Marty Heresniak, B.M., M.M

voice teacher

79 Hudson Heights
Ithaca, NY 14850-5803

voxnaturalis@alumni.ithaca.edu

607-272-2892

member

National Association of Teachers of Singing

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Carl Gutekunst

(Upcoming things listed first. Read on for past folderol.
Roll your cursor over any underlined colored text to see if there is a link to a site with more information.)

UPCOMING EVENTS

2016

The high summer is with us. The garden is dry, but healthy. The balcony is astoundingly prolific. Days are hot, but only sometimes humid. Evenings are delightfully cool.

There are few students in the summer schedule, so I am sequestered inside, with the studio closed against the heat spending my days doing massive amounts of code. That's nothing to sniff at! So far I have redesigned four of the eight major sub-divisions of this website. Update list is here.

It's barely August and students are actually contacting me for spots in the fall schedule. Huzzah!

Still waiting to hear on that long article submitted to the Journal of Singing (fingers crossed, please). Starting to think about some other pedagogical articles in development too long. The editor suggested another ... There are little thoughts flying around that may end up being a book. Blog? Hell no. I'm not giving it away! Well, anything in JoS is, technically, giving it away.

RECENTLY PAST EVENTS

2016

19 June 2016
STOP BY WHEN URINETOWN


I was back at the Cider Mill Playhouse to see their production of Urinetown. Former student Josh Sedelmeyer was in the show this time with current student Mary Herbert.

I have to fess up: I hate the show. I don't think urination is an appropriate subject for mixed company and certainly not for musical theatre. I mean, really, the next thing you know people will think it's appropriate to have hip-hop "music" on stage.

This production was a little iffy. The director just didn't have a solid concept and while some of the individual performances were great, the whole didn't cohese. Whenever the choreographer was behind the action it was a completely different show and very worth watching.

I was thrilled to see 1970s era IC theatre person Craig MacDonald playing the villain. In the nineties I was music and theatre critic for the Ithaca Journal (back when the Ithaca Journal was an actual journalistic entity and had a staff of people who wrote things) and I got to see and write on Craig. If anything his comic timing has improved over the years. There was a barbeque at Craig's house in Ithaca after the matinée and after all those years of circling around each other we finally got to meet officially.

21 May 2016
HEY, I KNOW THEM!

I was strolling the grossly overpriced Ithaca Farmer's Market when I heard familiar sounds. Down by the dock long, long, really, really long ago students Steve Hubble and Lorna Bullerwell were singing with their band Under Construction. Great to see and hear them again despite not having time to wait for the end of their set to chat.

15 MAY 2016
CENTRAL NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC TEACHERS
HIGH SCHOOL VOCAL COMPETITION RECITAL


Charlie Rowe, her parents, entourage, and I travelled to Syracuse for the winner's recital of the CNYAMT High School Vocal Competition. Charlie had taken first place in the freshman category. We performed in the auditorium of I. M. Pei's magnificent Everson Museum, one of my favorite buildings. I love brutalist architecture (look it up) and all that rough concrete makes for interesting acoustics.




CNYAMT 2016 High School Vocal Competition finalists.
Front Row: Charlie Rowe, Emily Kielbasinski*, Bernadette Castilano*, Elizabeth McCrohan*, Audrey Monson*
Back Row: Brianna Linn†, Christopher Spinelli+, David Polhemus†

+Winner of the CNYAMT Piano Competition who played on the recital. Wow. Just wow.
*Students of Patti Thompson-Buechner
†Students of Neva Pilgrim

14 MAY 2016
JIMKATA at the STATE THEATRE

Evan Friedell, the lead singer and songwriter for Jimkata, came to see me in December 2015 to do some vocal tuneup work in preparation for the band's Tour. Three months and lots of vocal improvement later Jimkata hit the road. And what a tour! They played in Ithaca at the Haunt in April, but I had tickets for what turned out to be an absolutely horrid main stage show at Ithaca College. I was so upset by the bad show I saw and even more so by the good show I missed. But Jimkata came back to Ithaca for a big show at the State Theatre!








But it was sold out and I couldn't get a ticket.
Boo.
Hiss.


Click on the album logo to go to the Jimkata website.

7 May 2016
CENTRAL NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC TEACHERS
HIGH SCHOOL VOCAL COMPETITION AUDITIONS

I travelled to Onondaga Community College in Syracuse with student Charlie Rowe and her parents to participate in the annual competition for high school singers. This was Charlie's first time out as a singer and she came in first in the freshman category. We return to Syracuse on May 15th to participate in the winners' recital.



The new performing arts building at OCC spans the gorge that cuts through campus. It's supposedly designed to look like a pentatonic scale on a guitar fretboard. I'm not sure about that. Theorbo, maybe.

23 April 2016
RIDE
Studio 6, Dillingham Center, Ithaca College


Back on campus once again, I attended a tiny production of Eric Lane's Ride which featured student Mary Herbert as an eleven year old. Well, OK, I can accept that. I liked Mary's work, and the play has potential, but this was one of those situations when a single performance ruined the entire show. The actor playing Mary's older sister was thoroughly unprepared, missing lines, flubbing lines, repeating lines (and complete sections of the play!), and all those screw-ups despite having her script in a journal from which she read the larger portions of her role. Unfortunately there was no program for the show so I don't know her name and cannot call her out for the drubbing she so richly deserves.

9 April 2016
Romeo and Juliet
Studio 6, Dillingham Center, Ithaca College


Current student Rachel Schardt appeared in an Ithaca Theatre Collective studio production of R&J. It was really, really, really good. The show was tweaked, just a tad, and presented with pretty much modern day sensibilities. Music was mostly hip hop, cell phones were always in use (especially when one character shot video of Mercutio biting his thumb!), and following R&J meeting at the dance Mercutio and the entourage ordered after party pizza, chewing through the entire scene. Oh, and Romeo was a girl, so R&J were a lesbian couple (which, frankly, I hardly noticed). There was so much wonderful inventiveness and strong, pleasing characterizations. After seeing a ghastly 'official' 'main stage' production by the Theatre Department the night before I was somewhat relieved to know that, yes, there is still good drama being presented on the IC campus. You just have spend some effort looking for it.

