CSU Long Beach & food

I spent yesterday afternoon at California State University Long Beach working with the band and giving a composer forum. The band there, conducted by John Carnahan, does a great job. They’re playing “Redline Tango” next week in Fresno as part of the CMEA convention (Gary Hill is doing the piece with the California All-State Band at the same convention), and then they’re playing “Sasparilla” in March at the regional CBDNA convention in Reno. They’ve been working on Redline Tango for a while, and it’s really cookin’. They read “Sasparilla” for the first time yesterday, and I was admittedly apprehensive about it (it’s a really tricky piece, and not something that I would think “reads well”), but they played it extraordinarily well. They played through without stopping on the first try, corrected a few things, and ran it a second time. I was blown away.

The brass at Long Beach is fantastic. Carnahan asked the lead trumpet player, Jonathan Bradley, to take the last bar of “Redline Tango” up an octave — resulting in the last note being a high F#. Yeah, an F#. Like, above the 3rd ledger line above the treble clef. And the guy nailed it every single time. I really dug it. I’m going to lay down that challenge to other bands in the future. I’ll be like, “hey, can you play that last bar up an octave? ‘Cause they could do it in Long Beach… I mean, if you can’t do it, that’s cool. (cough, mumble) Pussy. (cough)”

Here’s a shot of John Carnahan rehearsing the group.

For “Sasparilla,” John managed to wrangle (so to speak) an accordion player! She’d never played accordion before, and she was a great sport.

I had a great afternoon down in Long Beach. It’s nice having a residency a 30 minute drive from home, rather than 4-hours-by-plane. I’m looking forward to working with the group again in a few weeks, as they continue preparing “Sasparilla.”

I’ve been taking a few more photos with the new camera. Here’s a picture of a creepy Easter Bunny I found in Seattle last year. It’s especially creepy not just for its expression, but for the fact that it’s covered with real rabbit fur. Watch out for the other stuffed bunny to the right, ’cause he’s totally got grey bunny’s back.

Here’s a fun shot of my sunglasses, taken during Sunday brunch. Yeah, they’re mirrored. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

AEJ had the tasty (and somewhat healthy) curry chicken salad wrap with pasta salad.

I had the much heavier and scarier-looking meatloaf sandwich.

AEJ liked the sign for the liquor mart. (In the center, off in the distance, is the Griffith Park Observatory.)

Needing a sweet treat after our salty brunch, we walked a few blocks to one of our favorite places, Alcove, and shared a cupcake.

Speaking of Alcove – and pictures of food – I just found this blog, featuring, yes, pictures of food at restaurants in LA! This blogger seems to be my bizarro blogger. Weird. I hesitate linking there, fearing you’ll go to that site instead to fill your quota of food pics.

AEJ and I take frequent walks around the Silver Lake reservoir. Here’s a shot on one of those walks the other day just before sunset.

I still haven’t mastered the camera — particularly the exposure levels. I’ll keep trying…


Martin says

Hi John,
This is Martin in Long Beach - we met yesterday after the forum. Thanks for a thoroughly engaging composers forum yesterday. I loved getting to know you through your music and look forward to hearing lots more!
I was tooling around your blog and the links and discovered we have a common interest in Eames era stuff and 50's atomic era modern architecture! That Rodney Walker house on Core Avenue is phenomenal. I took the virtual tour and was blown away. And I loved your Eames potato chip chairs. We live in a Cliff May house here in Long Beach - a rancho which is similar in its open post and beams and glass window walls - sort of like Eichler and Walker, built in 1953. There's a little community of ranchos here not far from the University all built in 53, 54. You'll have to come over next time you are down this way.
Thanks again for some wonderful kick ass music. Look forward to having you here again soon.
Martin Herman

lisa says

Navy beans, navy beans, MEATLOAF SANDWICH!

Nikk Pilato says

I'm going to lay down that challenge to other bands in the future. I'll be like, "hey, can you play that last bar up an octave? 'Cause they could do it in Long Beach... I mean, if you can't do it, that's cool. (cough, mumble) Pussy. (cough)"

Daaaang. You're mean. Heh.

Cathy says

Last night, I had the privelge of hearing the Baylor Wind Ensemble premier your piece "Strange Humors" for wind band. WOW! It was so cool. I could see how that started out as a dance piece. I'm not a choreographer by trade but enjoy all types of dancing and I could certainly feel and invision the type of dancing that would go with that music. I'm sure you'll be asked before long to arrange it for marching band - just don't let it get overdone like pop songs on the radio! Congratulations on another wonderful piece, your upcoming award at ABA and things to come in the future.
~Cathy Benford

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