Thunder Beats

Marimba, vibraphone and snare drum solos sent pulsating energy through the audience at the student recital for percussion students held at noon on Friday, Oct. 18 in Thorley Music Recital Hall at Southern Utah University. 

Friday’s performance was unique in exclusively featuring the percussion students of SUU’s Music Department. Seven students performed and displayed a wide range of musical selections. Two students, Jason Manchester and Tralei-Charleze Casaus, performed solos for snare drum as well as the marimba. 

As opposed to instrumentalists in brass, woodwinds or strings, percussionists must set up their instruments prior to the recital. In addition to the set-up, many of the musical pieces and etudes for snare drums specifically lack melodic content. These are written to display the technique and skill of the percussionist. 

Prior to her performance on the snare drum, Emily Sexton, a sophomore music education major, described what makes the percussion recital different than traditional Friday recitals. 

“Normally at a recital, you would hear a clarinettist playing a concerto Mozart, or a piece by Bach played on the violin,” Sexton explained. “With percussion, you get to hear music from lesser known composers like Mitchell Peters and Anthony J. Cirone.” 

A highlight of the recital was Adam Smith’s marimba piece, “Summer Treehouse” by Chad Floyd. Smith’s selection featured a prepared marimba that included the use of a woodblock and towel on the lower register to change the timbre of the instrument and modify the tone of the lower notes. 

“The percussion recital gives you a chance to hear compositions you don’t normally hear played,” said Mallory Barlow, a senior music performance major. “It gives listeners access to different types of music than they are used to.”

SUU Music Department student recitals are held free of charge each Friday at 12 p.m. in the Thorley Music Recital Hall located just east of the Gerald R. Sherratt library.

More information about the SUU Music Department can be found on their website

A complete list of performances and recitals can be found here.


Story by: Kaden Smith
Photos by: Kaden Smith