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Wet Ink 2010: Choral music meets percussion

A high spot in the music calendar is Wet Ink 2010. The performance is on June 22 and promises to be the best yet. First, it’s a free concert by Nevada County Composers Cooperative (NCCC), thanks to a grant from the California Arts Council. For the first time, three local choruses and their conductors, Ryan Murray’s Music in the Mountains, Rod Baggett’s Nevada Union High School, and Ken Hardin’s Sierra Master Chorale, will be singing separately and as a massed chorus.

The program includes world premieres by local composers Jerry Grant and Mark Vance, as well as works by Emmy winning Don Davis, Washington composer Alex Shapiro and Mendocino resident Jay Sydeman. This intriguing program features the newest of new music with the oldest forms of music-making, the human voice and percussion, with the Sacramento Percussion Group, led by Daniel Kennedy, professor at Cal State University Sacramento.

Kennedy’s Group will explore instruments from the traditional to the unexpected and even the seemingly comical. Cans, rattles, shakers, “lion’s roars,” and claves feature in John Cage’s classic, the complex, abstract and primal Third Construction.



The mellifluous marimba is the medium of Steve Reich’s beautiful minimalist Nagoya Marimbas. Mark Appelbaum’s Catfish is quirky, colorful and intricate.

The Group will join the massed choruses for new works, settings of words appropriate for our times. Jerry Grant’s But Have Not Love, with text from St. Paul, “If I have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal,” displays love’s beauty, tenderness and endurance. Mark Vance’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, from John Donne’s No Man is an Island, for chorus, brass quartet, piano, and percussion, reminds us of our interdependence. How better to demonstrate that than with a choir of 200, ages 15-80, all singing together.




Sydeman’s new Duo, promising “everything and the kitchen sink” in a work he describes as “technically demanding, rhythmically formidable, structurally challenging.”

By contrast, Don Davis’ Illicit Felicity, composed for the thriller movie Bound, performed by Ken Hardin, pianist. Another voice is in the soaring tones of Richard Altenbach’s violin, singing through Alex Shapiro’s electronic soundscape in Vista.

New Music is alive and well with 12 composers, over 200 performers, (singers, brass players, pianists, and a violinist), three conductors, and who knows how many instruments. Free admission, but tickets must be presented, available from Music in the Mountains Box Office, (530) 265-6124, or online at MusicInTheMountains.org

Visit the Composers’ Web site for more about the event at ComposersCooperative.org

What: NCCC presents with Music in the Mountains Annual Wet Ink new music concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 22

Where: Amaral Family Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds


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