March, 2019-Choristers: Infusing classroom instruction with world music
At the start of the 2018-2019 school year, two teachers at Talent Elementary invited Rogue World Music to integrate our Choristers program into their classroom instruction on a weekly basis. We are now wrapping up our SECOND session in each of these classrooms, and could not be more excited about the direction our Choristers program is taking.
Initially, the Choristers program was an afterschool world music education program for 3rd – 5th grade students. The intended purpose has always been to help children tap into the joy of expression through music and dance. We want children to have the option to access singing as a tool for happiness throughout their lives.
By moving our teaching in classrooms we have the opportunity to reach twice as many students with the same resources, to help teachers incorporate music into everyday class instruction, and to use music as a means to connect student with other cultures and with their peers. Instructing in a classroom also makes it possible for us to consistently build on student skill levels from session to session.
At the start of our second in-class session, we discovered that students were thrilled to be given a chance to share what they learned in the first session, and helped each other remember the lyrics as they sang the songs. Children were sharing joy, laughter, excitement, teamwork, and encouragement.
As we move forward with further in-class instruction, we continue to incorporate input from each classroom teacher. Our goal is to develop a curriculum that can be used in any classroom to help teachers and students infuse their lives with music. The second session of in-class Choristers wraps up on March 12th, and we look forward discovering how our students use song and movement to amplify the positive in their lives.
February, 2019-Step into Celtic Music Traditions at Rogue World Ensemble Concert
We are almost ready for our Step We Gaily: Rogue World Ensemble Concert! Friday, February 8th at Crater Performing Arts Center and Sunday, February 10th at @Ashland High School – Ashland, OR. $15 Advance General Admission, $20 at the door, $10 for Students (12+) & Seniors (65+), $5 for Children (11-). Get your tickets at rogueworldmusic.org/concerts/#rogueworldmusic #rogueworldensemble #celticmusic #musicpluscommunity #familyfriendly #morrisdance
Mark your calendars and get ready for an uplifting experience with theRogue World Ensemble in concert Friday, February 8th, 7 pm at Crater Performing Arts Center in Central Point and Sunday, February 10th, 4 pm at North Mountain Avenue Theater at Ashland High School. The program includes 20 different numbers, all with roots in Celtic and British traditions.
Over the years, the Ensemble has learned and performed songs from many different cultures, including a few with Celtic/British roots. We were inspired to plan an entire program focused on this musical tradition partly because of its diversity and beauty, partly by our access to traditional musical experts and culture-bearers who could teach us, and partly by the fact that so many Americans have some Celtic/British heritage in their ancestry, including many Ensemble members.
All performances in the concerts are pulled from deep in the Celtic music tradition. The Ensemble prefers songs that are connected to cultural roots. Often these have proven their durability and value through a long transmission process. And as in many cultures, music and dance are almost inseparable. Movement brings so much energy to the music! Several numbers incorporate dance with both members of the Ensemble and the Ashland Country Dancers (led by Brooke Friendly) – including a longsword dance and a border Morris dance with lively moves and colorful costumes.
While the songs and dances promise a fun evening, the purpose of the performance is not the music per se. The purpose is connecting – connecting with each other and with the culture – through the music. If the Ensemble did a perfect performance, aesthetically speaking, but it didn’t create real connection, it would not be a success. We pursue these cultural and musical paths of discovery with passion, as humble and grateful learners, and we strive to bring audiences with us on that journey. We know every culture has beautiful gifts to offer humanity, and if we can convey some of those, we have served our purpose.
The most-frequent feedback we receive from people post-concert is that they feel inspired. We think that shows people are having both a positive AND an energizing experience. We hope the experience inspires people to connect with each other and with artistic traditions of different cultures.
January, 2019-Brooke Friendly: “Step We Gaily” Season Guest Artist
We have been so excited to have Rogue World Music guest artist Brooke Friendly bring her energy, passion, and expertise as a teacher with specialties in dance choreography, calling with global (non-gendered) terminology, and teaching dance, to focus on a number of RWM events in connection with our upcoming “Step We Gaily” concert by the Rogue World Ensemble.
