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Sō Let the Dawgs Out!
To see how Meany Center visiting artists support learning at the UW, watch highlights from the rehearsal for Amid the Noise. Video by Warren Woo
On November 10, 2022, Sō Percussion performed on the Meany Stage. During the first half of the concert, they played with guest performer Caroline Shaw. After the intermission, however, the evening went to the Dawgs as 18 UW percussion students joined the professional musicians to perform Amid the Noise in front of an appreciative audience.
Flowerpots, desk call bells, blocks of wood, spinning ratchet noisemakers and toy pianos among other homely objects joined steel drums, xylophones, marimbas, congas and more for twenty minutes of joyous controlled chaos. Students and quartet members moved between instruments taking up and laying down the beats as Caroline Shaw and a group of UW voice students contributed vocals. By the end of the performance, the audience was on its feet, adding its own percussive applause.
It was a great concert for Meany’s patrons — and an even greater experience for the students who participated. UW Chair of Percussion Studies Bonnie Whiting was thrilled that her students had the rare opportunity to play with professional musicians of Sō Percussion’s stature, but in a “low-stakes” environment — “Because Sō Percussion made it so much fun!” she said.
“Not only are they reinforcing what the students already know, but they’re also creating this fantastic opportunity to engage new techniques and give students the opportunity to try new things out in a professional environment on the stage.”
The students echoed Professor Whiting’s enthusiasm.
What was it like playing with Sō Percussion?
“It was really fun,” First year student Kaisho Barnhill said. “They’re obviously world-renowned percussionists and it’s an honor to get to work with them. Just watching them play we’re able to learn from them — their ideas and thoughts about musicality and instrumentation — things I’ve been exposed to here, but they bring an outside perspective.”