Concert Series

Opus April, 2015

 Concord Conservatory of Music April Opus Newsletter Cover

News at CCM

Student Spotlight--Clara Hoey

Behind the Scenes: Jazz Improv Class with Carlos Averhoff, Jr.

Why Music Matters--Jazz World Goes Bonkers

Upcoming Performances




Ice cream sundae with lots of toppings!Ice Cream Sundaes Ahoy!
With luck, all of our students have earned their ice cream sundaes, and the practice habits they’ve developed will carry forward even without the added inducement of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The party will be held on April 8th from 5:30-6:30, so no need to plan dessert that night! 

Musicales are Coming!
Musicales, where our students play pieces for one another and discuss them under the guidance of a CCM faculty member, are well on their way to being scheduled. Please see Erica Hughes in the office for more information.

April is Jazz MonthJazz Month Logo Smithsonian
What do Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, and Herbie Hancock have in common? They were all born in April, and they’re all incredibly important jazz musicians. Visit the Smithsonian site devoted to Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM!), and find ways to commemorate the month with us.

Concord Conservatory of Music faculty member Carlos Averhoff, Jr. CCM Faculty Member Carlos Averhoff, Jr. Record Release Celebration April 8th
Speaking of jazz, saxophonist Carlos Averhoff, Jr., debuts his first album, iRESI, at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston. The fun starts at 8 p.m.

CCM Jazz Faculty Free Concert 4/10Free Faculty Jazz Concert April 10th, 7 p.m.
To hear more from Carlos, attend the faculty jazz concert two days later as he joins fellow CCM faculty members Ehud Ettun (bass), Brian Friedland (piano), and Jorge Perez-Albela (percussion). They’ll play a collection of jazz standards and original pieces. It promises to be an amazing night—come see what your CCM faculty does when they’re not teaching!

Student Recitals, April 14th, 7 p.m.
If you still haven’t gotten enough music, some of our fabulous students are having a recital on April 14th at 7 p.m. If you didn’t sign up for this one, fear not—we’ve got approximately 435 scheduled for the month of May (well really we’ve got at least six—check with your teacher for details).

Concert Lecture Series April 16thConcert and Lecture Series April 16th, 7 p.m.
Series curator and CCM faculty member Ehud Ettun continues his Concert & Lecture Series on The Musical Form. Previous sessions have addressed the Rondo and Forms in Jazz; on Wednesday, April 16th, Ehud will take us through the Minuet—perhaps the most influential dance on musical composition. The lecture will talk about dance and form qualities of the minuet and trio movements, and about their unique connection. The performance includes selections from Mozart and Bach, and features talented CCM faculty members and guest musicians. And save the date for the final Concert & Lecture, to be held on May 14th: Theme and Variations.

April CalendarCCM is Closed for April Vacation
Please note that the Conservatory is closed from April 20-April 26, which should give us all a chance to finish clearing the snow off our cars.

Play Day on May 16th!
This important fundraiser for CCM lets you sponsor a student musician for the benefit of our Financial Assistance Fund. We all get together during the May recitals to perform for one another and yes, have a celebratory ice cream party. Look for the pledge booklets soon.



Clara HoeyClara Hoey is a self-assured young woman. Now in 7th grade, she’s been playing piano since 1st grade, and studying with Rasa Vitkauskaite for the past three years. Clara practices piano “About an hour a day. But if I’m preparing for a recital or a competition, I practice more,” she says.   And on the subject of competitions, just as we were finishing off this piece, Clara learned that she placed first in The Crescendo International Music Competition “Little Mozarts” youth category, and has earned the privilege of playing at Carnegie Hall, New York City. I asked her if she got nervous before recitals and competitions.

“I’ve competed before,” says Clara. “I really don’t get too nervous about that.”

She enjoys working with Rasa. “Rasa really focuses on the details. We spend longer on each piece than my earlier teachers would...and the pieces themselves are more challenging.” At times, Rasa has Clara play sections of the piece, stopping measure by measure. Clara listens very carefully, and knows she is getting the absolute best training from a world-class musician.

These incredibly effective teaching sessions demand focus: focus by the teacher, by the student, and often by the parents as well. “Rasa has me take notes on the lesson—page number, line number, measure number, and of course Rasa’s feedback. This helps Clara remember exactly what to practice,” says Clara’s mother, Amy Hoey.

