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Press Release



December 4, 2008

Percussion Ensemble presents different sounds and original music


TMU logoTemporal Mechanics Union, the percussion ensemble at Cowley College, will present their concert entitled Sounds: Different, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 11, in the Robert Brown Theatre. The concert is free and open to the public.

This eclectic show will feature new, original compositions by long-time and past members of the ensemble. These works include Cookin’ by Bryan McChesney, played on pots, pans and kitchen utensils, and Drums & Dragons by Cowley College student Wayne Farley, an improvised piece structured by the rules of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.

Also featured is a spoken word piece by Cowley student Jessemine Baker, entitled Black & White: there is no gray area. Baker says the piece is “about the different pathways of life’s journey, finding out where you stand in God, and knowing a simple decision can have catastrophic effects, and the fear that one choice can change nations, friends, and family and ultimately yourself.”  Yet when it comes to the fork in the road, a person must move.

“If you decide to stand there, suddenly some force will move you,” said Baker.

Mike Fell, Cowley College art instructor and like McChesney a long-time “Mechanic,” has conceived a work he calls “an improvised ‘rhythmelodic’ piece” which revolves around the conversation between the various players and their personally created clay instrument. Every sound is made by a ceramic instrument that the members of the ensemble designed and constructed from clay.

The program will also include a composition by Cowley College graduate and Wichita State University music student Phillip Vinson entitled Piece for Alto Saxophone and Percussion Ensemble #1: Dance. Vinson will play the alto sax for the performance. Another Cowley graduate, Jared McGuire, will join TMU’s musical director Chris Mayer in a duet performance called “The Deeper Meaning of Things”. This composition was written for McGuire by Minnesota composer Todd Harper, a frequent collaborator with the ensemble.

McGuire will also join Temporal Mechanics Union for an improvised performance to the accompaniment of Longplayer, a work by English composer Jem Finer. Longplayer is played robotically on gong-like Tibetan singing bowls, using mathematical and compositional rules to ensure that the piece will never repeat itself. Thus, the ensemble doesn’t actually know what Longplayer will sound like until they hear it. The music streams continuously over the Internet, and can be heard any time at In addition, TMU will be joined by banjo player Derek Vaden for a performance of traditional Mandinka rhythms. The Mandinka culture of western African produced the djembe drum, which has become extremely popular with hand drummers all over the world in recent years.

“ I know it sounds strange when you describe it, but the tone quality of the banjo is a perfect fit with the big open sound of the djembes,” said musical director Mayer. “Perhaps it’s the African roots of the banjo that’s coming out. In any case, Derek is a brilliant musician, and his playing really elevates what the ensemble is doing.”

Temporal Mechanics Union is a community-based, multigenerational, all-ability percussion ensemble. Anyone may join, with or without previous musical experience. Current members of the ensemble include Jessemine Baker, Stacy Davidson, Wayne Farley, Mike Fell, Josh Gerstenkorn, Bryan McChesney and Chris Mayer. For more information contact Mayer at 620-441-5229, or go to Videos of TMU performances can be found on YouTube.