World Music, World Music in the Classroom
Dirck Westervelt plays, studies, and teaches music. Currently, he performs the music of Zimbabwe and Mozambique with Timbila; the Cajun and Zydeco music of rural Louisiana with the Zydecats; old-time Appalachian, blues, swing, and early country music with Wild Goose Nation; the music of South America with Sirius Coyote; and the traditional music of the Mandé people of Mali, in West Africa. He teaches piano, bass, banjo, guitar, and percussion at Chase Collegiate School and world music at Western Connecticut State University.
For the last 20 years, Westervelt has been music director for the Children’s Circus of Middletown. This five-week summer program, under the aegis of Oddfellows Playhouse, involves more than 200 performers. The band consists of 15 to 20 teenage and adult musicians and collaborates with six act directors to provide musical accompaniment for 90 minutes of circus. He has also taught weeklong workshops in acoustic bass technique to classes of eight to ten people at the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis and Elkins College, in Elkins, W.Va.
Westervelt has a strong background in physics and math, speaks French fluently, and has a working knowledge of Bambara, a Malian language, and Shona, which people speak in Zimbabwe. He has lived and worked with families in South India, Mali, Zimbabwe, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Connecticut. He has studied and practiced Zen meditation for 25 years and studied tai chi for 14 years. He has taught tai chi for nine years.