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Midwinter Tales: Music & Dance for the Solstice Season Dec 15 Museum at TTU

Midwinter Tales: Music & Dance for the Solstice Season

Saturday, December 15, 5:30-8:30pm

Museum at Texas Tech University

Suggested donation: $5. FREE to children 12-and-under, and to TTU students with valid ID!

Detailed descriptor

On Saturday December 15, at 5:30pm in the Museum of Texas Tech (3301 4th St) 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

Midwinter Tales: Music & Dance of the Solstice Season

Singers, players, dancers, storytellers, and more gather to perform traditional repertoires of the season, in a magical, immersive, costumed, participatory festival!

Special guests include bagpiper Roger Landes avec the Caprock English Bagpipe Consort and Mariachi Los Matadores, led by Dr Lauryn Salazar. Caprock Morris and the Brothers Grimm dance teams provide the wild capers of the Border Morris, Balfolk Lubbock the wonderful round-, line-, and couples dances of French “Balfolk” (with audience participation encouraged!), 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 suggested donation of $5 will be welcomed at the door. Children 12-and-under, and students with a valid college ID, will be admitted FREE.


Facebook Page at 

Facebook Event at

Photos from past Christmas celebrations:

Information and media contacts

·         Dr Christopher J Smith (; 806-438-5067)

·         Professor Roger Landes (

The Elegant Savages Orchestra
Dr Christopher Smith, director

Aaron Amaya (trumpet); Heather Beltz (flute, winds section leader, straw-boss); Jaclyn Bush (voice, dance); Brooke Byles (oboe); Jerry Champion (voice, cello); 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); Lizzie Jackson (oboe); Diana Kim (flute); Alexander Kolb (trumpet); Alexandra  LaGrone (voice, dance); Noelle LaGrone (voice, dance); Jordan Langehennig (pipes, whistle, oboe); Lilah Ma (double bass); Sara Marnik (horn, brass section leader); Hussein Masimbi (percussion); Asa Meyer (voice, dance); Kay Millerick (flute); AJ Musella-Gonzales (trombone); Jamie Nielson (horn, dance); Christian Pennington (saxophone (tenor); Patrick Perry (bass trombone); Gillian Quiggle (clarinet); Cedrik Rau (cello); Maria M.  Rodriguez (fiddle); Isaiah Rodriguez (saxophone (baritone)); Marshall Rogers (tuba); Julia Rulon (trombone); Stephanie Shelton (fiddle, section leader); Elisa Shiller (voice, dance, section leader); Steve Stallings (guitar); Christopher Stockdale (saxophone (alto); Kaitlyn Swecker (voice, dance); Clayton Thomas (trombone); Aissa Torres (saxophone); Issac Vargas (piano); Callie Watson (fiddle, voice)

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 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

VMC stage manager/lighting designer: Justin Duncan

VMC Photographer: Tiffany Holmes


VMC Videographer: Tess Greenlees


Milhouse Brewing Co.


The producers wish to express their continuing and particular appreciation to the participating ensembles and individuals; to Director Kim Walker of the TTU 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, and to Corey Green for Coyote and the Windy Man; to the faculty, students, and staff of the TTU School of Music; and to Clint Barrick and the staff of KTTZ FM.

VMC Staff

Founding Director: Dr Christopher J Smith

Associate Director: Roger Landes

Administrative assistants: Adolfo Estrada, Heather Beltz

Be looking for our very special VMC Spring 2019 events:

Jan         28           TTU Collegium Musicum (early music)    Hemmle Recital Hall

Feb        03           Celtic Ensemble / Elegant Savages           Hemmle

Feb        23-24     ESO at Lubbock-Con                                       Lubbock Convention Center

Mar        25           Collegium Musicum                                       t/b/a

Apr         15           Balkan Ensemble                                             Hemmle

Apr         19           Mariachis los Matadores                              Hemmle

Apr         26           Mariachis los Matadores                              Hemmle

Apr         27           Celtic/ESO                                                          Hemmle

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”



Chris Smith


School of Music

Event Information
Time: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Event Date: 12/15/2018

Museum of Texas Tech