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9/30/18: Come dancing with the Elegant Savages Orchestra!

“Riding the Rift” with

The 1912 New Orleans Creole ‘Vodun’ Band a/k/a The ‘Ghost’ Band

The Elegant Savages Orchestra in concert

Hemmle Recital Hall

Sunday September 30 7:30pm

The Elegant Savages Orchestra - Dr Christopher Smith, director

Aaron Amaya (trumpet), Heather Beltz (flute, section leader, straw boss), Jaclyn Bush (voice, dance, dance captain), Brooke Byles (oboe), Jerry Champion (cello, voice), Olivia Currier voice, dance), Anna Delay (voice, dance), Kendyl Dent (clarinet), Karson Goggans (ASL interpreter), Hannah Gossett (voice, dance), Courtney Gragson (trumpet), Tess Greenlees (flute), Madison Haberl (horn, dance), Jeremy Isley (percussion, drum-set, percussion captain), Lizzie Jackson (oboe), Diana Kim (flute), Alexander Kolb (trumpet), Alexandra LaGrone (voice, dance, co-section leader), Noelle LaGrone (voice, dance), Jordan Langehennig (oboe, whistle, pipes), Chris Lee-Lopez (guitar), Sara Marnik (horn, section leader), Hussein Masimbi (percussion), Asa Meyer (voice, dance), AJ Musella-Gonzales (trombone), Jamie Nielson (horn), Christian Pennington (saxophone, [tenor]), Patrick Perry (trombone [bass]), Gillian Quiggle, (clarinet), Cedrik Rau (cello), Maria M. Rodriguez (fiddle), Isaiah Rodriguez (saxophone [baritone]), Marshall Rogers (tuba, cembasso), Estéban Romero (viola), Julia Rulon (trombone), Stephanie Shelton (fiddle, section leader), Elisa Shiller (voice, dance, co-section leader), Steve Stallings (guitar, section leader), Jacoby Stevens (cello), Christopher Stockdale (saxophone [soprano]), Kaitlyn Swecker (voice, flute, dance), Clayton Thomas (trombone), Aissa Torres (saxophone [alto], dance), Chance Trimble (bass), Daniel Vaughn (horn), Callie Watson (fiddle, voice)

websites: a/k/a

ABOUT THE BAND: Symphonic folk from a lost world

The TTU Celtic Ensemble began in 2006 as a “small ensemble” of strings, rhythm, and voices, dedicated to performing the traditional musics of the seven Celtic nations: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, and the Isle of Man. Over the years, as the ensemble has grown, we have evolved a “folk-orchestral” approach to the repertoires, which seeks to maintain traditional music aesthetics and impact in the very different instrumentation and procedures of the chamber orchestra.

Major inspiration for the Elegant Savages Orchestra, the “big band” version of the TTU Celtic Ensemble, comes from the fictional country of “Bassanda,” a creation of Taos-based musicians and VMC partners Chipper Thompson ( and Roger Landes (, who for purposes of our January 2014 debut assumed their Bassanda personae (“The Rev” and “The General”) as guest performers. We imagined the fictional “Elegant Savages Orchestra,” in which, as part of an “alternate-history” frame, it’s alleged that a Soviet satellite’s official state folkloric ensemble (the “Bassanda National Radio Orchestra”) mutates, after the fall of Communism, into a free-lance ensemble engaged in a Never-Ending Tour.

The BNRO/ESO has thus been heard in many permutations and with widely variegated personnel, including “The Classic 1952 Band,” “The 1962 ‘Beatnik’ Band” (which nearly appeared on the cover of Life magazine under the headline “New Currents from Behind the Iron Curtain”),”The 1965 Newport Folk Festival Band,” who helped jump-start Bob Dylan’s notorious switch from acoustic folk to electric rock & roll,”The Mysterious 1885 Victorian “Steampunk” Band,” “The Post-Apocalyptic ‘Desert Pirates’ Band,” and, and, in 2019: “The 1912 New Orleans Creole ‘Voodoo’ Band.”

THE MUSIC: About this Program

Along with the traditional songs of Ireland, France, Occitania, and England heard tonight, we share with you the cluster of music and dance styles known, in contemporary Western Europe, as “BalFolk” (literally,”folk-dance”). BalFolk is a modern phenomenon, part of a new wave of European “revivals” which has transformed expectations about who plays which regional folk styles and what that playing means. At the center of the revival is the dynamic interplay between musicians and dancers, and the emotional community created by the dancing. As with all “revivals,” the communal art is as much about “invention” as it is about “preservation,” and—especially in the fraught 21st century—the crucial human connections we so desperately need.

