Lacrosse Players Complete Music Of Bali-Gamelan Class

WORCESTER, Mass. - Seven Holy Cross senior lacrosse players (Brendan Candon, Megan Fenton, Connor Sweeney, MaryKate Finnegan, Chris Smirti, Allison Donovan and John Rapport) performed Balinese music on Dec. 4 as part of their Music of Bali-Gamelan class which introduces students to Balinese music through the performance of selected pieces from the Gong Kebyar repertory. The course was taught by I Made Bandem and Ni Suasthi Bandem.

As seniors this class was a good way for Candon (Political Science), Fenton (Economics and Accounting), Sweeney (Economics and Accounting), Finnegan (Economics and Accounting), Smirti (Economics), Donovan (Sociology) and Rapport (Psychology) to take a class outside of their majors. "The course was a great introduction to the Balinese culture," said Donovan. "I probably never will have the opportunity to play a Balinese instrument again. Bandem and Suasthi are very influential in Balinese dance and music. I think we were very lucky to learn from them. It was an honor to be able to perform with them."

The class had approximately 20 people playing eight different instruments as they met twice a week for two hours and fifteen minutes to practice. The group performed four different musical pieces, accompanied by the dance class. They also performed Balinese rituals such as the Janger and the Kecak. The opening piece was named the Gilak Worcester composed by Professor Bandem to depict the different weather patterns of Worcester. The other pieces were the Pendet dance, Baris and the Barong.

Being members of a team helped them with the challenge of the class. "Megan and I played the only two calungs in the entire gamelan. I think the fact that we are teammates, roommates and great friends was very advantageous in playing our instruments together," said Donovan. "MaryKate's instrument, the ugal, led the melody in the gamelan. I think she is a natural leader and this quality made it easy for her to choose her instrument and take charge. I'm very glad we were able to take the course with some of the men's players. The men's and women's lacrosse teams have always been close and this was a great opportunity to spend time in a class setting and not just on the lax field."

Both teams are looking forward to February to start the 2010 season.

From left to right: Brendan Candon, Megan Fenton, Connor Sweeney, MaryKate Finnegan, Chris Smirti, Allison Donovan and John Rapport.