Grammy-Winning Percussion Quartet Performs on Campus

Third Coast Percussion, a Grammy Award-winning classical percussion quartet from Chicago, performed in the Rubendall Recital Hall on Friday, Nov. 4, to cap off a week-long residency with the Dickinson Music Department. This was the group’s third time playing at Dickinson. 

The performance was of their 2018 piece “Paddle to the Sea,” a collection of previously existing pieces themed around water along with original compositions made to accompany a 1966 short film of the same name. The film follows a wooden figurine, carved by an indigenous Canadian boy, on its journey to the sea. The previously created pieces include those by Philip Glass, Jacob Druckman and a traditional piece arranged by Musekiwa Chingodza. 

I had a great time watching the performance, especially with the way the music and film overlapped so well. My favorite parts were when the figurine started to approach Niagara Falls and the music became louder as it approached the full zoom out of the waterfall, and when the figurine encountered a young child and his dog, with the music matching the kid’s stubborn efforts to make his dog follow him. 

Before the concert, the group worked with Dickinson students and the wider Carlisle community during their residency. This included holding a workshop for student composers to receive feedback from the group and hosting a performance for over 600 local students from four different schools. 

Third Coast also visited several Dickinson classes, including one that I am in, “Music, Film, and Video Games,” with Professor Lena Leson. They showed videos of their previous performances and their setup for the concert later that night, which I thought was interesting because of how many instruments they had. I also liked to hear what the creative process was like to create music for a preexisting film, as it constrained them in some ways but opened them up to new possibilities on how to make their music in other ways. 

They also allowed us to check out some of their instruments, which brought me right back to elementary school music class, learning about things I had never heard of before. Some of the instruments included a kokoriko, a pu’ili and a mbira, the latter of which is a Zimbabwean instrument that the group closed out their performance with.