Kerry Durso: Senior percussionist gives multi-faceted show
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 01:02
On Sunday, Feb. 14, Senior Music Education major Kerry Durso presented her Senior Percussion Recital, portraying several different percussive elements to the audience.
The show began at 3 p.m. in UC 112 and featured marimba, timpani, frame drum, vibraphone and more, showcasing pieces by Greg Danner, Erik Satie, Brad Dutz, Phil Winsor, Jason Baker, Michael Aukofer and John Thrower.
Overall, Durso loved all the pieces she chose, but there were several that stuck out to her, such as “Five Ages” by Danner, “Gnossienne No. 1” by Satie, “Aurora Borealis” by Thrower and “Who Goes Home” by Aukofer.
The piece by Aukofer was actually a piece commissioned for the recital for Durso’s University Scholars project, and she appreciated being able to perform it.
“It is based on the novel ‘The Great Divorce’ by C.S. Lewis. This book is the reason why I maintain belief in God and is very dear to my heart, and the commissioned piece is just as beautiful and emotional for me. I am so grateful for having been able to work with Dr. Aukofer to create such a wonderful product,” Durso said.
As for the selection process of the rest of the pieces, Durso worked hard with her studio director and teacher, Associate Professor of Music Dr. Julie Hill to choose pieces that would showcase different percussion techniques and had the majority of the pieces learned before Christmas in order to further perfect the show.
“Over Christmas break, I stayed in Martin for the majority of the time off school so that I could have extra private practice time in the studio. … In the two weeks leading up to my recital, I practically lived in the studio– practicing, writing program notes and practicing playing in front of people to get used to being nervous,” Durso said.
After the show was over, Durso said she felt positive about her performance.
“To me, the concert was a success because I performed everything in a manner that I was proud of, and many of my friends and family were there to support and celebrate with me,” Durso said.
Not only did she feel good about it, but Hill also felt that it was a great success.
“Kerry was clearly a gem when I first met her, bright and communicative and all things that represent the kind of student you would want to be around. She, admittedly, had a few skill sets that were less advanced, and she was more advanced on keyboard instruments than membrane instruments (anything with a drum head to activate the sound) when she arrived at UTM. [But] Kerry knocked it out of the park [with this recital], and she has achieved my greatest goal for my kids – that they don't have to say no to any gig, teaching or performing opportunity,” Hill said.
Hill not only finds Durso to be a successful musician, but a successful person and student in general.
“Kerry is a fantastic musician, but more importantly, the kind of human being that most can only hope to be. Her actions are always done in an altruistic nature and she is indefatigable with her music and her passion for life in general,” Hill said.
To Durso, it was not just the performances that made it a good afternoon, but the support she felt from those who have helped her become the musician she is today.
“My parents were the first influential force in my musical development. I wanted to learn violin as a little girl, and after being assured that I was serious about it, they let me start taking violin lessons with my first music teacher. … I then started playing percussion in the fifth grade band. It's kind of funny, actually, because initially, I got cut from the percussion section, because I didn't pass the proficiency test. My family already had the snare drum and bell kit from when my sister was in band, so my mom told me to go to school and tell Mr. Jones, the band director, that I was going to play percussion or I wasn't going to be in band at all. And that's how I got started as a percussionist,” Durso said.
Not only did she appreciate the presence of family, but also she appreciated the help she’s received from her educators and friends.
“I am very grateful for my parents, my family and friends, my sisters in Sigma Alpha Iota and my teachers,” Durso said.
As for after this semester, Durso plans on doing her student teaching this fall in Nashville, and after she graduates, she aspires to get a job with the Department of Education, helping to increase funding and support for music programs in schools. She also would like to one day be a band director and attend graduate school.