Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two Wildly Divergent Events From Earlier This Month

On July 6-8, the Calvin Smith Brass Festival took place at Oak Ridge High School. A good example of the festival’s popularity and draw can be found in the list of winners in the Brass Quintet Competition: the first three prizes went to groups from Lexington KY, Fredonia, NY and Clarksville TN. Word has it that a group from Hungary had applied, but couldn’t come up with enough funds- maybe next year!

A feature of this festival was the world premiere of a work composed in memory of Calvin Smith, entitled FECHOPS! by Ed Morse. The title refers to the license plate that Calvin had on his car which, translated from the table of elements, means “iron chops.” The performance of this fanfare, with tubist Sean Greene conducting, can be heard and seen here. The memory of a fine musician is well honored with such a quality festival, which I am told will be an annual event.


As I mentioned in a post from last year, a number of members of our orchestra play other genres of music. You may recall that a band called the Akashic Mysteries counts among its members oboist Ayca Yayman. On July 15, at the Preservation Pub on Market Square, the Mysteries played their first show in almost a year, accompanied by the projection of films by the Brothers Quay. In a sort of random way, their performance was fitting accompaniment to several essentially silent stop-motion animation Quay films (LINK) produced since the 80's. With an eclectic instrumentation including electric mandolin, (any band fronted by an oboe is eclectic, IMHO) my ears were reminded of the music of King Crimson and Camper Van Beethoven. The films were real eye-openers, with their surrealist and Dada influences. Although it was no surprise to me, having heard her often singing karaoke, Ayca sang on a couple tunes, (one song was Fascination Street by the Cure) and it was really quite captivating. After laying the oboe aside first, of course...

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