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SOU Celebrates Make Music Day

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At noon Monday, the sound of a large gong cried out at the Thalden Pavilion in Ashland for Make Music Day.

This is the first year Southern Oregon University is celebrating the worldwide event. Terry Longshore, a professor of percussion studies, composed and performed the piece.

Make Music Day originated in France and serves as a time of reflection on the past year. At noon on the summer solstice community members gather to play large gongs.

With COVID-19 weighing heavily on this past year, Longshore said this event had more meaning to it.

“Looking back on the last year and the pandemic — the impact it’s had on us all and to signify coming out of that, but also to reflect on it and mourn,” he says.

Instead of making up something on the spot, Longshore decided he would compose a piece. He threw around ideas for a month, but only took three days to write the hourlong piece.

He named it “This Moment in Time - 6/21/21/12:00” to reflect. To make the piece a little more intimate, he said, Longshore incorporated rhythmic sections.

The first section of the composition has six beats, the second and third sections have 21 beats and the final section has 12 beats.

A crowd of around 40 people – including Longshore’s former and current percussion students – gathered to watch him play. Audience members closed their eyes to take in the various sounds of the gong Longshore produced using mallets and drum sticks.

“It’s so nice to be outdoors and to not have to wear a mask and to see everyone sitting out and enjoying themselves — it’s really lovely,” he said.

Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Percussion Studies Professor Terry Longshore performs an hour long piece on a large gong for "Make Music Day" on Monday at Thalden Pavilion in Ashland.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Terry Longshore smiles as he plays on his gong during his performance for "Make Music Day" on Monday.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - An audience member bows his head and closes his eyes for a moment to take in the sounds of the gong.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - Terry Longshore plays on a large gong during a performance for Make Music Day in Ashland on Monday.
Savannah Blake/Mail Tribune - An audience member watches Terry Longshore as he performs for Make Music Day on Monday.