“Crimson Ties,” the Washington State University world music ensemble, was created in the fall of 2021 by Darryl Singleton who was a part of the inaugural cohort of WSU’s “Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas,” cluster hire program. Within four weeks of the first rehearsal, the ensemble gave its first performance at the opening for the exhibit “Black Lives Matter” at the Jordan Schnitzer museum. The group gave 6 more performances during the remainder of the 2021-22 school year, including two performances on the School of Music’s (SoM) World Music Convocation.
The dynamic and repertoire for the ensemble is unique in the WSU School of Music in that its primary focus is neither Western European art music or American jazz, though we incorporate some elements of both. While percussion is central to the group’s core, Crimson Ties embraces the varied backgrounds of its members – all instruments are welcome nor is any audition (or musical experience!) required to join.
Though members discover and experience musical approaches from indigenous cultures around the world, the music performed is generally created by the members of the ensemble, under Dr. Singleton’s guidance. Some created selections are highly structured, and others are spontaneously composed (improvised!) based on musical motifs or settings created by Singleton or one of the ensemble members. Composition and improvisation using world instruments, European-descended instruments, singing, and spoken word are all elements of the unique experience that is Crimson Ties. Indeed, our name “Crimson Ties” refers to the blood lines that connect us all in acknowledgement of the human universality of music.
Washington State University students can become a part of Crimson Ties by enrolling in MUS 435 Chamber Ensemble. Select the section with Singleton listed as instructor. Come make music with us!
Contact Dr. Darryl Singleton with any questions!