[ in the press ]

Yale musicians play—and listen—in Ghana

YPG_Ghana_UCCYale Alumni Magazine
By Christopher Arnott

For decades, musical groups from Yale have flown all over the world in the summers to perform. But the 12-day trip that members of the undergraduate Yale Concert Band and the School of Music’s Yale Percussion Group took to Ghana in May wasn’t just for sharing their own music but also for learning about Ghana’s musical culture.

While on the trip, students made video and audio recordings to document native Ghanaian drummers and dancers—recordings that will be used to make and publish transcriptions in collaboration with scholars and publishers in Ghana. Yale Bands director Thomas Duffy, who led the trip, likens the research to the valuable folk-music field recordings that scholars made in Appalachian areas of the United States in the 1930s. MORE

Published October 2, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Yale Percussion Group, Yale Concert Band enjoy musical exchange at University of Cape Coast

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Dancers from UCC welcome Yale

On Monday, May 26, the Yale ensembles currently in Ghana visited the University of Cape Coast (UCC). A drumming ensemble from UCC welcomed the group for an afternoon music exchange. Dancers then joined the ensemble for an exciting performance.

The Yale Percussion Group, made up of the School of Music’s six graduate students in percussion, played Steve Reich’s Drumming. (Reich himself  had been inspired by a trip to Ghana.) Drumming combines patterns influenced by West African music with Reich’s concept of phasing, in which performers deliberately move out of sync with one another.

John Kuubeterzie, professor from UCC, taught some Ghanaian rhythms to members of the YPG, and other members of the Yale group learned basic dance steps. MORE

Published May 27, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Yale Band & Percussion Group bring music to Yamoransa schools

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Thomas C. Duffy describes what a conductor does

The Yale Concert Band and Yale Percussion Group arrived yesterday at Cape Coast. This morning they visited the village of Yamoransa, with which Yale has an ongoing partnership.

Three groups of Yale musicians went into classrooms, where they introduced themselves and their instruments to Yamoransa students. Each band member explained the parts of the instrument and demonstrated how it works, and the students learned about woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. The band members then played the Yale fight song, with the Yamoransa students clapping along. MORE

Published May 26, 2014
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[ events ]

Accra applauds Ghana-Yale Nkonsonkonson “Unity” Concert

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NSO Ghana, Yale Concert Band, Yale Percussion Group

Tonight, the Yale Club of Ghana and the Association of Yale Alumni presented a Nkonsonkonson “Unity” Concert at the National Theatre in Accra. The concert, which was a benefit for the Ghana-Yale Partnership for Global Health, brought together the National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana, the Yale Concert Band, and the Yale Percussion Group.

After the Yale Concert Band (YCB) opened with Rossini’s William Tell Overture, the event featured welcome remarks from Dr. Elijah Paintsil, a member of the Yale School of Medicine faculty and a co-founder of the Ghana-Yale Partnership for Global Health; Nachilala Nkombo, Deputy Director of the ONE Campaign, Africa; a representative from IBM, a partner in the medical initiative; and a representative from the Office of the President of Ghana. MORE

Published May 23, 2014
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[ ghana trip ]

National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana and Yale ensembles perform benefit concert Friday, May 23

national-theatre

National Theatre, Accra

Tonight the Yale Concert Band and Yale Percussion Group will join with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana (NSO) to perform a Nkonsonkonson “Unity” Concert at the National Theatre in Accra.

The event is a benefit for the Ghana-Yale Partnership for Global Health, which aims to eliminate mother-to-child  transmission of HIV.  MORE

Published May 23, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Yale ensembles perform at U.S. Embassy in Ghana and Legon University

Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy in Ghana

Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy in Ghana

This afternoon, the Yale Concert Band and Yale Percussion Group visited the United States Embassy in Accra. The group performed a short concert for an audience that included diplomatic staff, as well as for high school students visiting the Embassy and a group of Ghanaian fellows of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). Ambassador Gene A. Cretz addressed the group before the concert.

In the evening, the Yale ensembles headed to the amphitheater at Legon University, where they joined Legon students for a Nkonsonkonson “Unity” Concert. Several ensembles from Legon’s Department of Music, School of Performing Arts took part, including the choral ensemble, Ateneben (wind) Ensemble, African Ensemble, and Pop Ensemble. MORE

Published May 22, 2014
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[ ghana trip ]

Smile, Yale musicians — we’re off to Ghana

YaleConcertBand_selfieYaleNews

In 1959 the undergraduate Yale Concert Band (YCB) made history when it became the first college band to travel internationally. The group visited five European nations on that trip and has since traveled to more than 20 countries, including Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and Russia. Each time the YCB returns home to Yale it hangs a flag from the host country in its practice room.

Up next for the YCB is a trip to Ghana with the Yale Percussion Group  for 12 days of cultural exchange, musical research, and community service. From May 20 to June 2 the groups will perform several times, including “unity” concerts at two universities and a joint concert with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana on May 23 to benefit the Ghana-Yale Partnership for Global Health. MORE

Published May 20, 2014
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[ in the press ]

In conversation: Thomas C. Duffy on preserving the rhythmic traditions of Ghana

Thomas C. Duffy, director of University Bands and an adjunct professor at the Yale School of Music, will be part of a contingent travelling to Ghana this month. Duffy recently spoke with YaleNews about how the trip came to be, what he hopes he and his students will gain from the experience, and the reciprocal nature of cultural exchange. The following is an edited version of that conversation. MORE

Published May 16, 2014
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[ international ]

Yale music ensembles travel to Ghana this May

Yale Concert Band

Yale Concert Band

The Yale Percussion Group and Yale Concert Band will soon travel to Ghana for 12 days of cultural exchange, musical research, and community service. This marks the first time that the undergraduate Yale Concert Band (YCB), which in 1959 became the first college band to tour internationally, will travel with the graduate Yale Percussion Group. The two ensembles will perform several times, including “unity” concerts at two universities and a joint concert with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana.

The participants will also undertake service projects in the village of Yamoransa, with which Yale has an ongoing relationship. While based in Yamoransa, the percussionists will study, perform, and recordtraditional drumming and dance with Ghanaian drum masters.

Reciprocal cultural exchange is an integral part of the trip. Each concert will involve musical exchanges with Ghanaian musicians. Every day the group will be immersed in the local culture, through activities including home visits, storytelling, and student exchanges. MORE

Published May 12, 2014
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[ music in schools ]

All-City Honors Band joins Yale Concert Band in Feb. 14 concert

Music in Schools - All City Honors Ensemble - 4This Friday, February 14, 28 student musicians from the New Haven Public Schools will join the Yale Concert Band on stage in Woolsey Hall, as part of a collaboration between the All-City Honors Band and Yale Concert Band, Thomas C. Duffy, Music Director.

Together the two ensembles will play Leonard Bernstein’s “Mambo” from West Side Story, conducted by Rubén Rodríguez, Lead Teacher, Music in Schools Initiative.

Duffy, also co-founder of the All-City Honors Band in 2011, often guest-conducts the ensemble. When current director Rodríguez brought students and their families to attend a Yale Concert Band concert and reception in November 2013, Duffy openly invited them to play alongside his ensemble on the next concert.

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Published February 13, 2014
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