Two Rhode Island Ensembles You Should Audition For NOW

September 5 & 6

The Chorus of Westerly is looking for new members for their 2017-2018 season. All adult voice parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass) and children age 8 to 18 are encouraged to audition. Auditions will be held on September 5th and September 6th by appointment at the George Kent Performance Hall (119 High Street, Westerly). Email andrew@chorusofwesterly.org or call the Chorus office at (401) 596-8663 to set up an evening time-slot. Potential new singers should visit chorusofwesterly.org for more audition tips and information on how to prepare.

The 2017-2018 season will include Elgar’s The Music Makers, Christmas Pops, Beethoven’s Mass in C major, Summer Pops and more! Regular rehearsals for Chorus adults take place on Monday evenings from 7:30pm – 9:45pm, beginning September 11, 2017. Children’s rehearsals take place on weekday afternoons and start the week of Labor Day 2017. Depending on age and musical experience, children are placed into one of the four ensembles that make up the Chorus of Westerly children’s program: Training Choristers, Junior Choristers, Trebles and Full Choristers.

Thursday, August 17

The Providence Singers will conduct new member auditions on Thursday, August 17. All voice parts are invited, particularly tenors and basses. Seeking experienced choral singers to join us for our exciting 46th season with works for chorus and orchestra, led by Artistic Director Christine Noel. Rehearsals are held at the RI Philharmonic Music School on Tuesday evenings beginning in September. Audition times may be scheduled by email or phone at 401-751-5700. Click here for more info about auditions

Music Festivals in Rhode Island This Summer

I love music festivals. How can you say no to an opportunity to hear a bunch of bands live in a day or a whole weekend? Listen, I’m not one of those people to drop $100+ for one epic concert, ehhhhh maybe Lady Gaga could persuade me one day, so I’m really turned on to the idea of spending about the same amount to hear a sweet lineup of bands in the same genre. I’m loving the fact that for such a small state Rhode Island still packs a punch in terms of music and culture. Check out this list of music festivals taking place over the Summer and see if there’s something that might interest you in heading this way.

Also… If you’re interested in or need some event work experience, a lot of these events invite volunteers to help with the back-end of the festival. As an added bonus you might get a better chance to meet the musicians in your favorite bands. How cool would that be?

United Folk Fest

July 1, 2017 // Noon – 9:00pm // Wilcox Park, Westerly
Free

Appearing: Blitzen Trapper, The Barr Brothers, Langhorne Slim, Michael Nau, Woods, The Low Anthem, My bubba, Elvis Perkins, Luke Temple, Little Wings, Barna Howard, Wild Sun

More information: WebsiteFacebookInstagram


Swamp Stomp

July 8, 2017 // 1:30 – 9:00pm // The Great Swamp, West Kingston
Tickets: $42 SOLD OUT!

Appearing: The Waco Brothers, The Sadies, Eric Ambel, Al Scorch

More information: Facebook

Newport Folk Festival
July 28 to July 30 // Fort Adams State Park, Newport
Tickets start at $85 SOLD OUT!

Appearing: Fleet Foxes, The Head and the Heart, Shovels & Rope, Regina Spektor, Ben Gibbard, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Alone & Together, Nancy and Beth, Blind Pilot, Carl Broemel, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Brent Cobb, Seratones, Big Thief, L.A. Salami, The Wild Reeds, Joshua Hedley, Matt the Electrician, Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Jim James, Offa Rex, Drive-By Truckers, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Angel Olsen, Nikki Lane, Mandolin Orange, Grandma’s Hands Band, Joseph, Robert Ellis, Chicano Batman, J.P. Harris & Chance McCoy, Marlon Williams, Julia Jacklin, Jalen N’Gonda, Mt. Joy, John Prine, Speak Out, American Acoustic, Dr. Dog, Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Kiwanuka, Sunday Groove, Suzanne Vega, John Paul White, Whitney, Margaret Glaspy, Steelism, Pinegrove, C.W. Stoneking, Choir! Choir! Choir!, Berklee Gospel & Roots Choir, and MORE!

