Local band 'TORCH' is returning to Highline

By Winter Dorval - Staff Reporter

TORCH lights up campus with their next concert featuring songs from their new album on May 23.

The show will be in Building 7 at 12:15 p.m. and is free to staff and students.

This will be the band's second performance at Highline.

They will be playing some songs from their new CD, TORCH: The Album.

Their music "combines a classical chamber music approach with contemporary groove-based music," said Dr. Ben Thomas, music department coordinator at Highline.

"With four really active performers, scheduling can be difficult," said Dr. Thomas.

Their music changes often, and they can take six months to a year working on a song before they perform it, he said.

"We play challenging music. It takes longer to germinate and is more time intensive," said Dr. Thomas.

All of the band members are educators.

Dr. Ben Thomas is the percussionist and Bandoneón player in the band.

Brian Chin, on trumpets, is the chair of the music department at Seattle Pacific University.

Eric Likkel, the clarinet player, is an instructor at DigiPen.

Steve Schermer, on double bass, is the assistant principal bassist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra.

"Sometimes we have a set list, but other times we just play a few songs and see what the audience responds to," said Dr. Thomas.

They play 70 to 90 concerts per year, he said.

"The music we've written is for a quartet, and we always play together," said Dr. Thomas.

"We try to make music that grooves and feels good but also challenges people emotionally and intellectually."

Students will have the opportunity to speak with the band members before and after the concert.

"Our music has a really strong social justice component. We have done suites on social justice projects and immigration," said Thomas.

The band members are "three of my closest friends so writing music and performing with people you love is a great opportunity," said Dr. Thomas.

Dr. Thomas has also been in Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto since 2005.

The show will be on May 23 at 12:15 p.m.

For more information about the concert visit www.torchthemusic.com/about/.

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