It’s not every day that one gets a chance to perform at the school where they mastered their skill. This opportunity has come about for Washburn alum, percussionist, assistant director of bands and director of percussion at Washburn University, Von Hansen.
“I have a real strong connection to Washburn,” said Hansen. “I feel strongly about the school. I had a great time here and feel like I got a really good education. There are several professors here who were teachers when I was a student. And I think that the faculty gets along really well. With my family here and everything, it just feels comfortable. I'm really happy being here teaching so, it's nice to contribute to building the program from my undergraduate.”
Hansen’s return to Washburn has resulted in his first faculty recital, “There is No Place Like Home,” happening Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at White Concert Hall. The recital will include familiar pieces as well as original compositions, each being intentional and exciting.
“There are over fifty different instruments that will be on the stage,” said Hansen of the upcoming performance. “There's one piece that has nine drums and three wooden boxes that I play on. I played one of the pieces in my masters and another in my doctorate, and then I wrote the other one last semester. The other two are brand new to me. It's a mixture of pieces that I've done before and then a few new pieces I've never played, like the ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ arrangement.”
One of Hansen’s students says he feels that Hansen treats him as a colleague, and has learned a lot about percussion from him.
“I’m just really excited to see him go and shred some seriously difficult music,” said senior music education major Daniel Albertson. “As a department, I see a lot of value in the teachers showing the university and their own students what they are capable of, as it gives students a level to look up to. Not to mention, it backs up their credibility in that they can demonstrate the techniques and skills they are trying to pass onto their students.”
Hansen’s skill mixed with his creativity will be showcased at the recital through the various unconventional instruments he will be using. From rice packets and paper clips, to car brake drums and a doorstop, there are no limits to how a percussion instrument is defined.
“I don't think people quite understand what they're getting into with percussion,” said Hansen. “They think it's going to just be somebody up there playing a snare drum, but there’s variety and the multiple instruments. I think people really respond to percussion concerts because there's always something for everybody in there.”
For a unique concert experience and a chance to welcome back a Washburn alum in his faculty debut, be sure to attend Hansen’s recital on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at White Concert Hall. Attendance is free to the public.
Edited by Adam White, Diana Martinez-Ponce, Jason Morrison