Month: March 2014

Time to Suit Up

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Yesterday was the big day! Festival time. The moment of truth the entire Wind Ensemble had been looking forward to this concert season. When it’s concert time, you know what that means, it’s time to suit up, or tuxedo up for the guys. The festival we played at was at Beckman high school in Irvine. When I arrived I thought that it was a private school because of how clean, proper, and respected the school and students were. The FVHS Wind Ensemble performed two pieces: Shenandoa by Frank Ticheli, and Jubilance by …. So in our Ensemble we have 5 trumpets, including myself. However, two of the players are on the baseball team at my school, and they happen to have a game on the same day at the same time. So instead of having 5 trumpets at festival we had 3. This was a good thing and a bad thing for me. The good part was I now played the solos in the pieces. The bad part was that since we had less trumpets it’s easier for anyone to catch when anyone one of us messed up. In the end we all played our pieces very well; I hope the judges give us a high Excellent award for our performance. The piece that I have below in the video is called Donzón No. 2 by Arturo Marquez. This is one of my favorite pieces ever because of the Latin salsa feel it has to it. Trust me, you will like it. It starts off with a love song then it turns into a dance speeding up and slowing down.

Are We Recording

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Recording engineer pic

Just today I was thinking about the day we went into the gym, at school, to discuss possible careers we would like to study. The way the host came about possible options  for us was, she asked what our interests are, put them together and that would be it. For me my passions are music and engineering. Mix them together and I came up with a studio recording engineer. After I put that puzzle together I realized that it’s not a bad career option. I can imagine myself sitting in a studio recording room working the sound board for a famous pop group or singer. Truth be told, it is also a dream/goal of mine to be the person behind the microphone playing my trumpet.

I Care, am I the only One?

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What’s going on guys? Today was a long, and of coarse tiring, day in the life of Emmanuel. (Just throwing it out there) I sleep every night for about 4.5-5 hours. I’m not saying that I’m the only one who gets this much sleep, but, oh man, sleep is really trying to get at me all the time! We’re all busy, I know, but when it comes down to work, getting stuff done right I feel like I am the only one who strives to grasp all the knowledge that my teachers give us every day. In my AP classes this isn’t a problem, only in my 2 regular classes I’m with a group of lazy, rude, slack offs who just want to walk out the door. It’s funny how they talk about being over school when they pride themselves with the college they are “going to” assist in the future. What is college? Oh that’s right, school!! Aside from my crammed life I recently returned to listening to Bryan Adams, one of my favorite artists of all time. I picked out this certain song because he says beautiful things about this girl that he loves, and always will love, that relates to my life right now as well. I like this one girl that I’m friends with, but I’m not going to ask her out for a few reasons. Right now in high school there is less than 2 people that I know who don’t care or aren’t mature about relationships.  I know, since it’s high school, it’s a game. A roller coaster of  emotions. Hey,  I just realized that this idea is similar to the protagonist in 1984, Winston, when he is in a fascist society where thoughts are dictated by the Party and the Thought Police. He as well loves a woman for love, which is no allowed in Oceania to have an emotional reaction to anything. “Please forgive me, if I can’t stop loving you…”

Execute Operation Jazz

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Tomorrow performing for you live in the Fountain Valley High School bowl, from your own neighborhood band room Operation Jazz! They will be performing during lunch, so grab your food and head over to the bowl to hear a little bit of the old and the new of Jazz. These talented musicians are bringing Jazz back to the community simply for the love of the music. As the saying goes, “music continues and never ends”, there’s always a new interpretation of style making it “new”(relating back to these cool videos I saw a while back on how everything is a remix, giving the implication of it being new). In case you don’t know I’m the trumpet player. We will be playing Careless Whisper made famous by Wham!, Moondance made famous by Van Morrison, and In the Mood made famous by Dave Brubeck Quartet. On the “drawing board” we have in process Portuguese Love by Maynard Ferguson, Take Five by Dave Brubeck Quartet, and possibly Night in Tunisia by Duke Ellington. I would also really like to start playing  The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra. I also really like this poster, it’s when I first saw it I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to see myself in an actual photo with my band. That’s swag right there people!  Looks like my innovation project to bring Jazz back to the public is Swinging! Haha!

I’ve been thinking, what if we had, on a Friday in the evening after school say 7-8, a Jazz Lounge performance. Not a cheesy cute little show, I’m talking school hosted event in the amphitheater. We could set up all the equipment: stands, amps, drum set, key board, and have a legitimate Jazz night.  We could set a date in the future to promote this gig with fliers around the school, as well I was also wondering if the theater could: Put up a backdrop with a scenery behind us, or just a plain black would do, and maybe sell snacks and drinks to those that show up while they watched our performance. We could play for about an hour free of charge. I just hope that people show up if we do go through with it.

