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Earlham Symphony Orchestra

Orchestra _Ch FantasyForrest Tobey, Director

The Earlham College Orchestra is a large ensemble dedicated to the performance of both standard and unusual orchestral repertoire. It is comprised of both music majors and non-majors who seek an opportunity to continue playing on their instrument of choice, even as they pursue other academic interests. Standards are of the highest level. Recent performances included an all-Beethoven concert in the fall of 2014 (entitled "Beethoven's Eclectic, Eccentric Evening") with Findlay Cockrell, piano soloist, followed by a multi-media performance in the spring of 2015 entitled "The Earlham Guide to the Galaxy," including a performance of Holst's The Planets with accompanying images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Past performances have included Mahler's 5th Symphony, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and collaborations with composer George Crumb, and with Kenny Bunch, DJ Spooky, and the Ahn Trio. The orchestra also commissioned and performed a new work by South Indian composer Ilayaraaja. Upcoming performances include plans for two new works for orchestra and gesturally-controlled interactive computer music, to be performed in the spring of 2016.

Javanese Gamelan Ensemble

Gamelan 2015Marc Benamou, Director

A gamelan is a large set of Indonesian instruments consisting mostly of melodic percussion, which are tuned to non-Western intervals, and which are used for traditional ritual music in Java and Bali. Our gamelan is from central Java, which is known for its highly refined music and dance (the moods range from solemn to exuberant, but always within a fairly controlled register). Pieces in the repertoire may be extremely simple or exceedingly difficult and complex (we begin with the simpler ones, of course, since this is really just an introduction to the tradition) and the instruments within the ensemble also range from quickly learned parts to ones that require much skill. The ensemble can thus accommodate people of widely varying backgrounds and innate musical ability. No previous musical training is assumed: knowledge of Western staff notation and music theory is irrelevant. Typically a single public concert will be given towards the end of the semester.

Jazz Ensemble and Latin Jazz

Jazz 2015Pavel Polanco-Safadit, Director

The Earlham Jazz Ensemble is a 24-member big band that performs classics from the Swing, Be-bop and Cool Jazz era in addition to more contemporary expressions. Unlike many other university jazz ensembles, the Earlham Jazz Ensemble embraces each player's unique style and instrumentation. Leaders of the ensemble participate in a steering committee, who help choose the repertoire and organize performances around the community, Indianapolis, and on-campus. Emphasis is on honoring the jazz tradition, while jazz improvisation is taught within the context of the rehearsal, with outside coaching available.

The Earlham Latin Jazz Combo explores salsa, merengue, cumbia, bolero, Latin jazz, and other multicultural musical genres of Latin America. With energy as the group's main component, the polyrhythmic material challenges as well as excites the players and the audience. The Earlham Latin Jazz Combo embraces each player's unique style and instrumentation. Leaders of the ensemble participate in a steering committee, who help choose the repertoire and organize performances around the community, Indianapolis, and on-campus. Outside coaching is available.

Hand Drum Ensemble

Handdrum 2015Keith Cozart, Director

Open to all students, this ensemble encourages both the musical novice and the master drummer. No previous musical knowledge is necessary. Concerts twice each semester in addition to impromptu events, jam sessions, and collaboration with student dance groups.

Rhythm Project

Keith Cozart, Director

Open to all students interested in percussion by audition.  This group rehearses, performs and functions as a typical percussion ensemble drawing repertoire from standard percussion literature, Latin/jazz standards, and novelty pieces as well as serving as the percussive section for other campus ensembles such as Orchestra, Concert Choir and Latin Jazz Combo. The ability to read standard melodic, harmonic and rhythmic notation is encouraged but not required; a student’s level of musicianship is of utmost importance. 

Batá Drumming: an introduction to the rhythms of Santeria

Pavel Polanco-Safadit, Director

This course begins the exploration of Batá drumming and singing from the traditions of the land of Yoruba, Nigeria and its cross-continental/cultural continuation better known as Santería; stemming from Cuba, Puerto Rico and the United States. Hand drumming and singing in the Yoruba language will be primary activities in the course. Previous musical experience is recommended, but not required.

String Quartet

This group is auditioned from the orchestra and rehearses and performs masterpieces from the vast repertoire of string quartet music.

Flute Choir

Elaine Bergman, Coach

The Flute Choir assembles flute players from around the campus to rehearse and perform unique flute repertoire. In the spring semester, five players from the orchestra will be forming a woodwind quintet to rehearse and perform masterpieces from the genre.

Brass Ensemble

Rich Begel, Coach

The Brass Ensemble rehearses and performs representative works from the literature for brass.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.