LICK OBSERVATORY CONCERTS BIG SUCCESS DESPITE LICK FIRE
Both the Friday Night and Saturday Night Great Guitars! Concerts were sold out and well attended, despite the threat of the Lick Fire, which remained visible but 15 miles downrange from Mt. Hamilton. Mark Hanson was featured Friday September 7th, playing both originals such as his Mr. Tabor Breeze and Postscript, and his arrangements of standards by Big Bill Broonzy, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, Cole Porter, Eddy Arnold, Les Paul and Mary Ford. He also led the audience through a sing-along with Yust a Little Sederburg and showed himself to be the complete entertainer, singing, telling anecdotes and playing up a storm on the steel-string. The 6'-6'' former Stanford basketball team member has built an impressive career in teaching, publishing and recording. Earning a GRAMMY for his part in Solid Air Records' Pink Guitar Henry Mancini tribute CD, he also contributed to the followup CD Delovely Guitar tribute to Cole Porter, as well as his recent Author's Notes collection of originals.
Saturday night featured the great Mimi Fox, a straight jazz guitarist in her prime. One of the most inventive and virtuosic musicians alive, Mimi showed a world of chops and versatility, along with the ability to entertain a more general audience than the world traveler encounters at jazz clubs like Yoshi's. After a set of solos, she took a chance on my suggestion of playing along to a "music-minus-one" CD from a jazz method, and she burned up the stage with Sonny Rollins' Tenor Madness.
The audience loved it, and in the second of two encores, she asked me to come up and join her in the last tune of the night.
Mark, Mimi and I all sold plenty of CDs, though Mimi and Mark also had video and books as well.
Another high point was presenting Lotus Baker, Visitors Services Supervisor, with a plaque honoring her decades of service and support of the Music of the Spheres concerts. The wood plaque with gold lettering on black metal was provided by Stacy Gardner of Crockett Trophy in Folsom, (916) 817-6378, whose prompt delivery and neat execution helped this surprise event happen .
SMOKEY SKIES from the Lick Fire in the mountains west of Lick Observatory during the Great Guitars! concerts, the last in the 2007 Music of the Spheres series. So named for the fire being first spotted from the observatory, it rained ash and affected post-concert viewing. Photo by Valerie Versis.
As I have often said, the Web is a treasure trove for those of you who know how to work it! I have always pointed out sites for you to get great advice and for the last three months, the great site posted by MEL BAY PUBLICATIONS - GUITAR SESSIONS, has been running a really excellent series posted by Classical Guitarist DANIEL ROEST entitled"SO YOU WANT TO MAKE A LIVING WITH THE GUITAR - SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FOR THE CLASSICAL GUITARIST"This month - September, is part 3 and I suggest you folks jump on this baby if you want to get a realistic view on what it takes to earn your way with Classical Guitar in hand!
Don Witter, Jr.
Keep playin' your GEETARS!!!!
Mel Bay's Guitar Sessions editor, Stephen Rekas, wrote, "Thank you for your collaboration with Guitar Sessions. The tips on pickups, amplification, and performance etiquette are especially helpful. I’m sure your insights were enlightening to many aspiring guitarists and even seasoned players, like me!"
To read all three columns click on the links in the Summer Legato, or navigate through Guitar Sessions Back Issues / Classical.
Mimi Fox and I concentrate as she improvises over my original composition, Villa Nueva. She invited me up to join her in an encore.
Photo by Valerie Versis.
A well-deserved round of applause follows Karen Kacevas' delightful performance of pieces from Hal Leonard's Easy Pop Melodies book at her 8th Birthday celebration at the Kacevas residence. Immediately afterward, proud parents Nico and Tami surprised Karen and her friends and their parents with a visit by live ponies, led by Tamara Dumont and her son Tyler. Strolling through many laps around the backyard, the ponies brought smiles and laughs to everyone. Tamara's six children help her in the venture, called Pony Up, (916) 768-6298.
Craig Roest rides the largest of the three ponies at Karen's party. He seemed to sprout inches this past summer, and as of this writing lost three teeth within the last week!
After the ponies left, guests enjoyed a backyard barbeque with evening weather cooling enough to warrant sweaters and jackets.
The Kacevas family and the families of the many young students in my studio reflect the passionate interest in music found in Folsom and surrounding cities.
PRAISE YOUR CHILDREN, or anyone for that matter, who learns the guitar and how to read guitar music. There is so much to process - the six strings with a dozen frets per octave, the four fingers of the left hand, all the fingers of the right hand, the five lines and four spaces of the standard notation music staff, ledger lines above and below, the beats per measure, duration of notes, coordination of both hands, accents, tempo control, what the teacher says and wants... Wow!
GOT A QUESTION? Maybe there's something guitar-related you've been wondering about. Did you know about the free "Mini-Lessons" on this site? Three dozen articles on a wide variety of subjects. If you don't get your question answered there, don't fret! Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.