Thanks to the generous and passionate outpouring of support for the Javanese gamelan at the University of Michigan, the School of Music, Theater, and Dance has decided to maintain a graudate student who will provide teaching support to the ensemble in the next academic year!
There has still not been a clear statement from the School on whether it truly supports this ensemble, emblematic of international arts performance and cultural exchange, over the long term. The Dean issued a statement that has not addressed the question of the ensemble’s long-term future. The statement also offers an ambiguous (though presumably critical) response to the article that appeared in the campus newspaper.
What Can You Do?
So you want to help? Here’s a few things to do:
It seems clear that the only way to secure a permanent space and teaching plan for the gamelan at Michigan will be for as many people as possible to contact the Dean directly to voice their perspectives and provide advice on this situation. Also let other administrators and decision-makers (e.g., faculty) at the University know of your concerns.
The University of Michigan gamelan faces an uncertain future, despite its nearly 50-year history of vibrant educational opportunities and performances with many world-renowned artists. While the School of Music, Theater & Dance has just broke ground for a new addition, it can’t seem to find a place in its priorities (nor its facilities) for a permanent commitment to this venerable ensemble! The Michigan Daily has chimed in with this feature story, which offers a good overview of the history of the ensemble, how it arrived in Ann Arbor, and it’s history at the University. Current concerned students have created a petition to gather signatures. If you’re reading this, you can voice your support and sign it, too!
And of course, go to the concert on February 15, 2014 at Stamps Auditorium to show your support!