The Fullerton College Percussion Ensemble dazzled a packed house at the Fullerton College Recital Hall on Dec. 4, much to the delight of director Matthew Cook.
“They did a great job,” Cook said after the performance. “They’ve been working hard all semester.”
The event got under way after the blue curtains pulled back and students immediately began to perform their first piece called “Teamwork” by Lynn Glassock.
It started with a majestic introduction by multiple students performing on the marimba that transported the audience to Vietnam or some far off place.
The piece took on an ominous feel to it as the melodies came crashing together.
Daniel Garcia then took to the stage to perform Erik Sammut’s “Rotation 1”. Garcia gave a quick historical background on Sammut and described him as “one of, if not the first composer for marimba that really set the milestone for marimba soloists”.
Garcia’s piece was followed by a rendition of “Partita in D Minor” by Bach on marimba with four mallets – a different and interesting spin on the recognizable classical piece from the German composer that is usually performed on violin.
Perhaps the most compelling performance of the night came when five members of the percussion ensemble performed Christopher Rouse’s “Ogoun Badagris”.
Eddie Hernandez took to the stage before the performance to comically explain the background of the piece to the audience.
“Essentially Ogoun is a Haitian deity, a Voodoo deity, and he’s known for being terrible and killing people and stuff like that, no big deal you know?”
“So essentially this piece is gonna include three different parts to it,” Hernandez continued. “Part one we’re essentially gonna summon him. Part two we’re gonna party a little bit. And then part three we just get possessed and stuff, you know typical Monday night activities for family.”
The piece was performed by Eddie Hernandez, Luke Ray, Fernando Verduzco, Daniel Garcia and Nicholas Aguyo and was conducted by Cook.
It was a haunting and demonic sounding piece based off of Haitian drumming patterns. It was performed in a way that made it seem like all five students were competing for the attention and approval of the Haitian deity. The audience was captivated.
The theatre was filled with the sound of loud bangs, the shaking of cabasas, and the beating of congo drums, making it a memorable performance.
Garcia, who performed and also had a solo, thought the event went well.
“It went out better than we thought,” Garcia said. “It was one of those performances where it just ended up better than we expected.”