The other day, through the magic of YouTube, I accidentally stumbled across an artifact from my childhood. A member of my old percussion ensemble had uploaded an entire concert from 1989, and I spent the better part of an hour skipping from video to video. I used to have a copy of the performance on VHS, and although it had been years since I last watched it, I was amazed at how much of that night I remembered.
I was fortunate to have two terrific teachers in Gary and Karen Tomlin. I started lessons with them beginning in grade 8, which included joining percussion ensembles of graduated skill levels. Gary led the senior ensemble called Resonance, and I think it was pretty unique in Canada. I imagine many U.S. high schools, where marching bands are much more common, have the necessary equipment to put together this kind of group. Not many schools in Canada, though, have more than one mallet instrument, let alone two marimbas, two vibraphones, two xylophones, chimes, glocks, timpani, drum set, gongs, and a variety of other stuff.
Playing in that group every week was the highlight of my teenage years. It was a pretty special group of guys, and they introduced me to music from Hendrix to Chick Corea to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We played a lot of memorable concerts, including this one with guest soloist Peter Appleyard at the University of Waterloo in May of 1989. We finished every concert with Sabre Dance, and what we lacked in subtlety, we made up for with enthusiasm.
If by some chance to want to see other pieces from that concert (including Jeff Cowell’s memorable drum solo), the complete playlist is here.