Kudos to Rachel Schardt, Lawrence Bierria, Josh Wilde, and Carolyn Trahan for my favorite characters of the evening and copious congratulations to Phoebe Sullivan-Bing for her insightful direction.

30-31 March 2016
Everything was TOTALLY on the level

Forty-five years after our first meeting, undergraduate colleague Bruce Soto came to town for a short visit. We talked voice (He also studied with Carl Gutekunst, a year behind me at school although he is two days older than I) and politics ("Make America Hate Again!" and other such echos of the rise of Nazism in the 1930s) and food and lots of other topics. One night I cooked, one night we went to Just a Taste for dinner.

25 January 2016
NEWEST TASO SCHOLAR!

Every year since the autumn of 1994 I have donated a semester's worth of lessons to the Theatre Arts Student Organization at Ithaca College to help fund their activities (and all those great parties). Students bid on the lessons at the fall semester auction. This year's winner, Hannah Anderson, just called and will be having her first lesson this week.

24 January 2016
Starting around 3pm

PIZZA SUNDAY
Returning students came by in the afternoon and early evening. We stayed warm, drank a big pot of tea, make greek pizza, and caught up on all our doings. Bring on the semester!

NOT-SO-RECENTLY PAST EVENTS

2015

21 November 2015
HOUSE PARTY!

This takes a little explaining.

Diana Leigh , a student from the early-mid 1990s, has quite a career going with gigs all over the Northeast. We have sung at times with her band and with Djug Django in the past. Diana threw a house party to have a small audience as she and John Hyde -- formerly the pianist in her band but now based in Boston -- tried out his new fancy camera.

As the evening started Diana was wearing a (gorgeous) turquoise print top that clashed with Gustav Klimt's Wasserschlangen hanging behind them. She changed to basic black and the ecru scarf. That backstory will help you understand the comments and laughter at the beginning along with the suggestion that I wear Lanie's scarf, which matched Klimt's color palette.

John and Diana had done an unusually funky version of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Diana and I had previously done the duet of that with "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart." The latter song was written when Ellington's band was playing the Cotton Club and the former was originally written as a sax countermelody when they moved to The Apollo Theatre.
They're rarely performed together these days. John wasn't aware of the connectedness of the two so we showed him how they went. I'm fascinated how the bass line John had developed is the same chromatic melody Duke wrote for the singer doing my part.

This shows pretty much every thing that I love in making music and look for in my students. There was no rehearsal. I'd been sitting watching John and Diana and had had more than the moiety of a bottle of charming red wine. We each knew our part in the whole and went for it. This is why I love jazz; the independence and interdependence of the single-musician-per-part chamber music. I have grown so far past wanting to do choral works.

Notice the eye contact toward the end of John's solo. Diana looked at me several times, I caught her eye at the end, "yes we'll come in at the bridge," then I watched John and when he looked up we immediately were all on the same page. Eye contact again later and we all knew to do a turn-around. Sure, there were a few notes flotched here and there, but who wants perfect? This is what is fun about making music. And it was a nice wine.

20 June 2015
MILLIE IN ENDICOTT


Current student Jacob Clay and his mom and I trekked to Endicott NY (with obligatory dinner stop at KFC in Owego) to see the Cider Mill Playhouse production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Former student Josh Sedelmeyer directed and current student Mary Herbert was in the ensemble as one of the tapping typists and aspiring actresses.

I was especially pleased with Mary's performance and her complete characterization of what was, in essence, your basic chorus part. Watching that show made me realize a few things about theatre and why some people are successful on stage and others aren't.

I was pleased to see other former IC theatre persons, Danny Lindgren, beautifully filling the romantic male lead role, and Grant Carey, whose voice teacher must be one very proud pedagogue.
I had gone to the show hoping to see Josh, but he left a note apologizing he couldn't be there as he was in a production of Moon for the Misbegotten across town. Like I would be upset he's a working actor?

15 May 2015
ROCK & ROLL ON THE ROAD

Steve Elliott started lessons in January 2015. He's a Cornell trained engineer. No, wait, he's a professional football place kicker. No, that's not it, he's an online day trader. No, I remember, he's an emergency room physician. In med school he started up a band, The Waves.

Steve and his bandmates got a chance to play with 1980s rocker Katrina Leskanich, in Buffalo, so he came to me to polish up his voice. Since the Katrina gig they have played out repeatedly, including at Buffalo's Hard Rock Café. Not bad.




Maybe he's finally found a career he'll stick with.

New Year's Day 2015
IN PRINT IN CAIRO

An article in Al Ahram, the weekly newspaper in Cairo, made use of my Bluebirds article, along with references to Daniel Levitin and Oliver Sacks. It's a little heady being in such company.

2014

December 2014

SUNSET BABY



Studio Alumna and former TASO Scholar Gillian Glasco came to town to appear in the Kitchen Theatre's regional première production of Dominique Morisseau's Sunset Baby. Gillian's performance was a stunning example of mutli-layered acting, showing who her character was when alone, when with her boyfriend, and when with her father. Just brilliant.

10-12 October 2014

FORTY YEARS LATER
at Ithaca College


Back Row, L-R: Mike Knight, Kathy Ash, Ralph Meyer, I, David Leiman.
Front Row, L-R: Vern, Paula Terapane Willis, Dr. Arlin, Ellen Wolfson Stern, Marcia Bornhurst Parkes
It's been forty years since I graduated from Ithaca College. Classmate Vern Gatewood started a big push over the summer of 2014 to get as many School of Music Class of 1974 alumni to return as possible. He did a great job and we had a really healthy turnout. In this photo are those of us who took the tour of the college's downtown stomping grounds from before our years at IC. Professor Emerita Mary Arlin led us on the tour. And there wasn't a single question about voice leading or parallel fifths.

