Posts Tagged ‘Music’

CAMERON BEAN WILL SPEAK ON “THE STATE OF THE ARTS” SUNDAY AT THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF COLUMBUS

April 29, 2015

THE SERVICE STARTS AT 10;40 A.M. DIRECTIONS: GOING NORTH ON WHITESVILLE ROAD, TURN LEFT ON HEIFERHORN WAY, WHICH IS THE FIRST  LEFT AFTER WILLIAMS ROAD INTERSECTION. THE U.U.’S GRACE HALL IS AT THE END OF THE STREET  IN WHAT WAS  THE F.O.P. BUILDING.

Cameron Bean, CEO, Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Cameron Bean, Executive Director,, Columbus Symphony Orchestra

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Musical Brilliance Right Here in River City

February 16, 2015

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The Schwob star in the Columbus music crown continues to shine brighter and brighter.  That was amply illustrated when Professor Seguis Schwartz and Professor Boris Abramov’s Vilolin Studio students awed the audience in Legacy Hall Sunday afternoon.

It’s hard to come up with a superlative powerful enough to describe the quality of the performances of those Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music violinists.  Schwob’s reputation and scholarship program has attracted truly world-class, competition-winning student violinists.  And those world-class students come from all over, places like China, Russia, Israel, Poland, Canada, Saipan, and, Georgia (US), Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, New York, and South Carolina.

If you enjoy beautiful music, don’t miss their performances at CSU. 

 

 

 

Appreciating Great Music

September 29, 2014

 

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How do you  get  people to  learn to appreciate and  enjoy really great symphonic, classical, and jazz music?

First of all, you have to expose them to it, preferably at a young age.

The Columbus State University Schwob School of Music is playing a major role in doing that in our area.  A prime example is the free concert for children held at  the National Infantry Museum Sunday afternoon.  The children and their parents and grandparents got to hear some extraordinary piano, cello, vocal and jazz combo performances by CSU faculty and student musicians, including some very young ones.  Schwob offers courses to young children as well as college students. The concert selections were all done in an entertaining way that young children could enjoy,  introduced by a female student in a “Pianosaurus” costume. Judging by the reaction of the children in the audience, it worked. They loved it.  

There will be many more free concerts for children of all ages by these extraordinarily talented Schwob students.  The school’s website tells you where and when.  Just click on this link.

 

 

What Do Tchaikovsky and “The Roosevelts” Have In Common?

September 15, 2014

They provided me with an enjoyable weekend. 

CSO Conductor George Del Gobbo conducting his "Know the Score" pre-concert session.  He told us all about Tchaikovsky and his powerful and beautiful music  before the concert. Not only was it informative, but entertaining. The complimentary wine added to the enjoyment.

CSO Conductor George Del Gobbo conducting his “Know the Score” pre-concert session. He told us all about Tchaikovsky and his powerful and beautiful music before the concert. Not only was it informative, but entertaining. The complimentary wine added to the enjoyment.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s all-Tchaikovsky concert Saturday evening provided a wonderful demonstration of how the sound of a first-class orchestra can lift your spirits to dazzling heights. It was a marvelous experience in transporting sound.  And the champagne and dessert reception before the concert didn’t hurt.  It really helped that the dessert came in small portions. You got that great taste without sending your blood sugar through the roof.

Columbus Symphony in Bill Heard Theater at the River Center.

Columbus Symphony in Bill Heard Theater at the River Center.

Watching Episode 1 of Ken Burn’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” was also a special experience.  I have read a few books about Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt and thought I knew a lot about them.  Watching the Burn’s film provided not only some things I didn’t know, but did it in an arresting way with the use of historic movie film and still photographs to great effect.  I knew that Theodore liked war, but I didn’t realize how he took great pleasure in being a killer in Cuba during the Spanish-American War until I saw the Burn’s film.  It wasn’t something he had to do, but something that he wanted to do. That was one side of him.  Another side was his drive to improve the lives of the working class of America, even though he was a wealthy New York aristocrat.   I’m looking forward to the rest of the series on GPTV which runs all this week.

 

 

A TUNEFUL CSO SEASON

September 10, 2014

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As Maestro George Del Gobbo says, “There is nothing in the world like hearing a symphony orchestra live.” The first symphony  orchestra I heard live was the Pittsburg Symphony when it came to Columbus in the mid-1940s. I have been hooked on that wonderful  sound since. And, believe me, being live makes a huge difference.

The CSO  season, which starts Saturday, Sept. 13 at the River Center at 7:30, has something for everyone, including a concert that features the lush sounds of a symphony playing some country music  favorites. The opener Saturday is an all Tchaikovsky  concert. This is great powerful, passionate, romantic, beautiful symphonic music with  melodies that you’ll humming on your way back to your car. Do yourself a favor and join me Saturday and experience what Maestro Del Gobbo says is sound that “comes from the depths of the human soul.”

