Fort Lewis offers abundance of live music this season

At last count, the Fort Lewis College Music Department had scheduled an amazing 58 events for the winter-spring semester.

I try to get to as many as I can, but because of the snowstorm Sunday, I missed the only full concert this year of the reconstituted Red Shoe Trio.

Cellist Katherine Jetter and pianist Lisa Campi-Walters usually arrive in red heels. In the early days, so did Kasia Sokol and Mikylah Myers McTeer when each filled the violinist’s chair.

Now a guy, Nathan Lambert, has settled into that role. I wanted to see if Lambert would make a gesture toward red. Socks? A tie?

Snowbound, I missed that revelation and the music of Mozart, Mendelssohn and Muczynski. My loss.

The remainder of February, however, has a lot to offer music lovers. John Pennington will be back in town for a master class and a big concert the week of Feb. 20-25.

Pennington, former director of percussion studies at Fort Lewis, will give a master class in the band room at 12:20 p.m. Feb. 21. It’s free. Then he’ll join his successor, Jonathan Latta, the FLC Percussion Ensemble, Linda Mack-Berven, and the Concert Choir for a big musical evening starting at 7 p.m. Feb. 22, in the Concert Hall.

The centerpiece is Emmanuel Séjourné’s “The Book of Gems,” a work for choir and percussion, which Pennington and Gary Cook commissioned. A few years ago, Cook, Pennington and Mack-Berven joined forces for a premiere that was memorable for many reasons, one being a stage full of outlandish instruments, huge pipes, gongs and the like.

Because the work ranges through five different colors, sheens and hardness – like the gems of each title, expect to be dazzled, shaken and delighted. The score even calls for singers to hold rocks in hand to add texture to an already-rich atmosphere.

Other works on the program include a rousing opening African welcoming piece performed by all.

It will be followed by the percussionists in a Zulu Welcome, and another energizing song titled “Gabi, Gabi.” Pennington and Latta will perform a duet on marimba and vibraphone titled “Vertical River.”

For $5, you can choose your own seat. Bring a student or child for $1 each. The Pennington, Latta, Mack-Berven extravaganza has to be the best musical bargain in town except for a presentation the next night.

Marc Reed, the new trumpet faculty member at Fort Lewis, will give a free lecture-recital at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in Roshong Recital Hall. It’s part of the Life Long Learning series.

Reed’s faculty recital last fall was so stunning, I urged Rich Hoehlein, my successor for LLL, to invite Reed to reprise the recital. Reed will discuss brass instruments, their history and how they function in an orchestra. And he’ll play works that will surprise you.

If you want a list of all the Music Department concerts, recitals, master classes, student performances, etc., here’s the shortcut: Email Shauna Blaylock at blaylock_sl@fortlewis.edu. She’s the hub, and she’ll send you the latest list.

Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic. Reach her at jreynolds@durangoherald.com.