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Oxford Gamelan Society

Oxford — June 2010

As well as it being a university town with attendant facilities, where my sister was living, one of the attractions of Oxford was that it had a gamelan group.

I didn't have much idea what to expect, but I emailed the Oxford Gamelan Society and then turned up to the rehearsal the week I arrived. It turns out to be an active group, ably led by Pete Smith, with 15 to 20 people turning up to the weekly three hour rehearsals and with fairly regular performances of one kind or another.

The group has a very similar demographic to the Sydney group I play with, with a mix of younger and older members, and of musical professionals and those like myself without any other musical background. There are two or three members who've studied in Java and several who are planning to, a few people who can play the more difficult instruments, and occasional drop-ins from London or further afield. There's even a real pesindhen (who has unfortunately moved to Glastonbury).

Being in a strange city, one nice feature of the gamelan is that it's given me a way to meet people, when otherwise I'd have been dependent on Jenny's existing social networks and Camilla's work network. I've twice now met people from gamelan elsewhere around town.

OGS doesn't have a proper web site, just a stub on the Faculty of Music's site. I should offer to do something about this!


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