“I will what I want”

As summer seems to be spiraling closer and closer to the beginning of the school year, I usually am particularly alert for inspiration.  This week I found it in the form of an underwear ad campaign (!) –  from the ‘Under Armour’ brand!

This features Misty Copeland, lead soloist for the elite American Ballet theatre.  The video is her dancing, amazingly, with the full display of her athleticism and grace.  The voiceover is a young girl, reciting several negative comments all on why Misty should be rejected completely as a ballerina.  The words are actual words she received in rejection during her formative years.  They are hearbreaking.

This got me thinking a lot about talent, work ethic, and identity.

What is the magic balance between these things?  Is there a magic balance?  And where does “will” fit in?  How do I feel about myself and these things?  Would I have had the same will and determination that Misty had in the face of such rejection?  Do you?

The end of the campaign has the tagline “I will what I want,” which I have decided is my new motto for the next months.  I like to think it comes from the beloved “What you will” quote and sentiment from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, where identity and will are brought together and challenged in this same way.

In any case, I invite you to consider these questions as well:  “what do you will?” and then feel free to also embrace “I will what I want” as you embark on your creative, business and personal endeavors this week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MAelle-misty-copland-lgn

And of course, just enjoy how much of a badass Misty Copeland is!!!!! :)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania trip

This week I traveled to Willow Grove just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and visited one of the greatest percussion companies in the US, Steve Weiss Music!

As part of the Marimba One team, I was there to premiere and play the new and totally amazing “Izzy” marimba. We spent the day with all the Steve Weiss people and had a great time talking about marimbas and music in general! We played the “Izzy”, discussed all the new innovations and attributes of the new marimba and frame, and also talked about all the Marimba One mallets. Over a great, wonderfully catered barbecue with everybody there, we had a great discussion on all things percussion – it was a really fun sharing of information. One of the cool things about ordering your marimba through Steve Weiss Music is that they offer an exclusive resonator color – aged copper. It was actually the first time I have seen the Steve Weiss color, and it is absolutely gorgeous! Check out the Steve Weiss website to find a picture of this exclusively distributed instrument.

During the visit we had a chance to talk about my forthcoming new to be released mallets. I can’t say anything more at this stage about my signature mallets, other than to say we have incorporated some innovations and some things that are completely new to Marimba One mallets. I’m SO excited about this that I can’t even contain myself; so more of that over the coming weeks!!!!

Famous Philly Steak Sandwich Pure indulgence! Burger & fries, can't eat it all ! Joy & TimI had some great meals away from home, staying an extra day to catch up with friends and doing some sightseeing. It was a great week in Pennsylvania!

Southern California International Marimba Competition

I’m currently at Chapman University Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music as one of four competition judges at the Southern California International Marimba Competition.

This competition is so great!

Friday afternoon we had the duo semi final round and last night I was privileged to play in the opening night concert with my fellow judges and internationally acclaimed percussionists Naoko Takada, Gordon Stout and Nick Terry. It was such a great evening of music and I was so honored to bea part of it! This event is so well put together and has such a nice vibe to it!

Naoko Takada

 

Gordon Stout 
Nick Terry scmc logo

This event has the potential to launch new careers for the very best Marimba percussionists. Good luck to the competition entrants, already we have heard and seen some amazing new talents. 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern-California-Marimba-Competition/336922266340914

Wuhan China

WOW, thus far we have had a blast!      

 

Here is a snapshot of what we have been up to.

Hard at Work, music performances …..

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Playing music with students and making new friends …..

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Indulging in delicious Chinese cuisine – great colors …..

                                   

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Fried Breakfast Snack
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Famous Wuhan Hot Dry Noodles
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Spicy Fish

Immersing ourselves in Chinese culture …..

 

I know I parked my bike over there!
I know I parked my bike over there
Did you receive my letter?
Did you receive my letter?

Prof. Keith — our negotiator

Photo May 18, 5 50 24 PM

And being tourists…..

Wuhan Buddhist Temple
Wuhan Buddhist Temple

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Temple Grounds Decorations

 

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Famous Yellow Crane Tower

It has all been great fun, we’ve learnt so much!

“Ni hao”

SUU Percussion Festival

We really had a blast this last week for the annual SUU Percussion Festival! Everything about the time we had together was great, especially the final concert with my guest artists Cory Hills and Ken McGrath performing with me and the SUU Percussion Ensemble to a FULL recital hall for the concert on Saturday night!Image

We led up to that with percussion clinics, workshops and lessons at the college, and both Cory and Ken were a hit with my students; showcasing their outstanding talents, playing with students, sharing their knowledge and expertise. Their generosity with their time was amazing and I know my student got so much out of it! We talked about grad school, studio work, developing your career and all things percussion!

