Monday, May 11, 2009

From Darkness to Light

The title of this year's Winter Concert with the Galveston College Choir was "From Darkness to Light."

It was a good concert with a variety of pieces and soloists.

The concert began with voice students of my part timer Larry Patton.

Next was the Galveston College Choir.

I spoke to the audience before the 1st piece:
Many of the pieces you will hear tonight were originally planned for the Halloween concert last fall with the theme Darkness to Light with All Saints Day being the light. But then a darker thing came, the hurricane.

This concert is dedicated to those of you who have come from darkness and are now coming into the light and also to those of you who are still in darkness and are waiting for the light to come.

* Eli, Eli! - Gyorgy Deak-Bardos
     We begin with the darkest hour anyone my have faced.
     The translation:
     And at the 9th hour
     Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying:
     My God, My God,
     Why hast thou forsaken me?

* Weep, O Mine Eyes - John Bennet

* The Majesty and Glory of Your Name - Tom Fettke
     (Now after all that darkness and sorrow, there is hope.)

* The Owl and the Pussycat - Arranged by Robert Chilcott
     (“The Owl and the Pussycat” is a famous nonsense poem by Edward Lear, first published in 1871.
     Its most notable historical feature is the coinage of the term runcible spoon.
     Portions of an unfinished sequel, “The Children of the Owl and the Pussycat,” were first published posthumously in 1938.)

* Nelly Bly - Stephen Foster - Arranged by Dean Rishel
     (Stephen Foster was the most popular American songwriter of the 19th century who wrote over 200 songs.
      Many of his songs were nostalgic about the past or told about love and problems people experienced in their daily lives.
      Within this arrangement, there are also melodic quotes of other songs he had written.)

* Elijah Rock - Arranged by Jester Hairston

* Old Irish Blessing - Denes Agay
     (Denes Agay wrote Old Irish Blessing in honor of his only daughter Susan on her 17th Birthday.
     He passed away last year at the age of 95. This song was also sung at his own memorial service.)

* Gloria - John Rutter

There were only 65 people at the concert. A fitting end. Just fade away.

Posted by Eric at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Music of TV, Film and Stage

Welcome to an evening of spectacle and entertainment. The theme tonight is Music from TV, Film and Stage.

* From the musical "Annie Get Your Gun"
   There’s No Business Like Show Business
   Music and Words by Irving Berlin

* From the musical "Something Funny Happened On the Way to the Forum"
   Comedy Tonight
   Music and Words by Stephen Sondheim
     (You know I wasn’t always into just piano and choir.
     “One time I tried to learn to play the violin. As it turns
     out, I just wasn’t noteworthy.
     And now Comedy Tonight.)

* From the musical "42nd Street"
   42nd Street
   Music by Harry Warren
   Music by Al Dubin
     (Harry Warren was an Italian-American composer
     and lyricist. Warren was the first major American
     songwriter to write primarily for film and had more
     hit songs than any other composer of the 20th Century.
     He also wrote “Lullaby of Broadway” and
     “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”)

* From the movie "Casablanca"
   As Time Goes By
   Music and Words by Herman Hupfeld
     Herman Hupfeld was an American songwriter.
     His composition “As Time Goes By” from the film
     Casablanca was originally written in 1931 for
     the Broadway show “Everybody’s Welcome.”)

* From the musical "Anything Goes”
   Anything Goes
   Music and words by Cole Porter
     (Cole Porter is one of the few Tin Pan Alley composers
      to have written both lyrics and music for his songs.)

* From the movie "The Pink Panther"
   It Had Better Be Tonight
   Music by Henry Mancini
   Words by Johnny Mercer
     (“I would like a rum.” “A what?” “A rum.”)
     (This song was composed for the 1963 film
     The Pink Panther. In the film, Fran Jeffries sings
     the song while slowly dancing around a fireplace
     at a ski lodge in Italy where all the principal players
     of the film are gathered. In addition to the vocal
     performance, instrumental portions of the song
     appear in the film's underscore though out the film.

* From the movie "Star Wars - Episode 1"
   Dual of the Fates
   Music by John Williams
     (The text is from a Welsh poem “Battle of the Trees”
     and then translated into in Sanskrit for this piece.
     The translation is: Under the tongue root a fight
     most dread, and another raging behind, in the head.)

* From the movie "Lord of the Rings - Return of the King"
   Into the West
   Music and Works by Fran Walsh, Howard Shore, Annie Lennox

* From the movie "Sleepless in Seattle"
   When I fall in Love
   Music by Victor Young
   Words by Edward Heyman

* ;The Music of MGM
   Arranged by Greg Gilpin
     (We end with a medley of songs that came from
     the movies produced by MGM studios.
     From the end of the silent film era through World War II,
     MGM was the most prominent motion picture studio
     in Hollywood, with the greatest output of all
     of the studios: at its height, it released an average
     of one feature film a week.)

There were over 85 people at the concert. A little less that the winter concert but I always have more attend the Christmas concert. Considering we had the hurricane hit in the fall it was a pretty good attendance. It was a great concert and the choir sounded great.

Posted by Eric at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

Monday, December 15, 2008

From Fall to Winter

The title of this year's Winter Concert with the Galveston College Choir was "From Fall to Winter."

It was a great concert with a variety of pieces and soloists.

The concert began with voice students of my part timer Larry Patton. I like having a variety of performances so I asked Larry Patton who teaches voice at the college if he has students who would like to perform. He got 4 women to each sing a solo. Destiny, a recent Ball High graduate and a member of my choir, sang "Sweet Little Jesus Boy. Sarah sang "Mary, Did You Know?" Donna, also a member of my choir, sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." My students has commented on how nice and smooth her voice was and how comfortable she sang. Pat, a member of my choir as well as the Houston Symphony Chorus, sang "The Christmas Song" with a comfortable and very musical performance one would expect from a professional.

Next was a piano solo from your own accompanist Ron Wyatt.
I spoke to the audience this: Just because someone is a great pianist does not make them a great accompanist. Being an accompanist is a skill and Ron Wyatt has that skill. But since he is always accompanying the choir, he does not really have the “center stage.” So this evening he will.

D' Aquin was known for his extreme virtuosity and improvisatory skills. Though he composed very little, his noel variations represent a highpoint in French organ composition in the 18th century. Here to play it on the piano is Ron Wyatt.

Ron is an amazing organist and pianist and he played that piece very well.

Next was the Galveston College Choir.

* Alma Redemptoris Mater - Giovanni Palestrina
     (Giovanni Palestrina lived between 1525 and 1594 during the Renaissance Period. He was immensely famous in his day.
     He had the ability to compose counterpoint with such clarity that the text could still be easily heard
     through the many lines of polyphony.)

* Miserere Mei - Antonio Lotti
     (Antonio Lotti lived between 1667 and 1740 during the Baroque Period.
     The text is from psalm 51.)

* The Winds of Autumn - David Lantz III
     (We continue with a piece about the winds of autumn.
     We will also be not just be accompanied by the piano but will also be accompanied by a flute.)

