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The Elegant Savages Orchestra is recruiting!

PLAY / SING / DANCE / COSPLAY / CODE / LARP / CREATE for CREDIT with the TTU Celtic Ensemble & Elegant Savages Orchestra


The TTU Celtic Ensemble is recruiting for Fall 2021! Seeking singers, players, dancers, cosplayers, gamers, coders, LARPers, actors, and denizens of the High, Middle, and Lower Realms!


MUEN 3110 – 204 (42729) / Grad section MUEN 5110 – 204 (21252)


Open to participants from across the TTU campus


The TTU Celtic Ensemble (http://ttucelticensemble.com; Facebook: is a “folk orchestra” of singers, players, and dancers dedicated to exploring the dance music & song of the Seven Celtic Nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, and the Isle of Man) and related traditions. All band, orchestra, and folk instruments and voice-types welcome. Many opportunities for soloes, chamber pieces, and orchestral tuttis.


The Celtic Ensemble concertizes, tours, and participates in collaborative events throughout the academic year (dances, theatrical shows, film scores, etc). Members are encouraged to explore both primary and secondary skills (other instruments, song, dance, etc) and some traditional instruments are available for loan and learning. The CE also works closely with other Vernacular Music Center Ensembles and with partnered performance and arts organizations throughout the region.


Recent concert performance:

PBS television special:


The Elegant Savages Orchestra: Symphonic folk from a lost world


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,” “The 1912 New Orleans Creole “Voodoo” Band,” the “1928 ‘Carnivale Incognito’ Band,” the 1934 “Intergalactic Pandemic Popular Front Band,” and, coming Fall 2021: 

“The 1936 International Brigade Libertarias Band” 


On tour by locomotive in the 1930s (during the Great Depression & Dust Bowl), the ESO members are blown sideways in space and time, via collision with a huge haboob-style dust storm, into c2046, when a pan-solar-system and cross-species “Galactic Pandemic” is raging. They find themselves marooned on a spaceship on only occasionally makes landfall on isolated planets, having to physically distance from one another even on-board, because the disease has a lengthy asymptomatic incubation period such that they must speak/work from their own individual compartments or work-pods, constantly sterilize surfaces and scrub the air-handlers, and beware of remote-planet locations. The “crew” (Band) themselves recognize the risks both physical and psychological, and they have to stay alert and wary regarding one another’s developing physical symptoms or psychotic behaviors.


In the wake of the Intergalactic Pandemic, and now having developed, in the Beast’s own labs, an effective series of vaccines which will protect them and others from the virus’s spread, they limp back across the galaxy, warily approaching the Earth from which they have been blown across space and time. Where/when will they land? What will they find, when they do?


At last, they find themselves dropping down out of a swirling snowstorm into the high peaks of the wintertime Pyrenees, the mountain passes that lie between France and Spain, at a moment when the rise of militarism threatens both the world, and the “little peoples”.


It’s the Autumn of 1935.


Director: Dr Christopher J Smith (


A series of short films featuring the ESO:


Also see “The Elegant Savages Orchestra”



Rehearsals and performances at TTU SOM (LBK campus): face-to-face, socially-distanced.


Watch this space for announcements of the first band meeting  and “Zoom Picnic Retreat”, Sunday August 29 12:30-3:30pm


Admission by interview/audition.


Contact Dr Smith ( for more information.




Chris Smith


School of Music

Event Information
Time: 1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Event Date: 8/29/2021

M011 SOM