Third Coast Percussion to drum up Valentine’s weekend virtual programming at Hancher

This weekend, Third Coast Percussion will bring online fun to Hancher Auditorium with their Saturday performance of “Think Outside the Drum,” and their Sunday family event, “The Hancher Youth and Family Talent Show.”



Maddie Johnston, Arts Reporter

Hancher will feel the love this weekend with two virtual programs, both hosted by Grammy-winning ensemble Third Coast Percussion.

On Feb. 13 at 2 p.m., Hancher Auditorium will host an online performance featuring the eclectic musical styles of Chicago-based percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion. The following day, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m., the band will host and perform alongside families in The Hancher Youth and Family Talent Show.

The ensemble has the unique mission of inspiring and educating listeners through their creation of unexpected and exciting musical experiences. Although trained as classical musicians, the four musicians draw inspiration from a wide-ranging list of other music styles, including Blue Man Group, Brazilian jazz, electronic music, and pop music.

Third Coast Percussion’s managing director Reba Cafarelli said they will perform “Away Without Leave” by Bob Becker, “Music for Pieces of Wood” by Steve Reich, and more songs Saturday night. They will also include three interactive games with the audience.

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Band member and executive director David Skidmore said that percussion by its very nature is inviting and inclusive, which offers the band a platform to spark community engagement.

“If you picked up a pair of drumsticks, you could hit one of our drums and make a sound, and that’s a really basic thing, but we translate that to everything we do,” he said. “We also really highlight the things that are common about our instrument that sort of bring people together. Anyone can make a sound on our instruments, and percussion music is found in all these different cultures, every geographic location to every period of human history.”

On Aug 7 Third Coast Percussion and Hancher Auditorium asked the Iowa City area to submit three-minute clips of them performing any talent they wished to share with their community. What derived from the submissions was a group of singers, pianists, and dancers, both young and old.

“Everyone’s kind of stuck at home, inside, many people with their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Skidmore said. “And we were interested in giving everyone a creative outlet and celebrating the creativity that people were having at home when they weren’t able to go out and do all the fun, socially interacting things that you can only do.”

Hancher’s programming director Paul Brohan said the main aspect that attracted him to Third Coast Percussion was their refreshing willingness to experiment, and their interest in celebrating creativity.

“They also just approach everything they do with a great deal of fun,” he said. “And so, having that element of playfulness, having that sense of discovery and really helps lead to opportunities for collaboration. It’s just heartwarming to have partners like Third Coast Percussion, who are willing to interact with our community and to be open to exploring ways in which we can make that just fun for everyone.”

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Hancher marketing and communications director Rob Cline said that working with the band has been a wonderful experience.

“They are not only great musicians, they’re great partners, too,” Cline said. “We’ve worked collaboratively to make sure this weekend’s performances will be fun and engaging for families to watch together.”