By Idris Garcia, Chattanooga, TN–UTC’s Percussion Ensemble will have the opportunity to showcase their talent and help the community Nov. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Beat Hunger is an annual concert Monte Coulter, director of percussion studies, started to benefit the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.
“One of the things that makes cultures and societies cohere is altruistic behavior,” Coulter said. “If we are all just out for ourselves, then our society suffers. I think it’s important to build into students a sense of altruism because it really, really matters, and that’s something they learn by observing that in me and in each other.”
Coulter said he has observed the importance of these values by being a father and has seen his students embrace them as well.
“These students work hard and they practice the music because they want to put on a good concert,” Coulter said. “That’s their identity, they’re musicians. Then, they will also walk in with more food than they can carry. They don’t need to do that, there’s no admission for them, but they see that behavior and pick up on it. It’s apart from any musical skill.”
Coulter said he enjoys watching his students grow and become great musicians.
There is no greater feeling as a teacher than having their student surpass them, he said.
“When students leave here and play circles around me, win Grammy awards and have careers that I’m not good enough to have, that’s because I taught them how, and there’s no better feeling than that,” Coulter said. “I really think my percussion students are some of the most interesting people I know.”
Coulter said he enjoys the culture and environment that music students have created.
“If I go to the UC, a shopping center for social life, almost like a singles bar for college students, there are all these guys and girls strutting their stuff,” he said. “Then I walk up this sidewalk, and in a practice room there’s a girl on the cello with hair every which way and wearing two different color shoes or a guy in the marimba room who may never have had a date, but he’s a blistering player. They understand that they’re a part of something greater than themselves, and that’s the kind of student I want to be around.”
Coulter said he is also excited to have Funkabuckets as special guests playing before the event in the Fine Arts Center lobby.
“They’re interesting, engaging people and tremendous players that could win prizes anywhere,” Coulter said. “They really groove, and the street music is really a nice compliment to music that’s meant to be in a concert hall. They have so much fun with their music and the sheer artistry they display playing music on buckets is scary. “
Coulter hopes the all-percussion programs eliminate the misconceptions that people have of percussion concerts as being loud, fast drumming.
Percussion instruments can perform an enormous dynamic and emotional range of music, he said.
“I pull out music that the students need to play to make them better and fashion that into a program, and I like to have a marimba piece that makes it do some surprising things,” Coulter said.
The program will conclude with an arrangement of a Blue Man Group cover of Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love,” with Stephanie Hammett performing the vocals, Coulter said.
“Be sure to mention Stephanie because she’s a terribly talented kid, and she’s doing this for no credit, money or anything,” he said. “She’s done a lot of cool things and she is doing this because she wants to help out. I like that kind of person.”
Beat Hunger will be in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, and admission is two non-perishable food items or a two dollar check to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.