Dartmouth provides various performance options
By Shannon Draucker, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, August 9, 2011
While many colleges’ art scenes profit from their proximity to major cities, Dartmouth offers a vibrant artistic community and myriad opportunities for students to explore their artistic abilities despite its rural location. Student groups allow like-minded individuals to congregate through their shared love of the arts, and exhibit their talents to their friends and community.
A cappella groups are an integral part of Dartmouth’s music scene. The groups — ranging from all-male, all-female to coed — audition new members each fall. The groups typically perform pop-style songs in fraternities and sororities on Wednesday nights, and also have a major show each term in Spaulding Auditorium.
Several musical performance ensembles, based out of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, are primarily comprised of non-music majors.
The Dartmouth College Gospel Choir and the Handel Society allow vocalists to sing in large groups. Members of the Gospel Choir perform both traditional and modern gospel music, while members of the Handel Society take on large-scale choral works. The Handel Society — comprised of both students and members of the greater community — will perform Handel’s “Messiah” this fall.
The Dartmouth College Glee Club and the Dartmouth Chamber Singers are smaller vocal groups. This fall, a professional orchestra will join the Glee Club to perform Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”, while the Chamber Singers tackle works by Handel and Mozart.
Chamber Singer member Remy Franklin ’13 said the more intimate atmosphere of the ensemble adds to its success.
“Because of the ensemble’s small size, everyone is accountable for their part,” Franklin said. “We work intensely on blending as a group, and we show up because we love singing.”
Several instrumental ensembles afford students the opportunity to explore different musical genres. Students in the World Music Percussion Ensemble play drums and other instruments from around the world, often alongside special guests proficient in the musical techniques of a particular area.
Members of the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble benefit each term from guest artist in residency, who works with the students and performs with the group in concert.
The Dartmouth College Marching Band performs at football games and other sporting events in the fall and continues to play as a pep band for winter athletic contests.
“The marching band is a bunch of rowdy, fun-loving musicians who can tell a good joke and make some mean sounds,” Maggie Flanagan ’13, a trumpet player in the band, said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth. “We write our own shows, plot our own field maneuvers and have a veritable battery of strange and fun traditions.”
The Dartmouth Wind Symphony and Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra provide students with more traditional band and orchestral experiences.
“Playing in the wind symphony has been an incredible musical and personal experience,” according to Annie Chen ’13, who is a clarinetist in the Wind Symphony. “Each term presents a different musical challenge, and I’ve also met some of my best friends here.”
This fall, the Wind Symphony will play works by renowned wind composers Camille Saint Saëns and Paul Hindemith.
Felix Mendelssohn’s “Overture and Incidental Music for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’” and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” will comprise the Symphony Orchestra’s fall concert.
For dancers, the Hopkins Center’s Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble performs modern dance works by student and professional choreographers. The student dance group FUSION, as its name suggests, draws numbers from a variety of styles, such as modern, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical dance. SHEBA — Strictly Hip-Hop Expressions Beats and Art — is Dartmouth’s hip-hop dance troupe, and STACATTO is Dartmouth’s step dance team.
Several ethnic dance groups also perform regularly at Dartmouth. The Ceili Irish Dancers, the South Asian dance group Vandana, the African dance group Ujima, the Chinese Dance Troupe and Native Women’s Dancing Society are among the popular traditional dance groups on campus.
“Vandana is really fun because it brings together a diverse group of people in a low pressure setting so we can have fun and just dance,” Vandana member Aarti Kamat ’13 said.
For the theatrically inclined, the Dog Day Players and Casual Thursday are improvisational comedy groups, while the Harlequins practice musical theater and the Displaced Theater Company alternative theater. Members of the Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals put on a termly Shakespeare play.
There are many more arts opportunities on campus, and students often create new groups each year. Auditions for many groups are held during First Year Orientation.