Thursday, August 20, 2015

Music to Accompany Summer Travels



Wow! The summer has flown by! I was shocked today when I stepped into my blogworld and realized I had not posted anything for over two months. I have been busy, it's true... May was enveloped by my symphony pops performance with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra on Memorial Day followed by a nostalgic trip north to my high school alma mater to accept an award as a Graduate of Distinction... Next, I headed to Palm Desert, California for my solo piano/vocal concert, Divas and Masters of Jazz, at the Alfred Newman Theatre at the Joslyn Center, after which I drove to L.A. for a week of recording my EP with the great guitarist John Chiodini. We recorded two original songs which will be released soon... I jumped into my awesome photographer's studio for an afternoon of fun, posing for new head shots, promo pics and album art... and headed back home. In the meantime, I stayed with three sets of California friends and had a grand time visiting, sharing music and catching up on their news!

Vacationing came next, as business travel taxes the body, brain and voice... Hilton Head was beautiful in June, and even after sneaking in during the second set, I still was asked by the management to sit in with the band at the illustrious Jazz Corner... of course I was pleased to do so! It's always a pleasure to perform at a Top 50 jazz club in the world, and to be asked to sing upon my entrance each time I visit is a sweet reminder that I am family there... The audience response is always overwhelming, as they do not expect a guest singer who just walked in to amount to much... weren't they pleasantly surprised when the band and I took "Misty" and "Centerpiece" down roads they perhaps had not yet been...

A trip to Portland followed, where R&R included climbing the highest mountain in the northwestern Oregon coastal range... After that, I spent three weeks teaching jazz camp in Greenville, SC and supervising a college internship... Needless to say, the summer was eventful and energy-depleting! What is on the docket for the next season? That will have to wait until my next blog, which I promise will post sooner rather than later.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Jazz Academy

In an effort to spread the love of jazz to my community's youth, I have accepted an invitation to serve as Musical Director of The Jazz Academy in Greenville! The Academy runs from July 27-August 14 and serves junior high and high school students age 11-18. Week A (7/27-7/31) will be for instrumentalists (age 14-18) including brass, winds, guitarists, bassists, drummers and pianists. Week B (8/3-8/7) will feature vocalists and rhythm section players (age 11-14). Week C (8/10-8/14) will showcase vocalists and rhythm section players (age 14-18). Applications are currently being accepted online at BluesBoulevardJazz.com/foundation.

This jazz camp runs weekdays only, each camp lasting for one week, meeting from 10am until 4pm Monday through Friday. Campers will enjoy daily exposure to group lessons, music warmups, workshops, jam sessions and rehearsals targeting jazz history, jazz theory, improvisation and performance. A final concert for campers' parents will be offered at 3pm each Friday that camp is in session. While no jazz performing experience is necessary, instrumental students are expected to have a working knowledge of how to play their instrument. Lunch will be provided daily at the camp location, Blues Boulevard (300 River St., Suite 203), in downtown Greenville, SC.

As the current Director of Jazz Studies at University of South Carolina Upstate I am looking so forward to directing this series of jazz immersion day-camps for the youth of Upstate South Carolina! Non-residents of Greenville and Spartanburg counties are also welcome to attend these day-camps. These educational experiences are supported in part by the Blues Boulevard Foundation which aims to spread the love of jazz to the youth of our community. Scholarships are also available (please see the official camp website). Camp counselors assisting me daily include a jazz performance major from Loyola University in New Orleans and a commercial music major from USC Upstate, both having excellent performance chops as well as prior experience working with children in a jazz/music camp setting. For additional information about my jazz career, please see my website, www.tishoney.com, and for camp information please consult our Blues Boulevard Foundation website, clickable in the link above. Please feel free to forward this information to any youth in our region who may be interested! Thank you for your support of jazz education... and may your summer be filled with wonderful music!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Symphony Solo Work on Memorial Day

