World-class marimbist creates a musical love letter to Key West


Taking a pause from creating new work during his artist residency at The Studios of Key West, musician Ben Wahlund paid a visit to Key West High School to demonstrate the tremendous scope and resonance of the marimba. JOHNNY WHITE / COURTESY PHOTO

Taking a pause from creating new work during his artist residency at The Studios of Key West, musician Ben Wahlund paid a visit to Key West High School to demonstrate the tremendous scope and resonance of the marimba. JOHNNY WHITE / COURTESY PHOTO

As part of his artist residency at The Studios of Key West, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 13. Ben Wahlund, a Grammy nominated, award-winning music educator, composer and performer, will present “Mile Marker Zero,” a recitallength solo marimba work comprised of 12 short pieces — an assortment of musical memories collected around Key West. Tickets for the concert can be purchased at a special summer price of only $15, $10 for Studios of Key West members.

“Wahlund has spent the first weeks of his residency discovering the places and people who make Key West so unique,” said Elena Devers, Studios of Key West deputy director. “With songs like ‘Dolphin Watch,’ ‘Electric Cars and Tiki Bars’ and ‘Salty Women,’ he’s developed a repertoire for his concert that celebrates the spirit of the island.”

Wahlund serves as the director of percussion at the College of DuPage and is a full-time instructor at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. He performs in ¡The Screaming Norwegians! Percussion Duo, the Naper Chamber Players and Chicago area orchestras. Wahlund’s musical compositions have won numerous awards and are performed around the world. Ranging from jazz to rock, funk, classical and more, his eclectic voice on marimba and compelling storytelling for each piece engages audience members of all ages and backgrounds.

Serving as an island liaison for Wahlund, local musician Skipper Kripitz has enjoyed getting to know his fellow percussionist.

“Ben has an instantly perceptible, wide-open creativity. He gets the wonder of it, and joyfully swims in it,” said Kripitz, “and his compositions, conjured so masterfully, reflect that. Ben is a standout. You do not want to miss the chance to hear him perform.”

“Mile Marker Zero” runs approximately 75 minutes, and will feature contributions from special guests and co-residents Laurel Oswald Clark, visual artist, and Sara Fruner, spoken word artist.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.tskw.org or by calling 305-296-0458. The Studios of Key West can be found at 533 Eaton Street. For more information, contact Elena Devers at elena@tskw.org. ¦

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