Tuesday, July 16, 2013

College of the Canyons Symphonic Band: Sign up for Fall 2013!

I invite musicians – and their musician friends, and so on – to sign up for the wonderful Symphonic Band at College of the Canyons. We had a very successful inaugural year in 2012-2013, and we look forward to more great music-making in 2013-2014.

Our artistic focus for Fall term is "Time After Time: Four Centuries of Band Music." In Spring term, we'll take a more geographical approach with "Around the World in 80 Minutes: A Celebration of International Band Music."

The Fall term begins on August 26, 2013, and since that is a Monday, it's also the first class meeting/rehearsal of the COC Symphonic Band for the new school year. We begin at 6pm and end at 10pm on Monday nights, except for holidays. I look forward to having back our band members from last year, and we all look forward to welcoming new members to the band!

College of the Canyons, a part of the California Community College system, is located in Santa Clarita (Valencia), just north of CalArts, a short distance north of the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 14. The Music Building – Pico Canyon Hall – is fairly new and is well suited for band rehearsals. We meet in room 202 (PCOH 202). We will perform again this year in the wonderful acoustic of the lobby of the COC University Center.

Enrollment is open now for Fall term. The main COC site is http://www.canyons.edu/. New students will want to read all about COC, giving special attention to the New Students page. There are also special pages for High School Students, Continuing Students (those enrolled last semester), Returning Students (who once attended COC, but not last semester), and those who wish to Audit only. Please read these pages to find out what fits you best.

An attractive feature of the COC Symphonic Band – and one rarely found in other band situations –  is our devotion of time and energy to music for "harmonie" ensembles and brass ensembles. Harmonie ensembles were the wind bands of the 18th century, especially Mozart's era – relatively small groups of paired woodwinds and horns, in contrast with large modern wind bands. Our brass ensemble tackles music from all eras. The band also embraces contemporary music, along with more traditional fare, and we partner with COC composition/arranging/orchestration classes to "play down" student works.

Given COC's proximity to Los Angeles and Hollywood, a great many world-class musicians live nearby and are friends of mine. COC Symphonic Band members have already enjoyed visits from, and have performed along side, outstanding  concert and recording musicians and composers. I hope soon to announce an Artist-in-Residence for the coming year, who will compose new works for us and perhaps also play solos. I also encourage students who are well prepared to solo with the band to audition to solo. Student composers, too, who play in the band might be able to have their works performed. The COC Symphonic Band experience is a rich one.

If you have any questions, please enter them below, or email me at ray@raymondburkhart.com. Thanks.

Dr. Ray

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Goats Are A Funny Thing

Humor is a funny thing. To paraphrase that famous American observation: Something might be funny to some of the people all of the time, and to all of the people some of the time, but it might not be funny to all of the people all of the time. Until perhaps now. And by that, I refer to goats. Screaming goats.

Meet Billy, a screaming goat.

Goats are funny, some of the time. They make funny sounds, some of the time. In a few moments of near-genius, somebody captured a variety of goat vocalizations on video and posted it to YouTube, the 21stl-century repository of all things video. I don't know how many screaming goat video compilations there are, but you can search YouTube for "screaming goats" and find a farm full, I suspect. Here's one, just as an example and to save you some time.

Then, someone improved on the "screaming goat" idea and edited brief bits of screaming goats into choice spots in music videos. And it's funny. Darned tootin' funny. Lots of well known popular artists now have "Goat Edition" videos on YouTube. I recommend them for a hearty laugh. There might be a fine line between mockery as a rude put-down and mockery that approaches imitation as a form of flattery. Either way, Taylor Swift, Psy, Adele, Lady Gaga, and many others have their own "Goat Edition" videos, although whether they were produced by fans or foes, I cannot tell. There's a Goat Edition for Nicki Minaj, but I'm not really sure that the goats don't bring up the tone of that vid.

So, I took a break one evening and watched a bunch of these Goat Edition music videos and just howled with laughter. Which is why I blog about them now, even though – according to the above maxim – there's no guarantee you'll find them as funny as I do. I'd say, Give it a try.

Here's the Goat Edition of some tune by Taylor Swift. She must be a big name. You'll get the picture.

As you surf from one bleating Goat Edition to another, you'll run into one big name in the pop world after another. No surprise there. What interested me was whether such irreverent treatment had spread to the world of "classical" music. I'm glad to say, It has. To save you from much searching, I have supplied some good links below. First up: the now imitable Pavarotti.

Pavarotti's a big enough name to earn two Goat Editions of Nessun Dorma, Notice how the goat is incorporated not only for its musical content, but also to enhance an appreciation of Pavarotti's acting.

Perhaps, if Mozart were composing today, he'd embrace his inner goat in his famous "Queen of the Night" aria.

And for you enthusiasts of 20th-century music, here's a goaty excerpt from Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire.

I hope you've enjoyed this jaunt through musical goat-dom, kids. Some of you will have found this udderly ridiculous. Others may have found something to ruminate upon. Wether you do or not is up to you. Maybe a Goat Edition Music Festival is in the offing. They could call it Livestock. You herd it here first.

And don't forget to visit RaymondBurkhart.com and my Premiere Press music publishing site. Several new publications will be added there soon, and you can buy "Watercolor Menagerie," my compact disc of original music for brass quintet, there and at iTunes and CD Baby.