Arts and Entertainment

Concert by talented high school percussion ensemble aims to hit the spot

The ensemble performs at the State Competition last month. - Tasha Peterson Photo
The ensemble performs at the State Competition last month.
— image credit: Tasha Peterson Photo

Vashon High School’s percussion ensemble will play a concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, at the VHS theater. 

Last spring, the talented group played a similar concert to a full house, and VHS band director Ken Quehrn expects the show to once again sell out.

“People say they’ve been blown away by what they hear,” Quehrn said. “They didn’t know percussion could do this.”

The 15-member ensemble recently placed fourth at the State Solo and Ensemble Competition; last year, they placed eighth. 

Quehrn said those who come to the concert, which is also a fundraiser for the band program, are in for a treat. The entire stage will be filled with various percussion instruments, from bongos and bass drums to xylophones and marimbas. 

Even everyday objects will become instruments, as the group incorporates items such as a garden weasel into their music. 

“Anything becomes a percussion instrument when you get into percussion ensemble,” Quehrn said.

Small groups, individuals and the entire cast of percussionists will play a wide range of music, he said, from avant-garde 20th century pieces to modern pop tunes. 

“There are so many sounds and colors and different styles of things,” he said. 

The concert will also be bittersweet, said Quehrn, as it could be the percussion ensemble’s last performance ever. The program is one of several extracurricular classes in the district at risk of being cut next year due to the school district’s $850,000 budget shortfall. 

Quehrn said that although the program has only existed for three years, many would be sad to see it go. 

“Not only is this a special group of kids,” he said, “but the fact that we’re able to have this separate class where we really get to focus on percussion and get to do a lot of other literature we would not be able to do in a regular band class, it’s hard to see the possibility of this going away.”


Tickets to the Vashon High School percussion ensemble concert are $5 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at Vashon Bookshop or Books by the Way.



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