Posted at 3:45 p.m., March 23, 2015


Collaboration sensation:

Soprano Tiffany Du Mouchelle and percussionist Stephen Solook of the duo Aurora Borealis will participate in an event encouraging new musical opportunities for students on Tuesday, April 7.

Aurora Borealis
to perform in Cheyenne

Some northern lights may be in the air in the Cheyenne community.

The Bank of the West Music Series and the Laramie County Community College Foundation will bring the promising talents of a musical duo, Aurora Borealis, who will not only perform but will also show students and the community the relationship between people and music.

The event, planned by Foundation Alumni Affairs and Event Planning Director Lisa Trimble, will feature voice and percussion compositions from soprano Tiffany Du Mouchelle and percussionist Stephen Solook. They will perform several pieces from the Wyoming and Colorado community—one of which comes from LCCC’s instrumental music instructor, Bryan Christian.

Aurora Borealis will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at Cheyenne Central High School’s auditorium. Admission is free.

"Regenerative music" written
by LCCC's Bryan Christian

Initially, Christian intended to make a duo for voice percussion, which he described as having a “ritualesque quality” and is titled “Ignota,” from the Latin word meaning “unknown.”

“When writing a piece, I try to get at one’s motivations first,” Christian said about writing the song for the group he met as a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego.

“With Steve and Tiffany, they wanted a piece that made them equal, so I started to creatively think about the essence of these two instruments,” he recalled. The song was composed by having the nature of musical material be entirely reliant on the musical choices made by the percussionist. The percussionists freely selected their instruments and stylistic singing preferences, which, in turn, changes to match the sound of the instruments; in essence, they work together.

“This piece pushed me in a number of ways,” Christian said about the “regenerative music,” which begins anew with every new performance, like a play.

“The core idea of the piece is it’s malleable but still maintains its integrity. It still has its identity even with different instruments,” he said. “It pushed me into thinking more about defining meaning by relationships of material instead of material itself.”

Cultural opportunity

The group will also offer private lessons and master classes for students. Trimble said she was proud to benefit students and others and to help expand their horizons and learn from professionals. Trimble said endowments like the Bank of the West series “are set up not only to benefit the community as a whole but specifically designed for our students and provide them cultural opportunities that they may not get on campus [and] may not be a part of [their] normal entertainment cycle.”

Trimble said the hands-on experience will be a great opportunity to ask questions: What do I need to do to make myself marketable; what do I need to do to get my foot in the door?

Even though the event involves music, it is very relevant to students studying outside the discipline. “Culture is something great whether you’re a business major or whether you’re an econ or technical major,” Trimble said. “The arts have a process, and they are a part of everything you do, so this is an opportunity to experience something that you may not always experience.”

Aurora Borealis around the world

Soprano Du Mouchelle has explored the genres of classical, world, contemporary, cabaret and theatrical works because of her vast array of musical styles and featuring 30 different languages. Her performances have spanned the globe from the Lincoln Center in New York City to Disney Hall, in California, Egypt, Iceland, Tunisia and Papua New Guinea. Mouchelle has premiered 40 new works since 2005 by composers in France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the USA. She has a strong interest in preserving music around the world and is a cultural ambassador for cultures in harmony.

Percussionist Solook has worked with Pulitzer Prize-winning composers such as Paul Moravec, Roger Reynolds, Chinary Ung, Bruce Adolphe and David Loed. Throughout the United States, Egypt, Mexico and Papua New Guinea, he has performed as a soloist and concerto soloist for ensembles and composers. Solook is also a member of the nonprofit organization Cultures in Harmony with which he has traveled to teach, perform and lead workshops in Egypt, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in musical arts at the University of California, San Diego.

As a duo, Mouchelle and Solook started with a repertoire of neoclassical and neoromantic musical traditions. LCCC’s Christian has helped them bring percussion and human voice to Western classical music, which has normally been ignored until the premiere of “Ignota.”

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