Posts Tagged ‘Idyllwild Me’

Art-Inspired Songs at Friday Afternoon Student Recital

Friday, May 25th, 2012

(from L) Nick, Will and Corwin listen to Kevin play

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“It’s our version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition or Satie’s Sports et Divertissements,” said Kevin Michael Sullivan of his Honors Composition class recital at Stephens at 2:30 p.m. today, Friday, May 25.

It’s an all-student collaboration in which songs were inspired by art pieces. (See blog post, ‘Music Comp Collaborates with Visual Artists,’ dated May 9).

The three student songwriters–William, Corwin and Nick–will showcase their songs that were inspired by art created by Zoe, Inga and Josh (Lin Xuan).

They will be performed today by Dr. Jeanette-Louise Yaryan on piano.

After the performance, there will be a short Q&A session with Dr. Yaryan and the student composers and artists. Like all recitals at Idyllwild Arts, it will be streamed via UStream on the school website.

Over the last two years, Kevin said, the music composition students have composed works for solo oboe; art songs for baritone and piano with lyrics by members of the Creative Writing department; a string quartet; and a reed trio.

For one song, Nick will strum the exposed piano

The class has also created a closed Facebook group where they post links to music, articles, study scores and other resources and, most importantly, post drafts of the scores of the students’ compositions.

“I have invited composers from across the globe to join this group and take part in our discussions,” Kevin said. “This exposes the students to a variety of ideas, examples and compositional techniques and  approaches.”

The contributors included Stephen Serpa and Jessie Alexander Brown of the Harrt School of Music, Jason Gerraughty, SUNY Stony Brook,  Noam Faingold, Kings College London, and Josh Gates, NC School of the Arts/ The Tatnall School.

This will be the first time that the three student artists will hear the music compositions inspired by their art. Zoe’s photograph features two portraits blended together, Inga has an abstract landscape and Josh’s painting entitled,”Greedy,” features a pig eating another pig while other pigs watch.

(from L) Josh with Vita. His painting features pigs eating each other.

The art and music composition recital today is free and open to the public. Stephens Recital Hall is the first building to the left as you cross the bridge at the end of Tollgate Road in Idyllwild.

For more information, call (951) 265-6755 or visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Final Student Jazz Concert Tuesday Night

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Marshall Hawkins once played with Miles Davis. Image by Marcia E. Gawecki

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Four,” a song by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, is considered to be among the lineup for the final Idyllwild Arts student jazz concert Tuesday night, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowman Arts building.

It stands to reason that Jazz Chair Marshall Hawkins would pick a song from Miles Davis. As a jazz musician, composer, and band leader, Miles is considered to be one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time.

It is also well known on campus that Marshall once played with Miles.

However, the details of the experience haven’t fully come to life. The jazz students say it’s a cool fact, and perhaps Marshall’s esteem is boosted even higher in their eyes.  But they don’t push him for details.

(from L) Walker (guitar) and Randy (sax) will be performing

Hopefully, Marshall will write about Miles in his memoirs one day.

In the meantime, however, we’ll get to enjoy “Blue Haze: Four” as one of the songs that will be performed by Marshall and the students tonight. The key word is “possible” because the lineup and music selection changes all the time. Sometimes, the students don’t know the lineup until just shortly before the concert begins.

Jazz alumni Jacob (left) and Caleb will be playing at the concert

“It doesn’t matter,” said Randy who plays the saxophone. “We know the music already. It’s just a matter of which order Marshall wants to take it.”

Walker, a graduating senior who normally plays guitar, will switch to bass for Tuesday’s performance because one of the bass guitar players hurt her finger.

“It’s a totally different instrument, but I’m up to the challenge,” said Walker.

According to the Jazz Education web site, “Blue Haze: Four” was recorded in 1954, just after Miles had overcome his drug addiction. It features Horace Silver, Percy Heath and Art Blakey.

