Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Percussion trio to perform at Sonic Frontiers

In the age of new wave sound and electronic beats, the percussion trio Meridian is taking things back to basics, with a twist.

Meridian will perform in UA’s Sonic Frontiers Concert Series, Monday at 7:30 p.m. The series promotes innovative and experimental music that enriches the West Alabama culture.

Tim Feeney is in his first year of teaching at The University of Alabama and is one of the three members of Meridian.

“We were interested in having experiences … that were sort of outside the things we had grown up with,” Feeney said. “That kind of gave us the chance to explore new ways of playing with each other. It gave us a wider or broader sense than maybe we got when we first started training.”

Meridian uses a variety of instruments, but for Monday night’s concert, they will be using three snare drums, one very small, one medium size and one larger bass size.

“We get a lot of our sounds by trying to pull different tempers or frequencies out of the way the drum head works,” Feeney said. “So you’ll see us grading our instruments with vials, bows or mallets made from rubber balls. We’re trying to pull out and find these new and different sounds.”

All three members got started at a relatively young age when they started playing the drums. Nick Hennies, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., remembers when he first became interested in music.

“I started when I was 9 years old,” Hennies said. “When I was 5, I asked my parents for piano lessons and I think they thought I was too young. So a few years later I asked them for drum lessons because I was still thinking about music and for some reason, they said yes to that.”

Although they each come from around the country, their cohesiveness works due to the love of drumming they all have in common.

“I think in my opinion, there’s a lot in common between the three of us, but we each have our own approach so it’s not doing what the other person is doing,” said band member Greg Stuart, from Columbia, S.C.

With the distance between them, it’s hard to say what will come next for Meridian.

“We certainly have no plans to stop doing it,” he said. “It’s not really like a rock band where you’re together all the time and you’re writing songs together. It’s more like we come together when we can.”

After the Sonic Frontier concert series is over the trio will be putting out a record in the spring under the label Accieie.

The concert series is five concerts over four days. The trio has played at Tulane University, a theater in New Orleans, La., Georgia State University, a house concert in Nashville, Tenn., and they will finish their tour at the University.

“Hopefully each person might get something completely different from listening based on the fact that they had a chance to experience this sort of sound that unfolds over the time we are playing,” Feeney said. “It won’t be the same as someone who goes to see the UA orchestra in terms of what melody means or what harmony means. We don’t play with those sorts of materials very often, so kind of the way someone listening might find a way inside the music is really different and individual. I think there’s something really special about that.”

All Sonic Frontiers events are free and open to the public. The events are sponsored by the University’s New College, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Music, Creative Campus, Honors College, Blount Undergraduate Initiative and Capstone International.

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