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Drums Downtown moves into new collaborations

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Zach Koors plays drums as part of Drums Downtown, which takes place this Friday and Saturday Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre at Riffe Center on High Street. Credit: Courtesy of Nick Fancher

Zach Koors plays drums as part of Drums Downtown, which takes place this Friday and Saturday Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre at Riffe Center on High Street.
Credit: Courtesy of Nick Fancher

Drums Downtown sets out to be more than an everyday concert.

“A lot of times in a school of music, the traditional format is: work on a piece, present it in a hall, we all applaude. But we want to go beyond that and create more of an event, a show, so that it isn’t just your typical or standard concert,” said Joseph Krygier, a lecturer in the School of Music and one of the artistic directors for the production.

Ohio State’s Department of Dance, the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design and Sigma Lambda Beta step team will collaborate with the Sympatico Percussion Quintet to create the 11th annual production of Drums Downtown this weekend.

Sympatico and the step team are new to the production this year.

“The whole program is focused around percussion,” Krygier said. “Percussion is the axis point and then, from there, we choose some repertoire each year based on a theme.”

This year’s program, “Move,” has pieces all centered around the theme of movement.

“We chose works that have some sort of movement already built into them,” Krygier said.

Specifically, “Drumroll,” a piece composed by composer Mary Ellen Childs, will feature four percussionists who move around the stage on stools that have wheels on them.

Krygier said there is an ongoing relationship and connection between percussion and the Department of Dance.

Drums Downtown will include modern dance, social dances such as the foxtrot and Charleston, clogging, ballet, and a step performance from Sigma Lambda Beta. Krygier said the production will also include a variety of musical influences, ranging from ragtime to hip hop.

“It comes from a desire to collaborate,” said Susan Powell, director of percussion studies in the School of Music.

“Whirligigs,” a piece composed by Krygier, will combine both dance and music from the Sympatico Percussion Quintet.

“It’s a piece that I’m writing specifically for this. It’s going to be premiered at this event,” Krygier said.  The piece will include new dance material choreographed by Sofie Clemmensen.

Both Krygier and Powell are members of Sympatico.

In addition to the wide variety of music and dance that Drums Downtown will showcase this year, the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design will provide visual works.

“Variety — I think what’s great about these events, these performances, and what’s been, I think, our calling card. What’s made them successful is that there’s something for everyone,” Krygier said.

The theater setting adds another element to the performance.

“It’s in a professional theater, which I think is great,” Krygier said. “It’s a good experience for our students to get to do this every year, too, because we enjoy playing on campus but it’s just a different atmosphere when you’re playing in a professional theater.”

Powell noted some of the differences that the setting brings.

“It’s a production. It’s not like a traditional concert where people come on and bow and clap,” she said. “One piece goes right into the next and the lights and the staging and all of that are very thoughtfully planned. So it really is more of a production show rather than a concert.”

Tickets for Drums Downtown are $20 for the general public and $10 for senior citizens, Alumni Association members, OSU faculty and staff, students and children.

Drums Downtown is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre at Riffe Center on High Street.

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