Senior Hansen prepares for December recital at White Concert Hall

Senior citizen Senior percussionist Von Hansen throws down the fury in preparation for his senior spotlight Dec. 1 at White Concert Hall.

Paige Lockard

He has prepared for hours, weeks, months and years. Von Hansen’s music education has finally led him to the ultimate spotlight: his senior recital. Washburn University is hosting the event 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at White Concert Hall.

Hansen will receive his bachelor of music education degree this spring, but he first has to complete this recital. It’s a requirement for his major, but that’s not why Hansen is so pumped about it.

“I also want to do it because I want to show off what I’ve been doing for the last five years,” said Hansen.

The concert is approximately one and a half hours long with a variety of performances. It begins with four solo pieces. “Fire Wire” is a multiple percussion piece written by Brett Deitz and uses congas, bongos, cymbals, gongs and many other instruments. The second piece is Eric Sammut’s “Four Rotations for Marimba.” Tobias Brostrom’s “Scene for Vibraphone” uses a number of auxiliary percussion instruments in addition to the vibraphone.

“It’s a very emotional piece,” said Hansen.

He will conclude his solos with a timpani piece by Michael J. Rhodes titled “Scenes from an Ancient Battle.”

A brief intermission will allow Hansen to set up for the most anticipated part of his senior recital, a piece titled “Evolve.” This collection of music was written by Hansen himself and he says it is truly a “melding of the arts.”

“[‘Evolve’ is a] social commentary on the destructive path I feel the world is taking,” said Hansen.

It took him about a year and a half to write, and it’s composed for five percussion parts and one piano. Hansen and fellow musicians Theo Musick, Jason Degenhardt, Zach Israel and Josh Benteman play a variety of percussion instruments while Rebecca Bumgarner plays the piano.

Each of the six pieces of “Evolve” is inspired by poetry and has its own meaning. The first number is titled “In the Beginning Her Tears Were the Long Awaited Rains.” In this, Hansen said that the future is not yet certain, existence is just beginning and everything is at ease. The harmony continues through “The Best of Man is Like Water.” Conflict arises in “Some Say the World Will End in Fire,” resulting in a war, which plays out in “Immense Light Cannot Be Terrorized” and “Sunlight is a Lie.” The piece comes full circle with the sixth and final part, “Whispers of Immortality.”

Considering all the time put into “Evolve,” it is interesting to listen to but certainly not easy for the musicians to play.

“This music is tough,” said Musick. “It has several time signatures and polyrhythmic phrases.”

Hansen admits “Evolve” is “very dark until the end,” so his senior recital doesn’t end there. A 10-minute jazz combo includes hip-hop tunes by Joshua Redman and rock songs from Frank Zappa, plus a standard swing chart. Hansen plays vibes and drums on these pieces and is joined by saxophonist Brandon Holloman, pianist Allegra Fisher, bassist Alan Eisman and drummer Degenhardt.

The event is expected to bring in many music students along with anyone else who is curious and interested in experiencing this unique recital.

“I want the house to be full,” said Hansen. “Everyone wants to be a drummer. There’s something for everyone.”

Hansen wants to positively effect people with this performance. He said that he wants as many people to experience this as possible. The audience won’t just watch and listen to this; they will be submerged in the depth and beauty of each piece.

Attendees “would take a lot away from this,” said Hansen. “I guarantee that everyone will have a good time.”