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The Enrichment Center Percussion Ensemble is a musical group based at the Enrichment Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina formed from adults with developmental disabilities and professional musicians. It was founded in 1997 by director Aaron Bachelder from members of the existing student body of the Enrichment Center, an arts-based alternative day program for adults with disabilities.
In spite of its members' lack of prior musical experience, the group began performing within months, and was soon attracting the attention of many in the arts and human services communities. Before long, they had performed for thousands of people, alone and in collaboration with such groups as The African American Dance Ensemble, Chimaera Physical Theatre, and more recently, The Open Dream Ensemble. The group's music is highly varied, ranging from neo-serialism to post- minimalist rock, as well as arrangements of American folk song and works drawing on Asian, Latin, and jazz traditions. Their first recording (Nomos), a collaboration with violinist Sarah Johnson on her CD Fiddler's Galaxy, was released in 2000 on Albany Records, and subsequently premiered live at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA). Their latest CD Three Pieces was released in 2005 on Microearth Records, with guest musicians Morgan Kraft, Erich Hubner of Man or Astro-man?, and Joel Lambdin, founder of the Harrisburg Chamber Players. It has received airplay on regional college radio, and a portion of the opening track "Parallax" was used in a television commercial for SECCA. Their performance of "Wintersong" by Bachelder was included on the recent WUAG (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) live compilation "18 watts is better than none". As Ken Keuffel, in the Winston-Salem Journal, says, "the Ensemble illustrates the power of music".
Jeffrey Dean Foster