Grammy-award-winning instrumental group Third Coast Percussion, accompanied by Movement Art Is kicked off the Wisconsin Union Theater’s 102nd annual concert series from the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall at Hamel Music Center on Jan. 28.

For Third Coast Percussion, Madison served as their debut stop along a live-audience tour — their first since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group’s new program, “Metamorphosis,” is a memorable experience from start to finish.

The Chicago-based percussion group consists of four members — Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and David Skidmore. TPC got its start in 2004 and has since received appraise from audiences and critics alike, perhaps most notably for their album “Third Coast Percussion: Steve Reich,” a tribute to the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer.

The album won a Grammy, and this victory made them the first percussion group to win for a chamber music category. In an interview with The Badger Herald, Third Coast Percussion member David Skidmore spoke to how he was able to translate his passion for music into a successful music career, as well as his advice for students facing the common criticisms of the “unreliability” of a music degree.

“It is certainly challenging to make a career out of your passion, but the advantage is that you are driven by your passion to work hard, and that hard work can pay off,” Skidmore said. “My advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the arts is to work hard, lean into your talents, work on areas that don’t come as naturally for you and learn about the business side of your art form as well. It’s the best way to make sure you are fairly treated and in control of your artistic output.”

Bringing in Third Coast Percussion and Movement Art Is marks a recognizable shift from the concert series’ conventional classical performances. While concerts of the other mold such as Gil Shaham and Sphinx Virtuosi were wonderfully received, much of this show transcends simply showing off musical talents.

The detailed work from the sound and light crews set the mood for the ensemble’s music, which is characterized by an abundance of addictive rhythms, a continual variation of style and the integration of a wide array of percussion instruments that push TPC’s world-class musicians to their very limits. As if the show wasn’t already full of energy, the street dancing of Movement Arts Is’ Ron Myles and Quentin Robinson not only delivers a storytelling element, but it brings forth many relavent political undertones.

”Movement Art Is and our lighting designer [Joseph Burke] and stage director [Leslie Danzig] are a crucial part of ‘Metamorphosis,’” Skidmore said. “TCP has always been interested in creating an environment for our music to be enjoyed on many levels, and this collaboration is a great example.”

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Over the last decade and a half, the group has been on the move, bringing their lively percussion ensemble to audiences all over the United States.

“Performing at a high level on stage with three of my closest friends and colleagues is a deeply joyful and fulfilling experience,” Skidmore said.

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The success of Third Coast Percussion and Movement Arts Is sets the tone for a 2022 concert series jammed-packed with must-see musical and performing arts talent. Next up, the Brentano String Quartet will visit Memorial Union Feb. 10. For tickets and more information regarding upcoming shows, visit the Wisconsin Union Theater webpage and social media platforms.

Movement Art Is’ Quentin Robinson (left) and Ron Myles (right) steal center stage as Third Coast Percussion rocks Hamel Music Center

Photo taken by Andy Manis