Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

Hairspray Director Gregory Theodore Marsh, Annabelle Duffy , Theatre Ensemble Director Ward Dales

Back on Saturday, May 19, the family went to Proctors Theatre in Schenectady to attend the 2nd Annual High School Musical Theatre Awards for New York’s Capital Region in partnership with The Broadway League.

Albany High School was up for six awards in an event fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards®. The evening celebrated “the achievements of the region’s theatre students from 23 area high schools, highlighting the importance of arts and theatre education.”

The AHS March production of “Hairspray” won for best musical, best technical execution and best choreography execution. Moreover, “Albany High junior Annabelle Duffy won best actress for her portrayal of feisty Tracy Turnblad.”

She received an all expenses paid trip to New York City to receive training from working Broadway professionals. Annabelle and a young man from the area participated in the Jimmy Awards, the national stage in which high school performers across the nation acted and sang, on June 25.

At Proctors, our family applauded wildly for AHS and also my young niece’s high school; one of the supporting characters in their The Music Man was nominated, which somehow meant that the niece got to perform in the energetic opening and closing numbers.

Truth is that some of the Albany High School rooting was a bit of chip on the collective shoulders of the city dwellers. On the standardized tests, the urban schools don’t fare nearly as well as the ones in the suburban districts. But as someone wrote on a Facebook listserv:

“What I do know is my children will have experiences like many others won’t. They are exposed to the world thanks to classmates, teachers, and courses not available in many locations… Remember money talks and those districts with most living in poverty are underfunded and inundated with unfunded state mandates.”

Not incidentally:

Grammy-nominated jazz artist Stefon Harris (Albany High School ’91) was named a recipient of a 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award – “one of the most prestigious arts grants in the country – for his continuing contribution to jazz.

“Harris is one of seven performing artists that will receive $250,000 in flexible funding, along with up to an additional $25,000 to encourage contribution to his retirement account.”

For ABC Wednesday

I mentioned recently that I performed in a concert on Sunday, November 18, singing with my church choir a bunch of songs about St. Cecilia. Then a concert on Sunday, November 25, with people who had sung with organist Don Ingram in the past, singing the Christmas section of Handel’s Messiah in honor Don’s 80th birthday, a benefit for his church’s organ fund.

So the logical thing to do on Sunday, December 2 would have been to do nothing. Instead, Read the rest of this entry »

If you know the name Vince Guaraldi, it’s probably because you associate the pianist as the composer of the music for the Peanuts television specials, starting in the mid-1960s. However, Doctor Funk, one of his nicknames, codified in a song he wrote and performed a decade earlier, was a well-respected performer and composer in the Bay Area/northern California jazz scene.

Derrick Bang notes in the preface of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano that he was a reluctant writer of Vince’s legacy, expecting that someone more personally knowledgeable of the performer would surely show up to pen his story. Finding none, he put together an almost encyclopedic recollection of the musician’s life Read the rest of this entry »

I decided that I don’t REALLY want to explain what jazz is, mostly because it’s too difficult. You can read all about it on the page dedicated to Ken Burns’ Jazz, the third in his trilogy of documentary miniseries about Americana, along with the Civil War and baseball. The Wikipedia reads: “Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in black communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions… As the music has developed and spread around the world it has drawn on many different national, regional and local musical cultures giving rise, since its early 20th century American beginnings, to many distinctive styles.”

This level of cultural integration is evident as musicians of different races often played together Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve long been a sucker for those Red, Hot and Blue albums. Not only are they generally great compilations, but they aid AIDS research.

At some point, I purchased By George & Ira: Red Hot on Gershwin, which I was quite fond of. Some critics complained about the multiple versions of a few songs, but I love the way Nina Simone’s version of I Loves You Porgy segues into Bill Evans’ instrumental take, e.g.

There are four versions of Summertime. The first is by an unlikely participant on this mostly jazz album Read the rest of this entry »

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