Many of us were shocked when Vern died the next summer. Apparently he knew, but he said nothing about his illness to me. Perhaps he was organizing the reunion as his private good-bye. Hail, brother.

I’m still fuming that they have moved reunion to Homecoming Weekend so the retired alumni showing up have to navigate a drunken, football-crazed horde of undergraduates. We couldn’t stay in the dorms, so some had to travel quite a distance every night to their hotels. Our Class of 1974 reception on Friday evening was at a restaurant across town on the inlet. Are we really not welcome on campus? IC is failing at its job whilst patting itself on the back.

Winter 2013-2014

SILENUS AND MERRY COMPANY by
Brian Keeler

Oil on linen 36” x 44”.

Brian is a local artist of no small talent. He's been doing a series of nude and semi-nude paintings based on characters from Greek antiquity. Silenus was the party dude who taught Bacchus how to make wine. He is usually portrayed riding a donkey assisted by two cohorts as he was too fat to walk. I got to model for the big guy himself with two very shocked fellow models: they were not expecting my explosion of frivolity during the session. I'm introverted and shy, really.

24-25 January 2014


Continuing Education.

2013

17 November 2013

The TEMPEST at
SUNY NEW PALTZ


I travelled to New Paltz to see former student Caleb Harris in the college's Shakespearean production. I was pleased with Caleb's work and thrilled by his colleague Patrick Pierpont's turn as Caliban. Who knew the monster could be downright sexy?

Like Cornell University, New Paltz uses faculty members in shows to add depth to the talent pool. In this case the faculty cast member took the production straight to the bottom of said pool. It was painful, for we did smell all horse piss, but the student cast was able to give us a sometimes insightful show despite the albatross necklace.

SCRIBBLE SCRIBBLE at
CORNELL UNIVERSITY
Former student Allie Larkin has released her second novel, Why Can't I Be You following her debut Stay. She was invited to speak to a group of Cornell students about her process. I got to visit, kibbutz, and act as unofficial event photographer.

The photos were lousy.

26 September 2013


The Ithaca College Library joined libraries across the country in hosting a Banned Books Readout as part of the American Library Association's Banned Books Week. I joined the afternoon of some wonderful readings and read from one of my favorite still-radical books, Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason.

16-18 August 2013

INTO THE WOODS
RUNNING TO PLACES THEATRE COMPANY

Recently started student Caleb Harris appeared as The Mysterious Man in the Sondheim classic musical. Only a few months before Caleb had been a non-singer, but through much very hard work (on both our parts) he was able to give a journeyman's performance in his first singing role. Yay.

Note the recurring theme: Caleb is cast as an old man with a big beard.

12 July 2013

THE WEDDING SINGER
RUNNING TO PLACES THEATRE COMPANY
Caleb Harris appeared in his Billy Idol drag in one very silly show. These were his pre-beard days.

7-8 June 2013

DOUBLE BRUNCH WEEKEND

There is a lovely thing about being a voice teacher. It seems one makes quite an impression on students, as the basics of voice seem to be the basics of life. I got to nosh with two former students returning to Ithaca for visits to campus and town. Neither Johnathan nor Mari is actively singing now, their paths are in the sciences, but I was so pleased with the visits.

18 May 2013

TWENTY FIVE YEAR OLD PORT in
Rochester



This one takes a little explaining. In 1988 I returned to Ithaca after decade in the Hudson Valley. I came back with the new owners of Hickey's Music Store in tow. I knew there was lots of work to be done at the store, and we needed expert help. I went to the IC campus to visit my ΦMA brothers and got a crew. A half dozen guys worked at the store in a spurt of great creativity, sorting and logging and shopping-listing all the music. Two of them were really good and were kept on after that initial push. Chuck dePaolo is still with Hickey's all these years later. David Hamilton worked all through his senior year and spent the winter break with me in front of the wood stove in my house on Hook Place going through several bottles of cheap port.

There is an old Danish tradition of buying a case of port when a baby is born and drinking it at the kid's twenty-first birthday party. For his Ithaca College graduation I gave David a bottle of not-so-cheap port and told him it was for when he finished his doctorate. At the time I don't think he was even thinking of a doctorate. Twenty-five years later, having not heard from him in ages, his wife, Kelley, contacted me to tell me it was time to come drink the port. I travelled to Rochester to join in on the festivities when he received his degree, present him with a set of port glasses (one simply must have the right glass) and a new bottle of port. Now he has to find me again when he retires.

Those are the five IC graduates at his party in the photo.

5 May 2013

CENTRAL NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC TEACHERS
2013 HIGH SCHOOL VOCAL COMPETITION

The CNYAMT held their annual high school vocal competition again but, as I had not students entering, this time I served as a judge.

26 January 2013

FORTY YEARS LATER
LAETITIA AND BOB, Together Again

in Poughkeepsie

Oh, so many years ago I sang with the ladies of the Hudson Valley Opera Workshop. I was fourteen when I started, debuting as Papageno in the suicide scene. I worked with them all through my high school years and then went off to college. They contacted me during the Spring of my junior year and asked me back for a production of Menotti's The Old Maid and The Thief. Anne Siebold played Miss Todd, Margaret Gustafson was Miss Pinkerton, and Christine Nelson sang a stunning Laetitia, the maid to the old maid. All these years later, if I think of a soprano floating a high B natural, it is still Christine's voice in my head. At the celebrations at Germania of Poughkeepsie as I was inducted as an honorary member (after twenty-five years' membership) Christine was in the crowd. Laetitia and Bob were together again, forty years after we had shared the stage. Goosebumps.

2012

01 December 2012

CABARET at
SUNY PURCHASE


Jesse Penber was a freshman at Cornell when we first worked together, but as the university cut back so drastically on the Theatre Arts Department, Jesse jumped ship and transferred to SUNY Purchase to complete his degree, becoming my first steady Skype student.

I bussed to Newburgh, where I was met by old Poughkeepsie friend Bob Hechler, who drove with me to Purchase to catch Jesse's directing. I was floored. I must have seen a half-dozen productions of the show by now and this one takes the prize. Never before did anyone bring in the sleeze of cabaret in the Weimar era. The cast was top-notch and the band even better. I loved how the band would just jam before the show and during intermission. So true to form.

