So Percussion Collaborates With Vermont Artists To Develop “Where (we) Live”

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Brooklyn-based percussion ensemble to host experimental multi-night performance series with VPL

GUILFORD, Vermont (May 9, 2012) -- Vermont Performance Lab welcomes the return of experimental percussionists So Percussion to develop their newest work, Where (we) Live. The group will collaborate with New York-based guitarist Grey McMurray and local Vermont artists to provide new influence for their creative process.

Since 2008, Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) has been forging a symbiotic relationship with So Percussion, a Brooklyn-based experimental percussion ensemble. The ensemble's inaugural residency with VPL culminated in Music for Trains, an on-the-track performance at and between the depots of Brattleboro and Bellows Falls.

During their upcoming ten-day residency in Vermont, So Percussion will use VPL's laboratory to work with director and fellow VPL Lab Artist, Ain Gordon, and three local artists including woodworker/sculptor Michelle Holzapfel (Marlboro), potter/musician Steve Procter (Brattleboro) and poet Verandah Porche (Guilford). So Percussion will ask these artists to improvise, dance, make video or whatever else they can think of, both fitting them into their artistic world and adjusting to fit into theirs.

"I seek out artists and performance projects that will engage people from our local community in new and exciting ways," says VPL Director Sara Coffey. "When Josh [Quillen, of So Percussion] told me about this new project where they wanted to improvise and perform with local artists as a way of connecting with a place and a means to inform their art-making, I thought it was a great fit for VPL. I am very excited to introduce them to three master-level artists from our community and to see what unfolds."

The three work-in-progress showings, scheduled for May 21, 22 and 25, will change each night. The goal is to keep structural guideposts intact while allowing for significant differences from one performance to the next. So Percussion's hope is to harness the power of new friendships and impending performance to spawn a different type of creativity.

Where (we) Live will premiere in the fall of 2012 at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, MN and appear on the Brooklyn Academy's 2012 Next Wave Festival. VPL's showings in May will be a unique opportunity to get a preview of this work and a glimpse into the creative process. Post-performance discussions with the artists will follow each night.

The work-in-progress showings of Where (we) Live by So Percussion are made possible in part with funding support from New Music USA's MetLife Creative Connections Programs and VPL's Creation Fund donors.

WHEN: Monday, Tuesday & Friday, May 21, 22 & 25, 2012, 7:00PM
WHERE: Serkin Center, Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT
WHAT: So Percussion returns to Vermont to develop their newest work, Where (we) Live. Vermont Performance Lab presents three work-in-progress showings, composed and performed by So Percussion with special local guest artists; sculptor Michelle Holzapfel (5/21), poet Verandah Porche (5/22) and potter/musician Steve Procter (5/25). Post-performance discussions with the artists to follow nightly.

Event is free, but space is limited. For reservations and more info call 802-257-3361 or visit


SO PERCUSSION members Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting and Eric Beach began performing together while students at the Yale School of Music. Since 1999, So Percussion has been creating music that explores the extremes of emotion and musical possibility. The Brooklyn-based quartet's innovative work with today's most exciting composers and their ongoing body of original music has quickly helped them forge a unique and diverse career.

The group's first commissioned piece, the so-called laws of nature with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, became the cornerstone of their self-titled debut album and the first of a growing catalogue of exciting releases that includes Steve Reich's Drumming; Jason Treuting's amid the noise; Treasure State, a collaboration with the electronic duo Matmos; and Paul Lansky's Threads. Imaginary City, a fully-staged sonic meditation on urban soundscapes was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for the Next Wave Festival 2009. So Percussion has performed their unusual and exciting music at venues across the United States including the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Stanford Lively Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and many others.


AIN GORDON is an Obie-award winning writer, director and actor. For Where (we) Live he functions somewhere between dramaturg and director as a strong but equal voice in the decision-making process, helping thread the diverse elements into a cohesive whole. Gordon is a 2011-2012 VPL Lab Artist where he has been developing an original theater work, Not What Happened.

GREY McMURRAY [itsnotyouitsme, Knights on Earth] is a soulful guitarist, singer and songwriter. His compositions and improvisations often contain understated elements that hint at a vast well of musical knowledge and experience, and his lyrics frequently skirt the line between narrative and abstraction. Grey frequently travels with So Percussion to perform live in concerts; improvising on guitar and singing songs composed for the show.

MICHELLE HOLZAPFEL has over three decades of experience turning and carving native hardwoods in Southern Vermont. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the U.S., Europe and Australia. It has been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, the Mint Museum, the Museum of Art & Design, the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery and other public and private collections. Publications featuring her work include House Beautiful, American Craft, Woodworking and Fine Woodworking. She has lectured and taught at events sponsored by local and national craft organizations. Her writings have been published in American Craft and Turning Points magazines.

VERANDAH PORCHE is a Vermont-based poet, performer and writing partner whose work explores the relationships between individuals and communities. Since 1986, she has published two books of poems, "The Body's Symmetry" and "Glancing Off." A new collection,"Sudden Eden" spans work from the last two decades. She has published in Ms., The Atlantic, The Village Voice, The New Boston Review and Vermont Organic Farmer, among others. Over the past thirty years, Porche has developed a practice called "told poetry" or shared narratives that enable people who need a writing partner to create, preserve and share personal literature. She has been engaged in residencies at Real Artways in Hartford, CT and Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, VT. In 1998, the Vermont Arts Council awarded her its prestigious Citation of Merit, honoring her contribution to the cultural life of Vermont. Her play for voices, "Broad Brook Anthology" was a centerpiece of the 250th anniversary celebration of Guilford, VT. She is currently recording "Keeping Time Suite" a poetry and jazz piece composed by Steve Sonntag, in honor of the 200th birthday of The Old Tavern at Grafton.

STEVE PROCTER's pottery combines a contemporary sensibility with archetypal vessel forms. His work celebrates simple lines, the elemental beauty of the clay itself and the power of large scale. Procter's first artistic training was in music. After earning a master's degree in classical guitar performance he taught at several colleges and performed as a soloist and chamber musician. He sees a strong connection between music and his approach to visual art. "All the same considerations apply: direction, rhythm, flow, repetition, contrast. It's just a question of whether they are happening in time or in space."

Working with the notion that the rural communities of Southern Vermont can be a fertile laboratory for incubating new contemporary performance works, Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) founded its Lab Program in 2006. Each year VPL selects three to five artists to participate in the Lab Program – a creative residency where artists have access to various kinds of creative space in a small rural Vermont community. In this retreat-like setting, artists can concentrate on research and experimentation and test performance ideas with small audiences and engage with local artists, scholars and experts. VPL often partners with local organizations to host such residencies and create meaningful connections between artists and communities.