Renewable energy inspires percussion quartet

The Sandbox Percussion performs this weekend with the Des Moines Symphony. Photo: Noah Stern Weber

Between performances of Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” at this weekend’s Des Moines Symphony concerts, the innovative Sandbox Percussion quartet plays water goblets, compressed air cans and other nontraditional instruments that suggest hydro, wind and solar power in Viet Cuong’s 2017 concerto “Re(new)al.” (Curious? Check out a cool video.) The concerts start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Des Moines Civic Center.

“I have tremendous respect for renewable energy initiatives and the commitment to creating a new, better reality for us all,” the composer noted on his 
website.

Meantime, Sandbox Percussion is visiting local high schools this week — Valley (today), Southeast Polk (Thursday), Ankeny (Friday) and Urbandale (Monday) — thanks to the symphony’s Fred and Charlotte Hubbell Visiting Artists in Residence program. They’ll also lead workshops at Drake University and the Des Moines Symphony Academy to coach students on the finer points of rhythm and playing as an ensemble.

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