Classical Garage Band “Time for Three” Charms Andover

On Wednesday, the Andover community enjoyed an evening of classical and contemporary tunes performed by nationally-acclaimed experimental music group Time for Three, the second Kayden guest artist of the year following last week’s Cantus vocal ensemble. In addition to their own original compositions, Time for Three, which calls itself “the world’s first classically-trained garage band,” performed music by artists ranging from J.S. Bach to Katy Perry. The band consists of double-bassist Ranaan Meyer and violinists Zachary De Pue and Nicolas Kendall. The three met each other while attending the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. The concert began with “Of Time and Three Rivers,” an original composition by Meyer. “[The piece] was inspired by the places [Meyer] travels,” said Kendall on stage. “It was written about Pittsburgh, where there’s a place called the Point, where three rivers intersect, which reminds us of our relationship with each other.” The piece began slowly, but it suddenly sped up as the blending of the instrumentals grew louder and richer. It continued to alternate between smooth, delicate sections and rapid, frantic parts. Along with classical pieces, Time for Three also performed popular songs, beginning with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” De Pue led their slow, sorrowful rendition of the oft-covered classic, which ended with Meyer playing a tender melody on the bass that contrasted his signature funky and jazzy style demonstrated in previous songs. “I thought it was amazing, and I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the kind of jazzy twist they put on [the songs],” said Duschia Bodet ’16. Another cover of a popular song, Katy Perry’s “Firework,” created dramatic contrasts between the subdued verses and the bursting crescendo of the chorus. Meyer simulated the pop arrangement of the original song by playing a highly rhythmic, dance-like bass part and using the neck and scroll of his bass for percussion. One of the more conventional pieces of the night was “Concerto for Two Violins,” or “Bach Double,” by J.S. Bach. Although the relatively short piece focused on violins, Meyer’s bass remained fairly prominent. Frantic and joyous, the piece crescendoed to a roaring forte. “What they did with the ‘Bach Double’ was really cool,” said Evelyn Liu ’15. “I’ve played it before, and they did a similar but much more chaotic, crazy version.” Towards the end of the show, the band took audience requests and settled on a medley of Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell” and the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” “Ashokan Farewell,” an elegant, mournful piece, was dominated by the gently rising melody of the violins, while the hopeful, delicate “Blackbird” was centered around notes on the bass. The penultimate song, Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man” began by rising rapidly as the short notes built on one another. Kendall strummed frantically with his hand on his violin, like he would a guitar, and Meyer played a fast-paced, gallop-like bass part. The festive, energetic song particularly stood out after the more somber selections that preceded it. An audience hit, the song received a standing ovation at its dramatic, abrupt conclusion. “The Mumford and Sons [piece] was just unbelievable,” said James Garth ’13. “I love basses when they play really high and sound like a viola; it’s beautiful. It was just beyond words.” Time for Three ended the night by bringing their friend John Faber, who has written and collaborated with the group, to the stage to play the piano. Faber played a soft, intricately cascading piece for a few minutes, then was joined by Meyer. The two played back and forth; Meyer’s funky bass creating a sharp contrast with Faber’s melodic, traditional piano. Gradually, De Pue and Kendall joined as well, playing clearly separate but complementary parts that created a somewhat chaotic, but well-executed finale. Time for Three’s performance was funded by the Bernard and Mildred Kayden Fund, a fund for the arts at Andover that was established by the Kayden family to invite distinguished artists to campus. Lucy Walker, the documentary filmmaker who spoke at All-School Meeting, was brought to campus as a Kayden Visiting Filmmaker. According to the Andover website, past Kayden artists have included Grammy-winning vocalist Bobby McFerrin and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.