Oh, the T-shirt is something I won a few years ago when the orchestra held a pops concert that featured an audience quiz.  The orchestra played excerpts and the person who identified the most titles won some tickets and a T-shirt.  It was my lucky  day. I got all of them.  The concert had been scheduled for the band shell in Weracoba Park, but it was moved into the Jordan High auditorium because of rain. That old auditorium has excellent acoustics.

Musical Magic on the Jordan Stage

May 11, 2014
Selfie of mc in front  of Bob Barr  Community  Band

Selfie of me in front of the Bob Barr Community Band

The concert  that  was 25 years in the making graced the Jordan Vocational High School auditorium stage Saturday afternoon.  The Bob Barr Community Band never sounded better to me than when it played its Silver Anniversary Concert.  The audience loved it and so did  I.  

The are a number of reasons for that.  Top of the list has to be that its conductor, Fred Catchings,  is a lot like the man for  whom the band is named.  Retired educator Jimmy Motos, who plays clarinet and emcees the concerts,  told me that, and he should know, because he played in a Bob Barr JVHS band. “He rehearses the same way.  You keep doing it until you get it right.” Catchings is a retired U.S. Army band director.  His last assignment was as commander of the Fort Benning band.  How fitting. Bob Barr was stationed at Fort Benning when, in 1946, he took the job at Jordan. He wasn’t an army band director, though. He was an Officer’s Candidate School instructor during World War II.      

Another reason  the Bob Barr Community Band plays so well is that it has talented musicians from all walks of life.  Most live in the Columbus area, but some will travel a hundred miles or more to play in the band.  One of the talented musicans is Adam Mitchell, who is now director of the Jordan Band.  His band recently was awarded superior ratings.    

Since I was a member of the first Bob Barr band at Jordan, I was called on to  make a few remarks.  I told the audience about how I joined the Jordan band in 1945,  which was a year before Robert M. Barr took over.  The director of that quite small band was a student.  Not only did  he direct the band, but he played first clarinet and football.  “You can play drums, right.” Fellow classmate Wallace Helton, who convinced me to join,  had told him that.

“Well, yes, but I can’t read music.”

“You’ll fit right in. None of our drummers can read music.”

After Bob Barr, the band’s first paid full-time director, took over in 1946, he let me know that drummers would have to be able to read music.  He also told me that I was going to teach them.  I couldn’t read music, and I had to teach them. Well, you didn’t tell Mr. Barr “no.”  I would learn a lesson from a percussion textbook one day and teach it to the other drummers the next day.  It worked. We learned to read drum music. In no time at all some of them could read it better than I could. Oh, well.

Mr. Barr – all his former students still call him Mr. Barr – took that 17-piece band and in six months time had it up to about 60 members and, it went from playing the really simple “Military Escort” march to Beethoven’s “Eroica.”   Over the years it got so good it won contests and played concerts all over the country.

He didn’t just teach music, he also took a personal interest in his band kids. He connected me with WDAK radio announcer Ed Snyder who became my mentor and helped me get my first job in broadcasting. 

I can’t think of a better tribute to him than for our community band to proudly wear his name, especially since that band plays so well.  It’s next concert is for Arts in the Park on May 18th at 4 p.m. in the Werecoba Park band shell.  Be advised that the band shell does not provide the excellent acoustics that you get in the Jordan High auditorium.     

  

And the Classical Beat Goes On

April 13, 2014

Schwob School of Music’s Kaleidoscope again Showcases Brilliant Student Musicians

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Statue of Oscar Peterson at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada. Wikipedia says, “It was unveiled in June 2010 by the reigning sovereign of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II.” (Photo by Skeezix1000)

The late Oscar Peterson, who garnered 8 Grammy Awards as best Jazz Pianist, was considered by many musicians to be the greatest jazz pianist in the world. He had been classically trained. He advised his jazz students to learn to play the music of Johann Sebastian Bach in order to play jazz well. 

The Bill Heard Theater was full of classically trained musicians – some who played some swinging jazz – Saturday night, students of the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music, performing the school’s annual Kaleidoscope Concert. Those young people are brilliant college musicians who are being taught by world-class classical instructors, who  are also internationally recognized virtuosos themselves.   They demonstrated those facts for a large, appreciative audience. The different ensembles and soloists sang and played on the main stage, in front of it, and in the boxes, going from one number to the next without applause. The audience had been asked not to applaud until the end of the concert. Once they could applaud, they did so thunderously.

It’s really encouraging that Columbus is giving such moral and financial support to the Schwob School of Music. Columbus has been supportive of serious music since 1855, when the country’s second symphonic orchestra was formed by Mendelssohn’s student Herman S. Saroni . The first one was the New York Philharmonic. Thankfully, that tradition continues.

 

What Excellence at Sochi and Legacy Hall Symbolize

February 11, 2014

As I watched America’s Sage Kotsenburg and Jamie Anderson soar through the air on their snowboards,  Russia’s Yevgeny Plushenko and 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitshaya flawlessly jump and land their quads and axels on skates, or America’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White impeccably execute graceful lifts and spins as they ice dance in the Sochi Olympics, I have to reflect on the incredible capability of the human brain and body to perform brilliantly.

