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Release: March 31, 2000

Cedar Rapids used car lot is inspiration for April 18 Ethos Percussion Group world premiere

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Ethos Percussion Group will conclude a busy three-week residency at the University of Iowa with a Hancher Millennium Festival concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 in UI Clapp Recital Hall. The highlight of the concert will be the world premiere of the Hancher-commissioned "Used Car Salesman" by award-winning composer Michael Daugherty. The work was inspired by the career of his father, Willis Daugherty, at the old Rapids Chevrolet used car lot in Cedar Rapids.

The concert will also feature a new piece, "Sol Tunnels" by Grammy Award-winning frame-drummer Glen Velez -- who has performed and recorded with artists including Pat Metheny, Oregon, the Paul Winter Consort, Steve Reich and Suzanne Vega -- and a work by Pro Musica Nipponia director Minoru Miki, whose work has been commissioned by Hancher in the past.

The public is also invited to the Ethos Percussion Group's free educational event on the Iowa Communication Network, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 in Hancher. In that event, Ethos will perform for and interact with both the live audience and students in numerous schools throughout the state.

The homecoming of Michael Daugherty and the Rapids Chevrolet career of dance-band drummer Willis Daugherty are not the only local connections for the concert and residency. Yousif Sheronick, one of the members of Ethos quartet, is both a Cedar Rapids native and an alumnus of the UI. Sheronick was even a stagehand at Hancher during his student days in the mid-1980s, when he studied percussion with long-time UI music professor Tom Davis.

Daugherty, who has been appointed composer-in-residence by the Detroit Symphony and recently won the prestigious Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, has emerged as one of America's most successful and in-demand contemporary composers, noted for his affinity for both pop culture and humor. The Kronos Quartet has performed some of Daugherty's works in Hancher, including "Elvis Everywhere," featuring recordings of Elvis impersonators; and "Beat Boxer," incorporating recordings of Cedar Rapids rap singers.

Other of his works have been inspired by pop-culture icons including Superman comics, J. Edgar Hoover, Liberace, Motown Records and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. A faculty member at the University of Michigan, Daugherty has won a Fulbright Fellowship and a Friedheim Award from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

One of North America's most active touring percussion ensembles, the Ethos Percussion Group has been dedicated to the advancement of the percussive arts in performance and education. Embracing musical styles from around the globe, the ensemble's programming highlights both their musicianship and their extensive and unique collection of instruments. In the case of the Daugherty composition, the instruments include auto parts salvaged by Ethos member Michael Sgouros from Ace Auto Recyclers in Iowa City.

Ethos has been the resident ensemble of the Children's Museum of Manhattan and has performed at Lincoln Center and other major venues, as well as in educational residencies throughout the country. Their UI residency includes in-school and community activities in Iowa City, Mt. Vernon, Columbus Junction, West Branch, Cedar Rapids and Kalona/Wellman.

The Daugherty commission was made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts. Supporters of the Ethos residency include the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, Herbert A. and Janice A. Wilson, Alliant Energy Foundation, City Plaza Hotel, Hills Bank & Trust Company, the DeMuth Family Foundation, M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Homer E. and Genevieve B. Dudley, Phyllis J. Flemming, Dain Rauscher, Scott A. and Jan A. Johnson, and Doug Hansen and Sue Deibner. Further support comes from the Heartland Arts Fund.

Hancher is a 1999-2000 participant in Chamber Music America's "A Musical Celebration of the Millennium," with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, the Susan W. Rose Fund for Music, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.

Hancher's season-spanning Millennium Festival -- the nation's most ambitious and extensive performing-arts millennium celebration -- features more than 20 major commissions in music, theater and dance, with 15 of the commissioned works and productions receiving their world or American premieres in Hancher.

In addition to the "Used Car Salesman," new works have been created by artists including theater visionary Robert Lepage; choreographers Twyla Tharp, Ushio Amagatsu, Bill T. Jones, UI alumnus Lar Lubovitch, Susan Marshall, Paul Taylor, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; and composers Richard Danielpour, Paul Schoenfield and UI alumnus David Lang with his Bang on a Can associates. Performances have involved American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the Kronos Quartet, Dawn Upshaw, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Sankai Juku, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Ahn Trio and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.

A very limited number of tickets remain for the April 18 concert. They are $20 ($16 for UI students and senior citizens, and $10 for audience members 17 and younger) from the Hancher box office. Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local area dial 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

For information and calendar updates on UI arts, visit <> on the World Wide Web. Other sites of interest: Daugherty --; Ethos --; Velez --

(NOTE TO EDITORS: UI alum Yousif Sheronick of Ethos can be reached during the residency at the City Plaza Hotel, 337-4058, or <>. Michael Daugherty can be reached by e-mail at <>. He is reachable at City Plaza, too, March 31-April 2.)