With spring break a mere 48 hours away, I thought I'd make an update regarding the spring thus far.
1. This semester is the realization of an immense amount of work for our music department at Adams State University. We've embarked on a new mission, titled "The Ethos Project-Exploring Equity Through Music." The details can be read about here on our department blog. We're examining our courses, ensemble programming, and teaching methods through the lens of inclusiveness and equity. One such way involved a commissioning project.
2. The commissioning project was set into motion for our wind ensemble's performance at the Colorado Music Educators Association Conference this past January. We commissioned all new works that were inspired by the culture and geography of the San Luis Valley. The works, tailored specifically for our ensemble, can be performed by ensembles of a varying size and instrumentation. Several of the works, including my commission of Jennifer Bellor for "Querencia," a work for vibraphone soloist and wind ensemble, featured faculty member soloists. We also held a very successful student composition competition and featured three student works. The associated concerts have been terrific, and for the remainder of the semester, we are recording the works in collaboration with our recording arts class. I'll write more about these endeavors in the coming weeks.
3. My wonderful friend Chiho Sugo, a professor at Gunma University in Maebashi City, Japan and an amazing clarinetist spent her sabbatical here in Colorado. In addition to working with our students, collaborating on several recitals, and traveling throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe when she could, we managed to record a CD for marimba, flute, and clarinet. We are in the mixing phase and plan to release the album this September at a series of concerts in Japan.
4. I've had the pleasure of hosting two wonderful young percussion artists on campus for residencies this spring- Chris Wilson and Caleb Pickering. Their differences in style and musicianship were perfect contrasts and outstanding for my students and I. Thanks to both of them for their time with us!
5. The end of February/first of March was spent traveling in the Midwest. I visited Kansas City, toured the Jazz and Negro League Baseball Museums, heard some great music, and ate at some great BBQ establishments.
6. The reason for the trip was work--first a residency at Northwest Missouri State University with the percussion studio there. Great students and my friend Katy Strickland is doing terrific things there!
7. I then did a residency at the University of Central Missouri and attended a Gala performance for my retiring percussion instructor, Mike Sekelsky. Great students at UCM as well!
8. I then visited with Brad Lomax and his shop at Beetle Percussion. I'm grateful for our partnership and look forward to an exciting signature series product to come. His business is something everyone should consider--filling a niche in the percussion industry with quality, ethics, and passion.
9. My last stop was for the Mid-Missouri Percussive Arts Trophy Competition, hosted by Carol and Raymond Helble. I adjudicated and presented a masterclass with the multi-percussion winners. She-e Wu and Doug Smith adjudicated the marimba competition, and it's always great to catch up with two individuals I consider incredibly inspiring. Doug and I performed together on the closing concert and She-e, one of my favorite musicians to hear, was outstanding as usual.
10. With our honor festivals and a faculty collaborative concert of all works by women composers celebrating International Women's Week in the rear view mirror, it's time to focus on my solo recital program, "Reikan: Japanese works for Percussion." More on this as well.
11. Finally, I'm migrating over some posts from my old Blogspot blog to here, with the intention of reconstituting my blogging efforts. In all honesty, I was completing my dissertation this time last year and wanted some time off from writing. However, I had the pleasure of writing nine "publish-ready" articles under the guidance of Gary Cook as part of my studies at UNLV and I need to a. get them published and b. get back to blogging and article writing. Please bookmark/share my blog page here and I promise to bring good and actionable content your way!