Billy Manton as The Emcee
with the Kit Kat Klub performers.

Gina Amico as Sally Bowles
with the superb Kit Kat Klub band.

Summer 2012

THE GREAT MOVE
Not much happened over the summer of 2012. After twenty-two years in the same apartment on University Avenue, literally across the street from the Cornell Campus, my landlord wanted to raise the rent to far more than my self-employed-self could afford, and bought me out of my place. I am now in a studio apartment on Ithaca's South Hill, almost literally across the street from the Ithaca College campus. I went from nearly 600 square feet to 363 square feet.

24 March 2012

PAJAMA GAME at
ITHACA HIGH SCHOOL

27-28 January 2012


Continuing Education.

2011

8 October 2011

VOICES FOR HOSPICE at
171 Cedar Arts Center, Corning, New York

Former student Katie Marks sang for the Hospice fund-raiser in Corning as part of a world-wide evening of song raising money for Hospice centers all around the world. I got to play. It was a fun evening with a Gospel choir, fourth grade chorus, ladies' barbershop ensemble, and several solo singers.

21 September 2011

SINGING WITH DJUG DJANGO

It took some doing, but after three years working with me Jacob Clay finally attended the Wednesday evening Church of Djug Django in the lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga. He attended services one week and was back the next week to testify. Jacob made his debut with "There's a Small Hotel" and did pretty well. He is considering conversion from his previous three years of classical work and is preparing to take communion with the Djug Django guys again, soon.

Many thanks to Ed Swayze for getting the photo for me.

2 September 2011

NEW YORK STATE FAIR TALENT SHOWCASE

Over the summer Violet Fink won first prize in the Oswego County Fair talent showcase younger division. Her "Red, Red Robin" is quite a fun song.

That first place showing got her to the New York State Fair in Syracuse where she placed into the semifinals. Not bad at all for being up against a bunch of much older performers. Congratulations, Violet.

31 August 2011

SINGING WITH DJUG DJANGO

Summer is winding down, but the fun never stops with the Djug Django crowd.

Violet Fink came to town again and sat in with the guys on "My Favorite Things." This time we finally got a photo of her!
I had to go right after Violet, and the band wailed on a latin version of "Le Canard au Caoutchouc." I don't like to post my own performances, but this was such fun, even if I never did get the words right.

Click here for the mp3.

1 June 2011

SINGING WITH DJUG DJANGO

Amelia Sturman made one last appearance with the guys in the lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga with a fun rendition of "Mairzy Doats" before leaving for her summer vacation. Lucky home school kid!

The fun wasn't over yet, though. Long-ago former student Marcie Boyd was in town visiting from her new life teaching in the Dominican Republic. She sat in with the guys on a fun version of "Beginning to See the Light."

6 April 2011

SINGING WITH DJUG DJANGO

Amelia Sturman was back at the lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga to sing. Again. She did a fun reading of "Happy Feet" - including a dance break - with Djug Django. I do wish some of my older students would get the bug like Amelia has. No, wait, I take that back. I'd be happy if my students would just show up once and experience the best, most singer-friendly venue around. Nothing makes you a better performer like performing. Djug Django plays at the lounge every week and all you have to do is show up with your charts. Amelia has been at the lounge four times now. She knows the drill. She learns a song in two weeks, she goes down and sings it. The band has gotten to know her. She has gotten to know the ins and outs of performing in public.

There is no better Rep Class.

3 April 2011

SALLY AND DOUG
at the KITCHEN THEATRE

I attended a Kitchen Sink show, my first time in the new KITCHEN THEATRE digs. Nice theatre. Larger, slightly fancier, but still the charming 'homemade' feeling of the old Kitchen. Yeah, I approve.

Good friend Sally Ramirez and BFF Doug Robinson (right) played an evening of mostly Latin songs mixed with stories of their lives and wonderful insights into the songs, composers, and styles. Jorge Ceuvas (left) sat in on percussion for the second half.

I am proud for myself, to think that my life is so honored to know these people, to call them friends, to share Cashew Chicken lunches with them.

Sally, Doug, I'll see you in church!

30 March 2011

SINGING WITH DJUG DJANGO

Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy! What a wonderful opportunity this band offers for the up-and-coming singers in the Ithaca area. Amelia Sturman was back for another go with the guys in the lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga. This week Amelia sang that great old nonsense song "Mairzy Doats" and had a good go with it. It was fun watching Amelia meet Violet Fink, also there to sing this week (hmm, is there a duet in the offing?).

Violet sang for her second time with Djug Django, singing a great version of "When the Red, Red Robin ...". She handled it well, with fun phrasing and improvising on the melody, but, my-oh-my, when she called a turnaround at the end that cinched it. The band was a little shocked she called it, but they went with it. The audience knew what had happened and they loved it, too.

Way to go, girls!

I'll say it again, there is no better Rep Class.

16 March 2011

SINGING WITH DJUG DJANGO

Amelia Sturman returned to the lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga to sing again with Djug Django. She did everything right! Announced her song and key to the band, had her charts ready, counted them off (in 6/8 yet!) and sang a great "Hey, Look Me Over" first time through. Then it happened. The band had been playing reservedly behind her, but they were loving the song. When it came time for solos Djug Django exploded in a Dixieland style group riff. I cannot say enough good about these guys: they give beginning singers a completely world class backup. There is no better Rep Class. Not only were they happy to be playing full out on a great tune after chomping at the bit, but they also made a statement to Amelia, "We're all with you, girl, go for it!" And she did. When Amelia came back in the volume went back down a little, but the energy level kept right on going. She tore it up.
Now we have to see what happens if her Dad brings his sax back to Ithaca from Florida. Is a hot "Ain't Misbehavin'" in the offing?