Interestingly enough, “Four” was usally attributed to Miles Davis, but it was actually written by Eddie Vinson for Miles Davis. Today, both are usually mentioned as authors. This is an interesting solo, as Miles articulates almost aggressively. Miles’ solo features a hard sound right from the pickup, which he was not known for before.

Idyllwild Arts alumni Caleb Hensinger and Jacob Scesney will be also playing at Tuesday’s jazz concert. Both attend the Burklee School of Music in Boston. Caleb will likely do a nice job with Miles’ “Four,” since he has a similar round sound.

Miles Davis image by Marcia E. Gawecki, Idyllwild

Caleb would play with Marshall and Paul Carman at Cafe Aroma on an occasional Tuesday night, and sometimes steal the spotlight.

“There was one woman in particular who would only come when Caleb was playing,” said Frank Fero from Cafe Aroma. “He really charmed the ladies.”

Another twist to the Tuesday night jazz concert will be a collaboration with a string quartet. The classical musicians include SaSa, Howard and Tiffany. The fourth one Randy couldn’t recall.

“Marshall is going to put us all on stage and build a symphony,” Randy said.

Whatever Marshall and company are up to will turn out to be a wonderful evening of jazz–with some surprises. Although the IAF Theatre in Bowman offers ample seating, it’s still best to arrive early Tuesday night.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Musical Storytime at Idyllwild School

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Tiffany (far right) will be playing her cello for grade schoolers at Idyllwild School

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Storytime will never be the same for grade schoolers at the Idyllwild School.

Today at 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., four students from Idyllwild Arts will be bringing a book to life with music and songs.

“The Story of Arly Rabbit,” was written by Jennifer Stevenson (a friend of Idyllwild Arts Music Chair Ryan Zwahlen), who is well known for her interactive musical stories for children and their families.

Jen is a composer, educator and clarinetist.

Her story has a local angle to it. It’s about a jackrabbit from Palm Springs who travels to Idyllwild.

The four Idylwild Arts students who will be performing “The Story of Arly Rabbit,” include Emma on flute; Lisa on violin; Tiffany on cello and Alex as the narrator.

Ryan's friend, Jennifer, wrote the musical story

Tiffany, a graduating senior, said that she was looking forward to the two performances today.

“The story is interactive, so when we’re playing our instruments, the students will be encouraged to do hand gestures along with the music,” Tiffany said.

In videos shown on Jen’s web site, she asks students to make bird flapping motions with their hands or climb an imaginary tree like a monkey.

Afterwards, the performers are going to demonstrate how to play their instruments and then play musical games with them, Ryan added.

The music collaboration between the two Idyllwild schools was made possible by an AEL grant of $1,000, that was awarded to Lisa, the violinist.

Ryan worked with Bob Boss from the Idyllwild School for this event. He said that it took about two months to finalize their schedules and all the details.

For more information on Jen’s Musical Adventures, visit www.tessellamusic.com.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Idyllwild Arts Student Lands in Feature Film

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Dylan heads for the Seattle International Film Festival this weekend

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“My theater training at Idyllwild Arts definitely helped me prepare for this role,” said Dylan Arnold, as he headed for the Seattle International Film Festival this weekend to help promote “Fat Kid Rules the World.”

At the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) earlier this month, the feature film won the “Audience Award,” over  hundreds of other films. The crew is hoping for a good reception at the Seattle Film Festival too.

It took Director Matthew Lillard (Scoobie-Doo, The Descendants) nine years to get the film rights to the book by K.L. Going, “Fat Kid Rules the World.” Matthew was hired to read it for books on tape, and started crying after just a few chapters. He then scrambled to get the movie rights, Dylan said.

It’s about an overweight teenager who tries to jump off a bridge because of his miserable life, but then is saved by a popular kid who asks him to join his punk band.

When Matthew was ready to shoot his independent film in Seattle last summer, he called area agents looking for actors, and Dylan’s was among them.

