Ensembles

Every year hundreds of students participate in our choirs, orchestra, jazz band, jazz combos, chamber ensembles, steel pan orchestra, and Indonesian gamelan.  All of our performance ensembles are open to general liberal arts students and music majors alike. 

American String Band

American String Band

American String Band is an ensemble dedicated to developing a repertoire of fiddle music and song to share on and off campus.

Lewiston being the heavily Franco-American community that it is, the traditional French-Canadian fiddle music of this area is central to our tune list, which also delves into Irish, bluegrass and old-time dance music and song, and all other music our various members bring to the table. Fiddles are especially wanted, while all other melodic and percussive instruments are also encouraged to join. Email Eli Gilbert, director at egilber2@bates.edu to set up an audition.

Feel free to contact Eli if you have any further questions regarding American String Band.

Recording of live concert from LeRonj Coffeehouse on November 30, 2016
Recording of live concert performed in the Olin Concert Hall on April 3, 2019

Brass Ensemble

The Brass Ensemble will explore varied repertoire, including arrangements of music in different styles and compositions written specifically for brass.  The size is flexible, ranging from a quartet to 11-pieces or larger, depending on repertoire and/or enrollment. The ensemble is open to trumpet, French horn, trombone, bass trombone, euphonium, tuba, and percussion. The group rehearses once a week, and individual practice between rehearsals is required. The brass ensemble will perform at least one concert each semester. Admission is by audition. Basic instrumental proficiency and the ability to read standard musical notation are required.

Directed by Alan Carr. For more information contact  Alan Carr at acarr@bates.edu or 207-786-6163.

Recording of live concert on April 5, 2019

College Choir

Open to all Bates students and faculty, this ensemble is intended to develop the skill and knowledge to perform a wide range of musical styles and genres from a cappella to Broadway and major symphonic works from all periods.  There will be an emphasis in developing each singer’s vocal ability in a positive environment as well as to present quality performances with a high level of musicianship.

There are two required rehearsals per week and a performance at the end of every semester.

Students of all majors and backgrounds are eligible to audition.

While College Choir is normally taken for credit, the Director will also consider auditors (for students whose credit load would otherwise prevent them from registering).

A 25-voice ensemble which gives two large concerts per year. Recent works performed include Mozart’s Requiem and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Entrance by audition. Solos in these pieces are always performed by students, an unusual opportunity for talented vocalists.

Joelle Morris, Director

Feel free to contact Joelle Morris, Director, at jmorris@bates.edu if you have further questions regarding the College Choir.

The Bates College Choir performs a wide range of musical genres including works with orchestra, recent works performed include Mozart’s Requiem and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Solos in these pieces are always performed by students, an unusual opportunity for talented vocalists. 

To listen to the examples below use RealPlayer or Quicktime:

College Orchestra

Bates College Orchestra (BCO) was founded in the 1970s. Student members are given course credit to participate in weekly rehearsals and perform a wide range of repertoire from the Baroque period to present. The BCO recently performed works by Debussy and Ravel, Symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Dvorák. Each winter semester the BCO hosts an annual concerto competition providing an opportunity for Bates students to perform as a soloist with the College Orchestra.

Performing two concerts per year, the Bates College Orchestra draws members from the entire Bates community as well as the Lewiston-Auburn community.

Students of all majors and backgrounds are eligible to audition. While College Orchestra is normally taken for credit, the Director will also consider auditors (for students whose credit load would otherwise prevent them from registering).

Feel free to contact Orchestra Director Carl Bettendorf (cbettend@bates.edu) if you have any further questions regarding the BCO.

Gamelan Ensemble

Gamelan, the term for a traditional musical ensemble in Indonesia, typically refers to a percussion orchestra composed predominantly of tuned gongs of various types and metal-keyed instruments. The ensemble is conducted by a drummer, and often includes voice, bamboo flute, xylophone, and stringed instruments. The most well-known gamelan ensembles are those from the islands of Java and Bali.

The Bates College Gamelan Orchestra serves as an Indonesian music study group, performance ensemble, and provides ceremonial music for college events. The group plays traditional and contemporary music of West Java (Sunda), Central Java, and new music for gamelan by North American composers. Students enrolled in a variety of music and anthropology courses have the opportunity for a hands-on experience with the instruments as part of their coursework.

