NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Percussion Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will present its first fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

Directed by Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA, the ensemble will perform works by Van Halen, Robert Oetomo, Caleb Pickering, James Campbell and Russell Wharton.

A rock song written by the group Van Halen for their album “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,” the song “Right Now” reflects on living for the moment and not being afraid of making a change, according to program notes for the concert.

Oetomo’s arrangement of Harold Arlen’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” will feature sophomore, Davis Carr on marimba. Of the piece, Oetomo says it was “created with the intention of having a combination of jazz influences (harmonies and quasi improvisation) and classical romantic influences (runs, ornaments and flourishes), yet maintaining the simplicity of the melody and harmony of the recording.”

The ensemble will perform Pickering’s “21 Grams” and “Powder Keg.” Pickering states “21 Grams” refers to the “hypothesized ‘weight of the human soul’ as described by Dr. Duncan MacDougall in his 1907 medical experiments. MacDougall conducted experiments measuring the weight of his patients before, during and after their deaths. This work is abstractly programmatic in that it follows a general interpretation of seeing what lies beyond our existence on earth, both good and bad.” “Powder Keg” is a high-energy keyboard quartet scored for two vibraphones and two marimbas that is explosive in nature and shifts between rhythmic and harmonic stability and instability throughout, according to the composer.

Campbell’s “Engine Room” refers to the percussion section of a traditional steel band. The engine room plays a crucial accompaniment role in Calypso and Soca, the traditional folk music of Trinidad and Tobago. The composer develops motives out of the rhythmic patterns that are typically used in the engine room, as well as other patterns found within the context of Caribbean music, according to a description at This performance showcases sophomore, Alcira Sanchez, on multiple instruments.

Graduate student, Mariah Taller, will be featured on snare drum on Wharton’s “Phylogenesis,” a work for solo percussion using two snare drums and audio. The title refers to the evolutionary history and development of an organism, and the musical development within this piece loosely mirrors that concepts, according to Wharton.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit