WLU African Drum and Dance Ensemble performs at Lunch with Books program

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, the West Liberty University (WLU) African Drum and Dance Ensemble performed at the Lunch With Books program put on by the Ohio County Public Library. Dr. Mitch Greco, assistant professor of music, directed the ensemble. The event was open to the public, inviting everyone to learn about the GA ethnic group of southern Ghana. It is a unique music-culture that fuses idiophone timeline instruments such as the gankogui, double-bell and axatse rattle, with drums played with hands, the jembe and kpanlogo. People who attended the event were encouraged to participate in singing, clapping, drumming and dancing.

According to the Ohio County Public Library’s website, “Lunch with Books is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. Bring a bag lunch and enjoy presentations by authors, poets, historians, musicians and a variety of other people. Complimentary beverages are provided.”

“I love bringing a group of strangers together in participating in a music-culture that may be completely new to them. Seeing people let their guard down, allowing themselves to be vulnerable – singing, dancing, clapping without fear, these may be uncommon things in modern Western society, but they should be cherished! I also seek out these outreach performances for the benefit of my students. These provide real-world experiences for my music students that are certainly an enjoyable break from all the hours of practice and rehearsal in and around the Fine Arts Building,” Greco said.

The WLU Percussion and World Music Department offers a variety of performance opportunities for students and the surrounding communities. A primary focus of the program is performing in a variety of ensembles to build wide ensemble skills while developing musicianship and cultural awareness.

Greco is also the director of percussion and World Music at West Liberty. He directs the Percussion Ensemble and Marching Hilltoppers Drumline, as well as the world music ensembles. The world music ensembles includes the Advanced and Beginner Steel Bands, the African Drum and Dance Ensemble and occasional “special topic” ensembles. He also teaches applied percussion lessons, as well as courses on percussion fundamentals, world music and ethnomusicology, music technology, and professional development for musicians.

Visit the Ohio County Public Library’s website for more information about the event and to watch a recording of the livestream. Visit the library’s YouTube channel and Facebook page for more information about the Lunch with Books program.