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NORTHERN STAR Issue 14, Volume 14, Thursday, 3 April 2008

Music prodigy drums up support for local charity - By Terra Sword

At an age when most of us were playing in mud or crying because we had to start little school all by ourselves, (pictured) was already playing the piano and composing songs.

By the time he was eight, 60 of Gene’s original compositions had been recorded, at age 12 he discovered a natural talent for drumming and percussion, and at 14 he left school to pursue his musical passion fulltime.

At age 20, Gene has already achieved great musical success.

He won both the Billy Hydes National Drum Playoffs and Australia’s Up and Coming Drummer of the Year in 2006 and in 2007 created his own stage production, Gene Peterson Live, which has been selected to be toured by the Queensland Arts Council in 2009.

He recently performed at the Singapore Arts Festival and Holland Dance Festival and will shortly embark on a tour to Dubai and Romania but not before using his extraordinary talents to raise funds for important projects in his home town of Lismore.

Gene is presenting Gene Peterson Live for one night only at Southern Cross University this Saturday, April 5, to raise money for Our Kids and five local Rotary clubs.

Gene Peterson Live is an exhilarating rhythmic spectacular that seamlessly combines technical drumming with humorous novelty acts. As well as watching Gene go ballistic with his drumsticks and keyboard, you can marvel at his innovation as he plays everything from pots, pans and cutlery from his mother’s kitchen to an old typewriter. His show also features some exciting special guests - master percussionist Greg Sheehan, internationally-awarded beat boxer Tom Thum and dancers from the Raw Dance Company – who collaborate with Gene in an awesome spectacle of improvisation and musical creativity. It’s fun, ingenious and like nothing you have seen before.

Gene has already garnered high praise for this unique show. The North Coast Entertainment Industry Association described it as “A stunning percussion performance!”, the Northern Star declared it was “A bout of drumming magic!”, while Gene’s neighbour, Aldo simply said “Holy s#*t!!”

Gene Peterson Live will be performed at SCU’s Whitebrook Theatre this Saturday, April 5. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students or pensioners at the door.

Redlands Performing Arts Centre - Media Release

Novelty, comedy and rhythm are a winning combination

Gene Peterson is a remarkable 22 year old who is making unique waves in the music scene.  His philosophy of creating music that is fun and accessible to everyone will be evident in the exhilarating rhythm and dance show, Gene Peterson Live, when he performs at the Redland Performing Arts Centre in August.

Gene has teamed up with internationally-acclaimed tap/hip hop dancers, Raw Dance Company, as well as New Zealand’s master percussionist, Seleni Sulusi, to create a rhythmic extravaganza that is as comedic and novel as it is technically accomplished.

Gene spoke of the driving force behind the show. “If I can put a smile on people’s face and make them laugh or be ‘wowed’, if I can do the music justice, then I have succeeded,” he said.

Gene comes from a musical family and has had a musical education that goes well beyond his years, learning his first instruments at five, and then leaving school at 14 to pursue full time music studies for three years.  He was touring with professional musicians by the time he was 17 and has completed over 20 tours since then.

In 2006, at age 18, he also won the ‘Australia’s Up and Coming Drummer of the Year’ award and the ‘Billy Hyde National Drum Play-Offs’.  He is an accomplished pianist, drummer, teacher, and composer and has played on MTV, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, ‘The Shak’ and at the Astra Awards.

This single-minded dedication to music means that where the rest of us see an everyday object, Gene sees music in everything.  “People will sit at a dinner table and see knives, forks, plates and glasses, but I will see an array of musical instruments waiting to sing their song … people don’t realise how much music is around them all the time, even by using their own bodies,” he said.

This talent shines through in his performance where everyday objects become part of the ‘wow’ factor of the show – be it old cans, typewriters, kitchen utensils or kid’s toys.  Combined with amazing technical feats and the blistering tap-dancing and drumming, Gene Peterson Live is an unmissable show that has something for everyone. – whether they are professional percussionists, drumming enthusiasts, grandmothers or grandsons.

Gene Peterson Live is showing at Redland Performing Arts Centre Concert Hall on Saturday 28 August, 7.30pm.  Ticket prices are $34 for adults and $30 for pensioners and seniors and $18 for 17yrs and under.  The concert is suitable for all ages.