By Marcia E. Gawecki
A new honors music composition class is quickly gaining popularity at Idyllwild Arts. Mostly because of its recent collaboration between music students and poetry students on campus. The two groups are teaming up for a performance for “Idyllwild Arts Day” in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 12.
They are taking original poems and setting them to music. However, some of their collaborations will be previewed this Tuesday night, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. as part of an Idyllwild Arts Music Faculty Concert at Stephens Recital Hall.
Each of the four hand-picked music students in the comp class get individual attention, said Kevin Michael Sullivan, the instructor. The four students are Caleb, a trumpet player; Arik and Benny, pianists; and Chris, a viola player.
“They keep me on my game,” Kevin said of the group who has helped him with his own music compositions. “They’re good kids and very sharp.”
Oftentimes in class, Samuel, a classical vocal music student, sings their compositions out loud, so they can make adjustments.
“The first few class sessions were hard,” Sam said. “Mostly because the writer and the composer didn’t always see eye-to-eye.”
Benny said that his first composition climaxed too early, and it wasn’t exactly what he wanted.
“Do you think I could transpose it?” he asked Kevin, while eating lunch in the cafeteria.
“I think that would work,” Kevin said.
Sam, who sang Benny’s first song, agreed that it needed a change.
“The high ranges almost killed my voice,” he said, jokingly.
Sam said that he takes notes on the poems during the composition class to see what the best interpretation might be. He said that he considers himself a “vehicle” for the writer, in keeping the words “sacred.”
The creative writers who are providing the poems and collaborating with the musicians, include: Rebecca, Whitney and two Austins.
Caleb, who is working with Austin on his poem, “New World Order,” about mankind, said that he heard it at last year’s Parallex (a student publication) reading, and liked it.
Caleb is setting Austin’s poem to modern music, using a bunch of different instruments from a sound mixer to achieve the desired effect.
“Caleb’s piece is really cool, but very complex,” Sam said.
With most of the poetry collaboration songs, Sam will sing them onstage at the “Idyllwild Arts Day in LA. However, with Caleb’s piece, Austin’s voice will be prerecorded. Austin will be reciting the words, while Sam will be singing the melody.
“Caleb decided that only my voice was right for the voice over,” Austin said.
At the same time, Sam is a little nervous about the Caleb-Austin collaboration, because he’ll be out of town with his own senior vocal auditions while it’s being completed.
“It’ll all work out,” Sam said. “It always does.”
Whitney, a creative writing student who is working with Arik, a piano player, is also a little nervous about her collaboration.
“I don’t want to say, ‘nervous,’ because it sounds like I don’t trust him,” Whitney said.
She said this was the first time that one of her poems has been set to music. She is looking forward to seeing it performed onstage.
“It’s terrifying to hear your work performed onstage,” Kevin said. “You’re like a parent in the audience, and have no control over what’s being done up there.”
At the last faculty recital, one of Kevin’s pieces was performed by Idyllwild Arts faculty and students. During Tuesday night’s faculty recital, not only will Kevin’s pieces be performed, but he will also be playing the saxophone.
Even though they are not completed, some of these music composition-poetry collaborations will be performed at the recital this Tuesday night, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Stephens Recital Hall on campus. Faculty and guest artists will perform oboe, sax and piano, along with some classical music and jazz students.
All recitals and concerts at Idyllwild Arts are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171.
Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.
: Feb 27, 2011 @ 10:13