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Press Release



May 7, 2012

TMU to perform Thursday at Robert Brown Theatre


TMUTemporal Mechanics Union continues the celebration of their 10th performance season with a new concert of traditional rhythms, experimental music and percussion theatre on Thursday, May 10. The concert will take place at 7:30 the Robert Brown Theatre, and is free and open to the public.

TMU will return to the mythic setting of Bharam Chak to tell the story of 14 Copper Monkey, who must go on a quest to retrieve the Sword of Harmony, the only weapon that can defeat the forces of chaos attacking the Universe. 14 Copper Monkey and the other of the inhabitants of his world will be portrayed by shadow puppets created by Cowley College art students under the direction of faculty member and TMU performer Mike Fell.

The members of TMU performed the shadow puppet play to make a video that will be seen in the concert. The ensemble performs the musical score live on a collection of traditional and orchestral instruments, as well as instruments the ensemble designed and built. An original story, The Myths of Bharam Chak will be instantly recognizable to everyone familiar with classical mythology, fantasy literature and movies, and folklore traditions from around world.

This concert will begin with the traditional Basque rhythm txalaparta, played on wooden boards. The Basque people live in the western Pyrenees Mountains on both sides of the border between Spain and France. They have a long tradition of lumberjacking and wood working, celebrated in the unique rhythm and instrument called txalaparta, which alludes to both a loud racket, and the sound of horse’s hooves.

The ensemble will then present The Bells of Mount Athos, a musical portrait of the Greek Orthodox Christian community that has inhabited that site for centuries. This original composition is based on the patterns of the bells played in the churches and monasteries at Mount Athos.

Wayne Farley's composition da da da dit dit da  is an experimental piece, using Morse Code as the rhythmic basis. The rhythms of the piece actually spell out the name of the ensemble and other phrases. In a similar vein, Clocks by Frank McCarty uses orchestral percussion instruments to evoke the workings of various clocks and other mechanical timepieces.

As 2012 is also the centenary year for John Cage, TMU will perform his work Radio Music, a piece which may become impossible to perform in just a few years as radio becomes increasingly digital. Written in 1956, the composition calls for ensemble members to tune through various radio frequencies. The piece is therefore made of the static and clear signals that can be received.

And as a special feature, TMU will also perform Minnesota composer Todd Harper's Urban Sparrow Dreams, combining percussion music and spoken work to tell the story of a mighty spirit that's bigger than the world that holds it.

For those who can’t be in the theatre that night, Temporal Mechanics Union will for the first time in stream the concert live on the internet at

This concert is the continuation of a year-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of the ensemble, kicking off a series of concerts, recitals and special events to mark a decade of performing traditional rhythms, experimental music and percussion theatre works. The year of celebration will culminate in the December 2012 concert to be held in the Brown Theatre.  Temporal Mechanics Union gave their first formal concert there in the fall of 2002.

Temporal Mechanics Union is an all-ability, community based ensemble. Anyone may join, no matter what his or her previous musical experience. More information on this concert, and on the ensemble, can be found at, or by calling 620-441-5229.

TMU also have a YouTube channel and a Facebook page. The members of Temporal Mechanics Union are Connor Coldwell, Mike Fell, Lynne Hunter, Bryan McChesney, Chris Mayer and Indigo Pohlman.