From Boxes to Bach: Trevor Dolce

Photo by Junhee Ryu
Trevor Dolce plays the marimba, snare drum, and the timpani, the three main percussion instruments as they all represent different skills required to be a percussionists. The marimba requires melodic sensibility, the snare drum rhythm, and the timpani a balancing act between the two.

Farhad Taraporevala and Junhee Ryu

From the beautiful melodies of the marimba to the crisp snare drum beats, percussion coach Trevor Dolce’s performance on May 10 highlighted his skills in a percussion concert performed in the theatre. Dolce played the marimba, snare drum, timpani and maracas, displaying a wide range of music genres from classical to contemporary.

The audience was able to truly feel the emotion in each of his pieces, showing Dolce’s ability to perform beyond the notes on a page and deliver a message to the audience.

Dolce has dedicated many hours of work since January to bring this performance to life. His playing truly reflected his dedication and talent. Dolce’s maraca performance was aided by his many years of Kendo, a modern form of Japanese martial arts, which allowed him to move with grace and flow throughout the highly technical piece.

“A lot of what I did was some slow motion practice. [It’s] playing extremely slow, but still fluid, following through with all the motions,” Dolce said. “Getting your hands up to par with playing all that complex, rudimental stuff as well as the Delécluse [a composer of the snare drum pieces Dolce played] is very demanding with dynamics.”

Dolce currently is the instructor for the school’s percussion ensemble and tutors a handful of students privately on various percussion instruments. The performance showcased Dolce’s ability to coax different emotions from one note, shaping the way the audience felt during the piece.

“I think it was just seeing how even though it is one instrument, it can be played so many different ways and create so many different sounds,” sophomore Audrey Chiang said.

Dolce’s passion for percussion dates back to when he was just 13, where he started with a drum set. He went to college as a drum set major, but after a semester, he changed to the classical route because it offered more opportunities to perform.

“When I first heard a rosewood marimba, I just told myself, ‘wow, that instrument just sounds so good… I want to learn to play it very very well,’ and from there, I just kept playing and playing and ended up going to graduate school in San Francisco and teaching along the side, of course, and now I’m here,” Dolce said.