The same thoughts surfaced as I sat in Legacy Hall at the River Center in Columbus, Georgia and was blown away by a young, skinny, tall, serious-faced Chinese music student at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music doing seemingly impossibly intricate and really fast things on a viola,  or marvel at the world-class performances by the school’s faculty members Alexander Kobrin, pianist; Sergiu Schwartz, violist, and Wendy Warner, Cellist playing Trios by Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn.

Yes, the human being is capable of thrilling performances in many areas.  But,  there is always this familiar question, why can’t we just get along with one another?  You’d think that if humans have the smarts and talent to do things like brilliantly play a piano and go to the moon, they would be able to solve differences without going to war, individually or collectively.

 

 

Saving the Symphony

January 19, 2014

Before Saturday night’s wonderful performance of Wagner and Straus by the Columbus Symphony orchestra, I was speaking with Columbus cultural icon Clason Kyle. I told him how pleased I was to see the school busses arriving with a lot of middle and high school kids to attend the concert. When I told him that my first exposure to a live symphony orchestra was when the Pittsburg Symphony played the 9th Street USO in about 1947, he remembered that he was there that night also. One of the Three Arts League members bought tickets for students of the Columbus and Jordan High bands. We sat on the first two rows. I was blown away by the sound of that live orchestra. I have loved symphonic music ever since. Clason, a Columbus High student, wasn’t a member of the band. I guess he was there simply because he wanted to be.

“Remember when the train came by?” he asked me.

The 9th Street USO, torn down long ago, sat very close to the tracks than run down 9th Street.

After he mentioned it, I did remember.

“The conductor of the orchestra was quite amused by that.”

I even remembered the encore that the orchestra played, the rousing march “El Capitan.” No doubt the conductor knew the high school bands were there and agreed to play something especially for us. I heard that the Columbus High kids had requested that number because their director was called “Captain Lee.” Who knows, maybe that was true.

I had to reflect on all of that when I saw all those school kids lining up go into the Bill Heard Theater. I also reflected on how important is it for the symphony to invite school children so they can be exposed to the great sound of a full symphony orchestra. There is just nothing like hearing live symphonic music. Symphony audiences all over the country are getting smaller. Attracting young audiences is the only hope of reversing that trend.

And it was good thing the symphony played Wagner and Straus because those composers really knew how to get the most out of an orchestra. They also knew how to write not only beautiful, but also exciting music.

No doubt, thanks to the sponsors who paid for the kid’s tickets, more students will be invited to attend future concerts. To love that music, a person has to be exposed to it. It wouldn’t hurt for the orchestra to follow the example of the Pittsburg Symphony and play an encore targeted for them, something like “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” or the theme from “Star Wars.”

The Most Unusual Funeral I Have Ever Attended

August 9, 2013

It was truly unique.  It was also very moving, especially for anyone who had played in a Bob Barr directed Jordan Vocational High School Red Jacket Band.  I was one of  the few in the Evangel Temple sanctuary who had done that.   I was in the original Bob Barr Jordan band that was formed in 1946 when he came to the school.  Jimmy Cross, who died this week in Newnan of heart disease,  became a member about six years later. 

More than 20 years ago, Jimmy, along with other Jordan band alumni, formed an alumni band to play at a Jordan-Columbus football game half-time show that memorialized Bob Barr shortly after he died.  My contribution was to announce the show on the public address  system at Kinnette Stadium.  So many Jordan alumni showed up that the stands were packed. When the band came on the field playing the band’s signature “St. Louis Blues March,”  the crowd jumped  to its feet cheering.  I almost couldn’t speak my next lines I was so moved.  I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of tears in that  stadium that night.  My article in the July, 1991 issue of  Reader’s Digest tells the story.

  The band did not disband after that night.  It morphed into the Bob Barr Community Band, which is now made up of alumni from many high schools,  and, at Jimmy’s request it performed at his funeral.  He was also a member of the 17-piece Cavaliers, which also performed today at his funeral.   

It was a Christian service, but none of the songs played were hymns.  The Cavalier’s opening number was “Stars Fell on Alabama,” one of Jimmy’s favorites.  It also  played Count Basie’s swinging “Good News,” another  of his favorites.  For the closing number, most of the Cavaliers players got up and joined the Bob Barr Community band. 

Gene Kelley, who played first-chair trumpet and was the JVHS band president when I was the drum major, wowed the crowd in  the stands at a Jordan half-time show in 1947 when he played a solo of “Stormy Weather.”  It was so popular that he did it again the next year, and it became a tradition and the band’s first-chair trumpet played it for a number of years.  Jimmy played it when he became first trumpet.  Before Gene died he asked Jimmy to play it at his funeral, which he did, and today it was played for Jimmy by Bill Edwards and the community band.    

Following the service, the band played a 25-minute concert, which did include a hymn, and ended with the band playing the “St. Louis Blues March.”  Very special, indeed, for a very  special trumpet player, husband, father, grandfather, bank chairman, and, certainly not least of all, musician.