Saturday, December 21, 2013

The eastern end of the Korean War Veterans' Memorial Highway.

It is the holiday season. That means a fair amount of brass jobs and often creative scheduling. The choir of the College of the Canyons did the John Rutter "Gloria," last Saturday (Dec.14). I was contracted to play the tuba part. We did other works as well, including some Xmas carol arrangements for brass octet by Dr. Raymond Burkhart. The deal was a 9:30 AM - Noon rehearsal, with two performance in the evening, the first starting at 5:00 PM. 

The College of the Canyons is just far enough from home to make me have to figure out what I really want to do during that five hour interval. I could have gone home, but I'd only be here for a little over the amount of time of the round trip. Or I could stay out there in the canyons. I decided to do what I do best - wander. 

State Route 126 is a road I know well. However, mostly when I drive it I am about getting from one place to another, usually Ventura, Oxnard or Santa Barbara. I seldom get to leave the road and explore the towns situated along it. My first turnoff was to take a drive through the hamlet of Val Verde.

Harumi Makino, Wadada Leo Smith and David Philipson, used to live in Val Verde; that is how I came to know it. If you took the link for Val Verde, you read that it used to be the get-away spot for African-American elite and bourgeoisie back in the 1920's and '30's. You wouldn't be able to tell now. It is just a sleepy conglomeration of houses; I saw one store, no Black people. I'm sure they were there. Somewhere.

I headed back to SR 126. My goal all along was Fillmore, but approaching the Piru turnoff, I determined a drive through that village would be at least as exciting as Val Verde was. That turned out to be the best decision of the day. I ran smack into the Christmas Parade and Festival. 

What could be more perfect? I have a thing for small town parades. I was also hungry, so I went to official festival food truck and got three tacos (Tripas, birria, carnitas). 

After watching the last of the parade, ingesting the tacos and a short walk on which I had to detour around a large, unleashed dog with big teeth, (Why do you dog folks do that?) I was back onto SR 126 headed for Fillmore

In Fillmore, I spent a lot of time walking around the trains. You know how I feel about trains. I've never ridden on the Fillmore & Western Railway. The time will come and it won't be long. I've got my eye on the California Harvest Festival next June. Then I took a stroll up the main street. From what I saw of it, Fillmore is a handsome town. There's two days of good walking in that town. I'll have to figure out how to make it happen.

I would have walked for longer, but concert time was drawing near and a stop at Francisco's Fruit Stand.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Offshoot - Life continues in Los Angeles

Okay, it has been a long time. I have been back home for many months. Things are going apace. This post is to let you know that the first tangible manifestation from my time in Japan is about to be presented to the public. 

Soon after I returned home, Dr. Raymond David Burkhart, director of the College of the Canyons Symphonic Band, in Santa Clarita, asked if I would consider being Artist-In-Residence for their 2013 −2014 season. I agreed. Since then, I have been working on two pieces, "Haebaru Field Hospital - Pappy Don't Drink That Milk" and "Fishin' Dem Bones - Northernmost Point 45º31'N." The former is a concertino for cimbasso and mixed winds. It is complicated, long and unfinished. "Fishin' Dem Bones," on the other hand, is ready for prime time. 

"Fishin’ Dem Bones," is based on the African American spiritual, "Dem Bones Gonna Rise Again," and the Hokkaido fishing song, "Soran Bashi." "45º31'N," is the coordinate for Soya Misaki, Wakkanai, in Hokkaido, Japan’s most northern point. (That is as of this writing; things change there all the time.)

It will be performed on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, on the band's themed concert "Four Centuries of Music for Band" in the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center lobby. Admission is free and open to the public.

So there you have it. Things happen, life progresses. 

"Fishin' Dem Bones," is a graphic score. I may eventually post the whole score, but I'm not ready for that yet. For now, I'll just post the title page. Also, I bought a traditional Japanese clothing while I was there. Not overly easy for a guy my size. I've had a few opportunities to wear some of them. In the first photo, I am wearing some tobi pants in the performance of "My Moby Dick," put on by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. I was performing songs with Garretson and Gorodetsky. Tobi pants, or steeplejacks in other cultures, are hip. That's all I have to say on that. In the next photo I am performing part of Greg Lenczycki's "You Are Not Alone," in Pasadena's Upper Arroyo Park. I am wearing a casual kimono top, hakama trousers and tabi shoes. The Japanese in the shops didn't understand why I wanted to buy that stuff, but I knew I'd find some uses for it. There is always a stage for stylish clothes.

Ralph Gorodetsky, yours truly, Weba Garretson, Joe Berardi

Performing the solo portion of Greg Lenczycki's "You Are Not Alone."

Poster for the upcoming performance.

Title page for the new piece.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Photos from the concert at International House Japan

Yesterday I got the official photos from the dress rehearsal and concert at the International House Japan on July 2. Thanks to Manami for taking the photos and forwarding them to me. Here are a few...

All participants in the concert: Nozawa Tetsuya - shamisen, Christoper Yomei - shakuhachi, Leza Lowitz - spoken word. We are rehearsing Glenn Horiuchi's "Optics." This is a new experience for Leza. She had to be a musician in this piece, not a poet. She had injured her knee a few days before playing soccer with her son.

Shots from the concert the next day...

Christopher acted as host and interpreter. 

This is from a collaboration with video artist Joseph Santarromana - "La Petite Malambing Thang." Performing this was an emergency fix. The original plan was to show and perform to another piece in the Malambing series, "Bleu," but there were problems with the projection quality. We used "La Petite Malambing Thang" instead to which I improvised a live part to. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I was wrong...there will be photos from the IHJ concert.

In a few hours up to a day or two, I will post photos from the IHJ concert.

There and back again...the end for now.

Very good. I have been home for a week. I had hoped to do this close-out earlier, but I had to hit the ground running as I had agreed to perform in the premier of Gregory Lenczycki's "Mont Blanc," for soprano, clarinet, tuba and electronics. It took a bit of doing, but I mostly got it together. I don't have a lot of photos for you in any case - some final station shots, a few of the ride to Narita Airport and a U.S. portion of pig, once I arrived home. The beginning of the flight had so much turbulence that even the pilot was on the verge of cursing. He certainly had a few words for the weather forecasters. 

So there you have it. What is left for me to do is a final report and accounting tasks. I hope you have enjoyed the photos. I will probably use this blog for any trip away from Los Angeles that results in some interesting photos, so check back occasionally. There is nothing on the books at the moment, however projects are swirling around in the air. Keep your fingers crossed.

Dress rehearsal of Lenczycki's "Mont Blanc." Juliette Dwyer - soprano, Jorge Martin - clarinet and electronics, Gregory Lenczycki - composer, electronics, William Roper - tuba. 

The last day...

Tokyo station on the way out.

I had extra time, so put my things in a locker and took a last stroll around the station. The big red symbols read, "coin locker."

On the platform waiting for the Narita Express.

I took the Green Car. Thaddeus taught me the wiseness of taking the Green Car in such situations. 

A monorail I didn't know about. Shucks!

Finally home and big meat...

A carnitas burrito. The steak had to wait a day.