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Showing off Southern Utah’s spectacular scenery we were able to squeeze in to the busy schedule time to hike in Zion Canyon. Thanks so much to Cory and Ken for coming to SUU, sharing your talent and working with my students, it was such a fun weekend!

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We’re going to China for a month!

 

 

This project came about 2 years ago when I traveled to Wuhan, China, where I worked with the Hubei National Opera and Dance Company, playing timpani for our ‘Dream of Helen’ production. It was a combined project with SUU and Chinese dancers and musicians. The Hubei Opera President, Mr. Chang Sheng Mei liked working with me and he dreamed up this idea to build this concert around a percussion concerto written for me!

 

Mr. Mei talked with Keith Bradshaw ( who is my department chair and great composer) about writing this piece and he wrote the “Canyons Concerto,” a 30 minute tour de force that I love playing. We premiered the concerto in Southern Utah last November with the Orchestra of Southern Utah. During the performance we projected a fantastic running slideshow with each movement representing Utah’s beautiful canyon landscapes. Our follow up plan to the premiere was to take the performance to China this May.

 

Dr. Xun Sun - Associate Professor of Music Orchestra,  Me, & Dr. Keith Bradshaw - SUU Professor of Music, Department Chair

Dr. Xun Sun – Associate Professor of Music
Orchestra,Me, & Dr. Keith Bradshaw – SUU Professor of Music, Department Chair

 

The titles are really cool, the first movement is the Incarnation of the Hoodoos, about the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. The second movement is called Hanging with Goblins which is about Goblin Valley, also in Bryce Canyon. The third movement Gabbing with Gossips which is for Gossips in the beautiful Arches National Park, and the forth and final movement is In the Court of the Patriarchs, representing Zion Canyon.

Our Dean, Shauna Mendini felt it really important to get some of the students to go on our trip to China. So together with Keith, Shauna, Xun Sun our conductor, and I, four of my percussion students are going! They are Darin Hunsinger, Marshall Miller, Tyler Williams, Austin Julian.

Me and Darin Hunsinger, Marshall Miller, Tyler Williams, Austin Julian

Me and Darin Hunsinger, Marshall Miller, Tyler Williams, Austin Julian

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We are spending almost a whole month in China, touring and playing concerts including The Canyons Concerto. We will be in Wuhan for about a week, we are performing at the Qintai Concert Hall, May 11th and 12th, and then we visiting China Normal University, then we are going to Changsha, where we will be playing at the Hunan Normal University. Then we are off to Beijing we are playing with the Chinese Music Institute. We are doing some percussion ensembles pieces, playing some duos, trios, quartets, I’m also going to be playing a bunch of solos. The trip is from the 3rd of May through to the 27th.

It’s huge trip we’re really excited. Thanks to Marimba One for all their help getting a marimba there for us for the whole trip!!! We can’t wait for this amazing adventure!

 

Percussion Ensemble – Special Guest Musicians

Come join me this Saturday night at our Percussion Ensemble, and meet our very special guest artists Cory Hills and Kenneth McGrath, as we explore the sounds of contemporary percussion.

Cory Hills, a multi-percussionist, composer, and improviser, thrives on breaking down musical barriers through creative, interdisciplinary projects. Having studied widely, recorded in Los Angeles, a member of the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, and performed solo and chamberrecitals throughout the world in Europe, Australia, United States, Mexico, and China, Cory has individually commissioned and premièred over 60 new works for percussion.The Stone - Cory Hills and Clarice Jensen

Percussionist Kenneth McGrath performs regularly with many Southern California leading ensembles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. Kenneth has toured throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. He has contributed to wide range of concerts, including Broadway productions, motion picture soundtrack recordings and broadcasts. He also maintains a private teaching studio in Los Angeles. kenneth-mcgrath-percussion-32

I can’t wait to play with these great musicians!

Percussion Festival Saturday 28th

Join me, guest artists Cory Hills and Ken McGrath, performing with the SUU Percussion Ensemble for a pulsating evening of music next Saturday night.

This free concert is open to the public beginning at 7:30pm Saturday, April 26, in Thorley Recital Hall located in SUU’s Music Building, Cedar City.

The night will be a blast!Percussion Festival CC -tiff