web:  www.dueeast.net                                email: info@dueeast.net                          phone: 646.286.0332

flute & percussion

Due Eastmailto:info@dueeast.net?subject=Due%20East%20Inquiry
Due East | Projects | Recordings | Duo Repertoire | Dates | Linkshttp://www.dueeast.nethttp://www.dueeast.net/DEprojects.htmlhttp://www.dueeast.net/DErecordings.htmlhttp://www.dueeast.net/DErepertoire.htmlhttp://www.dueeast.net/DEdates.htmlhttp://www.dueeast.net/DElinks.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3shapeimage_2_link_4shapeimage_2_link_5
Visit THREE: SPRING. April 1-2.2013shapeimage_3_link_0

Our third and final visit out to Vermont took place in the very first days of April 2013. Spring had definitely sprung and the cool, crisp air in the lower Green Mountain region was a pleasure to draw in slowly.

Excitement hit us immediately on Monday morning as we arrived to a change of venue at Brattleboro Union High School for this last visit. No longer confined to the ground level band and choir rehearsal spaces, we now found ourselves on the stage of the school’s concert hall auditorium, surrounded by students whose smiles and general excitement signaled that these were the final days of preparation before their annual Spring Festival concert.

In between the second and third visit, the technology component so central to our project with the middle school children at Putney Central School began to influence the work with the high school students. At the very outset of this project proposal, I promised Erin that I would write a cadenza for Vou-me embora that would include her more integrally. Originally, the work was meant for percussion soloist with wind ensemble and choir. Compelled to keep my promise, in early February I started composing, using tools available for the iPad.

I found a program called “Loopy” which very beautifully allows for the creation of multiple musical ideas to be overlapped and in sync with each other. I created a berimbau harmonic progression and recorded that first, then began improvising melodies at the piano until I found something I really enjoyed. I recorded that second. Then a second berimbau layer, then a second melodic layer to harmonize the first, and so on. Each of these loops is separately recordable and visually controllable, as you can see in the figure below. The blue “donuts” contain audio recordings that literally “loop” around and around. After I had created 8 tracks, four layers each for the berimbau and flute, I felt I could write it down and record it with Erin.

Excellent morning rehearsals ensued and after the first morning, we already knew quite well that we were in for a special evening the following night.

On our drive up I-91 north from Brattleboro to Putney, we headed just a few miles further north still, having made plans to visit with the people at a very special woodworking mill in Bellows Falls, VT. The Cooperman Fife and Drum Company, a famous name within the drumming community, has made its home strangely just miles from our home base in Putney. Knowing that we were so close to such a special place, it was impossible not to take a detour.

Loopy interface. Pictured is the “session” I created that served as the genesis for ideas that became the new Due East cadenza for Vou-me embora.

Finished cadenza for Due East in Vou-me embora, premiered at BUHS on April 2, 2013.

The front entry way of the famous Cooperman Fife & Drum Company.

This detour turned out to be incredibly fruitful. Prior to heading out to Vermont, I had called ahead to make plans for this visit with the idea in mind that we might be allowed to borrow some of their rare “ancient” equipment for our performance at the high school the following evening. This need arose because, in addition to performing our featured work with the band and choir, Steve Rice, band director and our principle contact at BUHS, asked us to offer a short set of duo works to demonstrate chamber music excellence for the students and their parents and the surrounding community. Erin and I decided on a “suite” of world music, traditionally inspired duos in which Erin would play melodic lines to the accompaniment of all manner of hand held percussion instruments. Our “world tour” began in Brazil, took a northern detour to Venezuela, headed over seas to an imagined encounter between Ireland and the Middle East and, most importantly, headed right back to the American Northeast, ending with the famous American Revolutionary fife and drum tune, “The Downfall of Paris.”

