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Music, Art Collide in Free Concert at STLCC-Forest Park

August 23, 2010

Tom Zirkle  
Music and art will collide when Tom Zirkle and Matt
Isaacson, professors at Forest Park, will perform in
"Synesthesia," a free concert at 7 p.m. Thursday,
Aug. 26, in the Mildred E. Bastion Center for the Per-
forming Arts.

Thomas Zirkle, associate professor in music, plays every type of percussion there is -- drums, cowbell, trash cans. On Thursday, Aug. 26, he will collaborate with sculptor Matt Isaacson, a new ceramics professor in art, for a one-of-a-kind concert called "Synesthesia."
This special blend of improvised art and music will take place at 7 p.m. in the Mildred E. Bastian Center for the Performing Arts on the Forest Park campus. The concert is free and open to the public.
"This will be unlike anything you've ever seen -- guaranteed," Zirkle said.
Known as "Dr. Z," Zirkle is an Indiana native who has been at Forest Park for seven years. He said the improvised aspect of the performance "is part of the excitement."
Zirkle will play a variety of percussion instruments, while Isaacson will complete visual art and project some artwork.
Isaacson, who came last spring from Michigan, also plays guitar. Dr. Z is his faculty mentor. "He will also do some acting, of the silent movie type," Zirkle said. "There will be humor, lots of different and interesting things."
Dr. Z plays in three different local bands: he plays the conga drums in a salsa group with fellow educators called Musica Slesa; is in a jazz trio; and The Wheat Brothers, where he is known as Tschaffe, and the leader, Gene Gardner, is called Buckwheat.
He started playing drums at age 10, and can't even begin to count the number of percussion instruments he can now play. "It's everything that you hit -- it's really infinite."
This summer, Zirkle spent two months in China on sabbatical, and is writing a book on ethnic tambourines. He also became engaged, and his fiance, Hikari, will arrive stateside this semester. They met several years ago when she was studying in the United States.
Zirkle earned his bachelor's degree in music education from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., his master's in percussion performance from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and his Ph.D. in percussion performance from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.