Have ʻuke, will travel

Tiny Tenor of Romero Creations (mahogany)

This past January, I introduced myself in Joel Katz‘s intermediate ʻukulele class by announcing that I was downsizing from the nine foot grand piano to the less than two foot ʻukulele. People laughed.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t giving up the piano by any means. Rather, I was embracing the ʻukulele. It has my namesake after all: KU in ʻukulele.

In truth, I didn’t know what I was getting into. A few of my music students had shared their love of the instrument. One even gave me a hand-built ʻukulele stand as a parting gift. Eventually I succumbed to my usual thirst for novelty and variety.

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Guitar and mandolin duo and trio at Great Falls Coffeehouse, Massachusetts

The guitar duo of Mark and Beverly Davis gave a memorable performance at Great Falls Discovery Center in Western Massachusetts, featuring the beloved “Lass of Patey’s Mill”

Robert and I were thrilled to see the announcement of Mark and Beverly Davis’ Duo concert on Facebook: Friday August 14th, 2015 at Great Falls Coffeehouse, in Turners Falls in Western Massachusetts. We were in Boston, five years after we first made contact with Mark on Skype from London to book our concert in their home in Connecticut. In planning our road trip, we remembered fondly of their hospitality and their beautiful CD which accompanied us on our long drives in autumn in New England through our five week concert tour that ended in Maui on Thanksgiving Day in 2010.

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Review: classical guitar concert at UH Maui College

by Tyler Millard

The University of Hawaii Maui College hosted a classical guitar concert — as part of the 16th Annual Benjamin Verdery Maui Guitar Class. This event had three of the finest classical guitarists perform for our community: Ian O’Sullivan, Aaron Cardenas, and Christopher Mallett. The concert was held in the ‘Ike Le‘a Lecture Theatre in room 144 on UHMC campus, on Friday July 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm. Continue reading “Review: classical guitar concert at UH Maui College”

The raw sound of unplugged

Microphones on stage are not always used to amplify. They can exist to record.

It’s fairly easy to tell if the sound from a musical instrument is amplified or not. You hear the amplification through speakers.

It sounds different when amplified.

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Guitar Concerto Aranjuez

Robert Bekkers plays Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez in his second DMA concert at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Those of you who contributed to Robert Bekkers’ crowd-funding campaign to raise cash for his second doctoral music of arts concert in Boston probably wondered how it went.

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James Taylor: Fire and Rain for Easy Piano

James Taylor’s Fire and Rain remembered at a beach park funeral on Maui.

Decision making in music has always fascinated me. How does a performer decide which works to include in a concert? How does a composer decide which notes to use? How does an arranger decide which works to arrange? Sometimes the occasion commands it.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a colleague asking if I could suggest someone to play James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” for a funeral at a beach park on Maui. The song evoked memories of going to college in North Carolina and a nostalgia of lost youth. I never really understood the lyrics until another colleague, who attended the funeral today, recited the words verbatim and eluded to a story behind it.

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Gerald Schwertberger (1941 – 2014)

Austrian composer Gerald Schwertberger was a prolific composer who passed away on February 8, 2014.

Gerald Schwertberger was one of the earliest 20th/21st century composers we discovered — who had composed for piano and guitar. Robert and I performed his works at our debut concert in London in 2002. The works were easy, fun, and full of humor.

I’ve never been to Vienna. I’ve never met Gerald.

It was an e-mail exchange, later continued more actively on Facebook.

We followed each other on Facebook. He read my blogs. I played his music.

I wrote to Gerald about visiting Vienna this summer. He replied that he was very ill.

In November/December 2013, I wrote to Gerald that I was looking for easy but fun music for my adult beginning piano students. I explained that here on Maui, there is just one music store and one book store. We have to order online and pay for hefty delivery costs. Unless I can download it from the Internet, I usually don’t get to browse or see what’s available.

Gerald was very kind to send his easy piano pieces with such titles as “chopsticks meets the flea” and “happy piano.”

He was a prolific composer who wrote for piano, guitar, cello, and other instruments. Most of his published work can be obtained from Doblinger. Just google him and you’ll find his pieces performed and recorded.

Sadly Gerald passed away on February 8th, 2014. Through the postings on his Facebook page, I could see that he was much loved and admired by musicians in South America as well as his native Austria. Thank you, Gerald, for your gift of music.

Official website: http://schwertberger.org/

Also on http://vimeo.com/schwerti and https://soundcloud.com/gerald-schwertberger