Wednesday at noon – the sun is shining, the campus is bustling, and in a little haven behind Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, music is playing.
For 10 years, groups from UCSB’s ethnomusicology program and outside performers have come to play every Wednesday afternoon in the Music Bowl. The free performances attract students with sack lunches, elementary school students, and faculty and staff on lunch breaks. The crowds have grown increasingly larger; the average performance draws 50-75 people, and the more popular ones get as many as 300.
The weekly concerts, dubbed the World Music Series, are the creation of music Professor Scott Marcus and his wife, MultiCultural Center Director Zaveeni Kahn-Marcus. “I wanted to work with the Music Department because it would help the MultiCultural Center to work with an academic department,” Kahn-Marcus said. “So, me and my husband created the World Music Series.”
Marcus continues to organize the World Music Series in collaboration with the MCC
“Each quarter the World Music Series presents some of the ethnomusicology department’s performance ensembles, including the Gospel Choir, the Gamelan Ensemble from Indonesia, the Mid-East Ensemble, the Music of India Ensemble and the Jazz Ensemble,” Marcus said.
MCC Center Programmer Leigh Melander said that this quarter, three musicians from the area will play music ranging from traditional Mexican sounds, to percussion music, to the music of Norway. “It’s a little different each quarter, which is one of the things that is so great about it,” Melander said.
“In addition to featuring international music, we present a diverse selection of musical traditions, including American Indian music, gospel music and such,” Kahn-Marcus said.
From time to time, local elementary schools bring students to the event. “The children really seem to enjoy the performances,” Khan-Marcus said. “Sometimes they dance, and after the performance they get to go touch the instruments and meet the performers.”
“You can bring your brown bag lunch, and it’s a really fun way to spend your lunch,” Melander said. “It’s very informal. People can come and go.”
The World Music Series is always looking for new performers, Marcus said. The Music Dept. can be contacted at 893-3261.