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17th Annual Caprock Celtic Christmas!

Seventeenth Annual Caprock Celtic Christmas

A Desert Miracle

Saturday, December 16, 7pm

Maedgen Theater, TTU Campus – FREE to TTU students with valid ID!

Detailed descriptor

On Saturday December 16, at 7pm in the Maedgen Theater (18th and Canton) on the TTU campus, the Vernacular Music Center, the J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Caprock Celtic Association, and the Roots Music Institute present the 17th annual Caprock Celtic Christmas; this year’s theme is “A Desert Miracle.” Singers, players, dancers, storytellers, and more gather to perform traditional repertoires of the season.

Special guests include trumpeter Andrew Stetson and the Bassandan Brass, bagpiper Roger Landes avec Les Cinqs Cornemuses, Taos’s Chipper Thompson and Kim Treiber, and Texas songwriter Curtis Peoples. Caprock Morris and the Brothers Grimm dance teams provide the wild capers of the Border Morris, the Tech Irish Set-Dancers great social sets, step-dancer Sarah Midgely elegant slip-jigs and reels, and the Elegant Savages Orchestra presents traditional Breton, French, English, and Irish songs and tunes, as well as seasonal favorites from the “lost world of Bassanda.”  

A returning special feature this year: the sonorous voices and evocative language of poets & readers William Gelber, Angela Mariani, and Clint Barrick, with selections from Celtic and Bassandan holiday texts.

The Celtic Christmas has become a Lubbock favorite with adults and kids alike and advance purchase is strongly advised.

Tickets, which raise funds for the Vernacular Music Center Scholarship at Texas Tech, are available in advance at the School of Music and at (general admission $10.50; seniors $4.50) as well as at the door. Students (with valid ID) admitted FREE.

SPECIAL 10% PRICE DISCOUNT for block-purchases of 8 tickets or more!

Direct link for tickets:

[Eventbrite link]


Facebook Page at  

Facebook Event at

Photos from past Celtic Christmases:

Major talking points:

• Now in its 17th year

• Featuring readers William Gelber, Angela Mariani, and Clint Barrick

• Created & maintains the $10,000 endowment to fund the Vernacular Music Center scholarship

• Collaboration between students, faculty, and community members

• Has welcomed guest artists from all over the world

• Has entertained over 5500 guests

• Full-scale theatrical production in the Maedgen Theatre

• Has become a cornerstone event in the Vernacular Music Center's annual Fall calendar

Information and media contact:

Dr Christopher J Smith (; 806-438-5067); Professor Roger Landes (

The Elegant Savages Orchestra
Dr Christopher Smith, director;

Heather Beltz (flute, winds section leader); Casey Brito (clarinet); Jaclyn Bush (voice, dance); Anna Delay (voice, dance); Kendyl Dent (clarinet); Rachel Elder (voice, dance); Leland Freer (voice, dance); Benjamin Frost (percussion); Lea Fulton (guitar); Anissa Garcia (voice, dance); Karson Goggans (voice, dance); Tess Greenlees (flute); April Guo (voice, dance); Madison Haberl (horn, dance); Jeremy Isley (percussion, drum-set); Lizzie Jackson (oboe); Austin Jones (keyboards, (voice); Alexander Kolb (trumpet); Alexandra  LaGrone (voice, dance); Noelle LaGrone (voice, dance); Jordan Langehenning (pipes, whistle, oboe); Ella Lowrance (bassoon, sarrusaphone); Sara Marnik (horn); Kaitlyn Martinez (horn, dance); Jorge Martinez (trombone); Hussein Masimbi (percussion); Payton Massey (trumpet); Jessica Miller (trombone, brass section leader); Kay Millerick (flute); AJ Musella-Gonzales (trombone); Jamie Nielson (horn, dance); Christian Pennington (saxophone (tenor)); Hannah Percival (viola); Cedrik Rau (cello); Maria M.  Rodriguez (fiddle); Isaiah Rodriguez (saxophone (baritone)); Marshall Rogers (tuba, cembasso); Stephanie Shelton (fiddle, section leader); Elisa Shiller (voice, dance, section leader); Steve Stallings (guitar); Christopher Stockdale (saxophone (alto); Nathan Thorp (voice, dance, section leader); Chance Trimble (bass); Callie Watson (fiddle, voice); Anne Wharton (voice, dance, pipes); Morgan White (voice, dance, (percussion, dance captain); Alyssa Wixson (voice, dance, tin whistle)

websites: a/k/a

About Bassanda and the Elegant Savages Orchestra

The Elegant Savages Orchestra arose from the ashes of the Soviet-era National Radio Orchestra in the Soviet satellite state of Bassanda. Founded by Yezget Nasilsinez sometime in the late 1940s, when Bassanda National Radio first went on air with funds from the State Directorate, the Ulusal Radyo Orkestrasi (or BNRO) drew its personnel from all over Bassanda, in addition to various adventurous expatriate musicians from the West. Until the 1930s, when the Central Committee finally brought all regions of the mountainous interior and rocky coast under state political control, Bassanda had been the home of a wealth of highly regionalized and distinctive music, dance, and song traditions. Recognizing that centralization of state communications risked the erosion of regional styles and resulting “cultural grey-out,” Nasilsinez, who came from a family of traditional bards but who had also trained in Paris in the ‘20s with Boulanger, and had been an early informant of John Lomax senior, argued passionately for the recognition and protection of these local traditions, both through an ambitious though underfunded field-recording program and through the foundation of a state ensemble showcasing these idioms.

