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Former percussion student Trevor Saint returns to perform rare glockenspiel recital

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Former UW-Whitewater percussion student Trevor Saint is returning to campus to perform his one-of-a-kind recital.

Former percussion student Trevor Saint is returning to UW-Whitewater to perform his one-of-a-kind glockenspiel recital featuring commissioned pieces. Photo submitted

In December 2010, he began performing a solo glockenspiel recital. According to Saint, he is the only one in the world who is doing this.

A glockenspiel is a member of the percussion keyboard family along with the xylophone and marimba. It is made of steel bars which are constantly resonating.

Saint graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2009, then went on to Graduate School at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. His father was a drummer, so from a young age Saint has been interested in percussion.

The pitch of a glockenspiel is very high compared to other instruments. Saint said the upper notes on the glockenspiel are higher than the highest notes on a piano.

“I enjoy the sound of it. It is also intriguing to me to play the instrument that is kind of the red-headed stepchild of the percussion family,” Saint said. “It doesn’t get a lot of attention because a lot of people feel it doesn’t have a lot of potential as a solo instrument. I am doing these recitals to not just prove them wrong, but to also explore the instrument and see what it can do.”

All of the pieces Saint is playing in the recital are commissioned from composers all over the country. One of those composers is UW-Whitewater Associate Professor Jeff Herriott.

Herriott was Saint’s composition professor while he attended UW-Whitewater. Herriott also directed the New Music Ensemble group which Saint was a part of. While Saint was searching for pieces, he immediately went to Herriott.

“His music is beautiful,” Saint said.

The pair will perform a structured improvisation where Saint will play the glockenspiel and Herriott will use a computer to manipulate Saint’s sound.

Saint will also perform a solo piece composed by Herriott called “Swarms of Light in Metal.”

Herriott said he wrote the piece for the Percussion of Arts Society Conference in 2010. The theme of the conference was ecology of percussion. Each piece explored the environment, ecology and sustainability in terms of percussion.

Working with the glockenspiel was a welcomed challenge, Herriott said. Even though the instrument is limited in range, it is a good instrument for him to work with.

“The sound of the notes is very pure which makes it easier to work with when thinking about the kinds of electronic manipulations I like to make,” Herriott said.

Herriott said working with Saint on a level other than professor-student was a great experience. According to Herriott, it is because of Saint’s eagerness that he has been able to accomplish everything he has since graduating from UW-Whitewater.

“Trevor has always been unique. That said, working with him has been really rewarding,” Herriott said. “It’s been great to see how much he’s grown as a musician in the last few years.”

Another piece that Saint said he is excited to play is “Syntax of Snow” by Matthew Burtner. This piece brings outside elements indoors because Saint will be playing snow.

Snow will be brought in from outside and placed in a large bowl. Saint will use different hand gestures to play the snow, such as patting it, crushing it and sifting it through his fingers. Each of these hand gestures is associated with different pitches on the glockenspiel.

Saint’s glockenspiel recital will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the Light Recital Hall at the Center of the Arts. Tickets are $3 for students with ID and $5 for community members.

Saint said he hopes students, faculty and community members will want to hear news sounds and attend his concert.

“For humans to progress you need to discover new things,” Saint said. “My purpose of the concert is to develop the instrument and maybe an interesting thing will happen, maybe an interesting thing won’t happen. My purpose is just to do it.”

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Former percussion student Trevor Saint returns to perform rare glockenspiel recital