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.

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

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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!

‘What’s in My Bag?’ The Choir Edition

In My Choir Bag

The bag I carry most days is a tote because I like to carry my essentials plus a few extra things. Rory Gilmore isn’t the only person who carries a novel just in case. I keep a separate bag to carry all the other stuff I need to bring with me to rehearsal. I’m the kind of person who wants to be prepared for all types of situations that could arise within the span of a rehearsal, therefore I pack it all. When you see the list you’ll understand why I need another bag.

In My Choir Bag

In the photo-

  • Chapstick, because singing with chapped lips could easily ruin my day.
  • Mechanical pencil and highlighter, because we ain’t got time to sharpen regular pencils and sometimes too many staves of music gets me lost I need to highlight my voice line.
  • Page flags and paper clips, because i’ll need to mark my entrances after solos and stuff.
  • Throat lozenges, because a sore throat could severely affect my ability to sing
  • My music folder (get one here, and if you use a 3-ring binder these magazine holders help tremendously)
  • Tea bags, because as much as I love coffee all day everyday, warm tea takes care of my throat and I like that.

Not pictured, but also included:
A bottle of water
Travel-size pack of tissues
Wallet and phone
A snack, because singing makes me hungry.

But wait, that’s not all! When I pack for a concert weekend I bring even more stuff.. I’ll show you that next time.

If you’re curious to know what pieces I’m currently working on…
In My Choir Bag
I’m excited because this is my first time doing the Mozart Vespers and Haydn Missa Brevis.

Do you sing or are in a musical ensemble? What are your necessities for practice and performance?

Romantic Songs, if You’re a Stalker

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To celebrate I’ve put together a little list of my favorite songs to show you my affection. That’s a lie. These songs are creepy if you actually listen to the lyrics. With that said, I still like these songs and will gladly sing along whenever I get the chance. I included the music videos because some of them really take the creepy factor further with visuals. I know there’s a TON of other songs that are creepy, so if you want to add to the list leave a comment. Enjoy… winkwink.

Elvis Costello featuring Fiona AppleI Want You

The PoliceEvery Breath You Take

Cheap TrickI Want You To Want Me

Death Cab for CutieI Will Possess Your Heart

The Smashing PumpkinsAva Adore

Nine Inch NailsCloser

On My Bucket List: Vienna New Year’s Concert

I’ve never really kept an official “bucket list”. For much of my youth I really just stayed hopeful that when I became an adult I’d have enough money to do things like travel the world and eat all the food found in those locales. With Aiden I make seasonal bucket lists of activities and it’s got me thinking about things I’d like to do one day with a little planning.

One item on that list is to attend the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra‘s New Year’s concert. What makes this concert special other than it being a great way to ring in the new year is that they play the Radetsky March with the audience participation. We did this at a recent concert here and it was so fun that I’d do it again if I had the chance.

Thanks to the beauty of the internet, I found the full 2015 concert on YouTube, below.

The whole program is over 2 hours, so if you’d like to hear the Radetsky March fast forward to hour 2 and 16 minutes, or click here to start at that mark.

[ image above © Terry Linke ]

A Christmas Playlist Worth Playing

I’m going to assume your area has that one radio station playing Christmas music all day, every day and it plays that one Paul McCartney song a minimum of 25 times a day. Also, how is it possible for every musician out there record a Christmas album? How many pop arrangements of these songs do we really need? That’s a question I want you to answer. So I like to counteract all of these usual radio mainstays with a jazz-oriented set of holiday songs. It’s not a Merry Christmas without my homeboys Mel, Bing, and Perry. I also threw a disco song in there at the end because I knew you’d appreciate it.

[ image via ]

From the Edge – Notes from Rehearsal

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So! We’re done with the serious (for now) and now we’re doing something fun. The day after a rigorous concert weekend we jumped right into our repertoire for Christmas Pops. With three weeks until the next concert, there’s a pro and a con to this. Sure, we’re all are familiar with most of the holiday songs, but there are various arrangements of every song and making sure we sing what’s printed in the music is sometimes a tricky thing. Making sure we sing all the correct notes at the same time is still the goal, but without that amount of accuracy in our performance it could go from really great choir sound to karaoke night really quickly.

To add a little pressure we’re also premiering a new composition. Even though the whole work is about 15 minutes long, it still requires quite a bit of challenging note and rhythm-learning. It’s a daunting task but I love to take on a challenge.

The piece is called Psalms for Leo, composed by Jonathan Dove. The original choir who commissioned this piece was The Bach Choir in England. This work is in memory of Leopold de Rothschild, who was a member of The Bach Choir for fifty years and later served as President of the choir.

Here’s a peek at the first page of the score:
psalmsforleoscore

The score itself is a marvelous composition. Jonathan Dove doesn’t just put together a sweet sounding piece for Leo, instead he weaves together a number of vocal lines that in places complement each other and other places there’s a glorious minor-key dissonance that resolves once in a while. Also, the music theory nerd in me got excited to find out that one of the movements is in the Mixolydian mode. The one feature about the Mixolydian mode that makes it “mixolydian” is that the seventh scale degree note is a lowered by a semitone. The rest of the notes are what would make up the major scale built on the fifth of that key signature. Let me stop there. I feel your eyes are starting to gloss over.

For the text Jonathan chose to compose music for Hebrew translations of Psalms 148, 27, and 19. Psalm 19 is very fitting to honor the devotion Leo had for the Bach Choir.

Here’s an interview with Jonathan Dove and conductor of the Bach Choir, David Hill, describing the piece and how it came together for them and the children’s choir they invited to sing with them.

Unfortunately I haven’t found any recordings of the London premiere, but it must have been a wonderous experience considering they have at least 220 singers. I thought the Chorus of Westerly was huge, but The Bach Choir takes the cake. If you’re in the Westerly, Rhode Island area on December 21st, please consider attending our Christmas Pops concert! It’s always a good time. (Buy tickets online)

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