By the late 1980s, with the growth of glasnost and perestroika, and the example of the Bulgarian and Cossack state ensembles before them, the very elderly Nasilsinez and his musicians’ leadership committee made the decision to divest of the last vestiges of state funding and control, and go into exile in the West. They began a peripatetic “never-ending tour” of the rest of the world, as a cooperative and collective enterprise, under the name of The “Elegant Savages Orchestra.” Especially in the wake of the disintegration of (most) colonial states, Nas1lsiniz and his musicians intentionally broadened their sources of repertoire, explicitly in order, they said, to "obliterate the boundaries between musics that want to be free."

Over time, the personnel evolved as elder musicians retired or deceased, but the ESO’s core principles, as envisioned by Nas1lsinez and evolved and carried forward by his musical lineage and the musicians’ cooperative committee, continued:

‘No boundaries. Fierce dedication to the traditions and to one another.’

Correspondence, personal biographies, timelines, galleries, historical & archival commentary at:; likewise search Facebook for “Elegant Savages Orchestra”

Caprock Morris (Border Morris)



The South Plains Folk-Dance Society (Irish sets)

JennyBeth Gardner, Karson Goggans, Kathryn Mann, Nataliya Sukhina, Morgan White


The Brothers Grimm (junior Border Morris)

Some say they were lost at birth, raised in the wild Bassandan Hills others that they are shape shifters…:

Raven, Lion, Eagle, Wolf, Mama Grimm

Stage manager/lighting designer: Justin Duncan

Photographer: Tiffany Holmes



Milhouse Brewing Co.


The producers wish to express their continuing and particular appreciation to the participating ensembles and individuals; to Dr Bill Gelber, Professor Matt Schlief, Justin Duncan, the Maedgen Theater professional staff, and the TTU Department of Theater and Dance; to Professor Gerald Dolter and Daniel Patrick Hogan of Lubbock Moonlight Musicals; to Director Keith Dye of the School of Music and Dean Noel Zahler of the JT and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts; to Chipper Thompson for the Mari Lwyd, Corey Green for Coyote, and Seth Warren-Crow for the Wild Hunt; to the faculty, students, and staff of the TTU School of Music; and to Clint Barrick and the staff of KTTZ FM.

Source texts:

Ciarán Carson, Last Night’s Fun: In and Out of Time with Irish Traditional Music

The Irish Liber Hymnorum (11c)

Dylan Thomas, A Child’s Christmas in Wales

The Bassanda Grimoire

The Bassandayana

The Vernacular Music Center Scholarship at Texas Tech University

The Celtic Christmas is a fundraiser for the competitive Vernacular Music Center Scholarship at Texas Tech University, which provides financial assistance to a student in the College who is a practitioner of one or more traditional performance idioms. For more information, please be in touch with Dr Christopher Smith at

The VMC Outreach Scholars Program helps fund young performers of great promise for attendance at workshops, summer camps, and festivals, in order that they may develop teaching skills to share in future with their communities.

To find out more about the Outreach Scholars, and for news & information on VMC events: visit

Can I participate?

Yes! If you are interested in participating in one of the VMC ensembles or partners (Celtic Ensemble, Early Music Ensemble, Irish Set Dancers, Caprock Morris, Balkan Ensemble, Elegant Savages, Mariachi Los Matadores, Bande de Bal-Folk, or other), feel free to contact their respective directors (see Auditions typically occur in the first weeks of each academic semester.

VMC Staff

Founding Director: Dr Christopher J Smith

Associate Director: Roger Landes

Administrative assistants: Kat Mann, Adolfo Estrada, Heather Beltz

Be looking for our very special VMC Spring 2018 events:

Feb 4     Celtic Ensemble Winter concert (Hemmle)

Apr 16   Balkan Ensemble (Hemmle)

Apr 29   Celtic Ensemble Spring concert (Hemmle)

Radio Broadcast

We are recording, broadcasting, and streaming live tonight, and we appreciate your participation! However, because of this, we ask you to be especially thoughtful about cell phones, pagers, and any extraneous noise during the performance. Many thanks!

Notice Regarding Electronics

Please refrain from use of flash photography during this concert. Such use is an infringement of TTU copyright policy and represents a safety hazard for performers. Thank you for your consideration.

The Vernacular Music Center at the TTU School of Music

The mission of the Vernacular Music Center is to provide a center for in-depth and comparative research, study, teaching and advocacy on behalf of the world's vernacular musics and dance—their construction, history and role in defining cultural life in human communities—in all cultures and historical periods. The VMC is dedicated to the study of the process by which music is taught and passed on within a community, as well as assisting in the ongoing cultivation of arts on the South Plains. The VMC partners with its 501c3 partner, the Roots Music Institute (

Become a Friend of the VMC!

Visit us at for more information!

Donations:, search “Celtic Ensemble VMC Gifts”





School of Music

Event Information
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Date: 12/16/2017

Maedgen Theater, TTU Campus