RWM BLOG 2018-12-03T13:54:00+00:00

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-produced the 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
  • Storytelling
  • Dance instruction
  • Sing-alongs

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.

If you want to research the effects of singing further, check out the source material for this article: Take Lessons: Live   Time Magazine   CNBC   Huffington Post   The Telegraph   Journal of Public Mental Health

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.