Smile, Yale musicians — we're off to Ghana

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Thomas C. Duffy, director of University Bands and adjunct professor at the Yale School of Music, takes a "selfie" with the undergraduate Yale Concert Band.

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.

Read: “In conversation: On preserving the ancient rhythmic traditions of Ghana”

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.

The two ensembles will study, perform, and record traditional drumming and dance pieces with Ghanaian master drummers. They will also undertake service projects in the village of Yamoransa, with which Yale has an ongoing relationship. While there, they will team up with the Yale Alumni Service Corps and volunteers from Ashesi University in Accra and University Cape Coast to install water filters, plant trees, and work on construction of the Information, Computer and Technology Center.

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