“This duo work is probably one of the most exciting things I’m doing right now.
Pax duo is me and Tristan Swihart, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He grew up in this area, and he went to Northridge. I was his teacher there for five years, beginning when I was a sophomore in college. Then he went off to college and graduated in the spring of 2021, and right away, we started up this duo project.
Since we’ve known each other for such a long time, it’s pretty easy getting along together. And not getting along. We can disagree about things, work through that, and move on.
We’re working on our concert for next year that will incorporate more lighting and be an immersive experience – more of a show and less of something that you’d expect to see in a recital. We’re planning the pieces for that, four brand new pieces written for us, or by us, or arranged by us.
We have a show scheduled in South Bend in November and one in Goshen that will be coming in the fall.
It’s going to be a lot of fun.
There are just not a lot of percussion-only gigs generally. No one is coming up to percussionists and saying, ‘Hey, I want to host you for a marimba recital.’ For us, it’s a lot of going out and trying to find things for ourselves and to create opportunities. But that’s true for almost every artist, I think.
I was a snare drummer in marching band, and then I went on to do drum corps, too. It’s basically as close to professional marching band as you can get. I shifted more into a total concert percussionist at Goshen College. I really started to focus on contemporary music then. I spent time teaching, and I got a master’s at the University of Wisconsin. Now I’m back here in Goshen.
I grew up in Kokomo, but I have loved this area since I came up here for college.
Goshen is a small community with a lot opportunities for artists and activities available for everyone. Just the fact that we have a few pretty active venues, and there are a lot of musicians in the area – and a lot of really good musicians – means there are so many people to play with.
There are big-city opportunities here in a place that feels much more tight-knit. And it’s welcoming to the arts, too, I think, because people seem hungry for it.”