Thunder & Wind
Organ and Taiko Drum / Percussion, with Carolyn Koebel
Rhonda heard a piece once, in a concert in Germany, for organ and Taiko drum. She didn’t even know what a Taiko drum was, but the piece was stunning, and she remembered it. Years later, Rhonda moved to Michigan and began hearing Taiko drum ensembles here and there, and an idea began to form – to find someone crazy enough to learn that amazing piece with her. The search brought her to the best possible suspect – a musician with boundless creativity, enthusiasm and energy. The search however wasn’t over – no one had heard of this piece, or knew where to find the score. Endless emails to Taiko players around the US and lots of Googling, and one day the score arrived in an envelope in her mailbox! As Carolyn and Rhonda learned this piece, pitched it to venues, and began to perform it, they realized how special and unique this piece was – how much audiences connected with it, and the ways it spoke to people, even if they didn’t understand it – in the ways all the best music does. They commissioned another piece, with Mark Lopez on marimba, for a series of concerts with music of Japan, and are scheming the next possible moves.
For too long, music for organ and percussion has stayed in one (rather homogeneous) lane – Thunder & Wind is hoping to mix that up!
Great Lakes Duo
Organ and Trumpet, with Brian Reichenbach
Great Lakes Duo got its start back in the early naughts, when Brian and Rhonda both were living and working in the Chicagoland area, where they began playing together at First United Church of Oak Park. Rhonda moved to Germany, kids were born and life was busy, and then one day we bumped into each other, attending Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Family Suzuki Camp with our families! Rhonda now lived on the other side of the Great Lake Michigan, but we began traveling back and forth around the lake, playing together in Chicago (venues like Fourth Presbyterian Church, Trinity International University, and again at First United Church), as well as in Michigan (Hope Church, Calvin University, St Augustine Cathedral). Another move took Brian and family to Tennessee, and now the Great Lakes Duo’s geographic reach includes Alabama (Christ Church Cathedral in Birmingham) and Tennessee (Middle Tennessee State University, Broad Street United Methodist in Lee).
Our recently released CD includes music by living composers from the US, Estonia, and the Netherlands, and is a mixture of creative hymn settings and imaginative free works.
Presented in the spring of 2022 at the International Conference on Women in Brass, our latest interest is music written by living female composers for organ and trumpet.