PROJECT Trio’s double bassist joins DePauw staff, kicks off year with performance

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Many of the first-year students who were in attendance at PROJECT Trio’s concert Sunday evening in Kresge Auditorium were likely in the swing of forging friendships that would last a lifetime. Many years ago, the trio members were in that same position; they all met during their first week of college.

PROJECT Trio is composed of Peter Seymour on double bass, Greg Pattillo on flute and Eric Stephenson on cello. Despite having only three members, the trio had a sound that filled the auditorium.

This semester, Seymour will be joining the staff of the DePauw School of Music as a bass professor. But just because he’ll be instructing doesn’t mean that the trio’s performing will be put on hold. Seymour plans to commute back and forth between Greencastle and the trio’s home base in Brooklyn, New York every Monday to keep up with the group’s busy schedule.

Mark McCoy, dean of the School of Music, kicked off the concert by welcoming the new class to campus. He related, and the trio members later echoed, how lucky DePauw students are to have access to the variety of quality music and theatre productions that they do.

“Take it all in, do it all. College is an amazing time,” Seymour said.

Most instrumental groups don’t have much of a stage presence; however, PROJECT Trio broke this mold, thanks largely in part to their flutist. Pattillo stood tall and stooped low, bebopping all around the stage while still maintaining the rhythm. His style was wild, and it showed on his face after each song. After a fast-paced song, Pattillo’s face was as red as his sneakers.

The music the trio played ran the gamut in terms of style. One minute, they would be playing their interpretation of a classical song, and the next minute, they’ll belt out an original hip-hop tune. They also give performance time to lesser-known styles, such as a form of Indian classical music known as a raga.

Their set was a healthy mix of original compositions and covers of songs by other artists. One of those covers was of a song by Jethro Tull. Pattillo called Ian Anderson, the flute-playing frontman of that band, an inspiration of his because he showed a teenage Pattillo that he could play the flute and still be “a cool guy.”

Most of the trio’s songs ran in the range of three to four minutes long. However, heading into the back half of their performance, they played a song that was more than double that length. This was their take on Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” Complete with narration and music that sounded more like sound effects than songs, the trio made the piece their own. They moved the tale from its original locale of Russia to their hometown of Brooklyn, and the crowd seemed to enjoy it greatly.

First-year student Kaitlyn Malley enjoyed this performance as a way to introduce her to life at DePauw.

“It was so interesting! I had never seen anyone do that kind of stuff with a flute before,” she said.

Those who missed out on this past week’s performance, and those who attended it and were left wanting more, need not fear. The trio will return to the stage at DePauw on February 5.