Clara doesn’t simply play solo piano—she’s the pianist for the Rivers Youth Symphony, where she also plays percussion because “not all the pieces we play have piano parts.” As a 7th grader, Clara is the youngest player in that symphony. Clara plays in her school band, too—again, on percussion, where she auditioned for and made the MMEA junior district band.

Clara enjoys classical music. “It’s what I prefer playing and listening to,” she says. It’s clear that music is an important part of Clara’s life, but it’s by no means the only element. She plays in a chess league with her dad, competes in math meets, reads widely, and walks neighborhood dogs.

As to the conservatory? “I like the energy of CCM,” she says. “I enjoy being a part of it.”


Jazz Improv Class at Concord Conservatory of MusicBEHIND THE SCENES--JAZZ IMPROV CLASS

It’s 6 p.m. at the Conservatory, and the place is hopping. Kids and adults alike prepare their instruments, wait for their teacher’s studio door to open, and step on in for their lesson. Downstairs in the Youth Classroom, the buzz is just a bit different. Noted Cuban saxophone player Carlos Averhoff, Jr., holds court with his three Improvisation students, telling them to get set up, handing out new music, and catching up on the week. Well, he does this with TWO of his students—the third, Euro Wang, is running just a bit late and knocks on the basement window.  “I’ll be right in!” At 6:05 Carlos says “Mixolydian Scale, in G, from the third, one two three…” Playtime is over—now, it’s time to play.

“Improv isn’t simple,” says Jay Jachinowski, and he ought to know. Featured in a past issue of Opus, Jay is a multiinstrumentalist who picks things up quickly and works hard at music. “I like jazz most, because it lets you play whatever you want. But to make it sound good…that’s much harder.”

Jazz improv quote by studentEffective improvisation requires many skills. You have to be technically proficient at your instrument, you’ve got to understand the song’s structure and anticipate where that structure is going, and you need to get to a point where you internalize music fundamentals—elements of a chord, keys and scales, time signatures and tempo changes…and bring that all to bear in real time as you improvise. “You’ve got to understand the rules to know when it’s ok to break them,” says Carlos. Josh Allen, who plays the bari sax, agrees. “We’ve got a great jazz group in school, and this improv class has made me able to solo and improvise much better than before.”

The class continues on with a piece Carlos calls “Mr. Hip” that he wrote so the students could work on a lead melody line over an instrumental backing track. He puts the CD on and they start in. “It’d be cool if there was a complete jazz ensemble for them—drums, bass, keyboard…but this is a terrific first step.” As the students become more proficient, the pieces become more complex and the solos more demanding.

The Improvisation class teaches them how to play a solo line, for sure; it also exposes them to famous jazz players. Euro listens to lots of jazz, with a decided nod towards the alto sax, the instrument he plays. “I love Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker…lots of guys,” he says. I ask him about tenor sax legend John Coltrane. “I only really like the alto sax players. Well, there are two tenor players I like to listen to,” he continues. “Jay and Carlos.”

The three boys, ranging in age from 13 to 16, all plan to attend Carlos’s concert at Scullers in Boston. “Wouldn’t miss it,” says Josh. Well, it is a school night…


Miles Davis Kind of Blue remakeKind of blue over Kind of Blue...
One of the top Jazz bands in New York, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, records a note-for-note reproduction of the Miles Davis masterpiece Kind of Blue, and angers the jazz world in so doing. A provocative project—is it jazz or something else? 


New Black Eagle Jazz BandThe New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Amazing Things Art Center, Framingham
One of the most respected bands in America, The New Black Eagle Jazz Band , now in its 36th year, plays traditional jazz. Their style covers a wide range found in early New Orleans, 1920s Chicago, 1930s small band jazz, the revival of the 1940s and 1950s, and in original pieces written by band members. Tickets $18; students $17; under 12 $9.

Fife and Drum muster Lexington MALexington Fife and Drum Muster, Lexington Green, Lexington
On Friday, May 1st, at 7 p.m., three of the nation’s top fife-and-drum corps—and special guests—perform by Lanternlight! On Saturday, May 2nd, a brief parade ending at the Minuteman National Park Visitor Center will include 30 fife and drum corps and marching units from all over the Northeast. Colonial crafts, food vendors, encampment demonstrations, and entertainment abound. The event is free and open to the public.