This Friday, Nov. 30, the University of Dayton’s Javanese Gamelan and World Music Choir will perform together free of charge in KU Ballroom at 8 p.m.
As the second largest musical ensemble in the world, the Javanese Gamelan is made up of all percussion instruments created in Indonesia, said director and assistant music professor Heather MacLachlan.
“One way that we’re different from other ensembles on campus is that the music is learned through a technique known as rote, not paper,” she said. “The music is sang or demonstrated for the students, and they are to perform from memory. You could say the students learn by ear or by heart.”
“It takes longer to prepare, but we’re ready for the concert,” MacLachlan said.
The performance will feature traditional Javanese Gamelan songs, which MacLachlan describes as ringing resonant bell sounds that are typically played slowly and repetitively.
“It’s very dignified,” she said. “It was originally created as background music for royalty, nothing like the audience will regularly hear.”
According to UD’s ensemble and performances website, the World Music Choir explores, learns and performs “a diverse repertoire of world choral music in its cultural and historical context with the help of cultural ‘informants,’ either in person or through the use of audio and video technology.”
Performances often include percussion instruments and movement, the website said.
The director of the World Music Choir, Sharon Davis Gratto, came up with the idea to combine the two ensembles, and that they are excited to bring a whole new sound to campus, said MacLachlan.
Both directors have traveled and lived all over the world, and MacLachlan said that she and Gratto always like trying new things.
While the performance is not necessarily part of a series by the music department, both ensembles typically have a concert or recital around this time of year towards the end of the semester, but this is the premiere of the two appearing together, MacLachlan said.
“We are very grateful for our audience,” she said. “Students are going to hear music that they’ve never heard before and experience new beauty.”
To learn more about the Javaneve Gamelan ensemble or the World Music Choir, contact MacLachlan or Gratto through the music department at 937-229-3936.