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Glenwood Springs Percussion Theater premieres Thursday

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The high-pitched squeak of shoe soles on the hardwood floor was missing in the Glenwood Springs High School gymnasium Monday evening.Instead, the rattling beat of the snare drum echoed up to the ceiling.The clash of cymbals was ever present.And the sound of the xylophones and marimbas amplified throughout the space.Introducing the Glenwood Springs Percussion Theater.”I love music,” said Nicki Vichick, a Glenwood Springs Middle School eighth-grader and member of the new percussion theater group. “I like learning new things about music.”And GSHS band instructor Matt Oliveira enjoys teaching students new directions in music.

Like marching band and percussion theater. “The whole activity (of percussion theater) is derived from the marching band activity,” he said, as he prepared for Monday’s practice.Since November, the group of 32 students who comprise the Glenwood Springs Percussion Theater group have learned what it takes to put on a percussion theater performance. There’s technique, counting, marching, props, costumes and, most importantly, countless hours of rehearsing.”We have so much work to do. … It’s obscene how much work we have to do,” Oliveira said to the students after nearly an hour of practice. “I hate to give the rehearsal lecture, but when you have rehearsals twice a week and you miss one, you’ve missed half the rehearsals.”Like the deep sound of the bass drum, Oliveira’s dedication resonates throughout the gym as he leads the group into another exercise. “Mr. O,” as the kids call him, participated in a similar group as a Dartmouth High School student. He’s serious about the introduction of percussion theater and marching band to Glenwood Springs.And so are parents. “We’ve had a group of parents come together to form a band booster organization,” he said. “That’s been a really positive step.”In many schools across the country marching bands precede the existence of percussion theater, Oliveira said.

At Glenwood Springs High School, it’s the other way around.”We’re kind of developing it backwards,” he said.But with eager students such as Vichick, her fellow percussionists, and an aspiring drill team who twirled bright yellow flags behind them, the group is on its way to making the band.”I just learned how to play (the marimbas) this year,” Vichick said. “I wanted to learn a little bit more about music.”Thursday night may prove to be a learning experience for those attending the group’s first live performance, “Pagan Dances,” at 6:30 p.m. in the GSHS gymnasium.”Come with open ears,” Oliveira said. “And expect to see something like they’ve never seen before.”Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601



aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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