Spirit Winter Percussion brought a crowd of thousands to its feet with a captivating performance of their 2017 show, The Etchings of a Soul: A Russian Illustration. The show explored the question of whether man forms who he is, or if his environment forms him and was portrayed through vignettes of the Russian people set to timeless works by Russian composers as Rachmaninoff, Khachaturian and Rimsky-Korsakov.

The show opened with a cadenza of the violin solo from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, that set the stage for the exploration of this unanswered question. Do you form who you are, or does your environment form you?

Book 1: Man
Here we explore the people of Russia. As reflected in Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, everything is BIG. We see the expansive Red Square, robust monuments, enduring people, and decadent buildings covered in gold; Russians are a proud, sturdy people. Then we look to the small villages located in the heart of the Siberian tundra where its inhabitants withstand arduous winters with temperatures as low as -89 degrees Fahrenheit! Across the tundra, the Yakut nomadic herders have endured these rough winters for hundreds of years and it has become a natural part of their lives. Does man form himself?

Book 2: Environment
Lush and expansive in a whole different way, we explore Russia’s land of colossal beauty and incredible diversity, using Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. This country’s geography spans 3.8 million square miles, stretching from the Baltic to the Bering Seas – about 70 times the size of the United Kingdom. The land includes broad plains with low hills, expansive coniferous forests, the tundra of Siberia and the uplands, the mountains along the southern border regions, and Lake Baikal—the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake. With only 7% of arable land, this rugged terrain is stunning and equally treacherous. Does the environment form you?

Book 3 & 4: The Question
These books continue to explore this question of whether man creates its environment, or whether the environment creates the man. Khachaturian’s Lezginka from the Gayane Suite, and a full arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, continued the conversation portraying man in his environment. Scholars have pondered and researched this question for hundreds of years, continuously coming up dry. In the end, the question has been stated and it’s up to each individual to continue to ponder this age old question, OR come to their own conclusion.

Do you form who you are, or does your environment form you?

Season Scores:

(Percussion Independent Open Division)

88.4—NESBA Show, Dartmouth, MA on February 25
89.4—NESBA Show, Tewksbury, MA on February 26
85.75 (1st)—WGI Regional Prelims, Trumbull, CT on March 4
86.9 (1st)—WGI Regional Finals, Trumbull, CT on March 4
90.2—NESBA Regionals, Dartmouth, MA on March 11
91.7—NESBA Show, Somerset Berkley, MA on March 19
89.9 (1st)—WGI East Coast Power Regional Prelims, Toms River, NJ on March 25
89.425 (1st)—WGI East Coast Power Regional Finals, Toms River, NJ on March 26
97.5 (1st)—NESBA Championships, Salem, MA on April 8
WGI World Championships:
92.475 (4th)—Prelims, Oxford, OH on April 20
94.638 (2nd)—Semi-finals, Oxford, OH on April 21
94.025 (4th)—Finals, Dayton, OH on April 22


Spirit Winter Percussion | PO Box 2831 | Orleans, MA, USA | 508-255-4044