We invite you to join our BalFolk revolution!

See program insert for repertoire and translations

ABOUT The 1912 New Orleans Creole “Vodun” Band a/k/a “The Ghost Band”

The line of descent from the earlier “Steampunk” and “Sand Pirates” Bands to the 1912 New Orleans Band, whose images and documentation represent one of the more recently-unearthed bodies of uncatalogued period material in the Miskatonic Archives, is not known. Thus it is unclear whether the experience of the “Creole/Voodoo” Band again involved time/space Rift travel, skipping from the c1885 American Southwest—or possibly from the c1881 qaerda bol’sa (parallel quantum “where-when”) of the post-Apocalyptic Great Southwestern Desert—or whether perhaps the Band, or only some members thereof, may have passed a contiguous though as yet undocumented three decades in early 20th Century North America. Certainly, there are reports of various persons in the Bassanda orbit being present in the American West between the mid-1880s and the pre-WWI period, and there was a presence of Friends of Bassanda in North America, particularly in the southern and western States, in the decades just before and after 1900, but how directly this impacted the survivors of the 1881 and 1885 Bands is unknown at this time. Again: was this because the Band itself had disintegrated: had members scattered, across space and time? Had they again inadvertently Rift-shifted en masse, to yet another (as yet undocumented) qaerda bol’sa? Alternatively, and more mundanely, had they maintained time/space continuity, but simply gone underground? Or—more hypothetically (although, in the Bassanda Orbit, it is a mistake to too-readily ascribe either hypothetical or fictional status to seemingly incongruous narratives)—had they received messages that, perhaps due to pan-Rift risk, they should scatter, remove themselves from historical visibility, and reconvene on the lowermost Mississippi? The risks of such Rifting Events—the unpredictability of their occurrence and impact, in the pre-Hazzard-Igniti era—made them dangerous zones and events.


Related correspondence, personal biographies, timelines, galleries & archival commentary can be found at:; likewise search Facebook for “Elegant Savages Orchestra.”

The Journal of the Vernacular Music Center, a partnership of the VMC, the Texas Tech University Press, and the TTU Libraries, is an online, peer-reviewed, biannual periodical whose thematic focus is vernacular music and dance research and pedagogy, particularly in the context of university education.

The Journal is available for online reading and for free download at

You can always check in on Vernacular Music Center events at the live Google calendar:

VMC photographer: Dr Tiffany Holmes

VMC movement director: Anne Wharton

Videographer: Juan Gil

Brewmasters: Milhouse Brewing Co.


The Vernacular Music Center Scholarship at Texas Tech University
The competitive Vernacular Music Center Scholarship at Texas Tech University, which
provides financial assistance to a student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts 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, Mysterium Improvisation Ensemble, Balkan Ensemble, Elegant Savages, Mariachi Los Matadores, Tango Camerata, 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: Adolfo Estrada, Heather Beltz


As always, thanks are due to: Director Kim Walker of the School of Music and Dean Noel Zahler of the College of Visual and Performing Arts; to the faculty, students, and staff of the TTU School of Music; and to Clint Barrick/KTTZ FM & Derrick Ginter/KTXT.

Follow us on Social Media at:

“elegantsavagesorchestra” & “ttu_eso”



Be on the lookout for these upcoming VMC/ESO events!

10/7 VMC at School of Music Musicale (4-6pm)

10/8 Balkan Ensemble, Hemmle

10/12-13 The Electric Guitar in American Culture (conference, SOM)

10/19 VMC “Rainbow Bal” (dance) at St John’s Methodist Church

10/25 Early Music Ensemble at Museum of Texas Tech

10/26-27 Nosferatu (silent horror classic with live score) at Wallace Theater, Levelland

11/9 Tango/Mariachi concert, Hemmle

12/ 15 18th Annual Caprock Celtic Christmas

Radio Broadcast & Television Recording

We are recording live today, and we appreciate your participation and your patience! However, because of this, we ask you to power-down (e.g., completely shut-off) electronic devices including cell phones, and to avoid any extraneous noise during the performance.

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: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Date: 9/30/2018

Hemmle Recital Hall