25 February 2011

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
RUNNING TO PLACES THEATRE COMPANY

Students Noah Elman and Amelia Sturman appeared as Joseph's brothers Reuben and Gad, respectively, in a middle school production of the Andrew Lloyd-Webber pastiche musical. I was particularly proud of Noah's performance of "Those Canaan Days" in a thoroughly understandable French accent and superb comic timing that never asked for the laugh.


MUSIC AT THE SHOP

Former student Heather Moran returned to Ithaca for one show only with Brian Earle and Harry Aceto to sing love songs at THE SHOP. I really enjoyed her gig and she had a great crowd, but I've been sick and it was really, really hard to keep form coughing so I left between sets. Heather has an amazing sense of phrasing that is always fresh and inventive. Knowing my feeling about Valentine's Day, she did a version of "But Not For Me" for me.


5 February 2011

DIANA LEIGH AND CRAZY RHYTHM


Long ago student Diana Leigh and her band played at the Memorial Room, Willard Straight Hall on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca as a treatment for cabin fever. Sponsored by Ithaca Swing Dance Network.

4 February 2011

JAZZ FRIDAYS AT OASIS

A quartet of Djug Django, Doug Robinson, Dave Davies, Brian Earle, and Jim Sherpa, played the early gig at Oasis for Ithaca's dance community.

29 January 2011

RONGOVIAN EMBASSY TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Justin Lantz and The Don't Know Whys played two hours of live original music at the Rongo and I had to miss it! Justin's quirky originals are so worth hearing.

28-30 January 2011


Continuing Education.

I attended a symposium on Bluegrass Music. Well, they all were having a festival of picking and jamming, but I was learning as though I were at the best educational symposium around. I was thrilled to hear Cornerstone, (Dee Specker, Rick Manning, Bobby Henrie, and Dana Paul) reunited after some 10 years (and bought their 'band favorites' CD), as well as Rebecca Colleen and the Chore Lads and the Jesse Alexander Band. There were two full concerts, workshops, and a very intimate master classes with 2010 IBMA Vocalist of the Year and Grammy nominated Claire Lynch and her band. I had a great time, learned LOTS, and slept fourteen hours to recover from all the good times.

22 January 2011

Clownation Prémière

I was there for the prémière of CLOWNATION at Silky Jones on the Commons in Ithaca. You never know when a film is shot whether you will end up on the cutting room floor. I didn't. My two characters (or were they the same guy?) were the major protagonist(s?) in the film. You can read Jim Catalano's article in the Ithaca Times here and you can find the IMDB entry here Even better, you can watch the film right here:


21 January 2011

WATER LINE
OLD QUARTER ACOUSTIC CAFÉ

Former student Christian Robbian is now in Galveston, Texas and appeared with his band WATER LINE, opening for Rebels Without Applause at the Old Quarter Acoustic Café. I so wish I could have been there, as I always loved Christian's original songs.


19 January 2011

DEBUT WITH DJUG DJANGO


New student Amelia Sturman jumped right in with her debut song, "Bye Bye Blackbird," with Djug Django in the lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga. Look at that girl! First time out and she already knows about singing in stocking feet!

12 January 2011

IT WAS A HELLUVA PARTY - TAKE FOUR

I celebrated my birthday two days late this year, at the big Djug Django spectacular Fourth Anniversary in the Lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga.

Delilah's is the reincarnation of Wildfire. I'm loving Delilah's. The feel of the building improved greatly with the change from The Lost Dog and now Scott and Teresa have decided to invest big time. In late December 2010 new chef Bryan Walsh took over the kitchen and the food went from good to magical. An all new Brazilian cherry hardwood dance floor is just gorgeous.

Despite the lousy weather and a major winter storm warning, it was the big party of the year. The band wore their white tuxedos. Walter White was there to sit in on trumpet, and there were guest singers galore. Click on the photo to go to the anniversary page.




2010

15 December 2010

DJUG DJANGO WINTER HOLIDAY OYFEST

The guys of Djug Django decided to do a major todo. Just before the holidays they got the audience to dress up, put on their white tuxes, and hired a videographer (link coming) to document just what the Djug Django experience is. Oy, what a night!

The band looked and sounded great, but then, they always do.

I got to duet with long-ago student Diana Leigh on a steamy seasonal "Baby It's Cold Outside."

11 December 2010

CLOWNATION FILMING

I spent a very cold morning at various places around Ithaca in my black suit, but hatless and gloveless, turning the crank of a jack-in-the-box. You see, I am god. Rather appropriate casting I thought. Everyone in this Clownation universe has, of course, a red nose. Otherwise, everything is pretty normal. That evening was a group shoot in a local tavern where I appeared as a homeless guy rocking in the far booth (please note the careful costuming of four mismatched plaids). But was I still god? Only the final cut will tell. The cinematographer followed me through the tavern and you just may get to see me urinating live on camera. Peace be with you my children.

08 December 2010

DEBUT WITH DJUG DJANGO

New student Violet Fink did a very last-minute debut on the seasonal "Frosty the Snowman," with Djug Django in the lounge at Delilah's on Cayuga. Alas, we didn't have a camera there.

THANKSGIVING DAY 2010

GOOSEBUMPS IN THE NEWS

23 October 2010

YOUR PUBLIC VOICE WORKSHOP
ALICE COOK HOUSE, CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Alice Cook House is one of the new residences of the West Campus House System at Cornell University. Former Student Scott O'Connor is a graduate resident fellow there. Scott asked me to present a program on Public and Professional Voice for the residents. It was a small, but very focused group and we had a hoot trying different techniques to improve their vocal abilities.

August 2010

THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
HANGAR THEATRE

Student Melanie Beck appeared in the Hangar Theatre Company's fun production of Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn's Tony Award-winning musical.


13 August 2010

GUYS AND DOLLS
RUNNING TO PLACES THEATRE COMPANY

Student Jacob Clay was cast as Nicely Nicely. He did a journeyman's job throughout the opening night show, but when it came to his final solo, "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat," I could not have been prouder.

