The Richland music department held its final concert of the semester in Fannin Hall on the night of Dec. 6 billed as The Drum Show Fall World Beat Concert. The first half of the evening featured performances by the Richland Percussion Group (RPG) and soloists. After a brief intermission, the Richland Steel Sound Band performed.
The night heated up quickly as the musicians warmed the audience with their swift beats and mellow movements. The first half of the night featured dazzling performances by soloists Shannon Valenta, Evan Mendez, and Sebastian Tran between brilliant ensembles pieces performed by the percussion group. Sebastian Tran and Evan Mendez awed the crowd with their demonstration of the marimba, a unique instrument originating from Southeast Asia and Africa that is similar to a xylophone.
It was Shannon Valenta, however, who sent a wave of joy throughout the room with her double-second steel pan performance. As soon as she began playing, the audience could close their eyes and imagine they were on an island somewhere in the Caribbean.
Other exciting performances by the ensemble featured student-composed works. Olivia Beattie and Sebastian Tran presented the only student-composed pieces of the night. Both featured impressive performances and were excellent pieces of music. While listening to Sebastian Tran’s self-composed “Wishful Thinking,” the music inspired me to actually start thinking wishfully, as if it was a soundtrack to my thoughts.
The first part of the concert ended with the RPG performing “Casting Shadows,” which had a beat that left the audience nodding their heads and tapping their feet.
The ensemble included three drummers playing cajóns, box-shaped percussion instruments from Peru, and a hi-hat player who really brought zest and shimmer to the show as it transitioned into the second half, featuring the Richland Steel Sound Band.
The steel band played 13 songs by professional composer Ray Holman. The ensemble performed the songs live together for the first time in preparation for their upcoming showcase in the spring. The steel band will perform with Holman as a special guest in April.
Overall, the evening was full of texture and rhythm that left the crowd warmed up to brace the cold, wet weather outside.
Give the Richland College Music department and director Derrick Logozzo an A+ for excellence.