By Viviana Vidal
In celebration of KU’s Sesquicentennial and the 80th anniversary of Clair Omar Musser’s International Marimba Symphony Orchestra of 1935, The Center for Mallet Research will host a historic concert featuring the 150 member Celebrate Marimba Orchestra.
On Sunday, Nov. 8 at 4:30 p.m., marimbists and excited spectators from all over the country will come together in Schaeffer auditorium for a concert that will feature Gordon Stout, guest conductor/marimbist and Percussive Arts Society Hall of Famers Inductee, and Xylophonists Bob Becker and Yurika Kimura. Stout will also premiere a brand new piece of work written exclusively for the special occasion.
Guest conductors also include KU emeriti Dr. Willis M. Rapp and KU percussion professor Dr. Frank Kumor to converge with 150 marimbists on 75 different instruments; a scene definitely worth attending, according to Kumor who expressed his excitement for the upcoming concert.
Prepared by Kimura and Clair Omar Musser, ten arrangements will be performed on the Schaeffer stage, with selections ranging from Federic Chopin to Samuel Barber.
“There are many details to consider from the coordination of the guest artists to marketing recruiting. Every week had an enormous ‘to-do’ list,” Kumor said. “The largest is arranging for the actual instruments. Gathering 75 marimbas is no easy task, but we were able to find many people willing to help.”
At 8 p.m. on the day preceding the concert, Saturday, Nov. 7, the Schaeffer Little Theater will host The Jost Project featuring Tony Miceli on vibes along with special guests.
The Celebrate Marimba Festival at KU will include educational presentations by Lew Green and Percussive Arts Society Hall of Famer Bill Cahn. There will also be an opportunity to watch an open rehearsal of the 150 member Celebrate Marimba Orchestra.
The show is currently sold out, but as to what concertgoers can anticipate, Kumor said, “An experience like no other. The sound of 120 marimbists is really a unique ensemble.”