* Autumn Leaves - Joseph Kosma
     (Joseph Kosma, born 1905 to 1969, was a Hungarian-French composer. His work in the film industry encompassed
     the scores to over 100 pictures. Autumn Leaves has achieved lasting popularity both in its original language,
     in French, and in English translation.)

* Christmas Goes Classical - arr. David Maddux
     (The next piece takes popular pieces from classical music adds … holiday text to it.
     So be prepared to hear something have heard before. … Enjoy.)

Then an audience sing along with Christmas carols.

* Y'susum Midbar - D.Zahavi
     Y’susum Midbar is a piece in Hebrew.
     The translation is:
     The Arid desert shall be glad.
     The wilderness shall rejoice
      and blossom like a rose.
     For waters shall burst forth in the desert,
     streams in the wilderness.

* Peaceful was the Night - Eugene Butler

* 'Twas the Night Before Christmas - Ken Darby
     (We end with musical setting of a famous poem by the American poet Clement Clarke Moore

There were over 90 people at the concert. It was a great concert. I have been told that this is the best the choir has sounded.

Posted by Eric at 10:58 PM

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Graduation Again

It seems that a good part of my adult life has been going to graduations. I have been obviously to my high school graduation, one for my AA degree, one for my BM and another for my MM. I have been to Adam's high school, his AA and his BM, my mom's Bachelors and Masters and Bonnie's Bachelors. Now that I am a professor at a college I have to go to one every year. This will be my 4th at this college.

At Galveston College the graduation day begins with a breakfast with all the graduates. I like free breakfast. Then rehearsal. This year they had a baby grand shipped to the convention center for me to play on during graduation. So while they practiced, so did I.

This evening, the actual graduation began. I played Pompous and Boring while the graduates processed in. I wore my masters robe and thus ending another school year of students, teaching and music fun.

Posted by Eric at 10:14 PM

Friday, May 2, 2008


Jennifer and I had to get up very early to pick up AD and JK. They took a 6a flight since it was cheaper. We then went to Le Peep for breakfast before heading down to Galveston. Got to my place to drop off their stuff and then went to Galveston College.

Ok, a little background. In the beginning of the semester I had asked Adam to compose a piece for the choir. He gave me a piece for choir and bass drum and I have been rehearsing the piece as well as others for the music department spring concert. Since he wanted to come to the performance I came up with and idea for Adam to talk during our the colleges 1st Friday faculty professional development lunch. Adam came up with a proposal to talk about communicating with other faculty staff and students.

So AD, JK, Jennifer and I went to the college of AD's talk. I helped set him up and introduced him to some of the faculty. He did very well and the faculty seemed to respond to what he was saying.

Then back to my place to hang out. I took a 1/2 hour nap and the we all got ready for the concert tonight.

We then met Stephen for some sushi at Sky Bar. Jennifer and I got our usual like salmon, yellow tail, eel, rock and roll and Philadelphia roll. AD and JK got a Philadelphia roll, some other sushi and a tofu dish.

Then to the college for the concert.
Press Release for the Spring Concert.

It was a great concert with a variety of pieces and ensembles.

The title of this years Spring Concert with the Galveston College Choir was "Joys, Fears and Emotions."

The concert began with voice students of my part timer Larry Patton. I wanted this concert to have more variety of ensembles so I asked Larry Patton who teaches voice at the college if he has student who would like to perform. He got 4 girls to sing “Three Spanish Ballades” by Eugine Butler. The ballades were “Come at Dawn”,
“Moon Song” and “May.” They called themselves Las Senoritas since they are all 4 students at Ball High School.

Next was the Galveston College Choir.

* Last Words of David - Randall Thomposn
     (We began with the biggest fear - the fear of God - with The Last Words of David.)

* The Coming of Fire - Adam C. Sharp
     The Coming Fire
     The Fire Ritual
     (Next we had the fear of the apocalypse. Adam C. Sharp incorporates
     apocalyptic Latin texts to create a cinematic type piece for choir.)

* Walkin’ - John Coates, Jr.
     (Next is the joy of walking with someone you really enjoy being with.)

* Love Lost - Paul Sjolund
     One Perfect Rose
     When You’re Away
     Careless Talk
     Your Little Hands
     (Next are 4 satirical poems on love.)

* O Sacred Banquet - Eric D. Sharp
     (Eric D. Sharp was born in Lakewood, CA … OK. You are not fooled. It’s me.
     The text is from an antiphon during the holy office celebration of Corpus Christi.
     Corpus Christi is Latin for body of Christ.)

* The Boy Who Picked Up His Feet to Fly - Joshua Shank
     (Who has not thought of wanting to fly? That is what the next piece is about.
     It is also about being careful about what you wish for. There is an old Chinese curse:
     May you receive everything you wish for.)

* Dirait-on - Morten Lauridsen
     (What woman does not like roses? The next piece is for you. It is also in French. How romantic.)

* Old Irish Blessing - Denes Agay
     (We ended the choir set with an Old Irish Blessing by Denes Agay, who passed away
     this last January at the wonderful age of 95. He wrote the music in honor
     of his only daughter Susan on her 17th Birthday.
     Naturally, this song was also sung beautifully at his memorial service.)

I then had one of my piano students Junghee Kang perform.
* Blumenlied - Gustav Lauge
     (Gustav Lange lived from 1830 to 1889. He was a German composer who
     produced a phenomenal number of works, most of which were light.
     This next piece is also known as Flower Song.)

The Island Steel Drum Band continued with the 2nd half.

* The Hammer - Brad Shores
* Island Echo - Brad Shores
* The Girl from Ipanema - Eric D. Sharp
* The Groove in the Mist - Eric D. Sharp
* Mission: Impossible - Eric D. Sharp
* Just After Sunset - Eric D. Sharp

There were over 110 people at the concert. It was a great concert and all groups sounded incredible. From my prospective it was the most fun I have had performing and conducing since I started at the college 4 years ago.

AD, JK, George, Ron, Jennifer and I then went to Salsa for the after concert celebration. That was also a lot of fun.

What a great but very long day of performances.

Posted by Eric at 10:00 PM

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What a Great Feeling

Woke up and had free breakfast at the hotel and walked to the college for the Fresno New Music Festival. It began with a master class with professor emeritus Jack Fortner. He talked about his music and his compositional approach to the 4 pieces he presented. The pieces were written very well it was great to hear him and his music. My parents had come up form So Cal to see me and hear my piece. I met up with them and attended the University High School Orchestra. For a high school orchestra playing mew music they did an incredible job. There were some nice pieces on the concert. There was a reception after the concert. Free Food. Talked to Jack Fortner about music and composer and talked to university High School Orchestra Director Johnathan Malcolm about a possible performance of my music.

The next concert was the Fresno State Percussion Ensemble. Good percussion ensemble. The 60 x 60 concert was next. Simply put, it is an electroacoustic concert that contains 60 compositions form 60 composers and each piece being 60 seconds or less. The pieces are played with a visual algorithm which is shaped by piece in real time and a analog clock showing the passage of time. There were some great moments during the concerts.