During one of the previous numbers, the night club scene in Havana, the 'cocktails' were made of gelatin so they wouldn't spill. But one spilled. In the next scene, the crap game in the sewers, Jacob executed a flying one-legged turn choreography, landed on the gelatin, and fell badly. We in the audience didn't know it at the time, but in the fall he had broken his wrist. You can see in the first photo how he is holding his left arm a little 'protectedly.'


But the show went on. Jacob still had a big solo to get through. As he took his center stage place to begin "Sit Down" we all heard a loud pop. His microphone had disconnected from the belt pack behind his back. He sang one phrase, realized what had happened, centered himself, and breathed.


We were able to hear Jacob over the completely miked chorus. I'll reserve comment about microphones in middle school and high school productions and not teaching teenagers to sing with volume and resonance. Jacob, WELL DONE.



His wrist has completely recovered and he is playing guitar again.

17 June 2010

MUSIC AT THE SHOP

Justin Lantz played at The Shop again. (see below)

May 2010

GOOSEBUMPS ON TOUR

8 May 2010

CENTRAL NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC TEACHERS
2010 HIGH SCHOOL VOCAL COMPETITION


Student Jacob Clay competed in the CNYAMT competition once again and came away with Second Place in the sophomore category.

2 April 2010

MUSIC AT THE SHOP

Justin Lantz played an evening of original and cover songs at The Shop. I love Justin's original work. He has a quirky style. At first you might think he's having pitch problems and is singing out-of-tune, but then you start to realize that that is exactly what he means to sing. Why shouldn't the tune center on a sharp eleventh? And his lyrics are beautifully delivered.



12 March 2010

MUSICAL MEMORIES PROGRAM
KENDAL AT ITHACA

14 February 2010

MUSIC AT THE SHOP

Former student Heather Moran was in town for one night and, with Brian Earle and Doug Robinson, wowed them at The Shop. (Photo by Ed Swayze)

14 February 2010

LOVE SONGS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY
KENDAL AT ITHACA

For over two years I have been visiting a dear friend in the Health Care area of Kendal at Ithaca. Nice place. I was asked to present a concert for Valentine's Day. Doug Robinson and Brian Earle backed me up on guitar and clarinet. Since I am there so very often, it was an audience I know, so we had some lovely interactions. The residents used some of my rhythm instruments and provided a nice Latin background to "Night and Day" and we all were thrilled to have the late Alfred Kahn, then 93, sing a fine version of "My Romance."


(I miss you, Fred, I hope you've found a great band to sing with and a G&S troupe to join.)

5 February 2010

JAZZ FRIDAYS AT OASIS

Former student Heather Moran was back in town again, wowing us at Oasis.

January 2010

THE MUSIC MAN
RUNNING TO PLACES THEATRE COMPANY

Student Jacob Clay (far left) joined (left to right) Marcel Merwin, Adam Beckwith, and Jeremy Pletter as the School Board Barbershop Quartet in the Running to Places production of "The Music Man." It was the best quartet I've heard in the show, save, perhaps, the original Broadway cast. It was, however, a last hurrah for Jacob, as his high tenor voice was on its very last. His voice change finally kicked in and he is now a basso.

6 January 2010

IT WAS A HELLUVA PARTY, TAKE THREE

Djug Django returned to the second floor lounge of the newly named Wildfire restaurant. After a few months off, the band is back as fine as ever. Click on the photo to go to the anniversary page.


2009

09 October 2009

JAZZ FRIDAYS AT OASIS

At Oasis Dance Club Marty Heresniak and Friends played the live Friday evening dance gig, 6:00-8:30. Yes, after thirty-five years bouncing around from thing to thing, I've finally decided what I want to do when I grow up. I think I'll be a jazz singer. I sang with a superb trio, Doug Robinson on guitar, Bernie Upson on bass, and Babyface Nathan Smith on drums. There were also some very special guests sitting in on a tune or two.

18 September 2009

JAZZ FRIDAYS AT OASIS


Diana Leigh and her band played a great gig at Oasis. I do love listening to her and enjoying her artistry.

August 2009

REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT

If you think the title is a little odd, you should have seen the play. Student Melanie Beck performed as the cat to Marcin Mesa's coyote in Jose Rivera's very, very strange play in The Wedge at the Hangar Theatre. I still don't know what it was all about.

7 August 2009

JAZZ FRIDAYS AT OASIS


Heather Moran performed yet again for the live Friday evening dance gig at the new Oasis (formerly Common Ground).

22 July 2009

DJUGGER NOT!

Djug Django played its last gig at the Lost Dog. The Dog is closing, to reopen as a new restaurant. We are in the Djugger Not! Good news, though, word is the new owners have told the band they are to return just like before.

27 June 2009

GOOSEBUMPS GRADUATION

text


16 May 2009

CENTRAL NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC TEACHERS
2009 HIGH SCHOOL VOCAL COMPETITION



Student Jacob Clay travelled to Syracuse to perform in the CNYAMT Winners' Recital.

02 May 09

CENTRAL NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC TEACHERS
2009 HIGH SCHOOL VOCAL COMPETITION

Student Jacob Clay placed first in the ninth grade category.

10 April 2009

WOYZECK

Student Jeff Crosley was at it again, directing Georg Büchner's Woyzeck featuring songs by Tom Waits. Very strange, very Brechtian, very wonderful. Jeff is a force with which to reckon.


27-28 March 2009

JAZZ AT OASIS and HOW TO SIT IN WITH A BAND
Christopher Woitach came through town and performed for the Friday evening dance gig at Oasis (formerly Common Ground). I got to sit in. It was so great to see and hear and play with him! While he was here CW agreed to do our workshop sessions for my current students. Doug Robinson came over on Saturday afternoon to help students know what to do when confronted with a band.


6 March 2009

JAZZ FRIDAYS AT OASIS

Djug Django moved up South Hill to play at Oasis. It's fascinating to hear a band one knows so well in a new venue. You hear new things, notice different harmonies, and drink different beers. Lots of different beers.

