Heartland Marimba Quartet wows Perry Fine Arts folks Sunday


Mallets flew at lightning speed Sunday afternoon at the Perry Performing Arts Center when the Heartland Marimba Quartet performed.

About 75 local music lovers were treated to a high-energy concert Sunday afternoon when the Heartland Marimba Quartet (HMQ) played a 75-minute show in the Perry Performing Arts Center.

Last fall’s performance by percussion soloist Matthew Coley was so well received by the Perry Fine Arts crowd that the Coley-led HMQ included Perry in its eight-city fall tour, and the audience had their pleasures quadrupled by the virtuosi of HMQ.

Far from a sleepy Sunday afternoon songfest, the HMQ played several frenetically paced pieces, such as Gottschalk’s “Grande Tarantelle,” the “Allegro con vivo” of Orfaly’s “For Marimbas” and Ovalle’s “Danza Furioso.” Watching the 16 mallets fairly fly across the bars was a delight.

Other interesting songs included the dreamy textures of the opening piece, Simpson’s “Fluidity,” the joyful syncopations of Joel’s “Root Beer Rag” and the dueling xylophones of “Tanc Szervusz” by Hungarian-American composer Alex Orfaly.

Lovers of music and current affairs regretted the unexplained omission from the program of Coley’s “Rivers of Rage,” a political commentary piece written specially for the quartet. A tweet to the wise is sufficient.

The Waterlooo native Coley was joined in Sunday’s HMQ performance by Michael J. Jones of Austin, Texas, Joe Millea of Tempe, Ariz., and Andrew Veit of Wheaton, Ill.

The next concert in the Perry Fine Arts series is Saturday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, when the William Bell Memorial Tuba and Euphonium Day will be celebrated. Perry Fine Arts concerts are free and open to the public. Donations are accepted. The Perry Performing Arts Center is handicapped accessible.


  1. What a terrific job these men did, and the music was simply outstanding. I still find it hard to believe that so few people attend these concerts, especially high school kids. If this concert was in Des Moines, people would have paid to attend, and it would have drawn a huge crowd. What is it going to take to alert people of the fine concerts brought to Perry by Perry Fine Arts?


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