The music ensemble Conundrum came in after the concert to rehearse. I met them and they told me they really loved my piece. My piece was the 1st one they chose for this concert. I got to listen to the rehearsal of my piece and it was amazing. I heard things in my piece that I had not heard before. The ebb and flow of the melody between the flute and clarinet sounded like a wave flowing between them. The pianist had such a smooth touch and the soprano had so much energy. It was a fantastic experience. I then went to the lobby for a reception for the composers. (More free food.) More great conversations with fellow composers and also spending some time with my supported parents. All the composers were really cool people. We are all in the same struggle to get our music heard. Then the Conundrum concert. They are such a great group. There were some really nice pieces on the concert. Heard mine again and it felt like I was taken somewhere else. It was such a great performance of it. After the concert I got a picture with them. There are such a nice group of people and quite silly. I received some nice compliments on my piece which was really validating. Ken Froelich, the music composition professor at Fresno State, did a great job with setting up the New Music Festival. He is also a good composer and great to talk to. We all then went to BJ's for our after concert food consumption and concert high recovery. Mom and DD joined the table of composer and musicans and great conversations. I had such a fantastic time and made some great contacts.

Posted by Eric at 10:50 PM

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I played piano for the PTK honor society induction ceremony which was at 6:30p. The guest speaker was the president of our college. It was a great speech from a very good speaker. After the ceremony was free food and cake. Not fantastic food but free. It was meatballs and fried pickles (which were very good). I also had a piece of chocolate cake and a white cake. The cake was also very good. Since I am leaving to Fresno tomorrow, I then went up to Jennifer's, since she lives closer to the airport, and stayed the night. It was nice to see her before I left for the weekend.

Posted by Eric at 10:08 PM

Friday, March 7, 2008

Music of Moving Pictures

The title of this years Late Winter Concert with the Galveston College Choir was "The Music of Moving Pictures."

The choir performed the 1st half.

* That's Entertainment
   Music by Arthur Schwartz
   Words by Howard Dietz

* From "Dido and Aeneas"
   When I am Laid in Earth
   With Drooping Wings, Ye Cupids Come
   Music by Henry Purcell
   Words by Nahum Tate
     (Before there was film and TV there was another type of entertainment.
     That was Henry Purcell was a great English composer of opera
     and composed the opera Dido and Aeneas.)

* From the musical "The Gondoliers"
   Dance a Cachucha
   Music and words by William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
     (Not all operas are tragic. Comic operas were very popular before the turn of the century.
     The Gondoliers premiered in 1889 and ran for a very successful 554 performances.)

* From "Gypsy"
   Everything's Coming Up Roses
   Music by Jule Styen
   Words by Stephen Sondheim
     (Broadway was a street in the New York theater district.
     Originally considered the bad part of town, it was now accessible by the new subway system.
     Since the buildings were cheap, people bought them to make a theater in them.
     In the year 1927, over 264 musicals opened on Broadway.
     As many as 11 would open in a single night.)
     (This song had its genesis in the 1947 musical High Button Shoes.
     The melody was written by Jule Styne, who was that musical's composer,
      but the director decided the song didn't fit well into the show and removed it.
     When composing Gypsy, Jule Styne decided to re-use the music for what became
     Everything's Coming Up Roses, with new lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.)

* Peter Gunn
   Music by Henry Mancini
     (Henry Mancini was one of the pioneers who introduced jazz music into
     the late romantic orchestral film and TV scores prevalent at the time.
     Mancini's music for Peter Gunn started an exceptional career as one of the most popular
     and successful film composers. His other themes included "Pink Panther"
      and "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany"s.
     Here is a little trivia, John Williams the composer of Star Wars played piano
     on the original recording of "Peter Gunn.")

* From the movie "The Titanic"
   Nearer, My God, to Thee
   Music by Lowell Mason
   Words by Sarah Adams
     ("Nearer, My God, to Thee" is a 19th century Christian hymn based loosely
     on Genesis Ch 28, the story of Jacob's dream. Nearer, my God, to Thee is
     traditionally associated with the Titanic, as passengers reported that the
     ship's band played the hymn as the Titanic sank.)

* From the movie "Amadeus"
   Music by Wolfgang Amadues Mozart
   Dies Irae
     (In the movie "Amadeus", there were a lot of things that were true about Mozart.
     He did have a billiard table in his bedroom and would compose on it.
     There was a commission for a "Requiem" (it was an anonymous commission from Count Walsegg,
     who wanted to pass himself off as the composer of the piece).
     A powerful part of the "Requiem" is the Dies Irae.)

     (The Confutatis is were in the movie Mozart was dictating the music to Saliari
     and Saliari wrote it down. In real life it was friend of Mozart's and copyist Süssmayr
     that might have been writing Mozart's musical dictation.)

* From the "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"
   Hushabye Mountain
   Music and words by Robert M. and Robert B. Sherman
     (Hushabye Mountain is a popular ballad which appears in the 1968 movie
     "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It is sung twice, first by a father as a lullaby to his children.
     It is then reprised later in the film when the children have lost all hope of salvation.)

* From the movie "Sandpiper"
   The Shadow of Your Smile
   Music by Paul Francis Webster
   Words by Johnny Mandel
     (The Shadow of Your Smile is also known as the Love Theme the 1965 movie "The Sandpiper.")

The Island Steel Drum Band continued with the 2nd half.

* The Hammer - Brad Shores
* The Girl from Ipanema - Eric D. Sharp
* Mission Impossible - Eric D. Sharp
* Steeling the Blues - Brad Shores
* On Broadway - Eric D. Sharp
* The Groove in the Mist - Eric D. Sharp

There were over 75 people at the concert. A little less that the winter concert but I always have more attend the Christmas concert. It was a great concert and both groups sounded incredible. Even the president of the college and my dean attended. And of course I had way too much fun.

Posted by Eric at 10:36 PM

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Sounds of the Season

The title of this years Winter Concert with the Galveston College Choir was "The Sounds of the Season."

The choir performed the 1st half.

* In dulci jubio - Michael Praetorius
     (We began our set with a piece from the early Baroque period written in 1609.)

* My Heart is Always Wandering - Sigvald Tveit
     (A piece written in 1990 by a Norwegian composer.)

* A Lullaby - Deen E. Entsminger
     (Not a piece specifically for Christmas but definitely appropriate since it is about a baby sleeping.)

* Majesty and Glory of Your Name - Tom Fettke
     (The next piece has been sung by thousands of church and school choirs throughout the world. A powerful piece that sends shivers through me every time I have sung or conducted this piece.)

* Java Jive - Milton Drake and Ben Oakland
     (When it is cold outside, all you want is something hot like coffee and tea. Originally sung by the Ink Spots in 1940 and later sung by the Manhattan Transfer in 1997.)

* All Through the House
     (This piece is not your typical performance of the Night before Christmas. This is more like a realistic performance of what happens today in every house on Christmas Eve. It utilises the use of speech choir techniques like saying words instead of singing them and making sound effects like ring or sleeping noises.)