More information: Website – Facebook – Instagram

Live Local Music & Arts Festival
Thursday, August 3 // 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM // Great Friends Meeting House, Newport
Tickets: $15 online, $20 at venue

Camden Murphy, Nico Franc, The Z-Boys, Honky Tonk Knights, Hannah and Connor, Loose Trucks, Ethan Jaymes, Free Couch

More information: Website – Facebook

A Bridge Together as part of Newport Bridgefest
Thursday, August 3 // 6:30 PM // Fort Adams State Park, Newport
Free

A Bridge Together is an International Music and Dance Event Connecting American Jazz, African Beats and Indian Carnatic Music

Appearing: [ Dancers ] Riya Mani Kapoor, Sara Mani Kapoor, Swati Bhise, Rez Abbasi [ Jazz Artists ] Pawan Benjamin, Michael Gam, Sharik Hasan, Alex Ritz [ Indian (Carnatic) Artists ] V. Umashankar, Ramchandran Iyer, N.N. Siva Prasad, Nitin Mitta, Jay Gandhi [ West African Artists ] Maguette Camara, Boubacar Diabate

Newport Jazz Festival
August 4 to 6 // Fort Adams State Park, Newport
Tickets: Start at $65

Appearing: Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Maceo Parker, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Naturally 7, Leslie Odom, Jr., Joey DeFrancesco + The People, Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith, Amir ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound Orchestra, Christian Sands Quartet, One For All, Evan Christopher Clarinet Road & New Orleans Brass, Rodriguez Brothers, Jimmy Greene Quartet, George Burton Quartet, Snarky Puppy, Branford Marsalis Quartet, Rhiannon Giddens, Christian McBride Big Band, Henry Threadgill Zooid, Vijay Iyer Sextet, Antonio Sanchez & Migration, Benny Golson Quartet, Uri Caine Trio, Diminick Farinacci, Gilad Hekselman, JoAnne Brackeen, David Torkanowksy, Peter Evans, Jason Palmer’s Berklee Septet, David Leon, The Roots, Andra Day, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Hudson, Philadelphia Experiment: Questlovem Christian McBride, Uri Caine, Jason Moran: Fats Waller Dance Party, Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Bokanté, Theo Croker, Cyrus Chestnut Trio, Sean Jones Quintet, Cyrille Aimée, Vernon Reid, John Medeski, Marilyn Crispell, Orrin Evans, and more

More information: WebsiteFacebookInstagram

Foo Fest
Saturday, August 12 // 1 PM – 1 AM // Empire Street, Providence
Tickets: $10 in advance / $15 day of / Kids 10 and under free

Appearing: Hott Boyz, Shira, Lifers, Midriffs, Minibeast, Hairspray Queen, Funeral Cone, The Funk Underground, Jodi Jolt and the Volt, Neutrinos, Queen Elephantine, The Daily Note Presents, Bellerophon, Edgar Clinks, D. Valor & Pyrex Lex, Hell Bent, Lady Queen Paradise, ZuKrewe

More information: Website – FacebookInstagram

Reggae Festival
Saturday, August 12 // 12:00 PM // Bold Point Park, East Providence
Tickets: $41 advance/$51 day-of event // Children under 12 are FREE with an adult

Appearing: Freddie McGregor, Anthony B, Junior Kelly, Kabaka Pyramid, Taj Weekes & Adowa, Natural Element, DJ Realm of Omega Sound and DJ Matik

More information: WebsiteFacebookInstagram

Blues + BBQ Festival
Saturday, August 26 // 2:00 PM // Bold Point Park, East Providence
Tickets: start at $21.75

Appearing: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Silks, Barrett Anderson Band, Cannibal Ramblers, Cee Cee & The Riders

More information: WebsiteFacebookInstagram

Rhythm & Roots Festival
September 1 – 3 // Ninigret Park, Charlestown
Tickets: $175 to $225, Teens half price, 12 + under free

Appearing: The Mavericks, Rosanne Cash, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, MarchFourth!
Squirrel Nut Zippers​, Knickerbocker All Stars with special guests, The New Orleans Suspects with Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat, Marcia Ball, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Shinyribs, Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, Pine Leaf Boys, Ten Strings and A Goatskin featuring Leonard Podolak of The Duhks, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Sarah Potenza & Ian Crossman, The Turtle Duhks, Los Texmaniacs, Courtney Granger & the Bad Hombres, Lilly Hiatt, Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express, Say Darling, Sunday Gospel with Sarah Potenza & Christine Ohlman, The Revelers, Alex Meixner Band, and more

PVD Loop
October 13 to 15 // AS220, Providence
Tickets: Buy here

PVDLoop is a three day music & sound festival at AS220 in Downtown Providence. The festival presents local, national, and international live looping musicians in multiple genres including pop, jazz, experimental improvisation, ambient and beat box. This is the only satellite festival on the East Coast of the Y2K International Live Looping Festivals.