It is my distinct pleasure to be in tech week for Memorial Day Pops!...an enormous program of patriotic songs, show tunes and jazz pops music to be performed by the marvelous Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestra Sarah Ioannides Monday, May 25 at 7:30 pm at Zimmerli Amphitheater in Barnet Park, Spartanburg, SC. What a treat this performance will be! In addition to myself, the wonderful child soprano, Emma-Brooke Alley, will delight the audience with her lovely renditions of "Over the Rainbow," "You Lift Me Up" and a medley from "Frozen." Our two duets will be highlights of my evening... Jazz lovers will dig Chris Walden's arrangements from my touring symphony pops show including "When I Fall In Love," "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Cry Me a River" and "Nice 'n' Easy." In addition to all that, there will be patriotic favorites and Gene Scheer's wonderful "American Anthem" which I look forward to singing with the full orchestra. Following the concert a spectacular fireworks display will light up the Spartanburg sky! Admission is free, but your $5 donation helps offset the cost of this beautiful regional show. Thank you for your support of live music, and, wherever you are, let's all say a prayer of thanks for those who have died for our freedom, as well as a prayer for those still in harm's way serving our country... Wishing a blessed Memorial Day to all.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back in the studio again...

... and looking so forward to it! In June I return to Big City Recording Studios in L.A. to record once again with the greatest guitarist on the planet, John Chiodini. We (and our stellar band) are slated to record several original songs, and are considering extending the session to include some originals by friends of mine who are also composers. I have been wanting for several years to put an album (or EP) together featuring beautiful songs my highly talented friends in the business have composed, and my chance has finally arrived! If you are a songwriter and would like me to consider recording your songs, by all means, feel free to send me one or two of your best and I'll consider them for this session... Next month I will have an update about the progress of the recording... In the meantime, we will be accepting album/EP orders in advance to help offset the cost of recording great original jazz works by contemporary composers! If you would like to reserve your copy, please send an email to contact@tishoney.com to indicate your interest and we will provide you with pre-payment instructions. Thank you very much for your support of live and recorded jazz!

Friday, February 27, 2015

American Choral Directors Association Conference 2015

Greetings, friends! I am writing from Salt Lake City where I have enjoyed 4 vibrant days of phenomenal music at the ACDA international conference. These conference/retreat experiences are so nourishing to me as an artist, and they are simply good for my soul! Hearing such wonderful ensembles as Voces 8, Sine Nomine, The King's Singers, The Real Group, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra (performing in the tabernacle with its amazing acoustics), the USC Thornton Chamber Singers, the Utah Symphony with Sylvia McNair and the US Air Force Singing Sergeants--all in the same week--leaves one dizzy with beautiful, lush, healing sounds buzzing around in one's head. If only all the sounds in my head were always this edifying!

On top of concert after concert of inspiring music (and not just from the professionals--the school and college groups selected to perform here are pretty inspiring too!) there are, of course, the standard workshops that all conferences sport... Being ever interested in learning and growing, I've had my notebook out several times this week, learning about such interesting subjects as American folksongs and where to find them, how to sing in Russian, new interesting methods of vocal warmups and improvisation, the changing vocal fold structure of the aging singer, and singing through score after score of new, wonderful choral music.

Even more rewarding, though, than all this aural and mental stimulation have been the priceless moments of reuniting with friends I have met along my musical path: other Ithaca College music alumni (as well as former Ithaca mentors of mine), other University of Southern California alumni (and mentors from there!), friends from my professional singing career (my fellow studio singers with Alfred Music Publishing), and professional colleagues I've gained from my years living in South Carolina, New York and Los Angeles. What a whirlwind week--and what beautiful memories we are still making...

These very important growing experiences have more significance than I formerly realized. While it is important to continue learning about my craft and profession (by attending conferences) and to periodically surround myself with the very best music on the planet (by attending conferences), an unexpected further blessing comes when I realize that, in so doing, I have taken time to look back and remember where I have been, treasure the people with whom I have learned about life and art, and share memories--both old and new--with those whom I consider lifelong friends in music. I fully believe the words offered me by vocal pedagogue Dale Moore who once took me aside and exclaimed, "You have chosen the very best profession in the world." If this is work, who needs vacations?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Big Band Experience...

