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Opinion

New Music Ensemble dazzles crowd

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December 12, 2014

At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2, in the William Abbot Concert Hall, the New Music Ensemble did a series of six music performances: “Suite,” “Hummingbird Songs,” “Loch Spell,” “A Stray Cat Asleep on the Roof in the Spring Rain,” “Shakey Ground,” and “Forever.”

“Suite” for alto saxophone and guitar, the first performance, had almost a film noir feeling to it; a simple, yet bittersweet piece.

“Loch Spell,” a flute and harp duet, a hard piece to classify, but it carried a beautiful Celtic tone, and that’s something worth hearing.

“Shaky Ground,” a 70s funk/rock song, originally written by The Temptations, was excellently covered.

Finally, an original work written by Derek Westholm, “Forever,” a song about leaving your mark on the world, and being remembered, is an upbeat and influential rock piece, with a modern punk rock overtone.

Although the performances were all well executed, there were two that stood out from the rest. The “Hummingbird Songs” performance was a series of several pieces designed to imitate various bird sounds or other sounds in nature, and to the musically uninclined it may have seemed like utter chaos. In this performance there were always at least one or several keepers of tempo, either clapping or tapping a variety of wooden instruments called wood blocks, claves, and guiros.

“A Stray Cat Asleep on the Roof in the Spring Rain,” a Japanese haiku, performed by Hannah Scheele on harp was by far my favorite performance, and the one I found the most strange and interesting. To play this piece, Scheele used a screw driver against the strings to create an artificial sound that is supposed to represent a sound of raindrops hitting a surface. The piece had an incredible and natural feeling to it, almost enchanting.

From saxophone and guitar, flute and harp duets, to chaotic, instrumental imitations of natural sounds, to your typical modern rock music style, this is an interesting ensemble to keep an eye out for in the future.

Joseph Westphal is a journalism student with an international studies minor. Westphal enjoys Chinese martial arts, anime, and gaming. His career goal is to be a Japanese pop-culture journalist.