The Pacific Rhythms Percussion Ensemble (PRPE) is one of several small ensembles of talented musicians from the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra Society that currently presents livestream concerts. Last Sunday (Feb. 28), they offered a unique sixty-minute program on Kahilu TV that featured ten instrumental pieces performed on a variety of percussion instruments.
PRPE includes musicians Colleen Whitty (French horn); Sharon Cannon (timpani, snare drum, tenor drum, cymbals, and marimba); Larry Boucher (drums, standing tom drums, and timpani); Julia Lester (bass drum, bongos, cymbal, and triangle); and Diesel Tucker (gong, snare drum, crash cymbal, ride cymbal, hi-hat cymbals, bass drum, timbales, bongos, and shakers), who also acted as MC for the show.
Tucker not only organized the musical selections for the performance he also reached out to all of the innovative composers in the program for their insights and blessings. For example, Peter O’Gorman, who composed “Fire,” wrote, “The music I compose goes beyond mere accompaniment and becomes an integral part of the visual, performance, and design elements of each piece. This involves breaking down barriers between musician and dancer, composer and choreographer. When this process goes to its farthest point, the musicians are the movers, and the composer is the choreographer. Sound cannot exist without movement, and movement cannot exist without sound.”
The Kahilu Theatre’s stage, which is normally dotted with a few musicians and their instruments, was crammed to the corners with cameras, cymbals, drums, and a marimba that recently arrived from Philadelphia. At times, Colleen Whitty’s French horn and Julia Lester’s triangle seemed dwarfed by the surrounding syncopated symphony. Having the show livestreamed with multiple cameras that could zoom in on solos was a great experience, and probably better than witnessing it in a large crowded theatre.
After the show, I sat down with PRPE to learn more about them and how their performance came together. The full interview can be found below.
The original thought was to go online and search for things we thought would work for us. Initially, we had quite a few other percussionists that we were trying to involve in this and make it a much larger thing. And this is who ended up shaking out. Once we started finding pieces that we liked individually, we’d share them with the group. And from there, we started purchasing those pieces and putting a library together.
That music library ended up being what you saw today, which on a side note, all the composers that we played today are still alive. They gave me stories and talked about their pieces, and that’s when I started to find information about the artists as well.
Diesel Tucker talking about how the PRPE program came together.
Notes & Links
Setlist: Fanfare For Horn and Tympani | Dialogue For Snare and Tympani| Rhythmic Counterpoint | 4/4 For Four | Peach Fuzz | Sonata For Horn and Marimba | Cayenne | 3×5 | Fire | Canzoni Da Sonar |
Concert Date: 28/FEB/2021
To catch a show and stay up to date with the Kahilu Theatre’s new online platform Kahilu TV and connect with the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra, click on the links below.
About the author: Steve Roby is a music journalist, best-selling author, and editor of Big Island Music Magazine.
Photo credit: Steve Roby