* The Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas - Craig Courtney
     (In this piece, each day of Christmas is represented by a different musical time period and is an imitation of a particular composer. After the piece I had the audience try to tell me which the composer was imitated.)
     Day 1 from 6th Century Rome was Gregorian Chant.
     Day 2 from 15th Century France was Machaut.
     Day 3 from 16th Century Italy was Giovanni Palestrina.
     Day 4 from 17th Century Italy was Antonio Vivaldi.
     Day 5 from 18th Century Germany was George Frideric Handel.
     Day 6 from 18th Century Austria was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
     Day 7 from 19th Century France was Charles Camille Saint-Saëns.
     Day 8 from 19th Century Germany was Richard Wagner.
     Day 9 from 19th Century Austria was Johann Strauss II.
     Day 10 from 19th Century Italy was Gioachino Antonio Rossini.
     Day 11 from 19th Century Russia was Peter Tchaikovsky.
     And Day 12 from 19th Century USA was John Philip Sousa.

* Mary's Little Boy Chile - Jester Hairston
     (The steel band is not the only group that can perform calypso music.)

* The Son of God Has Come Down - Eric D. Sharp
     (This piece is an original composition that I composed for the choir and steel band. To my knowledge is the 1st piece originally written specifically for choir and a steel drum band. I also wrote the words of this piece. The piece is in the style of island music and since I composed it here on Galveston Island, it is in the style of Galveston Island Music.)

The Island Steel Drum Band continued with the 2nd half.

* The Hammer - Brad Shores
* The Girl from Ipanema - Eric D. Sharp
* Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Eric D. Sharp
* Winter Wonderland - Eric D. Sharp
* Steeling the Blues - Brad Shores
* The Groove in the Mist - Eric D. Sharp

There were over 100 people at the concert. It was a great concert and both groups sounded incredible. Even the president of the college attended. And of course I had way too much fun.

Posted by Eric at 8:06 PM

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pipe Dreams

Jennifer and I went to hear my friend Ron perform his 20th annual Pipe Organ Extravaganza. He is also an internationally acclaimed concert organist. It was a great concert. This will be the 4th time I have attended his recitals.

He performed:

Carillon-Sortie, by Henri Mulet
Pastorale, BMV 590, by Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonate III, by Paul Hindemith
Concert Variations on the Austrian Hymn, by John Knowles Paine
The Nutcracker Suite, by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Ronald Wyatt's Bio:

     Mr. Wyatt holds degrees from the University of Texas and Trinity University, where he was awarded the Master of Arts degree in organ. He spent a year in Europe as a student of the celebrated Marie-Claire Alain, with whom he performed on network television. He was also a student of Marie- Madeleine Duruflé, the noted concert organist and wife of one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, Maurice Duruflé.
     Mr. Wyatt has played numerous recitals throughout the United States and Europe, in addition to holding professional posts in churches of various denominations. He was a founder of the first statewide organ playing competition in Texas, which draws students to San Antonio each year to compete for scholarships. He has also been featured in a weekly radio series, and has participated in oratorio accompaniment and master classes at colleges and universities.
     The scope of his musical activities ranges from performing Bach's Brandenburg Concerti on the harpsichord with orchestra to playing the calliope in a parade celebrating the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.
      "He plays with a totally sensitive, yet articulate style that few concert organists have mastered," wrote one music critic. "It is apparent that he has a total comprehension of the works he performs."

Posted by Eric at 8:02 PM

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Surprise Weekend Trip

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Alicia if I would play piano for her in a performance on November the 3rd. I said sure not exactly realizing what I was getting into. She had said that she was asked to sing a song during a ballet performance. I thought it would be here or in Houston. As it turned out, I was playing during the Beaumont Ballet Theater dance company performing at the Julie Rogers Theater. Alicia was there was there as Miss Golden Triangle.

We had a free performance of ballet and modern dance, free green room cookies and truffles and a free hotel stay.

It turned out to be fun weekend.

Beaumont has a huge fire hydrant in front of the Fire Museum. Here is a picture of mom and baby fire hydrant.


Posted by Eric at 7:30 PM

Friday, October 26, 2007

The History of Music

The title of this years Fall Concert with the Galveston College Choir was The History of Music. The music was performed in the order of when they were written in musical history.

The choir performed the 1st half.

From the Middle Ages
Kyrie - Gregorian Chant

From the Renaissance Period
O Quam Gloriosum Est Regnum - Tomas Luis de Victoria

From the Baroque Period
Your Voices Raise - George Handel

From the Classic Period
Dixit Dominus - W. A. Mozart

From the Romantic Period
O Schöne - Johannes Brahms

From the 20th Century
The Road Not Taken - Randall Thompson

From the 21st Cenury
Shh - Vijay Singh

From the Jazz Genre
Georgia On My Mind - Hoagy Carmichael
'S Wonderful - George Gershwin

The Island Steel Drum Band continued with the 2nd half.

* Island Echo - Brad Shores
* The Hammer - Brad Shores
* The Girl from Ipanema - Eric D. Sharp
* The Groove in the Mist - Eric D. Sharp
* Steeling the Blues - Brad Shores

There were over 90 people at the concert. A little less that the spring concert but it was the 1st time we had a fall concert. It was a great concert and both groups sounded incredible. And of course I had way too much fun.

Posted by Eric at 10:46 PM

Monday, October 15, 2007

I am in the News

Here is a newspaper article of my upcoming Fall Concert.

The article.

Posted by Eric at 3:36 PM

Friday, August 31, 2007

Extragalactic Music Festival


Featuring the artistry of:

Nanda Banerjee, Indian vocalist

Eric D. Sharp, Electronic music

Max Dyer, Cellist

Stuart Hinds, overtone singing

Arthur Gottschalk, computer composition

Malcolm Brodwick and Thom Andersen, Rock 'n Roll Film

Posted by Eric at 10:18 PM

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chamber Music

Jennifer and I had lunch at Salsas. We then went downtown and walked around the stores. I got a couple of small star fish for my guest bathroom.

We then went to The Galveston Chamber Music Society gathering. They meet 4 times a year at someones house hand play music for each other like the composers and musicians centuries before. We had a harpist play 2 pieces. She was very good. Then some pianists and ended with a piece for piano and clarinet. It was fun. Refreshments and conversation followed and I made new contacts. A weekend of music.

Posted by Eric at 10:48 PM

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jazz in the Evening

Jennifer and I had lunch at Freebirds. In the process of looking for a new external hard drive for my computer, I found 2 new nice colored polo shirts and t-shirts. Finally found a new hard drive with 250 gigs on it. I still remember when a meg was a big deal.

Then to BJ's for my favorite pizza. When down to Galveston to Cafe Madrid for Spanish tapas and live jazz. We were there the live jazz. I knew the piano player in the jazz quartet. It included piano, trumpet, bass and drums. They were really good and even danced a little with my beautiful girlfriend.

Posted by Eric at 10:38 PM

Friday, May 4, 2007

Memories of the Past

We had lunch at Salsas which is always a good way to start the day.

The title of this years spring concert with the Galveston College Choir was Memories of the Past. This was the choir's 35th anniversary concert.

The Press Release

The concert opened with the Island Steel Drum Band.
* Coral Reef Song - Brad Shores
* Island Echo - Brad Shores
* Banana Boat Song
* The Groove in the Mist - Eric D. Sharp
(The new piece I finished a month ago.)

The concert then continued with the choir.