At Idyllwild Arts, Dylan had acted in several student films, including “On the Bright Side,” “Shortcomings,” “Rockstars: The Pete Weaver Experience,” as well as theater productions, “Eurydice” and “The Shape of Things.” He said a friend of his recommended the Tiffany Talent Agency.

Dylan read lines on camera first, but then was called back for a live audition with the director.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up,” Dylan said. “But if I didn’t make it, at least I got to meet Shaggy!”

Dylan said the audition went well, and he was asking Matthew if he should leave the script on the chair as he was leaving.

“Then Matthew said, ‘Yes, you’ll be getting a bigger one soon,'” Dylan said.

Dylan’s mother, who is in the business, said it was a good sign. And when Dylan’s agent called about landing the role, she told Dylan that he’d better get a replacement for his summer job.

On set, Dylan said that everyone was professional, but he kept looking around for the teenagers.

“At Idyllwild, I was used to working with a 17-year-old director, cameraman and script writer,” Dylan said. “It was weird working with just adults.”

The Seattle shooting last summer took five weeks, but Dylan’s part only took about two weeks. He played a high school jock who got all of the girls.

“I used to go to public high school before coming to Idyllwild Arts, and I used a couple of guys I knew there as inspiration,” Dylan said.

He said he also read the book, “Fat Kid Rules the World,” to give him a better take on his character.

Dylan has played the lead in student films

And since he didn’t know how to play basketball, Matthew Lillard got him a coach.

“I know how to play now,” Dylan said with a smile.

He said the other three actors in the movie, were great to work with.

“I really fed off of their energy,” Dylan said.

He said that the feature film experience has changed him.

“I now got a taste of what it’s like, and I definitely want to do it again,” Dylan said.

However, he is enrolled in North Carolina School of the Arts, an acting school, in the fall.

“I would never have gotten into that school if it weren’t for my experience at Idyllwild Arts,” Dylan said.

Dylan had come to the school as a summer theater student, and made the most of his two and a half years here.

At the South by Southwest Film Festival, Dylan got to walk down a red carpet, and was interviewed by the local press. He also got to sign his first autograph. It was from an adult.

“That was pretty cool,” Dylan said.

At the Seattle Film Festival this weekend, Dylan will be joined by his family and friends. He had to pay for the plane ticket, but they will pay for everything else at the event, he said.

Since it’s an independent film, Matthew Lillard is hoping to raise $150,000 to help with backing and distribution.

He’s also set up on Kickstarter, which has helped raise money for indy films, music, comics and other creative endeavors.

Look for Dylan in the “Fat Kid Rules the World” trailer on the Hollywood Reporter site, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/fat-kid-rules-world-trailer-298103.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

Student Art Sale Friday

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Art sale today

 

Ever wanted to purchase a dramatic piece of art that you’ve seen at the student art shows at Idyllwild Arts?

Now’s your chance! Just for today, Friday, May 18, you can purchase paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media pieces directly from the artist.

Now’s your chance to talk to the student who made the piece!

Go to Ataloa Ceramic Studio from Noon to 5 p.m. today and see what the students have to offer. Ataloa is on the right as you head up towards the Parks Exhibition Center on the Idyllwild Arts campus.

Cash or checks only, please.

For more information, call (951) 659-2171.

 

Berlin to Broadway: Composer Kurt Weill’s Musical Voyage

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

'Berlin to Broadway' poster

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The lights in the IAF Theatre were still on late Wednesday night. You could hear show tunes wafting from under the door, the clomping of dancing shoes, while orders were barked out throughout. These were the behind-the-scenes moments that the audience will never see. The final details of Idyllwild Arts last production of the year, “Berlin to Broadway,” being hammered out.

The 3-day show runs Friday and Saturday, May 18 & 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the IAF Theatre, and closes on Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m.  Like all Idyllwild Arts productions, it is free and open to the public, but come early to get a good seat.

“No one does Kurt Weill anymore,” lamented Howard Shangraw, head of the Idyllwild Arts Theatre Department as he was shopping late at Fairway Supermarket one night. “I miss all of those songs from ‘The Threepenny Opera.’ You remember Mack the Knife?”