Our mini-program:

Ligare (2006) (Brazil) Alexandre Lunsqui (8 minutes)

World Music Suite:

Apanhei-te cavaquinho (1915) (Brazil) Ernesto Nazareth (2 minutes)

The Hibiee Jibiees (Venezuelan) Marco Granados (2 minutes)

Lughnasa (Celtic/USA)  Rhonda Larson (2 minutes)

Downfall of Paris (late 18th Century) (USA/British) Unknown (2 minutes)

Not only did the folks at Cooperman appreciate our inquiry, they did indeed let us borrow drums and one of the staff agreed to come and perform with us! What made the finale of our set so special, the, was the manner in which it brought together students, faculty, community and ourselves. Both music teachers at BUHS, Steve Rice (bass drum) and Patty Meyer (flutist on right) performed with us. As well, Patty’s best student flutist joined us (flutist in the middle) and one of Cooperman’s employees, Roger Hunnewell, joined me on the snare drum. For me this was a very special treat - both of these snare drums were handcrafted and owned by perhaps one of the most famous people in early 20th Century American drumming legend -- Sanford Moeller.

A look inside the Cooperman mill and their incredible collection of “ancient” drum corps rope-tensioned drums, many of which were originally built and owned by the late, great “Gus” Sanford Moeller.

Our performance of “Downfall of Paris” at BUHS, including Due East, Patty Meyer, Steve Rice and Roger Hunnewell.

The performance was a success and discussions with students and parents alike about chamber music, world music, folk music and music’s power to transform lasted well after the concert was long over.

Here is a quote from a parent, received in an email within days of our performance that evening:

Dear Erin and Greg,

Thanks so much for your absolutely fantastic performance at Brattleboro High School earlier this week. It was a revelation. I was just so utterly stunned and inspired and deeply moved by the sheer beauty and physicality of the playing. I just wanted to thank you both again and explain the circumstances behind my visceral reaction to the performance. And as an after thought - please let me know if and when you plan on returning to the Putney area. I would be over joyed to have the opportunity to hear you both play again!

With all best wishes,

Philip Thomas

E. Dummerston, VT

The students were all so giddy after our mini-set that they took right to the stage with high-fives and smiles to join us for our collaborative performance of “Vou-me embora”, the capstone project for our time together at BUHS.

Vou-me embora - Steve Rice, conductor; BUHS Choir and Wind Ensemble; Due East, soloists.


Meanwhile, our final visit to the Putney Central School involved a final day of edits and revisions to the student electroacoustic poetry settings, an evening visit to the Putney Public Library with the students and their parents, and a special convocation hour at PCS for the students to demonstrate their creations to their peers and the rest of the teaching and administrative staff.

On Monday evening, we all gathered at the Library to have a special presentation session for the students to tell the community what they had created. Each student got up and spoke about the sounds they had recorded, how they had edited it all together and read their original haiku aloud. Have a listen to each student’s projects below:

A delighted Steve Rice and Roger Hunnewell exchange drumming pleasantries and make plans for a BUHS field trip up to the Cooperman mill.

Angelika Toomey

Lucia Morey

Analynn Whaley

Aleesia Joy

Ari Essunfeld

Havah Patton


And on Tuesday afternoon, we brought our time with these creative and excited young people to a meaningful conclusion in the context of a presentation for the entire PCS community. After their presentations and our performance of Elainie’s new work, everyone involved was incredibly happy and joyous at the result of the project.

We concluded our library session with a rehearsal of Elainie Lillios’s work in progress for Due East and ossia nature sounds that I conducted and the students performed. Using three colors of construction paper and asking me to give simple conducting gestures, Elainie was able to weave the students into our very colorful electroacoustic performance, also inspired by the haiku poetry of our previous guest in the fall visit, Wally Swist.

Due East rehearsing with the PCS students with Elainie’s electroacoustic patch displayed in the background.

PCS students excitedly gathering their rocks for the rehearsal with Elainie offering instructions!

Due East rehearsing new work by Elainie Lillios involving PCS student participation.

Students posing for their group photo, proudly displaying their iPad creations.