On Sunday, percussionists will take center stage in an exciting showcase pounding and ringing with the sounds of marimbas, xylophones, chimes, timpani and gongs. The School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Coordinator of Percussion Joseph Gramley, hosts “Catch Me If You Can,” a concert centered on instruments you hit with a mallet.

Search percussion ensembles on YouTube and an endless supply of impressive “Super Mario Medleys” will pop up. While these plucky tunes can offer long stretches of entertainment, the repertoire for modern percussion ensembles does not consist solely of bouncy video game themes. Sunday’s concert hopes to prove this point.

Instrumentalists tend to be attracted to this type of percussion performance because it sits so easily on the human psyche. Percussionist Jeffrey Barudin, a Rackham student, explained why.

“The two oldest instruments since the beginning of time are the human voice and percussion instruments,” Barudin said. “There is something about percussion instruments and percussion music that speaks to us as humans at a very primal level.”

Following their conception in the 1950s, percussion ensembles had a very limited selection of pieces to play. However, an ever-expanding number of compositions exist today, and some have been written specifically for percussionists, including arrangements of classical music, popular music and movie themes. Most ensembles provide a heart-pounding program, and this one is no different.

“The combination, groove, memorized music and improvisational elements really connect with the audience,” said percussionist Peter Dodds, a freshman in the School of Music. “Also, the laid-back atmosphere is always fun.”

“Catch Me If You Can” will offer a large sampling of modern pieces written in the last 20 years from around the globe. Composers hail from the United States, Mexico, Japan, Spain, Argentina and Australia.

“The music spans many genres and has many influences, held together by the unifying bond of the use of percussion as the primary instruments,” Dodds said.

The incredible variation and interesting combinations of percussion instruments deserve to be explored. Percussion instrumentalists rarely hold the primary position in an orchestra or band. Instead, they are usually found – with their large keyboards or drum sets – squeezed into the back or onto the side of the seated wind, string and brass players. The percussionists of the Ensemble intend to make full use of their short stint as the main attraction at Sunday’s performance.

“It’s nice to be in the front once in a while,” Dodds said.

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