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Sō Percussion kicks off Rhea Miller winter concert series

Sō Percussion performs at SVSU with guest artist Shodekeh Talifero for the second concert in the Rhea Miller concert series. Vanguard Photo Editor | Audrey Bergey

The Rhea Miller Concert Series kicked off the second half of the 2021/2022 season with Sō Percussion, a musical group from Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday evening.

Sō Percussion’s first performance was in 1999, and they continue to share their music with the world, even touring outside the United States.

The group said its belief is music is “an elemental form of human communication”, and their performance included Dark Full Ride (Mvt. 1) by Julia Wolfe, Melodic Concept III by Kendall Williams, Note to Self by Nathalie Joachim, and more. Additionally, the musicians featured Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero, a prominent Beatboxer, Vocal Percussionist, and Breath Artist who composed Vodalities: Paradigms of Consciousness for the Human Voice.

Gary Lange is an SVSU professor of biology who attended the concert. He said the performance piqued his interest because it offered music that was outside the normal.

“I have a great deal of interest in music in all forms, but being able to see a group that is exclusively focused on percussion is fascinating and creative,” Lange said.

Lange said his favorite part of the performance was the portion that highlighted the use of kettle drums.

“I very much enjoyed the portion of the program that highlighted the kettle drums,” he said. “I have not heard kettle drums being played in many years, and to hear a quartet of musicians all play the kettle drums together was beautiful, melodic, and mesmerizing.”

To those who did not attend the concert, Lange said he would describe it as enlightening in that the rhythm-oriented percussion instruments were also able to present a melodic sound.

“[The music offered] … an exciting mixture of sounds that independently sound simply like drums can become full compositions when blended together,” he said.

Lange said the performance was what he was hoping for.

“[It was] a new and enjoyable learning experience in a facet of music I am less familiar with, but it was also quite new to me as well in that the musicians were all so diverse and yet cohesive in their performance,” he said. “I especially enjoyed hearing several compositions that were composed by the artists as well.”

Rayn Clark is a music senior who attended the event. They came to support the SVSU music department and said they would describe the performance as energetic and upbeat with an ability to create a new frontier of vocal and percussion music.

“My favorite part was the last piece played, the incorporation of vocal percussion and beatboxing is something I have not seen a lot of,” Clark said.

Clark said the performance was and wasn’t what they thought it would be.

“I expected the music to be new and something I hadn’t heard before, but I didn’t expect it to be so creative,” Clark said.

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