Percussion recital ‘amazing’ in front of packed crowd


NIU’s recital hall was packed Wednesday night as percussionists Julie Spencer and Gernot Blume performed amazingly.

Spencer and Blume came all the way from Germany for this guest performance and the recital hall provided an intimate setting for the duo where the music was able to echo nicely.

The selections of the night featured Spencer on the marimba and Blume on piano. The show opener, “Waterfalls,” made the audience feel as though they were positioned next to one. The duo started the piece with swift sounding piano and marimba that echoed waterfall and nature sounds.

Layers of sound poured from the two instruments as the musicians before them created peaceful music. Spencer positioned two mallets in each hand, four mallets total, which created many chords to coincide with Blume’s angelic piano skills.

At times, Blume’s hands would play at different speeds, one faster than the other. In the same sense, Spencer was able to glide up and down the marimba with ease. There were parts of songs where the tempo pace left no room for error and her performance was flawless. Amazing talent given from Spencer and Blume enlightened the performance. They knew how to work well with each other and connected well while performing.

The songs were very rhythmic and nature inspired. “Tree Song” was a steady piece with a rhythmic under beat. Spencer and Blume played two different rhythms, but the sound was still crisp and fit well into the performance.

“Phases of the Moon” allowed Blume to show off his piano skills with a slow, melodic and peaceful solo.

Later on in the performance, Spencer began to add vocals to the pieces. The vocals she added were simple “ahs,” but the sound of her voice added yet another layer to the duo’s already strong sound. It echoed the music and sounded as though a third instrument was being played.

Spencer also soloed on the marimba with her vocals echoing the pitches. Then, Blume soloed with fast-paced scales, running up and down the piano with ease.

The second half of the performance was similar to the first. Nature-like sounds were still held, but the vibraphone was added for a unique sound.

Spencer and Blume successfully captivated the audience the entire performance with their mellow tones and rhythm.