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We are thrilled to announce the launch of our brand new website!

This summer has been an unprecedented time of growth for Third Coast Percussion. We released of our first full-length album, played concerts in New York, Washington, D.C., Austin, and Chicago, concluded a 3-month-long community residency, received lots of great press attention, and somehow still found time to completely remodel our rehearsal studio, workshop a major new work with composer Augusta Read Thomas, and put together a new website with the help of the brilliant folks at Bark Design.

This website features all new ways to see, hear, and read about what Third Coast has been up to and what’s on the horizon. We hope you enjoy checking it out, and we hope you’ll stop back by again soon!

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JLA’s Inuksuit in Chicago

…you do an outdoor show involving 99 musicians traveling from across the country to Millennium Park, Chicago.   It starts to rain…

…a storm is brewing, scheduled to peak right at the downbeat.    You decide to wrap your drums in cellophane (doesn’t sound too bad actually – think of it as a double ply drum head)…

…the show is about to start, it’s raining, but not too bad, so you throw on a few more trash bags, put on a poncho, grab some mallets…

…first 20 minutes are just fine.   It’s raining, but the audience has showed up with some umbrellas and everything is going fine.   You play your first notes on the drums and suddenly the sky opens up and dumps on you.  Torrential downpour – it couldn’t possibly be raining any harder.   The music keeps going, the water splashes in every direction from your drums as you play.  Between phrases you wipe puddles of rainwater from your bass drum…

It’s been about a week since Third Coast participated in one of the most unique concerts of the summer in Chicago.   Directed by Doug Perkins and Eighth Blackbird, 99 musicians performed John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit as part of the Loops and Variations concert series on Sunday, August 26th.  None of us really anticipated the massive weather accompaniment and, while they weren’t the most immediately desirable conditions, the result was one of the most memorable performances and musical experiences I’ve ever had.    Performers and audience alike knew that they were part of something extremely special that day.  Check out the Chicago Sun-Times review of the show.

As I looked across the lawn with all of the carefully wrapped instruments, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Land Art works of Christo and Jeane-Claude, with their wrapping of monuments and landscapes.

I also thought of Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field (1977) with hundred of metal poles scattered across a remote part of the New Mexico desert.

While there was no lightning last Sunday at Millennium Park, the connection between art and nature couldn’t have been more vivid.  I couldn’t help but be consumed by the connection between the music and the storm, and how it couldn’t have been more perfectly combined.  While a performance of this piece anywhere would be amazing – this one , for everyone who was there, was something truly special.

-PJM

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RENGA:Cage:100 – Complete Composer List

Below is the complete list of 100 composers who have contributed to this project in honor of John Cage’s centenary. Each composer gave us 5-7 seconds of music which we have strung together into a single continuous piece we are calling RENGA:Cage:100. We will be premiering the piece this Thursday, August 9 at MoMA, with a preview performance Tuesday, August 7 at the Kennedy Center. If you can’t be at either performance, you can watch a live video webcast on the Kennedy Center’s website.

Huge thanks to all of these composers for contributing their creative energy to this project. The piece has turned out even better than we could have hoped. We’re excited to premiere it this week!

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