I’ve got a show coming up on Sat, Aug. 15th that I’m really excited about! There are a few reasons for this excitement, one of them being that I get to introduce you all to a new band that I am a part of!
The Rosemarys is a 4 piece that features not one but two fiddles, a cello, a couple guitars, and a banjo! (You notice there are more instruments than people?) We play almost all original songs that I’ve written over the years, and this will be our debut performance! Let me introduce the band – Rois Langner is a fine fiddler I’ve been privileged to play with off and on for the past few years, and we finally get to perform together! You will also hear her beautiful voice on some gorgeous harmonies. David Short is a supreme cellist, who plays in many groups in the area, including the Sphere Ensemble, Jesse Manley and His Band, and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, among others. Jesse Manley, as many of you may already know, is a fantastic singer/songwriter, often in collaboration with Wonderbound, who adds his guitar and banjo-playing expertise to the band! And that second guitar is played by yours truly, along with the fiddle and the singing.
Blow the Vault is also playing on this show, and I am excited to craft the finest of sets for you all to listen and dance to! We often play shows that go for at least 2 hours, and to have a shorter, more focused performance will give us a chance to really showcase our strengths. Listen to this track off our EP for a taste!
This show happens to be at Swallow Hill, where I teach violin and fiddle. It is a place where many of my favorite musicians have played, and it is an honor and a privilege not only to teach there, but to now perform with my friends on the Tuft Theater stage!
Get your tickets here!
I recently read an article written by Yo Yo Ma in the Huffington Post. In it, he discusses the arts and it’s place in society. He talks about how the arts teaches many things that the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program in the schools cannot, such as empathy and finding balance in our lives. The arts also allows us to experience life and death in a way that would not be possible otherwise, by allowing us to feel strong emotions that are not a part of science and technology.
As a teacher, the following paragraph from the article hit home.
“For me the most proficient way to teach the values of collaboration, flexibility, imagination and innovation — all skill sets needed in today’s world — is through the performing arts. If you have these tools, you can do well in any field from software engineering to the biosciences.”
In my daily work with young violin students, I try to teach all four of those values in lessons and classes through playing together, being able to listen and move with each other, creating new rhythms and short songs, and having my students come up with solutions on their own. Only a few of my students may go on to be a musician as their chosen profession, but my hope is that the lessons they learn through music will shape their lives in a way that only the arts can. Go STEAM!
Photo: Sphere Ensemble’s recent visit to the Denver Boys and Girls Club.
As a freelance musician, one often worries about having enough work to pay the bills each month. We most certainly do not do this because of the money. We do this because we love it! Most of the time, the rewards come from playing a piece we really love, collaborating with friends and new acquaintances, or seeing the joy and appreciation from an audience member. Luckily for me, I get to experience all three most of the time!
Recently, Sphere Ensemble took eight of its members to the Cope branch of the Denver Boys and Girls Club for International Day. Kids from all of the Denver clubs had gathered to share posters they had made featuring the country assigned to their branch. After the kids spent some time in the gymnasium looking at each other’s posters, they sat down to listen to Sphere play. Some kids didn’t remain seated for long!
Things have slowed down a bit on the gigging front, which has allowed the creative juices to flow. Both The Belle Jar and Blow the Vault put out albums this summer, and we spent the better part of Sept-Oct playing around Denver and New Mexico.The Belle Jar had the opportunity to play down in Albuquerque and Taos in Oct, while Blow the Vault contributed their sounds to the annual Low Down Hoe Down farm party in Wheat Ridge, CO.
The exciting news is that both the Belles and BTV are writing new material! A chance to evolve, building on the foundations we created with our first albums, and to branch out into new territories. The Belle Jar will have it’s first instrumental on this next recording (EP?). Hold tight for a sneak preview soon!
In other news, I recently went down to the Colorado Public Radio OpenAir studios to record a couple songs with Covenhoven. Three tunes were recorded, along with an interview with Joel Van Horne. Below is a video of Missing Parts, one of the two I played on. The other, A Love Sincere, is here.
Jesse Manley, April Johannesen, Jean-Luc Davis, Dean Hirschfield, Ben Gallagher and Emily Rose Lewis. Recorded at CPR’s OpenAir studios, Sept. 26, 2013. Check out the Media page for more videos!
We’re in production week for A Gothic Folktale and it’s getting pretty exciting! Shows start this Friday, 7:30pm, at Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School 1001 W. 84th Avenue Denver, CO 80260. See Wonderbound‘s website for details and tickets.
A few weeks ago, Jesse Manley, April Johannesen, Jean-Luc Davis, Dean Hirschfield, Ben Gallagher and I went down the the Colorado Public Radio’s OpenAir studios to record a few songs from the show. And now, you have three chances to catch us on the radio! On the Best Of Mile High Noon on CPR News (90.1 FM) Thursday night (10/17) at 9 and Sunday (10/20) afternoon at 6. It will air on Mile High Noon Friday on Friday (10/18). These on air performances will give you a sneak peak into the music of A Gothic Folktale!
A collaboration with the Ars Nova Singers! This Friday and Sat, Oct. 11 and 12, we are joining forces with the Boulder-based group of elite singers in a concert of the music of Benjamin Britten and Arvo Pärt. What’s great about this performance is not only the collaboration, but that we’re doing this the Sphere Way! For those of you not familiar with Sphere Ensemble‘s style of performance, we play without a conductor. There are 13 of us, which enables the ensemble to play like a string quartet. It is a little more challenging when you add a 34-piece choir to the mix, but these upcoming performances will be no different!
Works on the program by Britten include his Simple Symphony, Hymn to St. Cecilia, Chorale after an Old French Carol, and Advance Democracy. Works by Pärt include his Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, as well as the U.S. premiere of Pärt’s Salve Regina for voices and strings! Originally written for voices and organ in 2001, Pärt arranged the piece for voices and strings in 2011. There will be a few more pieces on the program, including a couple of surprises at the end!
We’ve been getting some press too! Check it out!
From the Boulder Daily Camera
The Denver Post
I’ll leave you with a taste of Arvo Pärt, just to get you in the mood.