There were more than a few moments at Wednesday night’s rehearsal for the School of Music’s Collage concert during which — if not for the music, that is — you could have heard a pin drop.

Many of the singers, dancers and instrumentalists in tonight’s performance have known and heard each other for years, but most of them haven’t heard each other in action. Despite the stress of preparing for an event like Collage, the mood in Hill Auditorium was one of admiration and excitement as performers and their faculty mentors watched this year’s concert come together.

This year’s Collage performers couldn’t come from more varied backgrounds. Music graduate saxophonist Dan Puccio played in last year’s Collage as part of the Jazz Ensemble and the Graduate Jazz Combo. “I think it’s a really great experience. It’s one of the few concerts like it I’ve ever seen,” Puccio said. “You really try to put on a little more of a show. It’s not just about the performance; it’s about the entertainment aspect as well.” Tonight, he’ll play with the Jazz Ensemble again — but the whole group will be playing from memory.

Collage XXVIII will be Music graduate euphoniumist Derek Pirruccello’s first experience in this unique format. His chamber ensemble is a tuba/euphonium quartet accompanied by drum set. “Playing ‘Purple Haze’ with two tubas and two euphoniums is going to be quite an experience … It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Pirruccello said. Fellow euphoniumist and Music sophomore Chester Elliott agreed. “It’s going to be great, but it was a little difficult getting the Hendrix sound.”

This nontraditional instrumentation of the song was arranged by another member of the quartet, Music doctoral tuba student Mike Nickens. “It’s definitely an honor to be showcased in such a way,” he explained. “Not that many student groups get the chance to perform as it is, and to actually be able to get your own music on is a thrill.”

A few other pieces by students are part of tonight’s program. The University Chamber Choir will sing Music sophomore Mark Buckles’s Morning Song. Music sophomores Evan Premo and Mary Bonhag will perform Premo’s composition for soprano and double bass, In Just-spring, and Music junior Karl Pestka will perform his own Devastation Sandwich on electric violin.

“This is great because it’s the biggest audience I’ve ever had all to myself for four minutes,” Pestka said. Devastation Sandwich was originally 10 minutes long, but Pestka condensed his composition down to four for the performance. One of the perks of playing your own piece is that you can have fun onstage.

“With about 10 percent of it, I can go as crazy as I want,” he explained. “I wrote it last year, over the summer. My teacher told me I should be writing for violin so I could be my own band.” The piece also features live electronic manipulation courtesy of Pestka’s collection of reverb and delay pedals.

The work that rivals Pestka’s for most outlandish had to be Fnugg, a solo euphonium piece that uses many singular techniques. “It’s based on Aboriginal didgeridoo sounds, Norwegian folk songs and it’s sort of rockified,” said Music senior Michael Brown. Despite the piece’s one-of-a-kind style, Brown wasn’t sure he’d be chosen to perform at Collage XXVIII. “I just went to (Britton) Recital Hall at like 2:30 one morning and laid it down,” he said. “I got lucky.”

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