For Tristan Swihart, a former student of Northridge and a native of Goshen, the music is “special”.
“Music is one of those rare things that can really unite people from all kinds of backgrounds,” Swihart said. “At the end of the day, I love playing music that I love listening to myself, and being able to share it with others is really special.”
His musical partner, Micah Detweiler, feels much the same.
“I don’t know if drumming was really a choice,” said Detweiler, a Goshen College graduate and former teacher at Northridge High and Middle Schools. “I was quite obsessed from a young age. I had toy drums that I loved and beat on my parents’ pots and pans. Music as a whole interested me, but always the drums and percussion more than anything else.
Although both have roots in Elkhart County, Swihart and Detweiler now divide their time between Goshen and Madison, Wis., as founding members of duo pax, a percussion project that, in their words, “aims to break down preconceived ideas about contemporary percussion through collaboration”. and new creation.
“We hope to continue sharing our projects through live performances and videos,” Swihart added.
The two first met in 2012, when Detweiler began working with the Northridge Raider Marching Band, where Swihart was a student. Formerly a teacher and student, the two are now fellow musicians working on several new musical projects and recently completed a tour through Indiana and Wisconsin.
“After studying with Micah for five years, I went on to study with Michael Burritt at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where I received my Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance as well as a Certificate in artistic leadership in the spring of 2021,” Swihart said. “I currently live in Madison, Wisconsin, where I am a full-time freelance musician.”
Detweiler has also turned his lifelong passion into a career, both in teaching and performing.
“I balance most of my time between teaching private lessons, performing concerts, and teaching as an adjunct at Goshen College and Indiana University South Bend,” he said.
So far, the duo pax has performed entirely in the Midwest, but Swihart hopes that will change.
“Performing to national and even global audiences is something we are very interested in, but ultimately we will continue to measure our success by the projects we create and the relationships we build with our collaborative artists along the way. “, did he declare.
Swihart also explained how he and Detweiler, in addition to the performance aspects, are also working on the logistical aspects.
“I also spend a lot of time doing administrative work for pax duo,” he said. “Micah and I have shared management responsibilities for our ensemble. Some of my duties include booking our tours, organizing the logistics of percussion equipment and liaising with our collaborators.
“We work closely on grants and artistic decisions (like repertoire and determining who we want to collaborate with), and often work on four to five different projects at a time. Organization and regular board meetings are key to getting everything done.
For those considering a career in music, the two offer some advice.
“Careers in music can be tricky,” Swihart said. “Every musician’s career is unique to their own art methods and how they make money from it. Ultimately, you have to really believe in what you’re doing and love the process of doing it.
Speaking as a former music teacher, Detweiler describes music as a very rewarding but not necessarily easy career path.
“First of all, listen to a bunch of music, your teachers, others who have done it before, whatever knowledge you can soak up,” he said. “My other big tip is to be flexible in what your understanding of a career in music might look like. I know hundreds of musicians and only a few of them are full-time performers. Most balance several different elements to create a cohesive career.
Detwiler offers some final thoughts.
“Music is pretty cool in the way it can take you places you don’t expect,” he said.