Sunday, January 15, 2012

TorQ percussion therapy

Last night I was back down at Keyano Theatre for the third night in a row.  I am afraid this is becoming quite a habit.  Not that I intend to break this one, in fact I fully intend to feed it!  A friend and I are here on a Saturday night to see TorQ.

This young Toronto Quartet (or the shortened version TorQ) was quite frankly amazing. These intrepid musicians have hit the open road with the help of Prairie Debut and their partners to bring percussion therapy to the prairies. The artists, Dan Morphy, Adam Campbell, Jamie Drake and Richard Burrows, bring  with them musical backgrounds, degrees and a passion for percussion. They have a repertoire that has their own compositions and those of better-known and quirky John Cage to delight the audience. 
Now I do not pretend to know all the names of the instruments that they played this evening, however I don't think that you need to in order to enjoy the experience. I did recognize some of instruments from my days attending the Oilsands Rotary Music Festival throughout my son's elementary education so I am not a complete newbie.  What this group of performers did with a menagerie of unusual instruments, from a lion's roar to a conch shell, and the tamer caxixi, wooden blocks and mallet percussion instruments, was absolutely entertaining. If you have a chance to spend an evening with TorQ I strongly encourage you to block it off in your will not regret it.

And things keep getting better with TorQ.  In addition to promoting percussion they are committed to helping further music education in schools across Canada.  By performing percussion-only concerts, TorQ hopes to encourage young percussionists (and other musicians) to become more engaged in music, and to learn to seek out interesting musical experiences. TorQ is partnered with Prologue to the Performing Arts for their educational work and your school or school group can book them through Prologue. I feel that the promotion of  music is an integral part of a child's education and needs to be fostered in both the home and education system. Different musical styles are to be appreciated for their offerings and while one might have a preference of one over another there is definitely room for all. During the evening the musicians provided educational pieces in between songs which I loved.  Not only did I get to enjoy mesmerizing music I learnt quite a few things about the history of percussion and a better understanding the instruments themselves.  

I will admit that while I enjoyed some pieces more than others it was a great evening exploring the world of percussionists. There was a piece of "found music"that had two women volunteering from the audience by Ann Southam called Natural Resources(what to do until the power comes on) that I think would be fun for students to do and had the audience giggling in amusement. While I enjoyed the mellow music of "Sleep" by Eric Whitacre, which conjured up mental images of mist and rolling green meadows, I was thrilled by the flamingo inspired "El Mosquito Marron" composed by TorQ's very own Adam Campbell. 
My favorite piece was not listed on the program, but I was delighted when that TorQ came back on stage to perform Stinkin Garbage. Enjoy!

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