MCMS Ensemble to bang the drum at concert
By Ann Cantrell
The Morgan County Middle School Percussion Ensemble will play for the first time without the accompaniment of the band on Tuesday, March 4 at 7 p.m.
The ensemble features 12 seventh graders and seven eighth graders, all of whom auditioned to play a percussion instrument after playing woodwinds.
David Boardman, leader of the percussion ensemble, said they decided to have a concert in order to give the middle school students more opportunities to play and gain experience.
Besides having only percussion instruments, the concert showcases several instruments that most people are not familiar with, according to Boardman.
“People may hear some things they’ve heard before, but not seen,” Boardman said.
Further, all of the students will briefly explain the history of the instruments they choose and give reasons as to why they picked that particular instrument. One of the more unusual instruments chosen by the students was a rainstick, an instrument made from a hollowed cactus that imitates the sound of rain. Alexis Parks, a seventh grader, picked the rainstick as her favorite instrument.
“My favorite instrument is the rainstick; I love the way it sounds so peaceful and calm,” Parks said.
Another student, Jay Elder, an eighth grader, said he liked playing the drum set because he felt that he could connect with it.
For the concert, the two grades will play separate pieces and will then play one joint piece. The ensemble will play everything from a Cuban/African piece to a percussion version of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.” The ensemble will also play an arrangement of “Dance of the Swan,” from Swan Lake, composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
Boardman said the audience should recognize the melody, despite the percussion instruments.
Finally, the ensemble will play a piece written by one of the students, Jordan Janousek, an eighth grader. Boardman said that both he and Wade Taylor pushed Janousek to write an original piece in order to encourage more creativity and agree that he did a great job composing the piece.
The piece is titled “FunkyAwesomeGrooviness.”
The ensemble will perform a piece called “March of the Aardvark,” which Boardman says has a lot of breaks that give the piece the sound of a stick being run across a picket fence.
Boardman said that working with the middle school ensemble has been a great experience for both he and the students. While the students have gained a new experience, Boardman said he loves seeing the excitement on their faces when they successfully tackle this new experience and challenge.
Boardman’s specialty is percussion. He received a degree from Florida State in percussion after growing up in Athens.