I immediately did a shark imitation with my hand. Who doesn’t love that song? But who the heck is Kurt Weill?

Like most composers, we remember their songs, but know little about their lives. Not this time, however. ‘Berlin to Broadway,’ gives us a musical glimpse into the life and genius of Kurt Weill.

A German Jew, Kurt Weill married the famous Austrian singer, Lotte Lenya. As their life in Germany became more precarious, they fled first to Paris, then the United States, where they were a success in New York and Hollywood.

Weill’s biographical journey (as told by a narrator) offers songs that have become standards in our Modern American Songbook, such as Mack the Knife, Lost in the Stars, Surabaya Johnny, September Song and My Ship, among others.

Lyricists Weill worked with include Bertolt Brecht, Alan Jay Lerner and Ira Gershwin, The student cast sings and dances excerpts from The Threepenny Opera, Happy End, Lady In The Dark, Street Scene, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and more.

All in all, there are more than 30 songs that are showcased in “Berlin to Broadway.”

“Not only does it demonstrate Weill’s extraordinary melodic gifts, but also his ability to transform his style to fit different environments,” Howard wrote in the program. “His music reflects both the influences around him and the moods of the times in which he lived and composed.”

Starting Friday, you’ll get the chance to know one of America’s most influential composers via “Berlin to Broadway” through songs and dances by the musical theater students. Then you’ll know why Howard liked him so much.

For more information, call (951) 659-2171 or visit www.idyllwildarts.org. The IAF Theatre is located on the Idyllwild Arts campus at 52500 Temecula Drive in Idyllwild.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

2nd Annual Student Oboe & Clarinet Recital

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

(from R) Camille and Jeanette take a bow

By Marcia E. Gawecki

For the second year in a row, Camille and Shen have hosted their classical music recitals together.

Their Idyllwild Arts senior recital, featuring oboe and clarinet, was held on Tuesday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall.

Each gave a lively performance and were happy and breathless afterwards. At one point, Camille thought she was going to pass out, but didn’t.

Camille and Shen are friends, fellow orchestra members and complement each other well, like Bogie and Bacall.

Shen hails from China, while Camille was born in Los Angeles to Chinese parents. Shen is gregarious and short with dimples, while Camille is aloof, brainy, and leggy.

They even share the same last name.
“Liu is a pretty common name in China, like Smith is in the U.S.,” said Camille.

Shen lost the toss, so Camille would play first at their recital. Going first is always better because oftentimes a majority of the audience leaves to socialize or study before their 10 p.m. curfew.

“I know that most of them will stay because Shen is really popular,” said Camille beforehand.

(from R) Shen with Nelms

This year, Shen won the Idyllwild Arts Concerto Competition, which meant he got to perform as a soloist along with the Idyllwild Arts Orchestra.

Shen was also a prefect, or student advisor, during the year. In the fall, he will attend Juilliard School of Music in New York. Lake, a jazz bass player and Idyllwild Arts senior will join him.

Not to be outdone, Camille got more than 2200 score on her SATs, and will be going to Northwestern University in Evanston in the fall.

Camille will continue her musical studies, but is looking forward to Northwestern’s academic challenge.

Last year, during their junior recitals, both only had to play only :30 minutes each, but as seniors, they had to play :45 minutes each.

“I think mine went over 10 minutes, so Shen got cheated a little bit,” admitted Camille.

For her first number, Camille played J.S. Bach’s “Sonata in G Minor BMV 1020” with Jeanette Louise Yaryan on piano. It sounded like a mellow piece. At times, Camille’s oboe sounded more like a flute. But then the Allego gave way to fast fingers, and Camille gave a sigh of relief at its end.

“Concerto in C Major, K 314” by W. A. Mozart showed off Camille’s ability to play long notes. Benny Kleinerman accompanied her on piano.