Appearing: TBA

More information: WebsiteFacebook

Five for your Weekend

Sorry, NOT SORRY. I know you see link roundups on every blog you read but I feel like there’s so much good stuff on the internet worth sharing. Each week I’m going to share with you things that I’ve seen or heard in the past week that I liked enough to want to pass it on to you guys. I hope you find them interesting. Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll see you on Instagram.

The Music of Strangers – I had a chance to watch this documentary by Morgan Neville introducing me to the various performers associated with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. If you’ve never heard them perform, jump on Spotify and have a listen. All of these musicians come from different countries and have diverse backgrounds but they all work to create bridges of understanding between all cultures. A lot of them say very profound things too, which made me want to write down quotes to keep for myself. Catch The Music of Strangers streaming on HBO, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudo.

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby renditions of Beyoncé – Listen, you don’t need anyone to confirm your coolness as a parent but you can surprise your kid-free friends sometimes. Rockabye Baby! has made over 75 albums having transformed all of our favorite rock, pop, and hip hop songs into nursery-appropriate tunes. Even if you’re kidless but still a fan of marimbas and bells, these are fun to listen to. Aaaaaand, just TODAY they released songs from Hamilton. I got you curious, didn’t I?

 

John Mayer is back. A part of me wants to shout from the rooftops, “Get in formation, ladies, because John Mayer wants to settle down!!” but I feel a certain yucky way trying to be a matchmaker-slash-madame. But really, John Mayer would love to settle down. If I ever met him in person I’d tell him that I always liked his music despite his very public love life of the past. If I were an attractive guy with magical guitar-playing hands I’d do the same. The Search for Everything comes out April 14, but the EPs are online.

 

– If you or someone you know lives in New York City, please tell them to go to The Crypt Sessions. All I have to experience this are a handful of video clips from Season 1. Just try to imagine the Naughton sisters playing in a church crypt.

 

– Practicing Bach? SAME.

Hey. If you stumble upon cool musical things, please send them my way! Tag me on Twitter, Facebook, or Insta. I live for all of it.

How to Improve Acoustics in a Room

improveacousticsinaroom

Our house is full of musicians, and naturally a bunch of instruments follow. In order to accommodate instrument and music equipment storage we decided to convert one of the bedrooms into a music and recording space. Figuring out storage for instruments is easy, but prepping a space for recording is more challenging. I’m currently in the research a.k.a Google process of figuring out how to turn a plain room into a do-it-yourself recording “studio.”

One thing I want to do is improve the acoustic quality inside the room so that any music recorded in it will result in less sound reverberation getting picked up by the mic. Sound can reflect back and forth between opposing walls, as well as the floor and ceiling. Here I’ve put together a short plan of action that should help reduce the occurence of echos in the room and I figured it may also be of interest to some of you, should you decide to do any kind of recording in your home.

  • MAKE YOUR OWN ACOUSTIC PANELS
    Professionally made panels use a variety of materials like foam, cotton, polyester, and even wood. I found this video by Matt from DIY Perks where he tested out a variety of materials that are commonly thought as good sound absorbers but SURPRISE! A few layers of towels absorbed the most sound out of them all. In this video he shows how to make a panel by packing a number of towels around a blank canvas frame. To save money he suggests that you can buy used towels from your local thrift shop, and I bet you could even get some cheap frames from the decor section as well.

