Greek Concert Weekend

I had the opportunity this weekend to participate in two concerts organized by the fraternities and sororities on campus. On Friday night, the three music organizations (the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha, the sisters of Sigma Alpha Iota, and the brothers and sisters of Tau Beta Sigma) performed in the first annual joint-concert between the three organizations. A joint-concert has been attempted before, and talked about many times, but finally thanks to the organization and dedication of some members of each organization, the three groups finally combined to do a concert, which included solo vocal acts, a trumpet sextet, larger vocal ensembles, a few low brass solo acts, and a jazz band.

The jazz band was comprised of mostly members of Tau Beta Sigma (the co-ed honorary service sorority that I am a part of), and is a very similar group to the one that I organized for TBS’s Fall Showcase. We performed a jazz ballad version of the traditional Irish song “Danny Boy.” The Paul Clark arrangement came off really well, and everyone seemed to enjoy it! I also had the opportunity to perform with the trumpet sextet, who played the Star Spangled Banner and a short arrangement of Loch Lomond. For those of you on Facebook, you may be able to see a short video of Loch Lomond here. Finally, I performed the Tau Beta Sigma Loyalty Song with the brothers and sisters of TBS. All in all, the joint-concert went extremely well, and everyone who attended enjoyed the concert!

Conveniently enough, TBS’s 3rd Annual Spring Showcase was the following day! The TBS showcase, which was similar programatically to the joint-concert, included a solo tuba act, some vocal acts, the jazz band, and even a performance of Trumpet Voluntary on… you guessed it… a recorder! I performed in the jazz band again; we opened this concert with a shortened version of the “Family Guy” theme song, and performed another Paul Clark work, this time an original composition, entitled “Baby Drives a Fast Car.” We also performed the Loyalty Song at showcase. The showcase this spring was a part of a TBS initiative to help local boy scouts get their music merit badge, so in addition to being attended by family and friends of the sorority, we had 15 6th/7th-grade boy scouts at the concert!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the jazz band that performed this weekend. In addition to being a great opportunity to play jazz, this band has helped me get an opportunity to work on my rehearsal skills with jazz bands, and I appreciate the patience of each and every person in the band as I worked with them. The members of the jazz band included saxophones Frankie Pereda, Chris Walker (also a Membership Candidate for TBS), Jackie Kraus, and Jessica Kirsner, trombones Luke Cramer (a brother of PMA), Nicholas Heilman, Raquel Shifrin, and Marissa Wites, trumpets Rachel Hanusa, Chris Kumetz, and Kevin Mazzarella, and the rhythm section of Michael Heilman (drums), Dan Wager (bass), and Andrew DeVine (piano). Andrew also was the person behind the fantastic arrangement of the “Family Guy” theme song.

As I perform in all the formal end-of-semester concerts with the School of Music ensembles, it’s nice to take a step back every so often and perform in a more informal setting. The concerts this weekend were a great opportunity to do that, and I really enjoyed each and every act. Congratulations to those who performed, and thanks to all who attended!

TBS Showcase

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of performing as a part of Tau Beta Sigma’s first annual Fall Showcase. TBS usually does a showcase in the spring, but with the interest level that many people showed, they decided to add another one in the fall this year, and as a Membership Cantidate, I had the opportunity to take part in it.

As someone who spent most of his high-school carreer playing Jazz, when I got to UM there was a bit of a shock as I realized I wouldn’t get to play Jazz as often. Showcase provided me the opportunity to do this, and after asking around, I found that there were a bunch of members of the organization that were interested in putting together a Jazz Band to perform! There aren’t many opportunities in Jazz through the school of music for those who aren’t Jazz majors, and we all wanted to just play. Thus was born the “University Jazz Band!”

The U-Jazz Band performed a tune called “Sandu” (written by Clifford Brown) on Saturday. The arrangment was something I did for the GBN Jazz Ensemble in the Spring of 2007, and our pianist Andrew DeVine (a very accomplished composer/arranger) supplemented the arrangement with an alternate “shout-chorus” ending.

I must say that performing at showcase this weekend has been one of the most enjoyable experiecnes I’ve had performing in a very long time. It was awesome just being able to play, enjoy the music, and not worry about anything else except what was going on in the song. It was truly the most fun I’ve had performing in a long, long time.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank every single person who participated in the band (Frankie Pereda, Chris Walker-Alto Sax, Dan Sprague, Brad Newman-Tenor Sax, Jackie Kraus-Bari Sax, Raquel Shifrin, Nick Heilman-Trombone, Mike O’Brien-Baritone, Marissa Wites-Bass Bone, Rachel Hanusa, Chris Kumetz, Kevin Mazzarella-Trumpet, Tyson Greaves-Bass, Mike Heilman-Drums, Andrew DeVine-Piano) for all their hard work on the tune, and for making Saturday so enjoyable! I hope you all had somewhere near as much fun as I did!

Weekend from Hell

Well the so-dubbed “Weekend from Hell” is over, and I’m still alive! This past weekend, which really started on Wednesday, included:

  • Marching Band, Basketball Band, and Jazz Band rehearsals (Wednesday)
  • Trumpet lesson (Thursday morning)
  • Last regular-season home football Game (Thursday night)
  • First women’s basketball game (Friday afternoon)
  • Last volleyball game (Friday evening)
  • TBS Showcase (Saturday afternoon, more to come on this!)
  • First men’s basketball game (Saturday night)
  • Women’s basketball game (Sunday afternoon)

This was about as much playing as I’ve ever done in a 4-day span, except for the Illinois All-State musical my senior year (think 3 run-throughs of Les Mis each day, for about a week!). I’m feeling pretty good after it, though, and I had a blast! In all these athletic events this weekend, the ‘Canes went 4-1, with the only loss being Sunday’s women’s game (which the ‘Canes lost on a fast-break with 4 seconds left after they came back from down 13 to tie it). My voice is all but gone from all the cheering, though.

It was an awesome weekend, for sure. Busy? Yes. Tiring? You betcha (I took a 4 hour nap today)! But very rewarding and so much fun getting to spend the entire weekend doing my 2 favorite things: playing music and cheering on the ‘Canes!

You Ask and You Shall Receive…

So after the thunderous response to my post asking about music (*cricket, cricket*), I’ve decided to just go through with it. I’ve added a new Music page, accessible via the top navigation bar, which has 10 recordings of songs that either featured me, or were performed by ensembles I’m in. Check it out, and leave a comment on the music page with your thoughts!

Music Recordings?

I just had an idea… would you guys like to hear some audio recordings of me/groups I’ve been in? I’ve got a lot of music that either includes or features me, I could put together an audio page with all that music available to listen to… (not sure if I can put if up for download due to copyright stuff, but you can always come back and listen as mannnyy times as you want :P)

Leave a comment with your thoughts!