improvisation, according to the program.
The concert featured two very popular songs, the first being “No Woman, No Cry,” by Bob Marley and The Wailers. This Jamaican styled reggae song is a representation of life in the slums and is an attempt to persuade a woman not to cry since there is hope for a better life.
“No Woman, No Cry” is ranked as number 37 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The second popular song that was performed at the concert was “Conga,” by Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine. The title of this piece referenced both to the rhythm and dance from Cuba. In Reuters, Estefan claimed that this song was not only talking “about a specific rhythm of [her] homeland but it talked about being Latino and the celebratory nature of dance.”
“Gending Bali” took the music of the concert to the country of Indonesia, featuring instruments such as the percussion gender, drums, or kendang as they are called, marimba and the haunting sound of the gong.
“The Edge of the World” was initially a wedding gift for Michael and Sara Wood, inspiring the poem/ watercolor print “True Things” by Brian Andreas. The song represented the bond between two people looking towards their future together, according to the program.
“Mas Fuerte” which translated to “more loudness or more force” was written for Percunits A2 for their 1992 American and Spanish tour. The song featured non-pitched loudness and strong Afro-Caribbean influence.