New Marimba Club Welcomes All Students

Nicole Engelke

The Charter – News

Although the students in this new club had probably never met before, or heard their parts, or even played a marimba, they were determined to learn their parts before the concert, and have lots of fun in the process. Margie Phillips, one of the music teachers at ACA, wanted it that way when she coined the idea before the new school year.

The Marimba club was founded just this year. It is held in room 116, twice a day, every Thursday from 1:30 PM to 2:00 PM and from 3:30 PM to 4:00 PM. The club is for anyone who is willing to try something new and expressive. Phillips has made it clear that this club is not a class so there is no entry fee and attendance is not required.

Phillips was inspired by summer music camps she visited where she had the opportunity to play marimbas. When asked about her experience she said, “It’s very organic and satisfying to whack something with a stick and get a good sound out.”

The marimba is a very different musical instrument consisting of a set of graduated wooden bars, often with resonators beneath to reinforce the sound, struck with wooden mallets. It is very similar in shape and sound to a xylophone, except much larger and louder.

Though the actual origin of the instrument is unknown, many believe that it came from Africa, while others say it was from Southeast Asia. Either way, it made its way to South America where it was popularized and modified into the beautiful instrument we have today.

Many types of music can be played on, or adapted for, the marimba, which is why Phillips plans to use them in her other various music classes and performances. Phillips says that there will be marimba performances before the music department concerts in December. She also expressed the possibility of a few lunch time performances in December or January.

The class is very open and non-judgmental, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses in the class. Some prefer to keep tempo with the big bass in the far corner, while others like to play complicated pieces on the small sopranos in front. Everyone is focused on doing their part right, but they also have a lot of fun listening to the amazing sounds they can make as a team.

When asked about her experience in the club so far, Lydia Flaherty, a student at ACA said, “I think it’s fun because I know piano and it’s like that but with sticks [and] because it’s a small group so you kind of just have fun with those couple people.”

The new marimbas were purchased from a nearby school, Springwater Environmental Sciences School, where they were no longer in use. The funds to buy the marimbas came from Phillips’ other music classes, the PAT, the rest of the music department, and Chapin, who authorized the funding. In total the marimbas cost around $5000. Phillips stated, “The marimbas were still very expensive even though we got them used, so it’s important that we appreciate how lucky we are that our school could go on a limb to buy them.”
Update: The Marimba club performed at both the orchestra and choir winter concerts on December 1st and 2nd in the ACA gym and they stared in their very own lunchtime concert on Tuesday the 5th. They were a smashing success and received avid applause from the audience and fellow musicians.



Phillips, Margie. Email interview. Nov. 6 2017.                                                                      Rager, Daniel. “The History of the Marimba” Music Faculty Publications, 2008.                                                      Flaherty, Lydia. Personal interview. Nov. 14 2017.