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Press Release



April 30, 2013

Percussion ensemble celebrates 10 years


logoTemporal Mechanics Union, the percussion ensemble resident at Cowley College, will hold its 10th anniversary concert on Tuesday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert Brown Theater. The concert is free, and will also stream on the internet at

TMU began in the fall of 2002 with an open rehearsal attended by eight people: four Cowley College staff members, two Cowley students and two members of the community. Since then, 55 people of all ages and backgrounds have at one time or another been a “Mechanic,” playing the ensemble’s signature blend of traditional rhythms, experimental music and percussion theatre.

The ensemble was founded by Chris Mayer, of the Social Science faculty at Cowley College and head of the anthropology program. He formed the idea of a percussion ensemble when college faculty were urged that year to develop ideas to further involve students on campus. Since then, the group has been more widely based.


TMU“We are a community-based group, open to everyone regardless of experience,” Mayer said. “The only requirements are creativity and dedication, and we will teach you the rest.”

Over the last 10 years, TMU has played at numerous venues around Kansas, in addition to their May and December concerts each year at Cowley College. They’ve also played in Oklahoma and Minnesota, and have developed a growing presence online. Their YouTube channel attracts viewers and subscribers from around the world, and they have had much success with Livestream.

According to Mayer, streaming the concerts and events online has enabled the group to have an even larger audience, without the need for lengthy tours.

Cowley College ITV coordinator and technology specialist Bryan McChesney was one of the first eight Mechanics, and art instructor Mike Fell joined the next year. The two have remained with the ensemble for the past decade.

“Their talent, creativity and willingness to push the edge have kept the group going, through lots of ups and downs,” Mayer said. “It’s a great privilege to perform with them.”

Cowley music student Josh Waldorf and community member and educator Lynne Hunter complete the current line-up of Temporal Mechanics Union.

Tuesday’s concert will feature several pieces that commemorate the 10th anniversary of the ensemble. “Ten Foot Pole” features all the Mechanics playing one shaker, a ten foot long tube. The members have composed a suite of short pieces collectively called “10s” that each features the number 10 in some way: 10 beats, 10 instruments, or a rhythm of ten notes. The concert will also include “St Georg,” a Swiss-style rudimental drum corps piece, and will conclude with two multimedia pieces by Mayer, “The Myths of Bharam Chak.”

For more information about Temporal Mechanics Union, go to The ensemble can also be found on Facebook.