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Press Release



April 24, 2007

Percussion ensemble celebrates five years of music


Percussion ensemble celebrates five years of musicTemporal Mechanics Union, the percussion ensemble at Cowley College, will present a concert marking their fifth anniversary as a performing group May 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert Brown Theatre. Admission is free.

To mark the occasion of their fifth anniversary, the current members of the group have each composed a short performance piece. All the pieces incorporate the concept of “five” in some way, such as five drummers or a rhythm with five beats. These individual pieces have been arranged together into a suite fittingly entitled 5s.

Formed in 2002, Temporal Mechanics Union (TMU for short) is the only musical organization of its type in Kansas, and one of very few in the nation. TMU is a community-based, all-ability ensemble, meaning that participation is open to anyone, regardless of his or her musical experience or skill. To date, TMU has had a total of 38 members, including the current lineup.

TMU is a unique group in many respects.

“To the best of my knowledge, we are the only new music ensemble at a community college in the United States,” says Chris Mayer (pictured far left), musical director of the group.

The ensemble has presented new and experimental works by American composers Jim Theobald of New York City, and Todd Harper of St. Paul, Minnesota, as well as the North American premiere of Jack the Painter, by British composer Martin Read. TMU has also premiered many original works by Mayer.

In addition to the avant-garde selections, Temporal Mechanics Union maintains a repertoire of traditional rhythms from around the world, including West Africa, North Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Persia and Tahiti.

The anniversary concert May 10 will include the abadja rhythm from Ghana, and Harpers’ Bass Drum Dance, the first composition that was written for TMU by a composer outside the group.

The ensemble will also present the premiere performance of Canticle for the Mechanical Age, a new composition by musical director Mayer.

“It’s a celebration of all the mechanical, industrial sounds that are in danger of disappearing as we move further into the digital age,” Mayer said.

This piece is composed in the “art of noises” style, which was developed by the Italian Futurist composers of the 1920s. In the “art of noises,” everyday objects such as power drills, vacuum cleaners, zippers, and whistles are used to make the music. 

The current ensemble members are Cowley students Jessemine Baker, Tony Beach, Sandra Dobbins, Justin Douglas, Wayne Farley and Phillip Vinson. Cowley art instructor Mike Fell is currently the longest-serving member of the group. For more information about Temporal Mechanics Union, go to, or call 620-441-5229.