For her third selection, Camille was reunited with bassoon player, Felix, and Nelm McKelvain on piano. Just weeks before, the three had played Francis Poulenc’s “Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon” at Felix’s Junior Recital.

“I’m helping her because she helped me,” said Felix as he headed for the dressing room.

It was the same piece, but somehow it sounded differently that night.

(from L) Brian Cohen talks with Camille's dad afterwards while her mom and Peter Askim listen in

“I think Nelms started out faster this time,” said Felix later.

The Presto, Adante and Rondo parts of that song reminded me of a flirtation or courtship. Like songbirds calling out to each other between the trees.

All three looked at each other for timing cues and sounded like they really enjoyed the piece. Nelms was smiling most of the time from behind the piano.

The recital ended with Camille Saint-Saens’ “Sonata in D Major, Op. 166.”

Even though her oboe teacher, Francisco Castillo from Redlands was not in the audience, he was there in spirit. Just the day before, Camille had a lesson with him  She’ll see him again before the fall.

“I don’t know how to say good-bye,” Camille said. “He’s been my teacher since I was ten.”

Music Director Peter Askim and Headmaster Brian Cohen spoke to Camille’s parents afterwards, and Peter and Music Department Head Ryan Zwahlen congratulated Camille.

“She did a great job,” said Ryan, who also plays the oboe.  “Everything she played was difficult. She’s really come a long way.”

Needless to say, not everyone in the audience left after intermission. In fact, a few more people came after the break to see Shen. It was a full house for both.

Camille was all smiles afterwards

Shen started out strong with a short and lively piece by Henri Rabaud, “Solo de Concours.” It showcased his ability to go up and down the scales on his clarinet with rapid accuracy.

Unlike Camille, Shen didn’t change piano players, but kept with Nelms McKelvain the whole time. Their next piece, “Sonatina” by Malcolm Arnold, showed the complexities of both instruments. At times, the music sounded frenetic.

Shen’s next piece, “Fantasia da Concerto ‘La Traiata’ by D. Verdi by Donato Lovreglio, was Peter Askim’s favorite.

“I really liked how you played the opera,” Peter told Shen afterwards. “It showed a lot of colors.”

From the look of things, it was a difficult piece to do because Shen was breathing heavy afterwards.

After that piece, Shen mixed it up with “Sonata” by Francis Proulenc. The audience, made up of mostly music students and staff members, whooped it up after that piece was finished.

George Gershwin’s “Preludes for Clarinet and Piano Accompaniment,” arranged by James Cohn, was an interesting end to Shen’s recital. It seemed more ragtime than classical.

“No Gershwin’s music is in the classical realm,” defended Camille afterwards.

The best part is that Shen looked like he was having a ball playing it. Maybe because it was his last high school recital, and he was savoring every moment.

(from L) Shen poses with Ryan

Shen, too, will find it difficult to say good-bye to his teacher, Yehuda Gilead, from USC, who has been more of a mentor than a clarinet teacher. Yehuda wasn’t there at the concert, but Shen went to LA the next day with the disk in hand to discuss the performance with him.

In the audience was YiLing, an Idyllwild Arts music alum, who now attends Boston Conservatory, and was on summer break.

“He did a great job,” YiLing said, as they posed for pictures afterwards.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

Music Comp Collaborates with Visual Artists

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

(from L) Kevin, Julian, Will, Nick and Corwin gather around the piano

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Last year, Kevin Sullivan’s Honor Music Composition class collaborated with student poets and a vocalist. Those lucky enough to attend “Idyllwild Arts Day in LA” heard their interpretations live (see “From Music Comp Class to March 1st Recital” Idyllwild Me blog post dated Feb. 27, 2011).

This year, however, the three songwriting students–Will, Nick and Corwin–are collaborating with three visual artists, including Josh, Zoe and Inga.

“I thought we’d mix it up a little bit,” Kevin said. “Next year, we’re thinking of working with vocal music students again.”

Although the songwriting students have been hard at work for months and have seen the pieces by the visual artists, it was still a surprise to two of the artists.

