Dynamic Duo

0

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

By Bill Giduz

This year’s C. Shaw and Nancy K. Smith Artist series kicked off with a stage full of Davidson musicians and two visitors who pulled them together in no time at all for a standing ovation performance.

Haitian-American violinist, composer, and band leader Daniel Bernard Roumain (a.k.a. DBR and Greensboro-based songwriter Laurelyn Dossett produced and led the Artist series concert as the finale to a six-day residency here.

Davidson was one of seven stops for DBR and Dossett in an extended collaboration sponsored by seven educational institutions and towns across the state, including Davidson College Friends of the Arts.

The duo first spent ten days last January visiting the towns and institutions that funded the project to explore their musical heritages. they also wrote a dozen songs that blended their very different styles of music into an album titled The Collide.

The second part of the project was conducting extended performance residencies at each of the seven institutions. their busy week at davidson in late september concluded with the Artist series concert, starring about 80 members of the Jazz Band, davidson symphony orchestra, and a cappella singers. the fi rst act highlighted each ensemble. dBr and dossett presented songs from The Collide as the second act. A raucous version of the Beatles’ “come together” that involved the entire ensemble concluded the evening. students immediately recognized that dBr was not a run-of-the-mill conductor. He choreographed a complicated production of music, lighting effects, and movement of musicians on and off and around the stage. though it wasn’t apparent from the audience, violinist Julie Pullen ’13 said the minimal rehearsal and dBr’s highenergy, authoritative, improvisational style was demanding for student musicians. she said, “He would point to players randomly and say, ‘do a solo!’ We’re not used to that! We learned quickly to pay close attention, because you never knew what he’d call for next. He wanted to get us thinking differently about musical performance, and that made some people nervous.” trombonist Bethany Wagner ’14 confessed to feeling the stress of dBr’s “no huddle” direction and use of hand signals to designate chords and tempo. she said, “trying to interpret his directions and play what he wanted in front of 500 people was nerve-wracking.” But dBr’s virtuosity shone brightly when he picked up his violin and joined in the music-making. “i didn’t know you could make sounds (like that) from a violin!” said Plott scholar and concertmaster Nathan Heath ’15. “He’s got a brilliant mind capable of reaching beyond the typical boundaries of classical music.”

Photo Credit: Bill Giduz

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.