Friendly has been teaching Scottish and English dance since 1981 in K-12 settings, universities, camps, workshops, and classes. In addition to co-producing English and Scottish Country Dances of increasing international acclaim since 1996, she has also co-published five books of dances and produced accompanying CDs of music for each book; was a founding member of The Heather and the Rose Country Dancers, whose teachers use global terminology (no reference to gender) for calling dances; has served in many leadership capacities for the Country Dance and Song Society, including as the current the board secretary; and has been in several performing groups presenting English, Scottish, Irish and Garland dance.
Starting in September as the RWM guest artist, Friendly hosted two Pub Sings as fun, relaxed, community-singing opportunities; instructed dance students from Crater Renaissance Academy in the traditional and modern country dance styles of Scotland and England, and showcased these students in a November performance; AND organized and led a community ceilidh (a community get-together focused on dance, song, storytelling, and sharing found in a number of cultural traditions from the British Isles).
On January 12th, Friendly and RWM have planned a day filled with singing, dancing, education, and AMAZING music at The Grove, in Ashland. Join us at a singing workshop taught by Shira Kammen, focused on performing rounds, canons, catches, and other forms using musical imitation from the 12th to 17th centuries. In the afternoon, gather the family at a barn dance, with music by Creekside Strings, and calling by Friendly. Skipping, twirling, and galloping will be encouraged. After dinner, connect with community at our first Community Ceilidh of 2019, with music by Roguery and calling by Friendly and let the music, singing, movement, pattern, personal connection, and dance create an evening of warm hearts on a cold winter evening.
December, 2018-Creating Connections Through Music: the RWM 2018 Highlights
2018 has been a busy, rewarding year spent expanding existing programs, collaborating with other local organizations, and connecting with amazing people from through out the valley and the world! This year, we:
Co-producedthe 3rd Annual Ashland World Music Festival with the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission for the Rogue Valley community. Catch the 4th Annual AWMF on May 18th, 2019.
Taught world music in Talent Elementary School, Orchard Hill Elementary School Hawks, Sams Valley Elementary School, Jewett Elementary School, & Phoenix Elementary School through our Choristers for Kids program.
Produced 4 participatory community events highlighting cultural traditions from Central & South America, the Balkans, and Great Britain. Join us at our next Community Pub Sing on December 9th!
Collaborated with Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre to perform a Rogue World Ensemble concert series steeped in the cultures of Mexico, Central & South America, and the Caribbean.
Produced 3 concerts showcasing the traditional music of the Romani, the Balkans, and Russia.
Brought in guest artists to teach Crater Renaissance Academy students in the musical traditions of South Africa and Great Britain.
As always, your support and participation is key to widening the circle of engagement. Thank you for celebrating local and global communities with us. Help continue the joyful celebration of connection through music with a donation through our website!
November, 2018-RWM Fall/Winter Season Kick-off: A Community Ceili
Ceili or ceilidh or ceílí or cilydd. No matter how the word is spelled or pronounced, the events are similar: an evening of community connection through participatory dance, singing, music, and storytelling that has roots in the Celtic and Gaelic cultures of many countries.
This fall and winter season, Rogue World Music’s is diving into musical traditions from throughout Great Britain, including our own Ceili Community Music Party on Sunday, November 4th. Opening our Step We Gaily season, this fun social event is based on traditional Scottish and Irish ceilidhs. Co-hosted with Brooke Friendly of the Ashland Country Dancers, this party is part variety show, part audience participation. Our ceili gathering includes:
Music by the Corner Boys
Dancing performances by the Misty Mountain Cloggers & students from Crater Renaissance Academy
Performances by the Rogue World Ensemble
All aspects of the evening are family-friendly, and children are welcome. No admission is required, but a suggested donation of $5-20 is appreciated.