“They’re writing songs about my painting?” asked Josh, a sophomore visual artist from Taiwan.

The one they selected of Josh’s is called “Greedy,” and features a pig eating another pig while other pigs sitting around a table are watching him. The painting is hanging on Josh’s wall in his dorm room.

He said it’s a statement about the human condition, and not necessarily about anyone in particular.

“The pig doesn’t even know that he’s eating himself,” Josh laughed.

(from L) Kevin gestures to Julian emphasizing his point

It wasn’t the first time Josh has used a pig in his artwork. He once painted a single pig with money coming out of it years ago in China.

“They’re still writing songs about our art?” Zoe asked, as she was preparing for the SAT. “That was months ago.”

Earlier this semester, Nick went through her portfolio and picked out the photograph, which features a blended image of Isaac, a writer, and Delilah, a former visual artist.

“I took the photograph right after a fashion show,” Zoe explained. “Delilah wore heavy makeup, and it was a nice contrast to Isaac, who was shot in profile and was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.”

Sometime this year, Zoe started cutting the photographs apart, and then weaving them together.

“It looks more like a bar code to me,” she said.”Photographs can be like math, so technical.”

“Yes, we’ve been working on these compositions for a long time now,” Kevin explained. “But they’ve gone through anywhere from 10 to 15 drafts. We also went on the USC Songwriter’s Tour, and there was Spring Break and such.”

Back at the piano in Kevin’s comp class, Will was listening to Julian, a fellow piano player, sight read his music. During most Thursday night classes, they critique each other, but tonight, Julian was adding his own comments.

The painting by Josh (shown with girlfriend Vita) features pigs devouring each other

“I asked Julian to play for us today to find out of there’s any ‘finger busters,’ in which a piano player has to twist his fingers in a weird way,” Kevin explained.

“It’s doable,” Julian said about Corwin’s version of  Josh’s painting, “Greedy.” However, he asked about the “voicing.”

Kevin explained that in jazz, “voicing” is the order of chords, and a pianist can play the same notes in many different ways, emphasizing different notes. He asked Julian to play it three different ways, which gave Corwin several options to choose from.

“You don’t want to leave it to the piano player to interpret your work, because then it will sound different each time it’s played,” Kevin explained.

After Julian played one of Will’s pieces, “Beneath the Window” for Inga’s painting, Kevin suggested that he and Julian play it again, splitting up the right and left hands.

“I wonder if there’s a way we can make it sound a little richer,” Kevin said.

“You need to write a good challenging piece. It makes it more interesting for the piano player,” Kevin added.

Nick reaches into the exposed piano keys to strum them

By the time they finished, Kevin, Will and Julian were pleased with with the results to “draft no. 11.”

“Now, it’s got a little more color and brightness, and not so grumbling,” Kevin told Will, who was nodding in agreement.

Nick wanted to show the others what he recently added to Zoe’s piece. With Will’s help, he took off the top of the piano, exposing the chords underneath.

Julian laughed. “Have you heard of ‘Macro Cosmos?'” he asked. “George Krumb had a woman shout, ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ into the exposed piano.”

Just for fun, Kevin repeated those words into their exposed piano keys, while Nick pushed the pedals. The result was an eerie echo.

Instead of sheet music, Nick was playing from his laptop screen. At the given moment, he reached into the piano and strummed the exposed keys. It sounded like a harp.

“It’s supposed to sound like a snake,” Nick said, pleased with the effect.

Kevin said that Janette, who will be performing their work, is interested in modern classical music, in which you do unconventional things like strum the exposed keys.

“We’re just glad that she’s willing to do this for us,” Kevin said.

Nick then demonstrated how his songwriting software plays back the song for him.

“You know instantly how it’s going to sound,” Nick said. “I can’t believe that Kevin actually sits in his room and writes all the notes out by hand. This is the 21st century!”

