Welcome to SEM/CORD in Philadelphia – November 16-20, 2011

The 2011 Joint Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Congress on Research in Dance will take place in the city of Philadelphia, with the ethnomusicology program at the University of Pennsylvania as the core host.  Most of the meeting—program sessions, plenary sessions, receptions, and performances—will be held inside the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel.  The Sheraton is close to a wide variety of historical, cultural, and musical venues and opportunities, and Philadelphia is a walk-able city with many distinctive neighborhoods.  You can leave the hotel, located on North 17th Street, and, with a good pair of walking shoes, meander through Society Hill, stopping at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, and take a brisk walk to the recently opened Constitution Center.  Old City, Chinatown, Penn’s Landing, and Rittenhouse Square reveal many sides to the city.  The Avenue of the Arts on Broad Street houses many of the key institutions of music and theater, City Hall is close by, and there are rows and rows of beautiful residential and religious buildings.  You may venture further into South Philly’s Italian, Latino, and Vietnamese communities, and sample the goods at the old Italian Market.  Or you can cross over the Schuylkill River into the Drexel University campus, or into the many beautiful buildings at the University of Pennsylvania.  Go a little further west and you come to the grand and not so grand old Victorian homes, single family and student and local community apartments, several parks and a growing variety of immigrant restaurants and coffee shops of all kinds—Ethiopian, Senegalese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Asian fusion, and African American Soul food.

Getting to the hotel from the airport is relatively cheap and easy: SEPTA regional rail will take you right to University City station or further on into Center City and close to the Sheraton.  The Philadelphia airport is not far from the center of the city.  SEPTA trains run every thirty minutes to and from the airport.  You can also take a cab, but that will cost a little more, about $30 each way.

The pre-conference symposium on Music, Dance, and Civic Engagement will be hosted by the Music Department and the internationally recognized Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania.  This will take place on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 in the Music Building.  We will arrange small group visits to some of the sites we have partnered with—mostly communities of faith, some neighborhood schools—and engage in conversations about our work with community partners. In addition, we plan to showcase the rich variety of musical ensembles from Penn and other local colleges and universities through the course of the Annual Meeting.

The Music Department has a completely renovated building situated just down the road from Irvine Auditorium, also refurbished with a large organ and adjoining recital hall.  In the last few years, several performance venues have opened up in the area around Penn, including World Café Live (in the same building as WXPN, the Penn radio station) and the Rotunda (see Foundationarts.org). There is also the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts on campus, and a wide variety of jazz clubs in all parts of the city, the Painted Bride in Old City, the free jazz series (see arsnovaworkshop.com), the Curtis Institute of Music, the Academy of Music, and the recently opened Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Penn is home to the internationally recognized Museum of Anthropology and Archeology—which houses the collections of archeological and anthropological expeditions of Penn faculty and related scholars since the late 19th century.

The Local Arrangements Committee and the ethnomusicology program at the University of Pennsylvania are busy preparing for a large and vibrant meeting of SEM and CORD in Philadelphia.  We are looking forward to lively debates, rich conversations, and new ways of connecting, musically, technologically, and virtually with members in and well beyond the United States.  Philadelphia is not only the city of brotherly and sisterly love, but also a place rich with research and musical possibility.  Come one, come all.

Carol Muller, Local Arrangements Committee Chair