God of the Past
     Vere Languores - Tomas Luis de Victoria

A Life that Past
     From Birth - Adam C. Sharp
     (This piece was written specifically for this choir.)

Slaves of the Past
      Wade in the Water - Bob Burroughs

Relaxing Memories
      The Night Sky - Eric D. Sharp

Childhood Past
      Jabberwocky - Sam Pottle

Memories of Used Spices
     The Seasonings - P.D.Q. Bach

I then had my composition student perform 2 of his pieces piano and his mom on flute.

The Island Steel Drum Band continued with their 2nd set.

* Spanish Eyes - Brad Shores
* La Bamba - Brad Shores
* Steeling the Blues - Brad Shores
(The steel band then received a spontaneous standing ovation which surprised me. It was the 1st time the band ever received one.)

The choir ended the concert with their 2nd set.

The 60's Past
      Up, Up and Away - Jim Web arr. Lou Hayward

Memories of Life
      As a Flower of the Field - Christiensen

Memories of Laughter
      Laughing Song - Earl George

Romantic Past
      Lass dich nur nichts dauren - Brahms

There were over 150 people at the concert. This was my biggest audience since I have been conducting the choir. There were students, community members, college staff and college faculty. It was a great concert.

Jennifer, Mom, DD, George and I then went to Ron's house for wine and lemonade dream cake. I really like lemonade dream cake.

What a great day.

Posted by Eric at 10:22 PM

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Sounds of Winter

The title of this years winter concert with the Galveston College Choir was the Sounds of Winter.

The concert opened with the Island Steel Drum Band.

* Coral Reef Song - Brad Shores
* Island Echo - Brad Shores
* Winter Wonderland arranged by Eric D. Sharp
    (I wanted to arrange a Christmas carol with a reggae sound).

* Silent Night arranged by Eric D. Sharp
* Light Footin' - Brad Shores

The concert then continued with the choir.

* Hodie - Healey Willan

Then 3 pieces about the wind.
* Gently the Wind is Blowing - W.A. Mozart
* Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind - John Rutter
* The Chill in the Air - Eric D. Sharp

* Choose Something Like a Star - Randall Thompson
* Crescent Noon - Richard Carpenter
* Christmas Day - Gustav Holst

Then an audience sing along with Christmas carols.

After intermission:
* Sleigh Ride - Leroy Anderson
* How Excellent is Thy Name - Audrey Snyder
* Ave Maria - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
* The Gift Carol - arr. by Lloyd and Debby Pfautsch
* Have Netze Bemachol - arr. by Hawley Ades
* Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John
* Christmas Time is Here - Vince Guaraldi, arr. by David Pugh
* The Christmas Song - Mel Torme, arr. by Ad Lojeski
* Fantasy on Five Christmas Carols - arr. by Mark Hayes

I had received a lot of compliments from the choir and the audience on the selection of music I chose for this concert. There were also over 100 people at this concert which is the largest audience I have had since I came here about 2 1/2 years ago.

Posted by Eric at 10:46 PM

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Music of Video Games

Jennifer and I went to hear a sold out concert of music from Video Games. It was a fun concert. It was performed by the Houston Symphony and Chorus. The concert included music from Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, God of War, Space Invaders, Beyond Good and Evil, Medal of Honor, EverQuest II, The Legend of Zelda and before intermission was Tron. The original music on the music and video game was produced electronically. For this concert it was orchestrated and it was orchestrated very well. To me it was the best on the concert.

The 2nd half included music from Frogger, Kingdom Hearts, Myst, Sonic the Hedgehog, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Advent Rising, Super Mario Bros and Halo.

It was a good concert with lights and a screen projecting scenes of the video game being played. Some pieces were arranged for the orchestra, some were originally written and recorded for the video game, like Advent Rising, with full orchestra and chorus.

Thought most of the music sounds like a score for Lord of the Rings, big and epic. But if it gets people who do not usually listen to orchestral music to a live orchestra concert, then thats good for us serious art composers.

Posted by Eric at 11:04 PM

Friday, May 12, 2006

Music from the Island

This year The Spring Concert had a new addition. It was the 1st performance of the Island Steel Drum Band.

The concert began with 3 pieces.
* Coral Reef Song - Brad Shores
* Island Echo - Brad Shores
* Steeling the Blues - Brad Shores

The concert then continued with the choir.

The title of this years spring concert was Music in Couples. Each piece was paired with another piece.
The 1st couple was a pair of sacred pieces.
* Consecrate the Place and Day - Lloyd Pfautsh
* David's Lamentation - William Billings

The next couple were a pair of pieces from other countries.
* From Israel: Erev Shel Shoshanim - arranged by Jack Klebanow
* From Romania: Chindia - Alexandru Pascanu

The next couple were a pair of comical pieces.
* Feller from Fortune - arranged by Harry Somers
* Bagels and Biscuits - Theodore Lucas

The next couple were pieces that combined 2 songs in one piece. One song, a barbershop, is combined with a love song. These are from the musical "Music Man."
* Lida Rose and Will I Ever Tell You - Meredith Willson
* Pick a Little, Talk a Little and Good Night Ladies - Meredith Willson

Then after intermission was a couple of pieces from the Romantic Period.
* Neighbors' Chorus - Jacques Offenbach
* How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place - Johannes Brahms

Then next couple were pieces that make you want to go "aw."
* The Lamb - Ken Neufeld
* Sleep - Ivor Gurney

Then was a couple of Love Songs from the musical "Music Man."
* Till There was You - Meredith Willson
* Goodnight, My Someone - Meredith Willson

The last couple of the evening was a pair of gospels.
* Soon As Will Be Done - William L. Dawson
* Goin' Up to Glory - Andre J. Thomas

It was a great concert. I had a nice amount people in the audience, the choir sounded good, the steel band sounded good and I had a lot of fun. I think it was my best concert at Galveston College.

Posted by Eric at 11:46 PM

Saturday, May 6, 2006

The Planets

Jennifer and I went to eat at Birraporetti's which is always very good and then went to the Houston Symphony. The concert began with Solaris by Estacio. A really nice piece about the Sun. Then the Double Bass Concerto by John Harbison. Nice piece and had some nice parts but the sound of a double bass does not have as interesting of a sound to last as a solo instrument for a 20 minute piece. Then after intermission was The Planets by Gustov Holst. I think I have only heard The Planets one other time. I never get tired of hearing this piece, especially live. The performance included a film showing images of the planets. It was a mix of real and computer generated images. I understand the computer images showing voyager pass by a planet but not other things. I wanted to see all or almost most all real images of the planets and their moons. So I watched the orchestra more.

It was the best concert that I have seen in along time and the best we have been to at the Houston Symphony.

Posted by Eric at 11:24 PM

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Bonus Concert

Jennifer and I had some Kolaches at the Kolache Factory and then when to the Children's Museum to hear the Terra Nova Consort play again. This concert was only an hour and they allowed the kids to ask questions. It was still cool to hear them again. We then took Andrew to taste real Texas barbeque at Goode Company which he really liked. We then drove him around downtown to take a look at it and then took him to the airport. It was cool to see him again.