I am fortunate to have opportunities to perform a number of different types of concerts in various locales... coming up next will be a Spartanburg, SC performance of my big band show, "Beyond the Sea: Tish Oney's Big Band Excursion" with the Greenville Jazz Collective Big Band (Feb. 10 at 7:30 in the USC Upstate Performing Arts Center, 800 University Way, Spartanburg--864-503-5695 for tickets). This show is a big deal to me--the arrangements were written by Chris Walden, a Grammy-winning large ensemble arranger who has helped me put together not only this show, but my two symphony pops shows as well, Joe Riposo, an acclaimed jazz musician (alto sax), educator, composer, arranger and author of several books devoted to jazz improvisation, and Jason Goldman, another top-flight alto sax player/composer/arranger whose music is lush, challenging and full of reharmonization.

This particular show features three Riposo arrangements, two of which are collaborations I have shared with Joe. We co-wrote "Hidden Soul" and "A Blue Goodbye" together years ago (he the music and I the lyrics), and he recently completed a big band chart of the latter, which will receive its world premiere at my February concert. I have treasured Joe as an important jazz mentor, collaborator and friend over the years, so it is my privilege to share his work with this audience.

Last year I had the distinct honor to be the first guest vocalist to share the stage with the regionally-acclaimed Greenville Jazz Collective, a terrific quintet in Upstate South Carolina led by bassist Shannon Hoover. This group also sports a big band (18-piece jazz orchestra), and we have eagerly awaited another opportunity to work together to present my big band show. The opportunity has finally arrived and the public is warmly invited to enjoy this wonderful music written by excellent arrangers and played by truly accomplished performers! The program includes music of the Gershwins, Charlie Parker, Richard Rodgers, Henry Mancini and more. Tickets are $15 for general public, $8 for faculty and staff and $5 for students. All proceeds support jazz education, so please come and join us for this great cause! Thank you for your support of live music!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

If you are like the average person, the thought of making New Year's resolutions either brings you hope or trepidation... I decided I would ruminate this December about things I would like to continue doing or do altogether differently in 2015. Most involve some inherent benefit to myself or to those around me, or toward greater career productivity. In no particular order, here they are:

1)Practice a minimum of two hours a day. I share this goal with many artists I know--without practice, nobody would want to hear me sing. Enough said.
2) Continue exercising a minimum of 3 days per week. Aerobic exercise just feels good. I tend to feel lousy when I am not doing it regularly, so I look forward to keeping up with my P90X, P90X Plus and P90X3 workouts.
3) Avoid allowing the attitudes and behaviors of negative or toxic people affect my attitude or behavior. This is a toughie for me--as a passionate artist, I am passionate about everything I do. This sometimes rubs people the wrong way and they misunderstand my intentions, which leads to negativity coming back at me. While I make every effort to be properly understood, some simply refuse to hear the message and make up their mind to continue being negative. Their loss, I guess.
4)Cook and bake at home more. My busy dual career often leads to eating out on a regular basis... I will do better this year, shop for groceries and plan a meal more than once in a while!
5)Spend more daily time being creative (writing music, blogs, articles, or book chapters). The mundanely urgent tasks continually steal time from my more important creative ones... I shall attempt to invert this muffin and place the important creative endeavors on the "muffin top" of my list of things to do...and do them first...Whoops--sorry about the baking metaphor!
6)Pray and meditate every day. I already do this, but making it a continued New Year's resolution gives me a sense of accomplishment and realization that I CAN and already DO have good ingrained habits that enrich my life!

Knowing myself, I must end the list here. Otherwise I will have a "too long" list of things I cannot accomplish rather than a short list of important items to pursue. May your 2015 be filled with fun, health, prosperity and music, and may you accomplish all you set out to do!