Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Be Brave - Rub Elbows

"Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On it's foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy, and sustainable human development." Kofi Annan

Education is not limited to the classroom. That transformative power can be released in so many ways. Sharing a laugh, admitting ignorance, giving a minute I don't have - every human interaction is pregnant with the opportunity to learn and grow.  When the walls come down and the doors are open it's amazing what can happen.   Be brave - rub elbows!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Giving Back

True education is all about giving back. Over the last few months I have been in the presence of some great teachers. People who are accomplished, even famous, in their field of expertise. What I find so inspiring is not just what they share - but why they share. It goes beyond paycheck or occupation - and becomes vocation. They love what they do so much that they are compelled to share. It's changed their lives and they want it to change ours. That passion is contagious and it creates a desire to learn.
This concept could - if we let it - if we dive in with both feet - not only enhance how we learn, but change how we live. Imagine what it would be like at school, at home, at work..... if we all just "gave back". 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wynton Marsalis - Improvisation

I had the privilege of hearing Wynton Marsalis deliver the keynote address at the Midwest Clinic this last December. He spoke for over an hour about the importance of music and it's educators. His heartfelt words were not only inspiring, but transformed my view of American music.  Most notably,
Improvisation. As a musician I have always avoided it - unproductive, unpredictable, messy, and frightening. Wynton's words stopped me in my tracks:
"Improvisation is a pivotal pillar in the American Trinity of Fundamental Music Skills.  It teaches self-acceptance and personal pride through developing your own unique sound. It teaches you to identify and investigate your own emotional identity through truthful self-analysis, contemplation, introspection, joy, love, sorrow, weakness, and pain. All through searching for something meaningful to play in our own language."
Inspiring, challenging words. No wonder Improv is so frightening to me. But look what I've been missing. So - this 2013 - I'm jumping in the pool.  May I be brave enough to let it shape my music and my life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ducks in a Row

Although we’ve only officially begun the year 2013 a couple days ago, the Winter Percussion has already been hard at work preparing for the 2013 season. In fact, preparations began back in the summer of 2012!
We currently have about two thirds of the show on the floor (marching and playing), so we are very much on our production schedule. Both the battery and front ensemble sections have been working hard getting the music learned, so when it comes time for learning the remaining drill and visual package, everyone is prepared.
Preparations “behind the scenes” are also very active: costumes have been designed, the floor is finished, the set pieces are being built, and all the other important logistical elements that are critical to the success of the ensemble are in place.
Our first show is February 23rd in Dartmouth, MA and although we still have a lot of work to do, we are looking forward to the first opportunity to show people the 2013 edition of the WP!

Sandy Hook Benefit Concert

As we all continue to mourn the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, the question is raised what can I do to help repair the damage, ease the grief, and support the victims families. As Newtown itself is bombarded by media and visitors with good intentions, it seemed to me like the best thing to do was just to pray for the people that God comfort them. And yet, I found myself wishing I could do more.
For this reason, I was honored and blessed by the opportunity to play at a Sandy Hook Elementary Benefit Concert last Saturday in Salem, CT. My musical training as a part of Gloriae Dei allows me to participate in the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, and the corps was invited to participate in this great event. A representation of the Cadets hornline played Shenandoah, Simple Gifts, American Elegy, Doxology on Amazing Grace, and Philip Bliss as a small segment to close the concert. The event raised $4200 for the Sandy Hook Elementary Foundation and I was blessed to have given of myself for the victims of this tragedy.