  • COVER THE WALLS WITH DECOR
    Without having to do some minor renovation to add more walls into the room (some studios create rooms with more than 4 even walls), various objects like bookcases, drapes on the windows, tapestries, and more frames and prints also help absorb and deflect sounds. Try to not make the objects very uniform so that there are varied degrees of height and depth of items all around. Allow the books on the bookcase to be different sizes and not lined up neatly. Add more towels behind the other prints. Shoot, hang a bunch of drapes on the wall. Go crazy! This design concept is probably not for the OCD types.
  • DON’T FORGET THE FLOOR
    Rugs
    Photos via World Market

    As with the walls, we’ll need to decrease the amount of sound hitting the floor. If your room is already carpeted, SCORE. If not, throw a few area rugs down. If you’ve ever seen a professional recording studio you may have seen area rugs on the floor. I bet you didn’t know they served a purpose other than looking nice! If rugs aren’t your thing, carpet tiles work well. You can pick them up at FLOR or your local home improvement store. Carpet tiles are fun to work with. You can mix and match various colors and patterns and create your own patterns.

If you’d like some visuals, here are a few examples of professional studios and vocal booths using various sound absorbing materials. Look at all the fffffffoooooooaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmm.

Exploring PVD: Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel

Immediately after I moved to a town outside of Providence this past Summer I looked up all the music venues and followed them on Facebook. I want to be completely immersed in the music scene while I’m here. Growing up in Connecticut my nearest concert venues were in New Haven and Hartford. Each of those cities were at least a one hour drive from home. For many years I (let’s be honest and change it to my parents’) didn’t find it was worth spending money on gas, food, and concert tickets all in one evening. You can conclude I didn’t attend many concerts in my youth. When I eventually went to college in New Haven I took full advantage of the musical acts that made their way to our school’s performing arts center. Those were awesome years.

Now that I’m less than a half hour away from what I’ll lovingly call it from here on out, PVD, I love it. I didn’t wait long to start attending concerts so I got tickets to see a band I’ve been wanting to hear live for a while: CHVRCHES. This couldn’t have been planned any better. I saw one of my favorite bands with the one friend who turned them on to me. I thought, this night is going to be magical. And it was.

I have a preference for smaller venues as opposed to big venues like arenas. I’ll still attend concerts in the bigger venues, but I like the more intimate feeling with certain bands. Here at Lupo’s there are two levels for standing room attendance and cash bars for those who wish to drink beverages while they watch. Many of the shows allow all ages and this is weird to admit, but sometimes I like seeing parents going to concerts with their teens. ANYWAYS, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel is a venue that I really like and will be returning in the future.

This show was so awesome that I kept my phone in my bag for most of it so here are a few good shots from other concertgoers that night.

If you want to see the energy that the band brought out of the crowd, watch this video:

CHECK IT OUT:
Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
79 Washington St., Providence, RI 02903
(401) 331-LUPO (5876)
Facebook / Twitter

Ways to Fill Your Holidays with Music

fillholidayswithmusic

What gets you in the Christmas spirit? How do you switch from regular day-to-day you to a festive ‘Tis the Season! you? For me, music plays a big part in it. I know people who get really excited when the local radio station starts playing holiday music nonstop. I know people enjoy shopping a little bit more when the same music is playing in the stores. In the Chorus of Westerly, when we start rehearsing for our annual Christmas Pops concert, that’s the moment I am ready to celebrate the season. If you’re a singer and want to get in the spirit by making the music but aren’t a part of an ensemble, there are ways you can still participate in bringing the holiday spirit to yourself and others. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Attend a Messiah Sing
    These are fun. Messiah sings (or Sing-A-Longs) are events where singers of any level of expertise gather to sing through Handel’s “Messiah” piece. Part I of Messiah is typically called “the Christmas portion” as it is frequently performed during Advent, so it’ll be the bulk of what is played at one of these events. Look in your local newspaper or if you follow a bunch of your local arts organizations on social media, you’ll most likely find a Messiah Sing event hosted by a choir or orchestra, or even a church choir. If you plan to attend one of these events all you have to do is decide which voice part you’d like to sing and bring a score if you own one. More likely than not the host will have copies of the score available to borrow for free or a small fee. If you’re lucky you may even get to hear a partial orchestra and soloists playing along, so it’ll be like attending a concert but also being able to participate in it from your seat.
  2. Go Caroling!
    Going caroling is not a popular thing to do these days, let’s be honest. BUT if you and a few willing friends can get together one night and hit up a few houses in your neighborhood with the gift of song, the quality time spent with people you like is worth it. I would suggest choosing a neighborhood that one of your singers lives in, have him/her ask permission ahead of time from a few people they know in the neighborhood who would like to be visited with some Christmas songs, pick a few familiar songs for your “playlist,” pick a starting note, and go!

