A Reflection on our Gamelan Assembly

Oly Huzenis Last week’s assembly boasted a somewhat unusual musical guest. No, not an energetic acapella group, or even a student performer. This musical group had a more international flavor, evidenced by the array of exotic instruments assembled onstage. Known as a “gamela,” the musical ensemble plays traditional Indonesian music. The group was brought to Latin by our own Mr. O’Toole, himself an avid participator in the band. He prefaced the performance by providing some cultural context to gamelan music. He noted that gamelan music is not meant to be fixated on as a singular event such as a symphony or rock concert. Instead, gamelan music is played in public settings for hours at a time, almost as a background tune, accompanied by a constant hum of conversation. Of course, in an assembly where all seats are faced towards a single stage lit dramatically with overhead lights, we seemed to be negating this cultural tendency. That said, as I watched students’ eyes flutter to a close during the performance (including my own), I was happy to know that these discreet naps would not be seen as rude or taboo. Instead, it seemed only fitting to do exactly that in respect to the Indonesian tradition. Finally, in the name of meditation, here is a sample of the performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHdHKGHxH0A]]>