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Rare Sights & Sounds In KELOLAND

November 20, 2009, 6:09 PM by Cherlene Richards

Rare Sights & Sounds In KELOLAND
The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra attracts musicians and fans from all over the country.  But Saturday night, the audience is in for a special treat with a performance that can't be matched anywhere in the world. 

Beautiful music is being created from aluminum, steel and conduit tubes. Amazingly, the mixture not only results in sweet sounds for your ears, but also a rare sight to see.

These are the American Gamelan instruments, one of only two being used anywhere in the world.

"If you didn't see the instruments actually, you might just think they're this beautiful sounding, metallic instruments, how would we know,” John Pennington said.

Pennington is a professor at Augustana College and also a performer with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. The pairing of those two roles resulted in a performance which will feature this rare-sounding ensemble.

"The altos and tenors were made of electrical conduits, so the whole idea, is what is American.  He used materials that would be indigenous to America,” Pennington said.

Pennington inherited this American Gamelan ensemble from a friend who restored it. It was created in 1971 by an American composer and was modeled after the Gamelan from Indonesia and Bali.

Now, inspiration from a half a world away has spurred musical pieces being shared right here in KELOLAND.

The performance is Saturday November 21 at 8 p.m. at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.

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