Posted by Eric at 11:10 PM

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Visit from Andrew

My friend Andrew came to Houston with a group he plays with called the Terra Nova Consort. The concert was music from the Spanish Renaissance. The music was so cool and Jennifer also really liked it. We then took Andrew to the House of Pies after the concert.

Posted by Eric at 11:35 PM

Friday, December 9, 2005

Winter Concert

The title of this years winter concert with the Galveston College Choir was the Sounds of Christmas.

The concert went well and my girlfriend Jennifer was there also. The pieces on the concert were:

Regem Natum - Handl
Caligaverunt Oculi Mei - Victoria
I Cannot Conceal It - Certon
My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth - PDQ Bach (with a bunch of antics I added)
Kde Su Kravy Moje - Schimmerling (a slavic tune about a woman trying to find her cows.)
Bidi Bom - Eddleman

Then an audience sing along with Christmas carols.

After intermission:
Carol of the Bells - Leontovich
A Winter Medely - arr. Fry
The Holy Infant's Lullaby - Dello Joio
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Eric D. Sharp (I wrote in the style of the early 20th century doo wap).
The Christmas Song - arr Ringwald
'Twas the Night Before Christmas - arr. Harry Simeone

Posted by Eric at 10:24 PM

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wedding Gig

Today for Lunch Jennifer and I went to Freebirds. Here's the routine: Pick your burrito size and type of tortilla, choose your beans, rice and/or meat, then load up on the veggies as your personal burrito assembler walks you through the chaos. They are very good.

This evening I had a paying gig to play for a wedding. It was a short wedding with a justice of the peace. I accompained a singer perfoming the Ave Maria by Schubert and a Nora Jones song and had to play that stupid Wedding March from Wagner's opera. You know, the famous one that everone does.
It was an easy gig and I got paid for it. Yay.

Posted by Eric at 11:58 PM

Saturday, October 29, 2005

An Evening at the Symphony

Jennifer's retreat was over at 3p so I picked her up and took her to my place to get dressed for the symphony. She wore a green and brown evening dress and she looked really pretty. We then picked up my friend George and her friend Amanda. We ate at Birraporetti's which was very good and then went to the Houston Symphony. They played Overture to William Tell by Rossini, Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor by Mozart, Une lueur dans l'ge sambre (a Glimmer in an Age of Darkness) by Connesson and The Pines of Rome by Respighi. The Connesson piece was a US premiere for the French composer. It was shimmering and used bowed crotalies. We then had dessert at the House of Pies. I had Key Lime which was really good. It was a magical evening.

Posted by Eric at 11:18 PM

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Taiko Drumming

Jennifer and I went to the Baybrook Mall to find shoes to match her symphony dress we found a few weeks ago. I had no idea how hard it is to find shoes. Now I know what girls are talking about when they shop for shoes.

We then went to Hermann Park. It is a big park in Houston with a nice lake and fountains.

There was an Asian Festival with Taiko Drums, which included a really big drum, and martial arts demonstrations.

It was so cool.

Posted by Eric at 11:02 PM

Sunday, July 3, 2005

More Music Making

We ate the Olympia Grill. A really good Greek Restaurant.
Virtual Tour Olympia Grill

We then went to the college do to more music. Working with her musically has added to my desire to start composing more.

Posted by Eric at 11:42 PM

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Youth Orchestra

I went to hear the Charles Wesley Singers and Youth Orchestra of the Academy of St. Cecilia from Damascus United Methodist Church in Damascus, Maryland. The concert was held at the Moody Methodist Church. It was an great concert. The choir and orchestra played really well. On the program were movements of Faure's and Rutter's Requiem. Also "River Songs" and "Camp Meeting" for orchestra alone and then some anthems and spirituals which included "Ride On, King Jesus." It was a good concert.

Posted by Eric at 11:22 PM

Friday, May 13, 2005

An End of a Musical Semester

The evening my Galveston College Choir presented a musical evening of a large variety of music pieces. This concert program was:
* 3 Renaissance madrigals - Ave Maria by Victoria, Fair Phyllis by Farmer and Proba Me Deus by di Lasso
* 2 hard core contemporary pieces - Saul by Hovland and Of Crows and Clusters by Dello Joio
* A large work - Magnificat by J. C. Bach
* 2 popular choral pieces - Sure on This Shinning Night by Barber and There Shall a Star from Jacob by Mendelsohn
* A piece of mine - In Simple
and ended the concert with a medley of Irving Berlin songs.

It was a really good concert and the choir performed well with a lot of energy musicality and I had a lot of fun conducting the concert.

Posted by Eric at 10:08 PM

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Organ Fun

This evening I went to my friend Ron's house for dinner. He cook some salmon which was really good and also had some green beans, salad and champagne. We then spend the evening playing though music on his pipe organ. He played some organ music and I had some fun sight reading some music on the organ. My organ playing has improved, I even played the pedals. I showed him some fugues I had composed a few years ago which he sight read through. I like how they sound on the organ. It was fun playing music and hanging out with a very good musician.

Posted by Eric at 11:00 PM

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Childrens' Concert

Today I co-conducted the Galveston Island Childrens' Choir at a final concert for the semester. They did a good job. I even got a complement on how I was able to get the kids to sing some of the complicated rhythms in one of the pieces I conducted. My friend Ron came to the concert and we went to Mod after the concert. He got a tea and I got an Italian soda and we talked and relaxed downtown.

Posted by Eric at 11:04 PM

Saturday, April 9, 2005

A Musical Twist

Yesterday I went with my friend Beth to see a wacked and twisted band called the Brave Combo in Houston at the Continental Club. She has been going to see this band play for over 10 years and really thought I would get a kick out of them. They would take the tune Caravan and turn it into a polka, take Stairway to Heaven into a swing tune, and play the chicken dance in a minor key. It was so much fun. I danced some swing, cha cha and even polka with a few girls. One of them was the prettiest girl in the place. I saw her when I first got there. I finally got up the courage to ask her to dance and got to swing dance with her a few times. Not only is she pretty, but she was also intelligent, articulate, sweet and fun to dance with. Now this was a great evening. Really fun music played by a great band, hanging out with a really cool and fun friend and getting the phone number of the prettiest girl in the place. A successful evening.

Posted by Eric at 11:22 PM

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Off to the Symphony

My day began with conducting the Galveston Island Childrens' Chorus in the Grand Opera House here in Galveston.

I co-conducted the choir during the Grand Kids festival.

It was the 1st time I conducted a group on the stage of the Opera House. That part was cool.

This evening George and I went to the symphony. We headed up to Houston and had dinner at Hooters (Ya I know. The food was good also). We then went to hear the Houston Symphony conducted by guest conductor Carlos Kalmar. On the concert was:
Janacek - The Cunning Little Vixen Suite
Grieg - Piano Concerto
Haydn - Symphony No. 47
R. Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier Suite

The Janacek was good. I am not big on suites since there is no transition between sections, it is just this, that and the other kind of piece. The sections in the beginning was the best part of it.

The Grieg was played by pianist Adam Neiman. Everyone knows that I am not big on concertos but this performance of it surprised me. It is not a very difficult concerto so notewise he played it well. He also had a real feel for the piece which was subtle, not too emotional. During the cadenza during the 1st movement I was fixated on his sound and did not realize that he grabbed me until the orchestra came back in. George also really enjoyed the concerto.

