November, 2014 Opus

November Opus

In This Issue
CCM News
Student Spotlight, the Porter Brothers
Behind the Scenes
Why Music Matters
Performances in the Area

CCM News 

October Recitals

Pictured: Alex Taylor "Minion", student of Chaim Burstein

October Recitals – The first recitals of the year were a great success! We're always impressed that so many kids ready to perform this early in the semester. And many of them were in costume, too! The next All-School Recitals are on Saturday, November 15th at 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00.

Practice for Pizza – October was a month of buckling down for many kids who aimed to practice for 30 days in October. We had our celebratory pizza party on November 6th and were so happy to see how many students successfully completed the challenge.  The students and parents have asked for another challenge this winter. Two great motivators: pizza, and the feeling of accomplishment!

Concert & Lecture Series #2 – The first season of our Concert & Lecture Series kicked-off to rave reviews.  Don't miss the second concert of the series, which is on Thursday, November 20th at 7:00 pm. This concert and lecture pair is titled “Freedom within Form: The Art of the Fugue.” There’s still time to subscribe!  Tickets are also $25 at the door, students are FREE. 

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Student Spotlight, the Porter Brothers

Porter Brothers

Pictured (left to right): Cameron and Jude Porter

There are a lot of siblings taking lessons at CCM. The Porter brothers, Cameron age 14, and Jude Age 12, of Stow are one pair. Cameron took 4 years of piano with CCM instructor Chieko Loy, and then switched to study with Brian Friedland so that he could focus on jazz. Jude started off with one year of violin, and also had 3 years of piano with Chieko before landing on the guitar and studying with Chaim Burstein. Needless to say, both boys are very musical. They are performing together for the first time on the upcoming November recitals. Read on to learn about their musical family and what it’s like to practice with your brother.

Do you play music together a lot?

CP – We don’t play together too much. This is the first time we’re playing together for a recital. It’s fun working together, collaborating, and figuring out what sounds good.

How do you practice together?

JP – We start off playing through once with a metronome, then play it through each by ourselves. Then we go back to parts that need work.

What song are you playing for the recital? Who has the melody?

CP - We’re playing Safe and Sound. There are two main melody sections, and we each play one while the other plays chords. Whoever has the melody leads, and the person playing chords follows.

What’s the dynamic like when you practice? Is it ever competitive?

JP – No, it’s not competitive.

CP – We each just don’t want to be the guy who messes up, and want it to sound the best it can.

I understand your grandfather used to be a professional singer. What kind of music did he sing?

CP – He sang in churches in North Carolina, where he lives. He had a big performance at a church two years ago, but he still performs a little bit now.

(Greg Porter, the boys' dad, added, "He was the Music Dept. Chair at a college in North Carolina, and a tenor soloist. He gave a recital on his 80th birthday two years ago that the boys remember. He has sung classical to spirituals to standards, and still is asked to sing often.")

And you’ve performed with him, too? What was that like?

JP – I performed Hallelujah with him once in front of our entire family. We also performed Walking in a Winter Wonderland. When you perform for your family, everyone enjoys it and compliments you. It feels good.

CP – I performed Autumn Leaves with him. It’s different because you feel like you have to do the best you can and not mess up.

What have you learned about performing music from your grandfather?

JP – You need to keep your composure.

CP – If you mess up, you can easily cover it up. (Greg: "He means as an accompanist, since the focus is on the singer.)

Cameron, you also compose your own songs. How do your ideas start?

CP -I recently wrote a song called “Flash of Moments.” I played a melody that sounded nice, and then I put chords to it. With the chords it sounds very different, like there are a lot of different sections. For example, one part is catchy, then it becomes minor and dark, and the bridge is much slower. I’m still working out the form of the song, and different ways to play the many different variants. My teacher [Brian Friedland] helps me by suggesting different chords that go along with the melody. Sometimes they are ones I wouldn’t have thought of.

Jude, what other pieces are you working on right now?

JP – I am also working on Dynamite right now. Chaim always lets me pick what songs I work on. The most songs I’ve worked on at once is four, although they were smaller pieces.

We're looking forward to hearing Cameron and Jude's performance this coming Saturday at 4:00!

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Behind the Scenes

Ukulele Choir

Our Ukulele Choir is learning fast! Many of these students are picking up an instrument for the first time, and they are already covering a lot of repertoire, from "You Are My Sunshine" to "Buffalo Gals" to traditional Christmas tunes, as well as the latest top 100 Hit. If you want to hear them in action, Ukulele Choir will be performing Friday, December 19th at 7pm along with our Youth Chorus Project. Here's what some Ukulele students had to say about their experience so far.

All of the students in the ukulele class are adults.  When we asked them what is challenging about the class, many responded that it was making time to practice.  Sharon Cunningham says that it is a good thing that the ukulele is small and travels well.  She told us her uke has gone on a trip to Chicago and other locations around the U.S. and even practices in the car (not while driving).  Judy LaRocca added that learning the mechanics of the correct positioning of the uke neck to maximize her finger flexibility.  

Ken Green says he's having to work hard on remembering the chord names and learning to switch the chords at a faster pace.  Our younger students are all grinning with these revelations from the adults.  They've been there.

Satisfaction for this group comes in many ways.  All voiced that they love playing and learning in a group; a shared commitment to master this little instrument.  Many have owned their ukulele's for years and are so happy that they have finally made the time to learn to play.  It's the little moment like finding your fingers have landed correctly on the fret, without even looking, that brings the feeling of satisfaction!  Or, being able to sing along with the tune your learning.  Ken added "I had a great sense of satisfaction when I realized that the noise I am making is starting to sound like music!"

The course description did not lie, you can learn to play a song very quickly on the uke, even in a group.  Already many of the students are playing with friends and sharing their music with their children.  The new repertoire of holiday tunes will be perfect to share with family and friends.  Good luck Uke Choir, we look forward to your premier on December 19th!

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Why Music Matters
Why Music Matters 

Here's a great article in the Wall Street Journal by Joanne Lipman about why "music programs shouldn't have to sing for their supper."

Read the article.

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Performances in the Area

Leyla McCalla

Leyla McCalla, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is performing at the MFA Friday, November 21st at 7:30 pm. Her music is inspired by her Haitian heritage and the Cajun culture of New Orleans.

Tickets and info.

On Saturday, November 22nd at 8:00 pm, the Radius Ensemble will play at Longy School of Music.  A chamber music ensemble of winds, strings, and piano, Radius Ensemble was founded in 1999 by oboist and impresario Jennifer Montbach, a CCM parent.

Tickets and info.

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