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Hula, Oli, and Mele

I was extremely fortuante to return to my home-away-home (Oahu) to continue my study of hula kahiko, hula auana, and Hawaiian culture through mele, oli, and language.  
































Polynesian Percussion Article

My most recent article Polynesian Percussion appeared in the January 2019 issue of NAfME's Teaching Music.  The article focuses on Samoan fire knife drumming and Hawaiian ipu heke.  Talofa!


















I recently completed my latest composition for percussion quartet, ProcessProcess is a four movement work that exemplifies the differences in processing for both neuroatypical and neurotypical persons.  There are times of joy, confusion, discomfort, and celebration within the piece. 


The first movement uses rhythms derived from stimming (a repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects common in individuals on the autism spectrum).  Sound material is divided into skins, glass, wood, and metal, with each having four pitches for shape.


Movement two exploits the differences in individual processing.  Performers are challenged with creating sounds (audible affirmations of existence) for inanimate objects using a snare drum as the sound source.  Though the set of objects are the same for each individual, audible realization is uniquely different.


Movement three illustrates a funnel process of sensory overload.  Using pitched metal tubes, the movement begins with unison rhythms and dynamics and moves to overlapping groups of threes, fives, sixes, and sevens while growing uncomfortably loud.  The funnel remains jammed for several moments before slowly dissipating and blending into the last movement.


The final movement is a celebration of individuality and acceptance.  Using pitched percussion (marimbas and African gyil), a playful pentatonic melody emerges.  Once the melody is established, audience participation is invited and offers the opportunity for everyone to connect and embody Ubuntu (“I am me because of we”).


Process was premiered at the “Light It Up Blue” concert at Southwestern College, performed by the Southwestern College Percussion Group (SCPG)





One of the most rewarding projects that I have been working on is collaborating with my wife to create a “Light It Up Blue” concert at Southwestern College.  We are blessed with a child who is on the spectrum and it has been a true passion of ours to connect with and share our experiences with others who identify with the autism spectrum.  The “Light It Up Blue” concert is in conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day, which is held on April 2nd each year.  The concert is a celebration of neurodiversity and aims to raise awareness, start discussions, and help form connections within our community.  Additionally, Southwestern students have been learning about the autism spectrum in the journey of rehearsing my piece Process, which will be premiered during the concert. 












Recent travels have taken me to the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), the National Association for Music Education(NAfME) National Conference, the Hawaii Music Educators Association (MEA) Conference, Kansas Music Educators Association conference, and many colleges and universities.  I even presented a technology clinic for an entire public school district!  Super exciting!




SCPG rehearsing Process

Kirk - Ipu Heke.jpg
NAfME logo.png
Me & Reuben.jpg
Hula 1.jpg
Puniu 1.jpg
Pahu 1.jpg
Pahu 2.jpg
Pele 2.jpg
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