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Making noise

Misunderstood and underappreciated, percussion players step forward to tell their story.

By Graydon Royce
Star Tribune

For three hours, Joe Nathan sits and watches the Minnesota Twins play ball. Then, the relief pitcher is asked to get three quick outs in the ninth inning. In 2007, the Twins played 1,458 innings. Nathan pitched in 72. Yet if he fails, a victory is lost. He is indispensable to the club.

Imagine now the percussionist perched at the back of the Minnesota Orchestra. He waits in fretful anticipation as the instruments around him furiously exhaust themselves, playing Mahler's Ninth Symphony. Finally, Osmo Vänskä fixes his eyes on the percussion section and gestures for the cymbals.

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