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Release: Immediate

Director says UI Percussion Ensemble 'tempts fate' with Friday the 13th concert

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dan Moore, the director of the University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble, says the group "will tempt fate" with its next concert, at 8 p.m. Friday the 13th of February, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

"That's a risky date, but I believe in taking risks," Moore says. "Besides, the payoff will be really worth it, because the program will be a lot of fun for the audience."

One part of the program that Moore expects to be especially fun are arrangements by percussionist Dick Schory. A native of Ames, Schory had a percussion group in the late 1950s known as the Percussion Pops Orchestra -- the only percussion ensemble ever to have a recording reach top-40 status.

Other works on the concert will be original works for percussion ensemble.

Moore has received a grant to research and re-record Schory's arrangements for the Percussion Pops. "It's an important part of contemporary percussion music history," Moore explains. "And it has an Iowa connection. Not only was Schory from Iowa, one of the players in the orchestra was my predecessor, Tom Davis, who taught percussion at the UI for more than 35 years."

Moore has selected two of the original Percussion Pops scores for the Feb. 13 concert: "Come BACH with Me," an arrangement of one of the fugues from J.S. Bach's "Art of Fugue," played in an up-tempo jazz style; and an arrangement of "Lullaby of Broadway" that stresses the street more than the lullaby, with auto horns, carriage bells and sirens.

In addition, the program will feature "Jungle Fever," Schory's first new work for percussion ensemble in more than 20 years, written for the planned new CD recording, "Dan Moore plays the Music of Dick Schory."

Two other original works for percussion will be "Ogoun Badagris" by Christopher Rouse, a piece based on Haitian drumming patterns that is named for a terrifying Voodoo deity who demands human blood sacrifices; and "Graceful Ghost," an elegant rag for mallet percussion by William Bolcom, written in memory of the composer's late father.

And, Moore adds, "as with any concert of the Percussion Ensemble, there will be a few surprises along the way."

A nationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore has experience from concert to marching percussion, and from jazz to classical styles. Performing all aspects of percussion, including keyboard percussion, drum set, ethnic and multi-percussion, he considers himself a "total percussionist." For the past 12 years he has toured as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo, whose CD "Cricket City" has been described by Pan-lime Magazine as "a brilliant collage of pan-marimba pieces."

Moore joined the UI music faculty in 1996. He is a performing artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America and Innovative Percussion and a contributing writer for Jazz Player and Sticks and Mallets magazines, and has written for Percussive Notes. Prior to coming to the UI, Moore taught percussion at Montana State University and studied for a doctorate in percussion at the University of Kentucky.

The UI Percussion Ensemble provides students with performance experience in wide-ranging contemporary styles, many different cultural traditions, and the historical roots of percussion. The group features ancient rudimental drumming, ragtime, jazz, and 20th century idioms, performing music from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and other parts of the world.

With an extensive array of instruments -- from traditional drums, xylophones and cymbals to just about anything that can be struck, scraped, shaken or smashed together -- Percussion Ensemble performances run the gamut from gentle melodies to explosive outbursts of rhythm.