Sam Houston State University Percussion Ensembles – Minimalist Masterpieces

On March 8 at 7:30 in the pain concert hall the Sam Houston State University percussion group directed by Dr. John Lane and University Percussion Ensemble directed by Dr. Brian Graiser as well as the Sam Houston State University Honors Fine Arts Seminar Ensemble performed pieces which present significant and historic works from the late 20th and early 21st-century.

The very first performance was by the honors, fine arts, seminar ensemble along with Sam Houston’s percussion group. They performed The Border is a Line Birds Cannot See (2019) by John Lane. The piece used many different instruments and sounds to re-create what it would be like walking through a desert on the way to the border. It was beautiful and interactive. Many of the musicians were placed through the audience and were playing their parts, and it felt very immersive. It was an extremely interesting performance to watch as an audience goer. Everywhere you looked in the auditorium something was happening that involved the performance. It was an incredibly moving performance as well because the story is told.

The second performance was by the University Percussion Ensemble, and it consisted of five different pieces. They were each played in a very consecutive order. Each piece flowed into the other beautifully, and it created an enjoyable and immersive environment. They use such unique techniques to create the music and create an atmosphere and experience for the audience goers. Each piece was uniquely itself, while also being a beautifully put together cohesive performance. they used many instruments, and some non-instruments to create a beautiful variety of music. Lighters were used in the first piece they played, and they used phone flashlights to illuminate the instruments that they would play. Each performance was unique and different, and the performers really allowed for each piece to shine on its own.

The final performance of the night was by the Sam Houston percussion group. They performed five separate pieces. The first piece was Karakurenai (2007) by Andy Akiho. The other four pieces were from Scenes from Utō: The Birds of Sorrow (2023) by John Lane. The piece consisted of The Wandering Monk , The Hunt, The Birds of Sorrow, and The Realm of Ravenous Ghosts. These pieces were each uniquely their own, while also telling a story. The greatest example of that from the performance was when they played The Realm of Ravenous Ghosts. The piece was extremely beautiful while also having such an eerie, haunting feeling behind it. The piece really lured the audience in and kept the attention of the audience until the very last note of the piece. Each and every song that was played was so moving. The Sam Houston percussion group did an amazing job with making each and every piece that they played told a story. Those in the audience could tell that the performers thoroughly enjoyed what they were doing, and that made an impact on everyone who was watching and immersed everybody so much more into the pieces played

Each and every player from all three of the performances did an incredible job on each piece that was played. They allowed the pieces to tell their story, as well as to add the players own flair into each piece.

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