The Haydn after intermission was good but it was overshadowed by the Grieg.

The Strauss was big and large sounding. It still is a suite but is had some great moments.

I really like going to the symphony and hearing music played really well by great musicans. It was also nice having someone else with me that also enjoys good music.

Here are some pictures of the theater in Houston.


Posted by Eric at 11:58 PM

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Galveston Orchestra

This evening I went to hear the Galveston Symphony Orchestra. After not playing the Beethoven's 6th very well I decided to give them a second chance. They played Fanfare for the Common Man by Copland pretty well. They played the Adagio for Strings by Barber surprisingly well. They played Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov pretty well. Then after intermission they played the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninoff. The piano soloist played well but the orchestra did not. There was almost a train wreck during the 3rd movement with a miss cue from the conductor and many times the orchestra was not in sync with the pianist. Also, why did they end the concert with this piece I do not know. The Capriccio Espagnol would have been a better ending for the concert. People just do not know how to program concerts anymore. I went to the concert by myself but during intermission I ran into so many people that I know. It was so cool.

Posted by Eric at 10:14 PM

Friday, March 11, 2005

Spanish Guitar

This evening I went to a solo guitar concert featuring music from Spain and Brazil. The guitarist was Edward Grigassy. It was really nice to hear solo guitar live. I grew up with hearing Spanish guitar from recordings as well as hearing my Mom play. So it always feels familiar when I hear classical guitar. The 1st half of the concert was music from Spain: Serenata Espanola by Malats, Suite Espanola by Albeniz, Herencia Latina by Pena and finally Homage to Debussy and The Millers Dance by de Falla. After intermission was music from Brazil: Suite Popular Brasinena by Villa Lobos, Bossa en Re" by Morel, "Feitico" and "Uma Valsa e Dos Amores" by Reis and finally "Apelo," "Retrato Brasilero" and "Conto de Ossanha" by de Aquino. I then went back stage and talked to him. It was a great concert.

Posted by Eric at 11:30 PM

Saturday, March 5, 2005

An Orchestral Experience

A few weeks ago, Melanie invited me to the Houston Symphony. He also invited George, Andy and Claudia. Thanks to Andy's fantastic ability to get the wrong directions, we got to the symphony late. We did hear Bruckner's 3rd Symphony. Like all Bruckner's symphonies, they are quite long. The orchestra played it really well. It was nice to hear real musicians. This was everyone's (besides me) 1st time going to the symphony and hearing a live orchestra. They really enjoyed the experience of feeling the music come from the stage instead of a speaker at home or a car. We stopped by Starbucks on the way home. Not my choice but I got a brownie anyway. It was a nice orchestral experience.

Posted by Eric at 11:55 PM

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Cantata

Today was the last day of my church gig. It was a nice way to end my gig. This service included a 25 minute cantata, "The Promised One" by Ralph Karl Sydow." It was a nice piece and the choir did a good job performing it. Then it was time to get stuff done to be really to fly home on Tuesday.

Posted by Eric at 10:56 PM

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Continuing the Musical Weekend

Today at my temporary church gig, the Austin Girls Chorus performed during the service. They sounded quite good. I then went to the Galveston Chamber Music Society.

I then went to the Galveston Chamber Music Society. It is a group that meets about 4 times a year at different locations to perform music for each other. Most of them are music teachers and some have non music day jobs but still like to perform. So this is their chance to work on a piece a perform it. Today it was at an old house built in the late 1800's. It was a nice house. There were musicians playing pieces for solo piano (Chopin was one of the composers) piano duet (a concerto by J.S. Bach) and a contemporary piece for violin, cello and piano. It was great sitting in an old house with people playing music for each other. It reminds me what is probably was like with composers such at Mozart, Chopin and Les Six. Musicians performing good music for each other. A reception followed the informal concert (more free food). It was a nice musical day.

Posted by Eric at 11:30 PM

Saturday, December 4, 2004

The Christmas Season Has Begun

I was asked, by my supervisor, a few days ago if I would play music on the piano while slides of art were being shown. She is a faculty advisor to Phi Theta Kappa which is a 2 year college honor society. Today they were having a workshop on the PTK national competitions they will be competing in. It was fun and they really enjoyed my playing. I also got free food which was Lasagna and cookies.

I then went to Dickens on the Strand. This takes place in the Historic Downtown Galveston. They close off the street, have Dickens type booths and people dress in Dickens clothes. It was kind of neat. They had a performance of a bagpipe band which consisted of 2 bagpipe players and 2 percussionists (one playing the boudran and the other switching between the boudran and the snare drum). There were children's choirs singing along the street dressed in Dickens and sounding pretty good. I even saw a guy playing the glass harmonica (which is drinking glasses set up like a keyboard and the player rubs his finger around the top of the glass to produce a sound). I heard him play Jeus, Joy of Man's Desiring of Bach and Carol of the Bells.

I then went to the Pipe Organ Extravaganza at Galveston Trinity Episcopal Church. The concert started with the Houston Children's Chorus singing the Ceremony of Carols by Britten accompanied by the harp. Then Ron began his organ concert. He is an incredible player playing a great sounding organ. After the concert was a reception. More free food. Ron then invited me to a private party in a condo at the Galvestonain hosted by his cousin. Now that is a packed day.

Posted by Eric at 11:22 PM

Friday, November 12, 2004

Piano Music

This evening I went to the Classical Concert Series at the UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch). Tonight was piano music played by the Russian pianist Zoya Shuhatovich. She is a great pianist. She has a light touch and a nice tone.

On the concert was the Sonata in A Major, K. 331 by Mozart.
Not much to say. It is Mozart. Good background music.

Arabesque, op. 18 by R. Schumann.
A lot of noodling. No real direction in the piece.

Polonaise-Fantasia, op. 61 by Chopin.
A Chopin piece I had not heard before. There is a reason why.

I mainly came to the concert to make some community contacts, hear a good musician and to here Pictures. I have heard Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky played on a piano from a recording but I had never heard it live. I like the way she played it. I still prefer the orchestrated version by Ravel. It is much fuller and larger sounding that the composer probably had in his head that the piano does not achieve as well as the orchestra does.

It was good concert.

Posted by Eric at 11:50 PM

Friday, October 29, 2004

An Evening of Choral Music

This evening I went to a choral music concert with Ron, my choral accompanist and friend. The concert included 3 choirs which were the University of Houston Concert Choral, San Jacinto College North Chorale and the Sons of Orpheus (a men's chorus). Good sounding choirs and a nice variety of music. There were also 5 members of the University of Houston Concert Choral who sang madrigals while each choir would walk on and off the stage. It was a nice touch. The University of Houston Concert Choral sang a piece by Veljo Tormis called Raua needmine (Curse Upon Iron). It was a really cool piece with the altos echoing the soloist while the basses sounded like a didgeridoo and the sopranos sustaining a single note. That was just a section of the piece. The piece was about the gift of iron during the early days to it being now being used create destructive weapons and the belief that it may destroy us. The text is Estonian. It was great to hear the language sung to music. The piece has inspired me to really start composing again.

