28 Aug 2018

Adventures with The Nomadic Drummer

by Utah Symphony

While some of you might be ending your summer vacations, our principal timpanist, George Brown, is just beginning a year-long sabbatical project. He and his wife Shirley are travelling through Mexico and South America in order to explore the culture, the arts, and, of course, the orchestras.

Did we pique your interest? Read this snippet of George’s recent experience at the Ballet Folklórico de México:

Now, if all the previous performances I’d attended were any indication, Hernandez would always open her shows with her vision of an early indigenous dance accompanied by aggressive percussion, and happily Sunday’s opener didn’t vary from the formula. It’s a superb artistic choice for a curtain raiser as the effect is immediate and visceral. The spectacle of sight and sound grabs you from the moment the choreography begins and doesn’t let go until the hall suddenly goes black.

Here is a YouTube link to the opening dance of Sunday’s show, performed offsite at one of their annual fundraising galas.

But be advised, you’d likely need an 80” HD screen and your neighborhood’s most enviable sound system to even begin to re-create the effect of seeing this at Bellas Artes. (Plus, in Sunday’s show, they more than doubled the number of drummers and centered them in front, rising slowly from the pit by its hydraulic lift. KEWL!!!)

And speaking to that visceral effect, when the lights resumed to begin the next dance, Shirley and I looked at each other and discovered we were both teary-eyed, having been so overcome by this breathtaking tsunami of sight and sound washing over us.

You can read the rest of his story here and follow his adventures on Facebook here.