Sandbox Percussion Outreach Event at Greehey Auditorium on February 11, 2023
On Saturday, February 11, 2023, the four members of the GRAMMY-nominated percussion quartet Sandbox Percussion arrived at Greehey Auditorium at Rise Recovery for a program that exhilarated an engaged, eclectic group. With nothing more than a vibraphone, four triangles, a few desk bells, a small drum and some blocks of wood, the quartet delivered a show-stopping performance of four distinct works.
The group began with an original work by member Victor Caccese called “Bell Patterns,” which included pitched desk bells, cleverly coordinated for counterpoint against beautiful vibraphone harmony. The seamless incorporation of such a quotidian item left the audience curious and eager for more. Sandbox did not disappoint: what followed was a piece for four triangles. “The triangle is… well… an instrument entirely described by its name,” shrugged member Terry Sweeney with a chuckle. “You might usually see the triangle in the back of an orchestra, played once or twice for effect … in this piece, May the Devil Take Me, our friend and composer Amy Beth Kirsten totally reinvents the instrument into something colorful and daring.” Indeed, in their performance was such nuance, technique and musicality that the audience felt every subtle motion and sound.
From their eclectic programming to their natural interaction with the audience between pieces, Sandbox Percussion delivered a memorable outreach event.
The artful hand-muting, the different items used to strike the triangles, and the absolutely perfect timing, left no doubt that even this – four people playing the triangle – could represent the highest level of chamber music.
Steve Reich’s minimalist classic Music for Pieces of Wood was a highlight and a crowd-pleaser. This 10-15 minute thrill ride requires absolute concentration from the performers, which must have been difficult, since in the first row, an excited child was dancing to their pulse and filming them with his iPhone, utterly fascinated. From their eclectic programming to their natural interaction with the audience between pieces, Sandbox Percussion delivered a memorable outreach event for the attentive group at Rise Recovery that afternoon.
The Q&A that followed included the important question, “How do you all play together so well?” The response from Ian Rosenbaum revealed that there are no shortcuts: “We’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of hours together and we’ve known each other for years. If Terry so much as lifts his hand an inch, I know when he’s going to play.” If that level of connection and communication is not at the heart of chamber music, I don’t know what is.
Submitted by Daniel Anastasio