Sunday, January 10, 2010

CMEA Bay Section Winter Conference

I attended a wonderful conference on Friday at San Jose State. The sessions I attended were inspiring and helpful. First, I got to finally work with Greg Gilpin, whose vocal arrangements I have admired for years. Every music teacher present sang beautifully, and it was a positive and energizing experience. We started out with a groovy Benedictus in multiple meters that was a blast to sing. Two other highlights from this session: Fifty Nifty United States by Ray Charles, and a nice medley of Put a Little Love in Your Heart/Soul Train. I then attended a fabulous session on "How to Improvise", by Jeffrey Chappell. He attended Curtiss and Peabody, and had a 28-year career as a classical concert pianist when he decided to study jazz. He has broken in down brilliantly using LaRue's guide to musical style, and was effective in getting convincing improvisations from willing and not-as-willing participants. It was a well-attended session. The Alexander String Quartet gave a marvelous presentation on chamber music and rehearsal techniques, and Barry Green(The Inner Game of Music) gave a fun and interesting presentation on integrating voice, breath and movement to enhance expression. The "wine and cheese" reception was a cornucopia of wonderful things to eat and drink, and the Westminster College Choir concert was a thrilling example of the highest of human achievement in choral art.

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