(I’m) Not The Only One

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Hey guys, how was your week? I hope it was better than mine, since mine wasn’t too hot. The big thing that killed me and the rest of my week was when I had Jazz Band practice for my school I went in excited with my mind open and ready to learn; although still a bit nervous. The reason I was nervous is because we have this new song we’re practicing right now called Count Bubbas Revenge by the Big Phat Band. Bottom line, it’s a hard song. Manageable, but still hard. Plus we’re all busy, especially as a senior in high school reaching the last 3 months of school I’m starting to freak out a bit, and I haven’t practiced the piece too much. So what happened was all the students showed up to practice, warmed up for 15 min, then I noticed that Mr. Mathews hadn’t showed up yet–since he’s our leader. Well now that we were already 15 minutes into practice I told myself what the heck, I’m a leader too so I’ll get the practice moving along until he shows up. So I led us through our first piece, my favorite piece we play, called In a Sentimental Mood. I love playing this song because it’s a very intimate smooth Jazz song that just flows with the whole ensemble. Plus I love when the the drummer, Steven (my drummer for Operation Jazz as well), uses fan sticks. If you have never heard or seen fan sticks used before by a drummer,  you should look into it, the idea of using them is to soften the volume by “scratching” the snare head with the fan sticks creating the continuation of “white noise”.  The other day when I found this video by the HIT RECORD production Co. it motivated me to cheer up and keep moving forward, because I’m not the only one who has off days. The main point of my bad day was I got yelled at a few times for rushing and playing wrong partials in the music which don’t sound well. After being yelled at many times I was now afraid to play, fearing that no matter what I played it would always be wrong. The only thing I can do is try to practice during the week in my very packed schedule. I’m starting to see an unfortunate cycle. I will strive to change it to better my school habits. Remember you’re not the only one.

Do it With Style

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I just wanted to share this video of a Jazz trumpet player jamming because it is a big passion and influence in my life that I wanted to share. Once someone asked me  if I had a motto, what would it be. I never really thought about having a motto before in my life, but after really thinking about it, I came up with “do it with style”. This amazing trumpet player is Josh Shpek, he won the award for best jazz solo performer in 2012. He and I both share a common desire to play in a jazz ensemble that just rocks the house, which brings me to my innovation project;  Operation Jazz.  To be honest, right now my jazz group is becoming so bland. I need to get these guys into the excitement and mentality of why we made this group in the first place. Truth be told, they forget that we meet every Monday after school 3-4:30. I’m flexible when they need to skip a day due to appointments, a family plan, or because of another activity. Not just because they forgot. I remember when I saw the movie The Mambo Kings I remember the two brothers making it to the top of the Mambo world through thick and thin, but always together. What they had was style, whatever they played, and were dressed in, it all had a style.

My Heart of Darkness

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I don’t really want to be the guy who complains about his girl problems, but I need to get it off my chest. When I meet a seemingly nice all around girl everything flows alright in the beginning. Then when I ask her if she wants to hang out over the weekend the result is that: they say the don’t like to go out (and have fun), they just got a boyfriend yesterday, she might be out of town, she has “a lot” of “homework”, their parents won’t let them, or simply no.  Why is it that all the girls I meet and want to be with end up playing me the fool? They play around with my feelings when I’m being serious. This lost cause is beginning to form a Heart of Darkness in me that it’s starting to be difficult for me to see life through my old lens. The lens I once had freshman year where everyone was your friend, no one cared about having a boyfriend or girlfriend because we were too busy working hard and enjoying our days! I miss that lens, the new shows reality naked for what it is. It’s mean, backstabbing, lying, unfriendly, lonesome, and desperate. I was planning on going to formal dances at our school with a “date”, but now that I see the truth of it all, maybe I’ll reconsider; that side’s looking pretty good right now. Homecoming was one of the worst experiences ever last year, I won’t say what happened, all you know is that I had an awful time with no date, some good friends, not most. It’s not the reality of life that has caused me to change, believe me I know the reality of life in most places far away, it’s the other side of high school that I really hate; I’m sure we all do. When I did find the perfect girl it turns out that I can’t have her, she is too young my parents said to me. Wow so close yet so far away.  This song is one of my favorite by REO Speedwagon, a group from the 80s, hope you like it. The thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain.