Home page for MUEN3106/5106 Celtic Ensemble at Texas Tech University

Catalog Descriptor:

TTU's Celtic Ensemble is a small ensemble of 15-19 musicians (winds, strings, percussion, voice) specializing in group performance of the traditional dance music and song of the seven Celtic nations: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, and the Isle of Man. Repertoire is typically learned, taught, and played by ear and participants are expected to make consistent progress at developing appropriate performance practice. Participants are also encouraged to employ traditional instruments (winds: simple-system timber flute, tin whistle, bombarde, bagpipes; strings: fiddle, banjo, bouzouki, guitar, harp; percussion: bodhran, bones; keyboard: accordion) and in appropriate languages insofar as possible. The Ensemble is developing a consort of "loaner" instruments (flute, chalumeau, diatonic harp) to facilitate this. Opportunities for learning associated dances are also available. Presents one recital concert per semester, in addition to other service as part of SOM events (Celtic Christmas, Madrigal Dinners, etc). Meets Sundays 7-9pm, M254 (Opera Studio), plus additional rehearsals as assigned. Contact Dr Christopher Smith (christopher.smith@ttu.edu) for audition information.

Myspace site

You can find the ensemble's myspace site, maintained by band members, here. Find their Facebook group here.


Culture Shock 2006 (TTU Student Union, Oct 21 2006); Program: Songs, tunes, and dances of Brittany.

TTU English Department Reading Marathon: James Joyce's Ulysses, Friday Feb 2 2pm -- Saturday Feb 3 3pm, J&B Coffeehouse, 26th and Boston in Lubbock. TTU Celtic Ensemble at dawn.

CeltFest Odessa: (along with Chris Smith's own band Last Night's Fun), April 14-15, Odessa College, Odessa TX. .

Fall 2007 program: Dance music and songs of Galicia (NW Spain), along with crowd-favorites, the English Bampton Stick dance (morris dance).


Audio of the band performing the Breton dance-song Garcon a marier (hanter-dro avec Klem) is here (recorded 1.20.07--in the midst of a blizzard--at Hemmle Recital Hall, TTU campus).


Kelli Rohlman's great pre-concert film for the Breton program


Through the generous offices of SOM Director William Ballenger, in the Fall 2006 semester we took delivery on a Breton chalumeau (folk clarinet in D), and--suitably enough for the Christmas season--in December received a 26-string Dusty Strings Ravenna harp and a Casey Burns simple-system timber Folk Flute. These instruments are of top-notch quality and are available for use by ensemble members.

To enrollees:

You're all very welcome to the ensemble. Though the course description mentions "auditions", I am confident that no-one who wishes to contribute will be turned away.

The charge of this ensemble is to perform in the dance music and song traditions of the Celtic peoples of north-west Europe, the so-called "Seven Nations" of the Celtic peoples. As part of our performance activities, we will together study and learn to employ the instruments, repertoires, and performance practices appropriate to these traditions. That means that students may learn new tunes, new instruments, new playing techniques, even new ways of hearing--I would view such learning as one of the positive musical opportunities that Celtic Ensemble makes possible.

In the Fall 2007 semester, we will be expanding upon the work we have already done in building ensemble, procedures, and repertoire. We will participate or collaborate in a range of performances through the semester (including but not limited to the Caprock Early Music Association's spring weekend; the Caprock Celtic Festival; and other events). We will work in combinations of small duos & trios, etc., and the full ensemble.

There will be opportunities for all ensemble members to play, sing and dance, and all members will be encouraged to develop new skills. Some traditional instruments are available for loan but students will also be encouraged to explore other means of access to inexpensive alternatives.

We meet Sundays 7-9pm in M254, in the Opera Studio. Our rehearsal time seeks to accommodate SOM personnel's very busy schedules by working outside of high-density times. Ensemble members are asked to reserve Wednesday 9-11pm for sectional or other rehearsals.

You can find my TTU faculty biography here and my professional/commercial site here. You may also want to take advantage of the free archive downloads of my radio program, available at kohm.org Feel free to check back to this site for updates. After the start of the semester, we will also make use of an ensemble WebCT site to deliver recordings, house the syllabus, and so on.