The Art of Ascension

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This is Where it Ends! Aaron Johnson, also known as CODA, has just completed his senior recital, The Art of Ascension, on April 14th at Staples Family Music Hall. He personally produced and arranged half the program himself! Afterwards, CODA had a chance to answer a few questions regarding his overall thoughts on the performance:

Q: “What inspired you to call your final presentation The Art of Ascension?”

A: The recital embodies my new project.  The music that is being created and the sets that were displayed go hand and hand. It comments on society, culture and challenges our way of thinking. I wanted people to get a sense of how things [have been] taken up a notch.

Q: “How many instruments are you trained in?”

A: Since I’m a percussionist, it’s pretty much anything that I can strike. On the more classical side, some examples that were in the program are the marimba and the xylophone.

Q: Now that your chapter of CMU is closing, what’s the next move for CODA?

A: For CODA, it is to continue to develop my mission onward. I want to be able to work with sponsors to get my dreams off the ground.  I don’t want to wait down the road for things to start-up when I can go out and find people who can help get things off the ground now. After graduating, I will be working near the Detroit area as a full-time musician at a local church, which will benefit steady income for me to continue with my work.

Q: How relieved are you that all your hard work has paid off?

A: It’s indescribable. To have done a final display is what makes it real. Usually at the end of the school year it would just be exams, but since I had to put on a production- it is more of  a “this is where it ends”. I felt relieved, anticipation, and just excited beyond belief when it finally came all together.

Q: What did you envision when you created Art of Ascension? How was the program set up?

A: The program consists of classical percussion with hip-hop elements. Half of the program was strictly percussion like Tricks of the Trade, which was drum set and snare drum duet. Gyro, which was a set-up with various drums. Then concluded Electronic Thoughts, which was Marimba set. The program was split into showing what I can do a percussionist and as a rapper.

‘Music Portfolio’ is a great way to describe it because it shows my academic skills in percussion and what I have evolved in. It showed versatility-my depth in percussion and gifts in music. Kind of where my music started and where it’s going forward from then on.

Q: Finally, name one emotion you were feeling where everything was finally completed.

A: Elation.  After everything was over, I had the biggest grin on my face, especially when I saw that everything was going well and ended the way I was proud of. My dad, whose demeanor is more on the serious side, at the end grabs me and says “You inspire me,” and a moment like that rarely happens so it meant so much to me.

Moving forward, CODA will continue to show his gifts through his new job and other opportunities that will give him an edge to push through the visions he has for his life.