Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Animal Makes Music

So, I'm really NOT trying to out-do The Rozzle and her excellent marimba skillz. But, just the same, I DO have a vested interest in music-making, and I thought I'd toot my own horn (er, so to speak) for a little bit and do a (rare) professional post. I promise, I'll soon get back to bitching about politics and Kiss. Really.

This is going to be a busy summer for us, but NOT in the way I'm used to. If you remember, last summer saw a plethora of posts ("Would you say that I have a *plethora* of posts, Jefe?") about the renovation of our stairwell and upper hallway. That's normally the kind of busy I am during the summer: forget about the music, get out the wallpaper steamer and patching plaster, and get to work. This summer, though, a soon-to-be 1-year old makes major renovation work a little dicey, and, truth to tell, I'm kinda tired of living in a mess. About the only rooms we have left to do that NEED restoration are the living room and office, and frankly they look pretty good as-is. I think we'll move before we tackle that work. So, there's some stuff to do outside, but for a change I'm loaded up on musical schtuff. To wit:

1) Miss Tessmacher and I have been gigging with our friends Andy & Carmen of the Folias Duo. Under the moniker Folias Latin Dance Project, we've been playing concerts around Michigan of original compositions and arrangements of various, well, Latin dance music. Ahem. We did concerts last spring at Albion and Aquinas colleges, and this year did a good show at Bethlehem Church in Grand Rapids. I wrote a grant to fund the recording of a CD, which brings us to #2 on the list...

2) The recording of same. We moved all our gear up to Mt. Pleasant last Monday and Tuesday and, in a wonderfully supportive and overall relaxing environment, recorded our disc! I'd only ever been involved in a few concert band recordings before, so this was an all-new experience for me. Tess and Andy & Carmen had all done more intensive recording, and by their accounts this time around really WAS easy...or, as easy as it gets. We all sweated a few moments in different pieces - mine really revolved around the keyboard work I had to do on a couple of the tunes - but in general this was really (dare I say it?) a good time. It was FUN! ("Fun? FUN!?! Y'know, Danny...")

3) This group, the FLDP (known in-house as "Folded Diaper," because it's an otherwise unpronounceable acronym), is going to play as part of the Mackinac Island Community Foundation summer concert series. We're at St. Anne's church on Sunday, July 27th at 3:00pm. C'mon out, it'll be a good time! We're using this gig as a "warmup" for our big showing at...

4) The National Flute Association annual convention, in Kansas City on Friday, August 8th at 5:00pm. The well-intentioned but otherwise careless programmers actually put us opposite a MUCH more well-known duo performing - wait for it! - exactly the same Piazzolla work. Whoops. Luckily, Carmen threw her weight around (which, from a literal standpoint, ain't much...get a STEAK, Carm!) and the committee is allowing us to switch our program. This is good for us, because while we enjoy doing the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, we'll NOW be doing original compositions. Yay! I'll have to bring my vibes, which isn't the MOST convenient, but still...it'll be worth it.

5) Tess and I are doing our second wedding gig, this time for a high school chum of hers. It'll be simple: a couple of arrangements I did for pro- and recessional music. It's nice; I absolutely abhor practicing, which is primarily why I switched to a composition major. However, I now am really having a good time with the performing aspect at least. I like working with Tess, and now that the FLDP recording is out of the way we're going to have a "quartet naming party" with Andy & Carmen (likely accompanied by copious amounts of wine & cheese from a shop in their neighborhood) and come out as a NEW ensemble to free ourselves from the necessity of sticking with simply Latin music. Which means more original works from me, and the rest of the group, and more performances...who knows where this could go? An all-new art music ensemble, right in mid-Michigan. Wo-hoo!

6) Lastly, I'm having a fairly big premiere on Mackinac, exactly a week after FLDP performs. The Community Foundation commissioned me to do a piece for the summer series, and I'm writing Echoes of Mackinac for flute, clarinet, violin and bass. My earlier work Scenes of Mackinac was intended to be musical settings of the literal way I see the Island. Echoes is more about using legendary and literal stories ABOUT the Island, imagined through my musical "lens" as it were. This also worked in my favor to score a performance of the piece at the Michigan Story Festival in October.

Whew! That's a LOT of horn-tootin', ain't it? Sorry if that seemed rather egotistical; I'm just having fun jamming with friends, and at the end of the day it's all stuff that looks good on my vita. So, fun + job advancement = Yay Team Animal! Enjoy these photos from our recent gig in Grand Rapids.

Good group shot of us goin' at it.

Grrr...concentrate, man! CONCENTRATE!!

Playing Cancion de Lejos, using my eBay-scored bomba leguero.

Resident babes Carmen & Miss Tessmacher, doin' the devil's work on their duet.

Artsy shot of Tess & my hands. Mmmm...Tess & my hands...

Another sweet-ass eBay score: red sparkle Ludwig congas!! Mwa-ha-ha-haaa!

Unexpected appearance of church member Tony Kramer. Hiya, Bony!


Blogger Steph said...

Can't wait to see you guys in action. :)

8:15 AM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

Heh heh. You're going at it in a church. This post and its pics made me miss playing flute! Wish I could catch your gig.

9:13 PM  

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