As part of the mission of Montgomery College, its music department and Professor Dawn Avery to bring communities together, they have established the Montgomery College World Ensemble. The MC World Ensemble consists of approximately 45 community and student members of diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who come together on Monday nights to rehearse traditional and contemporary world music. The MC World Ensemble is dedicated to representing our community’s rich diversity while serving the community through a variety of educational performances, assembly programs and benefit concerts to help raise awareness on specific world issues. The Ensemble offers free classes, coaching and performances in world music traditions. Each semester is organized according to the make-up and interests of the group and all attempts are made to represent the diverse community in which we live. This semester includes a large African djembe group led by Amadou Kouyate, one of our resident artists, and several smaller ensembles – a Korean chamber group, a Persian trio, a large ensemble of contemporary Middle Eastern music and dance, a Latin combo, a Tango-playing string ensemble, a women’s floor dance and chant ensemble of Marquesas Islands music, a Celtic vocal and string ensemble that also play contemporary Iroquois music, and a Reggae band. Smaller groups within the World Ensemble perform for school events and throughout the community from the Takoma Park Folk Festival to Town Hall. Students share their own musical and cultural expertise, and also receive coaching from a variety of scholars and artists. In addition, students learn leadership skills as they help form and produce their own bands, write arrangements, play outside gigs, and develop educational assembly programs.
The MC World Ensemble fosters the spirit of community participation in their hands-on concern for relevant world issues. Last year’s concerts were dedicated to help support the UN Water For Life Project. They studied and performed music and dance from around the world on the theme of water as part of our Water Music for Life Project and raised money for the UN’s Unicef Water Fund. As a result, they have been appointed a US Fund for Unicef Ambassador.
This year, the MC World Ensemble students collected toys and winter clothing for a Native American Reservation Drive in which a truck-load of items were driven out to South Dakota reserves over winter break. We also raised money through the Farafina Kan Music Scholarship Concert for both the MC Music Student Scholarship Fund and the Alessie African Music and Dance Scholarship in memory of Diallo Kouyate.
Support for and performance of indigenous arts are an integral part of the MC World Ensemble, and its mission within the community college. Students are encouraged to play for civic and community events and to participate in benefit performances, sharing their culture and privilege with that of the greater community. See Community Service link.
Our future goals include expanding our website to connect the community with local world artists and events, featuring student fieldwork projects, and promoting more world music and dance and service-learning in elementary through high school curriculum, expanding collaborations by working with outside institutions, such as the Smithsonian and House of Musical Traditions. Other goals include TV broadcasts featuring local world musicians, helping deserving students with scholarships, press kits, and demos and professional performing, and securing more funding and assistance for the World Arts Festival. Volunteers are welcomed!
|Causes||Arts & Culture Children & Youth International Media & Broadcasting|