20 February 2009

JAZZ FRIDAYS AT OASIS


Former student Heather Moran returned to Ithaca from a sojourn in New York City and made her splash at one of the first live Friday evening dance gigs at the new Oasis (formerly Common Ground).

16 February 2009

HELLO AGAIN

Student Jeff Crosley directed a production of Michael John LaChiusa's Hello Again as his senior directing project at Ithaca College. The cast featured Jeff's fellow student Melanie Beck, (kneeling, front, in photo at right). It was an eye-opening look at an old friend: Hello Again is a updating and musicalization of Schnitzler's La Ronde, one of my favorite late 19th century plays.


2 February 2009

UNDER CONSTRUCTION
MICAWBER'S TAVERN




Long ago students Lorna Bullerwell and Steve Hubble, in their guise as Under Construction, played an evening of popular song at the now-closed Micawbers in Downtown Ithaca.

14 January 2009

IT WAS A HELLUVA PARTY - TAKE TWO

Djug Django celebrated their second anniversary playing a weekly gig at the Lost Dog Lounge with a great evening of music.

2008

1 August 2008

SWEET CHARITY
RUNNING TO PLACES THEATRE COMPANY

JULY 2008

KING LEAR
ITHACA SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

The Red Bull Players (now known as the Ithaca Shakespeare Company) returned to the Guy Nearing Summer House at the cornell Plantations to present their production of King Lear with Ed Schiff as the old king and student Jeff Crosley as Mad Tom.


7 May 2008

FILM SCREENINGS
CORNELL UNIVERSITY


2 February 2008

CD RELEASE PARTY

Igor's Egg threw a CD release party at Castaways: four former students in a great fun band with music that tuh'd my nyeh.

9 January 2008

IT WAS A HELLUVA PARTY

Djug Django celebrated their one year anniversary playing a weekly gig at the Lost Dog Lounge with a great evening of music. Neat, too, that it coincided with my birthday so several of my current and former students were present to wish me a happy and sit in with the band. They even let me sing! There I am, right by the ever present Djug, singing "The Joint Is Jumpin'" with the guys.

See that cute guy in the orange shirt back on drums? That's "Babyface" Nate Smith, a former student who came up from Manhattan for the fun. You can catch Nate playing with the house band at Birdland every week. Also there and singing that night, but, alas, I was too far away to get good photos with my tiny digital camera, were former and current students Laurie Rubin, Rob Bloomfield, Donna Brescia, Allyson Eller, Tavis Flanagan, and David Flanagan as well as others who attended but didn't sing.

Jessica Dee, another student who was just a December graduate from Ithaca College, also travelled, with her Mom, from the Hudson Valley to join the fun. She closed the evening with a swinging version of "We'll Meet Again."

The neat thing is Djug Django does this every week at Ithaca's Lost Dog Café in the upstairs Lounge. Come hear Ithaca's most singer-friendly band play jazz standards. Who knows, you, too, might get hooked. And you might even work up to sitting in with the band yourself.

This is Djug Django:
Brian Earle, clarinet, and, occasionally, egg,
Eric Aceto on six string violin (that he made),
Harry Aceto on guitar,
Doug Robinson on guitar and vocals,
Jim Sherpa on one-string bass, and
Dave Davies on guitar, trombone, vocals, and high hat.
and Babyface Nate in the back shaking his stuff.

2007



Summer 2007

HAMLET
RED BULL PLAYERS


I appeared as the Ghost of Hamlet's Father in the Red Bull Players' al fresco summer production of HAMLET. I got to make my first entrance from the hill behind the audience, coming out of the stand of pines that served as mine orchard. The tree in front of which I am standing above is the large tree in the middle of the photo below before the Guy Nearing Summer House at the Cornell Plantations.

29 April 2007

LOTSA RUMP SHAKIN'

Minden Jones returned to Ithaca for a one-night-only gig at Felicia's Atomic Lounge. She makes me so proud! And the sweet thing even asked me to sit in on a song. She rocks. She soothes. She croons. And she has one very talented pelvis.



20 April 2007

SPRING FEVER

Cornell University's strong a cappella tradition continued with the Spring Fever performance by Cayuga's Waiters including student Michael Ontell.

16 April 2007

PATTI'S PLAY

29-31 March 2007

NATS EASTERN REGIONAL CONFERENCE

Student Yen-Chen Lai and I travelled to the university of Delaware, Newark, to participate in the annual regional conference and student auditions. Oh, the humanity.

9 January 2007

UPSTAIRS IN THE LOUNGE

Thanks to student Jessie Wasserman, who worked there, the upstairs lounge at The Lost Dog became the new home of Djug Django , bouncing around homeless since they were kicked out of the place that serves beets. The Lost Dog became Wildfire which became Delilah's on Cayuga which became Lot 10, but the Djug Django residency continues. student auditions. Oh, the humanity.

2006

09 December 2006

STUDIO JAM

Molly MacMillan and Doug Robinson joined me and a dozen students in the studio for a jam. With the genius piano and bass duo holding forth, everyone got just a taste of what it is like to sing with a combo and without rehearsal. We did a little improvisation on the prepared tunes and explored different styles and feels for each song and each singer. After that, there was a whole lot o' eatin' goin' on.

30 July 2006

A WHOLE LOTTA RUMP SHAKIN'

(Just to be clear, I taught Minden the singin', not the rump shakin'.) Minden Jones played her last gig in Ithaca at Felicia's Atomic Lounge before leaving for the Boston area.



12 July 2006

STILL MORE RUMP SHAKIN'

Minden Jones' performance at the Chapter House with Eric Aceto, Harry Aceto, and Doug Robinson bowled me over. I worked with her about two years ago on technique and such, and then suggested she take the technical improvements to coaching sessions with Doug. Minden has blossomed to a seasoned performer in an amazingly short time. I've not enjoyed a performance that much in ages. Every song was stellar and not a bad note in the bunch. I'm proud just to know such an artist, much less to say I might have had something to do with her development!.