Posted by Eric at 11:28 PM

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Musical World

Today was the last show of the Musical, "Honk!" It was fun playing for the show. For a commuity theater production with the cast age range from 7th to 9th grade, they did well. The acting and the set were well done. The look of the show was better than some high school performances I have seen.
The show was performed here.

Here is the inside of the theater.

Posted by Eric at 11:40 PM

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Playing in a Pit Orchestra

I found an ad on craigslist for a percussionist to play the pit orchestra for the Novato's Young Artist Repertory Theater's presentation of the musical "Honk!" - a British Smash-hit retelling of the Ugly Duckling Story. I am playing drum set, suspended cymbal, claves and shaker. It is nice to be playing percussion in a show again. The musicians had our 1st rehearsal at 2p today and our 2nd at 8p. The 2p rehearsal was the casts dress rehearsal and their 1st time running through the show straight through. It was also my 1st time seeing my percussion part so I got to sight read. I did pretty well. What made the 2p rehearsal even more interesting was that we had an audience. It was a couple of elementary school classes. They were a quiet audience.

The show looks good. The cast is made up of middle and high school kids. There are some good actors in the cast. They all look so cute in their outfits.

Now the musical itself. The story is ok, the music stinks and the lyrics are just cheesy. It has that same typical musical sound that D-Land uses all the time in their recent animated movies. So predictable and so pretty. . . pretty boring. But as a musician I can play anything as long as I have cool parts to play. I did not have to rehearse the musical for over a month like the cast does. I just have to hear it for 4 shows which are on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So for the next 4 days I will enjoy playing percussion and contributing to a regional premiere of a children's community production.

Posted by Eric at 11:10 PM

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Sound of Steel

This evening I went to the Davidson Middle School Steel Pan Concert. They were really good. The concert consisted of a beginning group, intermediate group and advanced group. The advanced group even played an original pan tune by Boogsie Sharpe (no relation but I used to get teased about that at Cal State when I played in the Steel Drum Orchestra). Other tunes they performed that were arranged for pan were La Bamba, In the Still of the Night, Oye Como Va and a couple by Dave Beery from Cal State Long Beach, Sir Duke and Low Rider. The pan groups have been at Davidson for 19 years and was founded and is still directed by Char Lusk. During the 19 years they have had famous pan arrangers from Trinidad write pieces specifically for the groups. Among them were Ray Holman and Boogsie Sharpe (there it is again). Boogsie had even played in a concert with the students. Char has also been in contact with Michael Carney, the director of the Steel Drum Orchestra at Cal State Long Beach, and his fellow pan players and arrangers Dave Beery and Chris Wablich. The students have a rare opportunity to play pan in a middle school and the concert in the gym was packed with supporters.

Posted by Eric at 11:54 AM

Monday, May 24, 2004

A Week of Concerts

So the last few days I have gone to one concert after another. A friend of mine calls it business research. I went to hear the Terra Linda High School concert band and jazz band concert on Wednesday. They were pretty good for a high school. It was only an hour concert. The most notable piece was Cielo De Oro by Strommen played by the concert band which had a really cool Latin percussion part. I also went to hear their orchestra on Thursday. Also pretty good for a high school. The most notable piece and my favorite on the concert was the concerto for 4 violins by Vivaldi. Both concerts were only an hour.

The weekend concerts I went to were at the College of Marin, which is a community college. The orchestra concert was on Saturday. First on the concert was Brahms' 1st symphony. It was just as I remember it, bor-ing. The best part of that piece is the introduction in the 1st movement. The orchestra played it ok. It was as if the piece was just above the orchestra's playing ability, especially some of the woodwind players. After intermission was Symphonic Sketches: Jubilee and Noel by George Chadwick. Very romantic period sounding. They seemed to play that piece better for some reason, though the piece itself was nothing special. The last piece on the concert was Fanfare and Ode for choir and orchestra by Stan Kraczek, who is the choir director at the college who is retiring. It was nice to hear the choir and orchestra together. In the program notes it said, "This piece is 'pedestrian' - in the most literal sense - the march theme really makes the audience walk with it..." The piece was pedestrian compositionally. It was predictable and just sat there. Nothing really special to it either. I went to these concerts to hear what a high school and college level ensembles sound like since I had not heard ensembles at this level in awhile. As for the orchestra concert, as my brother would say "those were 2 hours I would like to have back." Here is something funny. In the orchestra personnel part of the program it has violin 1, violin 2 and viola, which is fine but then there is violoncello and bass violin. First of all make a decision whether to use the technical or the slang. If you are going to call is a bass violin then call the other one cello. If you are going to call it violoncello then call the other one double bass. If you really what to be accurate, the bass violin is not a low version of the violin but the low version of the viol family. The viol was over shadowed by the violin a few centuries ago because it had the ability to play louder. I just got a kick out of that in the program, especially for a college.

Sunday was the College of Marin Symphonic Band Concert. It is a community band. They sounded pretty good. Much better than the orchestra in playing ability. This concert had a nice variety. The concert included:
Holst's Second Suite - which is not played as often as his First Suite. I personally like the First Suite better but the Second is good too.
Komm Susser Tod (Come Sweet Death) - a transcription of a Bach choral. Bach always sounds good transcribed for concert band. It makes the concert band sound like a big organ.
The Rite of Spring - an arrangement by Lauren Keiser. Pretty good and the band did a decent job. After hearing that piece I was thinking that there really are not that many concert band pieces that would be considered masterpieces. A lot of typical cookie cutter fluff (rhythmic fast stuff with a lot of snare drum to a slow melody/accompaniment section then repeat back the rhythmic fast section and end). But at least the concert bands play more music by people still alive unlike orchestras which consistently play music by dead people. I think that the orchestra world and the concert band world should take lesson from each other, more new orchestra pieces played and more masterpieces being written for concert band.

On Sunday night, I was invited to a Styx concert which was held in Marysville (ya I know, sounds similar and no I have not heard yet). Marysville is north of Sacramento. Nelson and Peter Frampton played first. If you can not put your finger on who Styx is, they are one of the power rock bands of the 70's and 80's and have a sound like Journey. Among their famous songs were Come Sail Way and Lady It was a great concert. They sounded good. They have an awesome keyboard player who played the "Maple Leaf Rag" by Scott Joplin during the concert. They had a lot of energy and were pretty funny when they talked to the audience. It was cool sitting under the stars with my favorite moon phase up (the crescent moon) listening to a rocken concert.

Posted by Eric at 11:22 PM

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Concert

Today was lunch with my Mom's side of the family at Souplantation. This place was (and still is even though I am not down there anymore) a regular hang out for B-Days and holidays. I really like their tuna tarragon, chicken noodle soup and their chocolate pudding (when they have it). Then went back the home I grew up in and played on the piano I grew up with. I sometimes miss my piano. The evening was a concert by azure rising. A group consisting of my brother A. C. (which is his performance name) and his wife Jenn. A great concert. I still really like the sound of Jenn's voice. Then to the Hof's for the post hang out.

Posted by Eric at 11:36 PM