For several decades, the presence of gamelan orchestras on college campuses both in the U.S. and abroad beyond Indonesia has been steadily increasing. The inclusion of such an ensemble from outside of the West serves multiple roles within an academic setting. The mission of the Bates College Gamelan Orchestra includes the following goals:

  • To provide a bridge to Southeast Asian culture
  • To provide an alternative way to think about human organization of sound and musical expression
  • To create a performing opportunity for students at all levels of musical competence
  • To provide interdisciplinary bridges to other subjects such as Asian Studies, Anthropology, and Cultural Psychology
  • To provide an intercultural experience and model the College’s commitment to Diversity

The Bates College Gamelan Orchestra comprises two sets of instruments, representing two regional musical traditions from the island of Java. Gamelan Mawar Mekar (“Blossom of Inspiration”) is a Central Javanese iron/brass set built by Mulyadi in Solo, Java in 1997, acquired by Bates in 2001. In 2007, a 7-piece bronze chamber ensemble from West Java known as gamelan degung was generously donated to the Bates Music Department by David Lydgate of Kaua’i, Hawaii.

The Bates College Gamelan Orchestra hosts Indonesian visiting artists on a regular basis. These performers typically work with the ensemble towards a particular event such as a concert of instrumental music, a dance performance, or traditional puppet theater performances. Indonesian artists who have held guest residencies at Bates include Kuwat (2002), Midiyanto (2003), Joko Susilo (2003-2004), Otong and Atik Rasta (2004), Undang Sumarna (2005, 2006, 2008), Euis Komariah & Gangan Garmana (2007), Nano S. (2008), Burhan Sukarma (2008) and Wahyu Roche, Ening Rumbini, and Rina Oesmann in (2009). Additional guest instructors and performers have included I.M. Harjito, Sumarsam, Ben Arcangel, Jody Diamond, and Andy Bouchard.

The Bates College Gamelan Orchestra ensemble typically performs at Bates once per semester and often participates in World Music Weekend at Bates in early spring. The group has also performed at Bowdoin College, The University of Maine at Augusta, and the Orion Performing Arts Center in Topsham, Maine.

In addition to its gamelan orchestra, Bates College houses the Eisler Shadow-Puppet Collection. Consisting of over 200 traditional Central Javanese puppets used in the performance of shadow plays, the collection is on long-term permanent loan to the College by Mr. David Eisler of Dover, New Hampshire.

The Bates College Gamelan Orchestra, which maintains the only gamelan sets in the state of Maine, welcomes new members on an ongoing basis. For more information contact Gina Fatone at gfatone@bates.edu or 207-753-6968.

Jazz Band

Jazz Band

The Bates College Jazz Band is a full big band of skilled and talented Bates students. We perform at least one concert per semester and play works from a large and varied repertoire; our past concerts have featured pieces by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Brecker, Steely Dan and The Count Basie Orchestra. The band is a wonderful opportunity to play in a large group setting and also provides the opportunity to improvise.

Feel free to contact Director Larry Williams atlwillia4@bates.edu if you have any further questions regarding the Orchestra.

Recording of live concert in the Olin Concert Hall on April 4, 2019

Steel Pan Orchestra

This ensemble offers students opportunities to explore and perform music of West Indian peoples on authentic instruments. Contact Duncan Hardy, director at dhardy@bates.edu.

Recording from live concert on April 5, 2019

Use RealPlayer or Quicktime to listen to more pieces from the Steel Pan Ensemble:

Zofia Ahmad '19 of Palo Alto, Calif. joins classmates for an encore at the Bates Steel Pan Orchestra concert.The Bates Steel Pan Orchestra, under the direction of Duncan Hardy, performs traditional West Indies arrangements in the Olin Concert Hall on Monday, Dec. 7th 2015.
Zofia Ahmad ’19 of Palo Alto, Calif. joins classmates for an encore at the Bates Steel Pan Orchestra concert. The Bates Steel Pan Orchestra, under the direction of Duncan Hardy, performs traditional West Indies arrangements in the Olin Concert Hall on Monday, Dec. 7th 2015.