12 July 2006

ON AIR TIME

I got to play the Piano Puzzler with Fred Child and Bruce Adolphe for National Public Radio's Performance Today broadcast on July 12. I got both the tune and the composer's style on the first go (whew). You can catch the archive of the show on the NPR Piano Puzzler page or even listen to the podcast.

29 April 2006

STUDIO DAY AT THE STUDIO

Current students ended the semester with a program of jazz, musical theatre, folk-inflected, and classical songs. Go to the Studio Day page to view Program


19 February 2006

A WHOLE LOTTA RUMP SHAKIN'



Minden Jones played a sassy gig at Felicia's Atomic Lounge.

21 January 2006

THE MUSIC SCHOOL MOVIE

I appeared in an Ithaca college student film as the band conductor with his fly open. The role called for special costuming. My plaid boxers are legend. The things I do for art. I am still waiting for my copy of the flick.

2005

12 October 2005

SONGS OF JEROME KERN

Students Martha Armstrong, May Brinn, Jodi Zhao and I performed a program of Jerome Kern songs with jazz pianist Molly MacMillan at the Kendal of Ithaca auditorium for Kendal residents and guests. Go to the Studio Day page to view Program


07 May 2005

CENTRAL NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC TEACHERS
2005 HIGH SCHOOL VOCAL COMPETITION

Student Jodi Zhao placed first in the ninth grade category. You can hear part of her performance on the CNYAMT website.



30 May 2005

THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED


For years Djug Django, the wonderful Gypsy Swing band made of up Ithaca's best musicians, played every week at Moosewood Restaurant. I would listen and often sit-in with the band on a classic jazz standard. More than any band I've known, these guys were singer friendly and would often allow my students to sit-in and try out new techniques and new songs.


Diana Leigh with Djug Django at Moosewood

Brian Sforzo with Djug Django at Moosewood

Minden Jones with Djug Django at Moosewood

But that's all over now. In one of the world's classic bad business decisions, Moosewood decided not to continue its ASCAP and BMI licensing and cancelled all live music - they'll be playing sirius radio in the restaurant now. Can you imagine? Did the really think we went there for the food? Moosewood is famous for cookbooks, but locals know the food there is only mediocre and not really worth the visit.

There is no more live music of any kind at Moosewood. Jerry Attardo no longer has a place to play his classical dinner hour. Friday night fiddling is gone. Djug Django is without a home. The music scene in Ithaca has suffered a great loss.

Spring 2005

SURVEY OF VOICE TEACHERS

I participated in a Survey of Voice Teachers looking into the teaching of range and resonance conducted by D'Arcy Smith at York University in Toronto. Some of the responses are pretty interesting and show the differences in thought between singing teachers, drama teachers, and other voice specialists. Hmmm....

25 September 2005

END OF SUMMER PERFORMANCES

At the Studio. Go to the Studio Day page to view Program.

28 April 2005

ON THE ROAD


Student Gaelyn Walker and I travelled to Syracuse to hear her buddy Josh Groban in concert. They got to visit a bit (but she had to be back to study for finals) and I got to hear his concert. He was giving a really fine performance, but he was not all that healthy. His command of technique and knowledge of how to get a sick voice to give a fine performance was impressive.

24 April 2005

SONGS OF SALVATORE ANTONIO GUARAGNA

Twenty-five singers, current and former students, performed songs by Harry Warren at the Ithaca Unitarian Church with jazz combo. Go to the Studio Day page to view Program

2004

20 March 2004

CLASSICAL SONGS OF LOVE (requited and un)


The program originally scheduled for Valentine's Day Eve comes along in mid-March. Singers from the studio perform with pianist Jerry Attardo for the Saturday Dinner Hour 6:00 to 9:00 at Moosewood Restaurant. Go to the Studio Day page to view Program.


In the photos above, left to right, are Brianna Fohrman singing an English folk song, Gretchen Poulos and Laurie Rubin doing the Barcarolle duet from the "Tales of Hoffman," and Jonah Johnson singing Tchaikovsky's At the Ball. Below, left to right, are Rob Bloomfield singing Lascia Ch'io Pianga, Martha Armstrong (with Teo) and I singing the Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento duet, and then that's me, singing Torna a Surriento.


31 January 2004

DEBUT RECITAL

Recital at the Studio for students who began last semester. Go to the Studio Day page to view Program.

2003

19 December 2003

CLASSICAL HAPPY HOUR

Students Martha Armstrong, Johnathan Chittuluru, and Vivian Rose performed with pianist Jerry Attardo for the Classical Happy Hour at Moosewood Restaurant.

7 August 2003

DEBUT RECITAL

Student Laurie Rubin and ethnomusicologuitarist Jorge Torres performed an evening of Latin influenced music to a packed house at Moosewood Restaurant. I could not have been prouder.

21 July 2003

HOW DO YOU GET TO CARNEGIE HALL?

Studio Alumus Doug Robinson and other members of the Johnny Russo Band performed as the opening act for two Vocal Jazz Concerts at Carnegie Hall. Doug sang, but Carnegie Hall's rules preclude showing you those pictures. And yes, he did practice, practice, practice.


Left to right:
Bernie Upson, Doug, Drew Frech, Brian Earle, and Johnny.

20 July 2003

CONVENTION DAYS CELEBRATION
Women's Rights National Historical Park
, Seneca Falls, NY

Student Vivien Rose and her group of summer rangers at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls performed an afternoon of parlor music which might have been heard in the area during the Women's Rights Convention era as part of the Convention Days Celebration.


Photo courtesy of Women's Rights National Historical Park.

18 May 2003

CAYUGA BAYOU-GA ZYDECO FEST

Studio Alum Kai Schafft and the MacGillicuddies performed at Castaways as part of the Cayuga Bayou-Ga Zydeco Fest.

27 April 2003

STUDIO DAY

Studio Day Performance at the Studio "Songs in the Folk Style" Go to the Studio Day page to view Program

14 April 2003

STUDIO PERFORMANCE

Studio Day Performance at the Studio "Ein Deutsches Liederabend." Go to the Studio Day page to view Program