    Another way you can gather to sing Christmas songs is to make it a party. Have one or two people pluck out the accompaniment on the piano to sing songs while you invite others to eat, drink, or decorate sugar cookies.

  3. Attend a Church Evensong Service
    In the Anglican church at this time of year you’ll find out that an Evensong (or Evening Prayer) service is very choral heavy. Most of the service will be sung from selections in the Book of Common Prayer. Similarly, the Catholic and Lutheran church has Vespers. If the church is a peaceful and enjoyable space for you, going to an Evensong would be a great way to feed your spirit and soul on a number of levels.
  4. Release a Christmas Album
    Are you a pop singer? You have to add a Christmas album to your discography. It’s totally in your contract. Just kidding.

Not a musician by any means? It’s okay, you can still enjoy the holidays. This is the best time to experience great musical theater. There are productions of A Christmas Carol, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Rockettes in New York City, and more. Do a search of theaters and entertainment venues near you and you should be able to find a holiday-themed show to go watch.

And if you’re lucky, you might see Santa Claus ride around town on a motorcycle. I can gladly say that it’s happened to me twice and made me laugh really hard every time. If running into a cool Santa on a bike doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will.

[ Image used with permission from Gerd Altmann]

Seen and Heard

seenandheard

I don’t post this link roundup as often as I should. I read so many good links every week, bookmark them, then forget to repost them. I guess I need a new system or schedule to follow, but for now here’s a few things I saved and am passing along.

Another Brain Benefit of Music Lessons: They help kids develop the ability to disregard potential distractions – but would it help me turn off all the thinking i’m doing in my head?!

20 Times Classical Musicians Got #Phelpsface – I’m not going to lie, that’s a good face for those sentiments.

Why Dropping Music on Friday is Pivotal (Hint: It’s Not Sales) – the music industry is trying so hard to keep up. Let’s see if this helps curb internet piracy any.

Good News for MTV’s V.M.A.s: Music Videos Matter Again – Am I the only who always valued music videos? My criticism with the network was when they slowly phased out the shows featuring music videos and replaced their programming with reality tv. TRL wasn’t even a consolation for me because I wasn’t able to watch a music video straight through or without a teen audience member making a shout out. Youtube cornered the market and MTV missed out.

Portland schools reconsider ban on rap music after ‘racist memo’ goes viral“When you outlaw a kind of music that is very indicative of the modern culture of one group of people you’re basically saying that they’re not welcome,” she said. “Those of us in the district, living in diverse communities in Portland, understand the racial equity stuff going on is entirely for the cameras. There is no real meat behind it.”

BlokDust is an open source project allowing users to make music in the browser for free. Even though it looks user-friendly, I think browsing the Guide for a tutorial walk-through may be helpful before you start.

American guitarist uses music as healing force in Kabul – Lanny Cordola founded a music school in Kabul where he teaches music to students, mostly girls from poor families, and hopes they see it as a safe place. I love to see people who have the means to get out there and do something for others, do it.

The Trials and Errors of Music Education- Neesa Sunar reflects on her experience teaching elementary music, and laments the loss of depth in today’s musical curriculum. My heart goes out to her because I too am idealist but some of my ideas aren’t realistic. It’s a bit disappointing but a good reality-check.

Music Technology of the 1970s: A Timeline – They included Pink Floyd’s flying pigs.

So I like this, as well as all the previous ones-

And I’m probably too old to still love her-

It’s cool with me if you wore a SPEAR BRITNEY t-shirt in high school. I would’ve liked it.

Have a good weekend, friends!

Notes from a Composer

This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before. -Leonard Bernstein

These words were written by Mr. Bernstein after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but after every devastating event that happened in the last few days I think we can all try to live our lives as best we can from here on out. Stay strong friends, and send good thoughts out to your fellow humans around the world. [image via]