Continuing on, our fall/winter season includes a number of opportunities to experience the lovely music of the Celtic lands. Lift your voice and a glass at our next pub sing; support young artists exploring traditional dance at a showcase; be carried away by haunting harmonies in our RWE Step We Gaily concert; and let the richness of these musical traditions carry you on a joyful journey to many lands.
September, 2018- Uplift Your Mind, Body, & Spirit Through Song
“Singing, the vocal production of musical tones, is so basic to man its origins are long lost in antiquity and predate the development of spoken language.” – John Koopman, Lawrence University.
There is no doubt that singing has been a part of the human experience for quite some time, and now more and more research is saying that singing, especially in a group, is a fantastic way to take care of yourself. It is proven to affect us profoundly at a physical, emotional, and mental level.
On the physical level, the benefits of singing are now being compared to exercise. It boosts the immune system, increases pain thresholds, and improves blood circulation- which can increase mental alertness. Singing also improves sleep by strengthening the throat and the palate. And, all of the technique work improves posture, lung capacity, and diaphragm soundness. However, this wealth of positive effects on a person are just the beginning.
Emotionally, singing has a myriad of immediate outcomes as well. The act of singing creates a feelings of elation, serenity, trust, and bonding through the release of endorphins and oxytocin. The sacculus, a tiny organ in the ear, responds to frequencies created by singing with an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of the quality. Time magazine states that “what researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.”
But most powerful is the way that singing, especially in a group, can affect anyone’s mental state. Those feelings of trust and bonding created by the release of oxytocin help singers in a group feel connected. The synchronization of breathing, movement, and sound in a group are proven to help all the members share an experience that registers as meaningful in a very unique way. “At the moment it is speculative, but it could be that singing in a group gives us something that we have lost as a society,” stated Nick Stewart, of Oxford Brookes University.
Curious about how singing might improve your life? Feeling like it is time for a new adventure? Auditions for the Rogue World Ensemble fall season are open now and we would LOVE for you to join us. Auditioning is easy, brief, and fun. Spend 30 minutes singing and learning a snippet from the current RWE repertoire. Little is required beyond a willingness to learn new skills, finding joy in song, and a little artistic ambitiousness.
Rehearsals are every Tuesday, beginning on September 11th, 6:15 pm at Bellview Grange 1050 Tolman Cr. Rd. Ashland. This season the cultural focus is on music from the Celtic and British Isles traditions. So audition, and participate in world music, enhance your own and others’ appreciation for diverse cultures, and help inspire a sense of global community. Uplift your spirit in song. To audition email Val Rogers.
August, 2018-Transplanted Zimbabwean Traditions Blossom on West Coast
Zimbabwean music has traditionally been closely connected to the ideas of community, and used to develop human consciousness and healthy societies. Dumisani “Dumi” Maraire, born and raised in Zimbabwe and a professor of ethnomusicology at University of Washington and Evergreen State College in the 1970’s, managed to single-handedly bring marimba and mbira music from Zimbabwe to North America, and Seattle specifically.
The West Coast has become a Zimbabwean music hot spot because of Dumi’s teaching and sharing, despite the fact that he moved home to Zimbabwe for good in 1990. Many of his marimba students followed Dumi to Africa for further instruction, learning even more about traditional Zimbabwean music and its cultural significance in communities. This has created a network of connections between African and American musicians, and a cross-cultural and cross-national sense of community.
The Zimbabwean Music Festival, also known as “Zimfest,” is an annual celebration of Zimbabwean music and culture on the West Coast. Zimfest 2018 is August 9th-12th, in Monmouth, Oregon. Started 26 years ago by former students of Dumi, Zimfest is the largest annual gathering in North America of students, teachers, performers, and fans of Zimbabwean music. Over a 4-day weekend, participants can attend concerts, workshops, community conversations, and connect with the rich legacy of cultural expansion created by an incredible musician and teacher.