UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 18, 2024

D.E.A.P. Ensemble inspires students to think outside the box with concert

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Music has been around since the beginning of time — and while you’d think every form of music has been thought of, the Dixie State University Music Department proves otherwise.

In the fall of 2016, the DSU music department created an ensemble unlike any other on campus. The Dixie Electro-Acoustic Performance Ensemble proves its uniqueness through the improvisation of performances and playing never-before-seen musical instruments.

Robert Matheson, Assistant Professor of Music, is also the Director of the D.E.A.P. ensemble. He said what makes the ensemble different from any other music style is their use of technology.

He said, “We combine acoustic instruments with computers and those computers are used to manipulate the use and amplification of the instruments.”

On Saturday, the D.E.A.P. ensemble performed their bi-semesterly concert in the Black Box Theater.

The ensemble used the theater’s setting to their advantage. For instance, the balcony railings in the theater made for a secondary instrument in Jake Barrett’s and Issac Ericksen’s piece, “Fire Escape.”

In this performance, Ericksen played the bass and Barrett played the railing, which acted as a drum.

Jake Barrett, a sophomore music education major from Logan, said “Fire Escape” was his favorite performance of the night.

“The cool thing about this song is that we stuck a sensor to the railing so that it would be able to pick up any tapping sounds,” he said.

When the idea for the song came to Barrett and Ericksen, they attached the same sensor on the railings to a fire extinguisher. They used the fire extinguisher to practice the tapping they would later do on the theatre’s railings. Their use of the extinguisher also provided some context for the song title.

Many audience members enjoyed this piece the most because of how unpredictable it was.

Angelo Erdman, a freshman theater major from Ogden, said: “‘Fire Escape’ was by far my favorite piece of the night. I didn’t know what was going to happen next and that intrigued me to pay close attention to what was happening on stage and above the stage. The D.E.A.P. ensemble is definitely ahead of their time.”

In addition to the ensemble’s spontaneous performances, they even perform on D.I.Y. instruments. From railings to fire extinguishers, the D.E.A.P. ensemble exudes creativity.

“What is different about the ensemble, and what I like the most about it is that most of the pieces are composed by our students,” Matheson said.

Matheson said students could expect a performance from the D.E.A.P. ensemble on campus sometime this week.

If you would like to get involved with the ensemble register for MUSC 3390R. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 3:59 p.m.