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World première of student music

By Jeff Green | March 15, 2006

Five Memorial University students will have the world première of their music unveiled Thursday night during an intimate concert at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall in St. John's.

They're part of the Scruncheons, an experimental percussion-based performance group made up of 13 students and graduates from the School of Music under the direction of Rob Power, a professor at the school.

The concert is titled Then and Now and in addition to debuting some original music, performers will also pay homage to four famous 20th century American composers who arranged serious music for percussion ensemble during a time when percussion was still considered of a novelty instrument.

“These musical pioneers opened the doors for creative sound exploration on the concert stage, and include John Cage, Lou Harrison, George Hamilton Green, and William Cahn,” said Mr. Power.

“Contrasting those works are five brand new compositions composed this year by members of the Scruncheons. These creative young composers are percussionists at the School of Music, whose varied musical influences have resulted in some truly innovative creations.”

The pieces were composed by students Andrew Bartle, Brad Kilpatrick, Whitney Rowe, Ed Squires, and Phil Yetman.

Mr. Power said Thursday night's concert gives the students an opportunity to showcase their musical talent to serious concert-goers. It also gives those in the audience a chance to hear new creative music from promising musicians at Memorial.

“Percussion ensemble concerts are very exciting both sonically and visually, with a huge array of sounds and unusual instruments spread all over the stage,” said Mr. Power. “Performances like this also allow these young performers a chance to share their music-making with a curious public, which is what it's all about.”

“This group performs regular concerts and workshops throughout the year [which feature] improvisation, world music, homemade instruments, contemporary percussion ensemble repertoire and world premieres,” added Mr. Power.

The Then and Now concert takes Thursday, March 16 at 8 p.m. at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall. Tickets are $10; $5 students/seniors.