Just then,Kevin took over the piano and played a prelude (from sheet music that was written out by hand). It was beautiful, quiet and slow. Afterwards, there was a hushed silence among the student songwriters.

Then Nick said, “That’s why he’s our comp teacher.”

(from L) Will, Nick and Corwin embrace technology

In the next few weeks, the music comp class will finish each of their collaborations, and then present it to the visual artists and others who want to attend. In short, there will be four different views of each painting, including preludes.

The performance date hasn’t been set yet, and Kevin is scrambling to find an open spot with all of the junior and senior music recitals going on nearly every night.

Zoe, admitted that she was a little nervous.

“It’s going to be really cool,” she said. “But what can I say about my work? Sometimes, it’s just not all that deep and complicated. It’s just is.”

Josh was excited about hearing their work.

“Do you know the date yet?” he asked with a big smile. “I want to bring all of my friends!”

Will said they will likely give the musical pieces to the artists as gifts.

In the meantime, we’ll have to wait for the Music Comp performance until a date opens up.

Tonight, however, (Wednesday, May 9) Nick and Will, will be presenting a variety of songs they’ve written for their junior recital. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

NYC Ballet Principal Jock Soto Visits Idyllwild

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Jock Soto in Idyllwild

By Marcia E. Gawecki

More than 100 featured ballet roles were written for him.

For 25 years, Jock Soto was the principal ballet dancer for the New York City Ballet, and left when he turned 40 years old in 2005. Since then, he wrote a book about his dancing career (because Random House asked him to), including his mother’s strong influence.

She was the first female Navajo hoop dancer.

“She used hoops to mimic the movements of eagles and horses,” Jock said. ”

Random House asked Jock to write his memoir soon after his mother’s death.

“At first, I didn’t want to do it,” Jock recalled. “But then I realized it would be a nice tribute to her. But I also wanted ballet dancers to know that there’s life after dancing.”

Since he wrote the book, Jock has graduated from culinary school with a business degree. Jock still teaches ballet at the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York where he learned how to dance professionally, but he is at Idyllwild Arts this week teaching Master Classes.

He reconnected with Jonathan Sharp, a dance instructor at Idyllwild Arts, through Facebook, and is now on tour teaching other students about ballet. As a promise to his mother, he went to Canada to teach indiginous students about ballet.

“They know modern, but surprisingly not ballet at all,” he said.

At Idyllwild Arts, however, the 35 or so dancers who live at the boarding school know about ballet. Many of them have been dancing since age 5, like he did. But he went to New York at age 13 to dance at the American School of Ballet (but there were no dorms back then), and ended up living in an apartment with eight other students.

“My parents didn’t want to live in New York, so I stayed and went to school there,” Jock explained. “Our apartment was in a nice area about three blocks from the school (SAB). I had just left Arizona and was pretty naive.”

Did bad things happen to him in New York? Many of them are outlined in his book, “Every Step You Take,” now available for $18.99 new (or $5 used) on Amazon.

Well, he gave up his high school academic studies, but not his dancing classes, and joined the New York City Ballet at age 16. By age 21, he was their principal dancer, the youngest in their history.

On the cover of his book, “Every Step of the Way,” it shows Jock leaping through the air. He was only 16 when the photo was taken. He looks like an angel in flight.

Jock said he became successful as a ballet dancer because he was quick.

“You had to learn about 100 different dances in a year,” Jock explained. “So if you could learn them quickly, people wanted to work with you.”

Over the years, Jock worked with many choreographers, including George Balanchine, who personally asked him to join the New York City Ballet. He said that he toured the world, and never wanted to leave for any other company.

Besides his memoir, Jock wrote a cookbook with Heather Watts, and PBS produced a documentary in 2008 called, “Water Flowing Together,” that takes you from his roots on the Arizona reservation to principal dancer at the New York City Ballet. Peter Martens said Jock had a “natural grace,” a remarkable career who left a terrific impact on the world of dance.

“I think they’re going to show the documentary at Idyllwild Arts this week,” Jock said.

