This semester has been soooo strange!!! We have been talking about it in the studio, and all we can figure is that the concerts have been spaced a little differential this semester and the students got a bit of a slow start getting on the ball with practicing! ;) But, like always, the group pulled it together and ended up performing very well and having a great concert this past Monday night! This program had a quite smaller set up which is unusual for us :). Most of the pieces were mallet quartets so we didn’t have to move as many drums and other instruments, which is also pretty cool! I’m always happy to have a studio that is strong in mallet playing! They performed an arrangement by my friend Dave Gerhart: Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major, which went very well! The four that played that piece absolutey fell in love with the music and Ravel’s harmonies, which is always so nice – I love when they get turned on by one of the great standard composers in the musical canon. I’m proud of this quartet because although they didn’t rehearse that often, they took initiative and learned their parts individually and I think truly cared about this beautiful piece. We also performed Carlos Rivera’s Cumba-Quin for the second time, as well as the drum romp Tin-Play published by Edition Svitzer. It was a great evening all around!
The Canyons Concerto was a huge success! I love playing concertos and I’m so excited to play this piece again in China next May and hopefully many other places too! I think people responded very well with the piece and overall sounded great! Performing in concertos is my absolute favorite, as I can be an individual solo performer while also being accompanied by an entire orchestra!
There were large projectors projecting images of Utah’s national parks to relate to the movements on both sides of the Heritage Center concert hall which made the experience very cool! The stage also looked very impressive with hang drum, chimes, toms, marimba, xylophone, and more in front of an orchestra! The composer Keith Bradshaw did such a good job with the piece and it is very different from any concerto that I’ve seen – I think its the first time a hang drum has been used in an orchestral situation of any kind!
After the show! I am so honored to have this piece have ben written for me and I look forward to showing it to the world! Thank you Keith for this amazing musical work!
This Satellite Salon was titled “Musica de los Muertos” based on The Day of the Dead celebrations, and as you can see, we decorated the space appropriately! This event was such a huge success with so much collaboration of the arts! There was folkloric dancing, live painting, music, and guest composer Carlos Rivera from Miami! Carlos is a musician, composer, and such an amazing and fun person! He rehearsed the students on the pieces he wrote for guitars which we arranged and played on marimbas! His bright personality and awesome sense of humor helped the students improve the pieces in a fun and light way. The performance was Saturday night in the Thorley Recital hall and it was packed! We had to put an extra row of chairs in front for people because there weren’t any seats left and there STILL wasn’t enough room! We ended up having to have an overflow room with a webcast! There were so many people at this event and I think they really enjoyed it. While the musicians performed, Ron Spears, a painter and professor at SUU, painted live what he saw while the dancers danced on stage with the music. The painting ended up so amazing!
The event in action
The painting and the artists after the show!
The amazing collaboration between painter, dancers, composer and musician!
This event became bigger than it ever has and continues to grow. I can’t wait for what happens next time, hope to see you there!
It’s been very busy for the percussionists last week! Darin is working on The Sejourne Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra and he recorded the second movement last week for an upcoming competition. We also had a shipment of brand new black snare drums for the drumline! They look so much better and sound amazing! So some of the snare line had a tuning party the night before the rehearsal and performed for each other afterwards to help each other feel good about their piece and give each other comments. Then Friday was thePercussion noon recital and they all performed very well on solo pieces - even first year students who I’m sure were nervous to perform! But the week was even busier on Saturday – we did the Homecoming Parade in the morning, then played for the tailgating festivities, THEN played the football game! And to top off the day we had the first annual Alumni Band Concert – so the drumline turned into concert percussionists again for the evening performance where they collaborated with SUU alumni on a full concert of Wind Symphony music! It was a great week, filled with so many things, but as usual, everyone rose to the challenge and played great with tons of professionalism! Stay tuned for more activities to come!
The gang performing for the tailgate
Cheerleaders and Athletic band performing for halftime!
From left to right: Austin Julian, Tylor Williams, Darin Hunsinger, and Marshall’s back, all hanging out before the parade
Last Monday was the SUU Faculty Recital and it went very well! I was really happy to have premiered a piece by Keith Bradshaw called “La Luna Colgante,” which incorporates melodies from his upcoming Canyons Concerto that I will be performing on November 9 here in Utah. “La Luna Colgante” is all on the Hang Drum and Djembe, and it’s really cool how these two instruments mix! The Hang Drum sounded great in Thorley and the audience seemed to really like it! Some people even asked if there was a recording of the piece already that they could buy! The recital was really diverse in repertoire and the rest of the faculty performed really well. The pieces were all Latin themed and the program ended with the Chick Corea classic, “Spain.” This week is homecoming week for us so the rest of my week is busy with the drumline, who will be marching in the parade, playing for the tailgate festivities, playing for the football game and halftime. And if that wasn’t enough, then we will be playing an Alumni Wind Symphony concert Saturday night as well! It’s going to be a busy week, but just what we need here at SUU! Concert weeks are always such a great time to bond and perform!
Hey everyone! I have been super busy lately with The Canyons Concerto, Alternate Currents which is the new music ensemble, Satellite Salon, Online Lessons and so much more! I have been really stressed with all the busy work I have been doing but I read something very interesting that I think everyone can benefit from! The article mentions 10 really good ideas and reminders that everything is going to be okay, even though the negative and stressful things seem magnified. Here are the 10 Reminders:
1. Happiness is never constant, and it’s not supposed to be.
2. Failures are temporary situations that teach us necessary lessons.
3. Even if you can’t see it now, you are making progress.
4. How you feel when you’re stressed is not a true measure of reality.
5. You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
6. You are not what happened to you in the past.
7. Not getting what you want can be a blessing.
8. Being a ‘work in progress’ is a great state to be in.
9. Nobody else can do it for you.
10. Life is not easy, but it’s worth it.
I like reminder #3 that mentions that even if you can’t see it now, you’re making progress. I find this to be really important especially for artists. When you practice a lot of different pieces it can be easy to think that you aren’t getting anywhere with any of them even though you are getting them done! It also mentions to be aware of your mental self-talk. It explains how everyone talks to themselves in their heads, without realizing how it’s affecting us. I think it is super important to replace the negative self criticisms with constructive ones. For more details on all of the reminders, here is a link to the article below. Check it out!
Im so excited to announce the newest concerto written for me called The Canyons Concerto! I’ve been in the practice room for the last month getting it ready and it is already very fun to play! It is written by Keith Bradshaw who is my department chair and a great composer in Southern Utah. This is a two part comission from the Orchestra of Southern Utah and also the Hubei National Opera and Dance Company in China. We will be premiering it November 9th here in Southern Utah as well as touring with the piece in China next year in May! The piece is called The Canyons Concerto because it is written about Utah’s beautiful landscape. There are four movements and I have three of the them so far and anxiously awaiting the fourth! The titles are really cool, the first movement called Dance of the Hoodoos which is about the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. The second movement is called Hanging with Goblins which is about Goblin Valley also in Bryce Canyon, and the third movement Gabbing with Gossips which is for the beautiful Arches National Park. There are so many instruments that I will be playing in this concerto including djembe, toms, marimba, cymbals, but one of the most special things about this piece is that it is going to have the hang drum in it. The hang drum is a recently created and unique instrument that you play with your hands. It is usually made with steel and has a very distinct almost eerie sound. I’m very excited to premiere this already beautiful sounding piece! Hope you can make it!