Performance Ensembles

English morris dance and mummers theatre ensembles

Requirements: voice, fiddle, folk percussion, rudimentary dance abilities

Ensembles will rehearse and perform customary morris dances and mummers music-theatre from England and Newfoundland. Performances will be based on scripts, songs and music specific to the season in which the rehearsals take place.

British Columbia Roots Music

Requirements: fiddle (the centerpiece), step-dance, voice, banjo, guitar, harmonica, percussion

As well as learning the standard repertoire, students will learn music and step-dances common to British Columbia, particularly during the time of the Gold Rush in Barkerville. Ballads and sing-arounds will be a major part of the music-making.

Irish, Scottish and English “Session” Ensembles

Requirements: voice, penny whistle, step-dance, fiddle. wooden flute, bodhran

Ensembles will be comprised of soloists, trios or quartets, playing individually and in a large group.  The repertoire will consist of vernacular dance and vocal music from Ireland and Scotland. Everybody will be encouraged to learn and perform a song or two, while trained singers will be required to sing ballads. Beginners on the fiddle (as opposed to concert violin) will be welcome.

Japanese Music and Dance

Buddhist Chant

Requirements: voice, percussionists

Students will learn the melodies and texts of Buddhist Chant, Shomyo, which will be an excellent contrast to their study of Western Plainchant.

Wind Music Inspired by Zen Buddhism

Requirements: wind-players, and any other music students that feel they can play a wind instrument

As well as playing the shakuhachi, and learning to read the notation, students will also discover the basics of Zen Buddhist meditation and the life-styles of the Komuso, the warrior monks who played the flute.  The course will be open to all wind players, because the music can be adapted for any Western wind instrument.

Matsuri Festival Music

Requirements: vertical flute, drummers, dancers and singers

Students will become familiar with the festival music and dance (matsuribayashi) of Japan and the local Japanese-Canadian community

As the Japanese music program progresses I will want to introduce sankyoku ensembles comprised of shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen, using the tutorial resources in the city.  I will also want to organize a full court orchestra ensemble if a budget can be procured.

English Fife and Drum

This course is open to all students, regardless of their ability to play a music instrument. The fifers will be introduced to the rudiments of the fife, and the drummers will be assigned to particular drum types, depending on their ability.

Regardless of the presence of beginners, those with drumming and flute-playing experience will also have ample opportunities to develop their skills in new areas, and take leadership roles.

The Fife and Drum ensemble will be principally a marching ensemble, although there will be opportunities to present their choreographic music performances on stage. The choreographies begin with crisp marching routines, similar to a military band, but they will evolve into street and floor patterns that will be performed while playing. The band has the advantage of making an important contribution to a campus because of its excellent potential for being highly visible without a great deal of preparation and no electronic infrastructure.

In addition to having a great deal of fun and rising to the challenges of playing and marching, the students will learn about the elements of visual presentation and the history of an important thread of Western European history going back to the Renaissance and the Swiss military fife bands.

There could be opportunities to perform joint concerts with world music ensembles like the Japanese Taiko groups that use the transverse flute, shinobue. And a natural pairing might be with the local militia bands, in Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Tambourine Ensemble

Students will be introduced to the world of the tambourine and other frame drum genres that are located from Spain to the Far West (i.e., Middle East), and are as old as the earliest books of the bible (for example, the instrument played by Miriam, the sister of Moses).

This course will be of particular interest to women because females have dominated this genre from time immemorial. The tambourines were used to accompany song and dance, and to provide colour and celebration for seasonal ritual events.

One dance genre that may be explored in the company of the tambourine ensemble is the Middle Eastern raqs sharqi (“eastern dance”), also known as “belly dance”, taught by guest instructors.

Tambourines in the form of Timbral Brigades have been introduced to the world by the Salvation Army, and their repertoire has deepened the repertoire and suggested exciting new stage presentations.

Students are not required to have any previous experience with percussion instruments. Their only requirement is to read percussion notation and be comfortable with rhythms and complex hand motions.

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