You can view an excerpt of Jock’s video online at www.pbs.org.

As he drove up from Palm Springs to Idyllwild, Jock said that the area reminded him of Taos, New Mexico, where he has a summer home that he rarely gets to visit.

“This is just beautiful,” Jock said as looked down at the creek and up at the 100-foot pines. “I think I’m going to like staying here.”

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Student Artist Shares Spotlight

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Josh and Vita before the Spotlight Awards Ceremony. Photo by Josh.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Persistence pays off.  At least when it comes to high school art competitions.

For two years now, Vita, a Visual Artist from Idyllwild Arts, submitted photographs to the coveted Music Center of Los Angeles Spotlight Awards, but didn’t make the cut.

This year, however, Vita submitted a mixed media drawing and won an Honorable Mention. She was up against thousands of other art students from 100 other Los Angeles-area high schools.

“Photos are so subjective,” Vita said. “They can be interpreted in so many ways, so I submitted a drawing this year.”

Several of Vita’s paintings and drawings can be seen in the 2012 Spring issue of Parallax student magazine. You can pick up a copy for free at Bowman on campus.

Vita’s mixed media drawing that won the Spotlight Award is long and narrow, and architectural in nature. (Architecture is something Vita admits that she’s interested in). She couldn’t remember the name of the piece, because she only named it for the show.

As part of her winnings, Vita gets $250, and two tickets to the Spotlight Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 28, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. She brought her boyfriend, Josh, who is also a Visual Artist at the school.

“It looks like a building falling down,” exclaimed Josh.

Vita’s drawing looks like a skewed aerial view of the Los Angeles or New York skyline. How would you ever get that view? You’d have to take a helicopter that dives in between tall skyscrapers.

Vita's award-winning drawing was shown in a student show at Parks earlier this year

Vita said that she used several photographs as inspiration and put them together. The same piece was featured in an earlier art show at Parks Exhibition Center this year.

Before heading to the Spotlight Awards Ceremony, Vita and Josh ate outdoors at a Taiwanese restaurant. Both were dressed up, and Vita insisted that she wasn’t nervous.

“I hope they don’t make me go onstage,” she said.

At the ceremony, the two sat in the balcony, with hundreds of other supporters and well-wishers. In 2009, a caravan of Idyllwild Arts students and teachers took up two rows when Timmy Yu (piano) and Samuel Chan (voice) stole the competition.

Josh said he thought there might have been 5,000 people in the audience. After the music performances and videos, they showed Vita’s drawing on the big screen.

“That was a big moment,” she said, smiling.

Josh couldn’t take pictures because he said it was really dark in there and a flash wouldn’t go far.

“Vita deserves the recognition,” Josh said. “She works really hard.”

Vita mentioned that the other winners in the Visual Art category had shown their mastery of technique.

Spotlight Awards Ceremony was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion

“In Asia, our teachers really emphasize technique,” Vita said. “But here I’ve learned to use my imagination and creativity more.”

She said the other winners’ images were deserving.

“But Dean would have blown them all out of the water,” Vita exclaimed of her classmate. “Dean doesn’t care about awards. He’s that type of artist who is so good all he wants to do is his art. Awards don’t matter to him.”

What they have in common is their love of perspective. Dean’s image on the April-June Idyllwild Arts Performance Calendar depicts a worm’s eye view (looking up) of an elderly African American woman smiling. Free copies of the calendar are available at Bowman.

"Dean's work would blow them all out of the water!" exclaimed Vita of Dean's painting (shown). "But he doesn't care about awards."

After her Cinderella moment, Vita was back to the studio getting ready for her senior class art show which opens at 6 p.m. tonight, (Friday, May 4)at the Parks Exhibition Center on campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The four other Visual Art students featured in Friday’s show include: Caine, Jimmy, Yoo Jean and Ji.

For more information about events at the Parks Exhibition Center, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call Mallory Cremin at (951) 659-2171, ext. 2251.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.