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Kris Krisanalome shares how music mentors at BYU–Hawaii have helped him hone his percussion skills

Kris Krisanalome poses for a photo with his drum sticks

When he was 6 years old, Kris Krisanalome said he learned to play the drums from his father. Krisanalome explained this is both how he and his father became closer and how he discovered his love for all things percussion, specifically the drum set.

Krisanalome, from Thailand, is a senior studying music performance with an emphasis in percussion. He shared he applied to BYUH because of how much his mother wanted him to experience life at BYUH.

He expressed how he could feel his parents’ love and support, despite the miles between them.

“They love music, so they support me on this path I chose ... Music kind of connects us together, even when we’re not living together.

“It’s been great [being at BYUH]. I really like it because it is very diverse, and also I think I made the right choice to become a music major because I have learned so much. I have come a lot further than I expected, and I feel like when I go home, I can do a lot of things there.”

Krisanalome said one of the main sources of knowledge in his college experience was his mentor Darren Duerden, who is a professor in the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts and is primarily in charge of percussion.

After working together for more than three years, Duerden described Kris as independent, in that he is willing to set up his own equipment, take it down, take initiative in learning his pieces, and being on time for all of their rehearsals and shows.

“I’ve always thought the world of him. Whenever we have a rehearsal, I never have to think of if Kris will be there ... He is always there, and he is always cheerful and willing to learn. In that sense, I would personally take him over any drum set player I have had in the past 30 years. He’s definitely bought into the BYU–Hawaii vision of things. He’s the poster child for BYU–Hawaii’s success.”

Kris Cut Loose

Duerden and Krisanalome shared how they were able to come together particularly through his senior percussion recital, which took place on Jan. 25 in the McKay Auditorium. According to both of them, Krisanalome worked on his recital performances for about 12 hours a week since last year to master his art.

During this performance, Krisanalome said the recorded track for his last number did not work as they intended it to, so he decided to do an impromptu drum set solo. Duerden lovingly referred to this as, “Kris Cut Loose.”

Krisanalome explained, “I thought ‘Cut Loose’ was a cool name because that’s my specialty ... Drum set is something I’m really comfortable with and I feel confident with it when I’m on it, so that’s why it was called ‘Cut Loose.’ I don’t feel pressure or any nervousness. I just let it go.”

Jennifer Duerden, an adjunct faculty in the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts and another mentor to Krisanalome, said the main reason Krisanalome is able to be successful, outside of hours of dedicated efforts, is how well he listens to the music he is performing.

“The thing is, every time he would learn something it’s like he would retain that knowledge and learn a little bit more,” Jennifer Duerden said. “He does really well ‘in the moment’ because he comes so prepared. He really listens to the music and absorbs it, and he has learned so many things since he has been here because he is willing to be humble and to learn what there is to learn.”

Darren Duerden branched off of this when he explained Krisanalome’s unique ability to absorb his music. “A big difference between amateur musicians and professional musicians is their ability to listen while they play. Kris is a really good listener, so he always fits what he does to the music. He is never going to overpower it or try to do something to show off for himself.”

Both of the Duerdens commented on how Krisanalome is central to their steel band, salsa orchestra, and the street band because of the preparation he is willing to put into the music.

Plans for the future

After Krisanalome graduates in Spring 2020, he spoke about his aspirations to work in recording studios and performing percussion. He is currently working with the Media Production Center and said he wants to get as much exposure to the Recording Studio as possible to produce his own original content.

Krisanalome expressed his love for Jazz and Latin music and how much he wants to spread those genres to Thailand. “If I go home, I will definitely do more performing and maybe teaching. In Thailand, I love Jazz music and playing Jazz, as well as Latin music. Not a lot of people perform those styles in Thailand, so I want to spread more of that knowledge.”

Because she has worked so closely with Krisanalome for the past years, Jennifer Duerden expressed how she believes Krisanalome will be able to succeed in anything he sets his mind to, because of his peaceful disposition.

“He is just so easy and great to work with. He is the type ... who, if we call and ask for help, will step up immediately and help. He is willing to volunteer and do things ... He’ll do anything without even being paid. I think it is because of his personality that makes us love him so much.”

Above all else, Krisanalome said the main way to be passionate and invested in his art that has made him successful is the needed preparation and genuine joy he put into his work.

“I just would say love what you do and just be confident in what you are doing.”