This piece was commissioned by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus to promote one of their newest educational programs — First Experiences in Singing. We’re proud to be working with such wonderful organizations.
Emily Lakdawalla, Mat Kaplan, and I arrived at JPL early this morning to do a couple of remote spots for Planetary Radio. With the exception of my camera needing repair (and the ensuing long drive down to Canon Repair in Irvine), it was a great shoot. And lots of fun to film at JPL…
Ryan Scott Oliver, PMTP‘s creative director, wrote a brand new musical for the students who participated in the Summer 2011 session of the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program. I am a member of the board of directors of this fantastic program. We now have a partnership with the Pasadena Playhouse, and are looking to expand even further into the community.
But back to the musical, Jasper in Deadland. I filmed a bunch of the shows and rehearsals, and mixed the live sound off-the-board for this recording. It gives a good glimpse of what the students got to experience over the summer: originating roles in a fantastic new musical, and getting to work with musical theatre professionals — directors, choreographers, lighting and sound and costume and set designers, etc.
The Perfect Gentlemen are a riveting vocal group here in Southern California. A few weeks ago, I dropped everything in my office and walked over to the Levitt Pavilion at Memorial Park here in downtown Pasadena to see them perform. And then I pulled out my camera. The light was really harsh, because it was sunset (I hate to think of the blinding spotlight the performers were enduring onstage!), but everything turned out really warm and summery. Lots of fun.
It pays to have a kid who loves classical music, and love classical music myself. Los Angeles Children’s Chorus asked me to help out with adding surround sound to the Ambassador Auditorium for a new piece, composed for the Children’s Chorus by Caroline Park, entitled Motion. So I took a bunch of powered speakers and climbed up into the catwalks above the audience. And it sounds fantastic. Ms. Park has written a challenging piece for the kids, but the payoff is huge — being enveloped in sound in a way that only someone with an understanding of children’s voices could create.
The concert is Saturday, May 14, at 7:00 p.m. You should come if at all possible — these kids are pros. They have sung with the L.A. Phil, Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Master Chorale, tons of recordings, and all sorts of other stuff. More importantly, they love music, and are learning to love the work that goes into doing something well — doing something right. I’m proud of all of the hard work that they have put into this.
And I love getting to play with sound, too.
Did I mention we were busy this summer? (By the way, my son is the one in the yellow cap above…playing the nerd. Perfect casting.)(Oh, and the fantastic photos of this summer’s shows were taken by New York-based pro photographer Matthew Murphy. He got some incredible shots.)
The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program is a decades-old training program for kids in Pasadena, CA. But I would call this a kid’s program on steroids, or, better, a pro theatre program that just happens to have kids as its focus. But this summer we held a master class with Megan Hilty of Wicked fame, held a class entitled Pursuing a Career in Musical Theatre, and did a American Idol-style solo competition, in addition to the two main shows that are produced every summer. Ryan Scott Oliver (award-winning musical composer), Cindy Abbott (wonderfully dedicated Pasadena music teacher), and Emily Clark (fabulous musical theatre performer and teacher) have transformed this program into a powerhouse that trains over 125 students every summer.
So what did Hearken Creative do? Well, for starters, I joined the board of the program last summer, because funding for arts has dried up with local school districts and I feel strongly about arts education. So, on our own, we have raised somewhere in the range of $50,000 every summer to make the program happen. In addition, Hearken Creative
- provided all design services for print media, programs, and press releases,
- photographed the Megan Hilty master class,
- filmed the Promise Competition,
- ran sound for all events, including the master class, meetings and competitions, and
- sound designed both major shows — the Juniors (4th-6th graders) and the Seniors (7th-12th grade) shows.
Essentially, this was two weeks of wrangling a high school auditorium (that a friend aptly called an “airplane hangar”) into submission, using Hearken Creative-provided equipment, rented equipment, and the high school’s 40-year-old 24-channel mixer, as well as my own 16-channel digital mixer. Twenty wireless body mics, plus choir mics and band sound reinforcement.
And boy, did it sound good! We don’t have the professionally-produced video from KLRN yet, but several people have posted their home videos already. Here’s one:
and my son singing a solo at the Promise Competition:
The purpose of the program is twofold: first, arts education is vital to a well-rounded education, and music/dance hits so many of the other disciplines — math, reasoning, spatial relationships — that it seems stupid the schools are cutting performing arts. Secondly, there is an erroneous meme out there that there are no viable career options in performing arts. We aim to change that perception.
By using Hearken Creative’s graphic design skills, our production and sound design skills, as well as our music background and fundraising acumen, we were able to help make this summer’s Pasadena Musical Theatre Program a complete success.
Wow, it’s hard to get a hold on where the economy is, for entertainment companies both big and small. The L.A. Times has a story on how the toy industry is looking to large blockbuster films like Transformers to drive more and more toy sales, especially in the off-peak summer months. A story about the success of the movie industry? But a day earlier, the Times looked at how smaller production and support companies were being squeezed by runaway production — filming moving to cheaper locations out-of-state — and how it’s going to be hard for the SoCal economy to absorb the loss of work.
And is NBC-Universal for sale or not? Who knows. They have been having a hard time, both on television (Knight Rider) and at the moviess (Land of the Lost). But what happens to the big affects even us small companies.
But look at total box office figures for the last few years. We’re on track this year to at least keep up with last year, if not surpass it. People are still spending money on entertainment.
With all of the bad things that are going on in the economy, it’s good to look at a few bright spots. When an economic shakeout happens, the competition in the market becomes fiercer, allowing strong companies to strengthen their position and weaker ones to be weeded out. Interestingly, it’s not always those that stay out of bankruptcy protection that are the safest. And sometimes, especially in the entertainment industry, it becomes hard to capitalize on a successful business — like British films.
A few quick links:
- My new friend Petrea from Pasadena Daily Photo did a series of pieces on our building in Old Town Pasadena last week. Interesting stuff, if you are into the history of old neighborhoods and buildings. Here are the three posts: 1, 2, 3, & 4.
- Homage or plagiarism? Lots of designers are up in arms about this website for a Republican candidate for governor, including Print‘s Daily Heller blog. Is it plagiarism? I don’t know. But the similarities to Obama’s well-designed site for his candidacy are striking…
- Copyblogger has a great little article about my favorite ad guy, Lloyd Ogilvie. Even though he wrote Ogilvie on Advertising decades ago, it still rings true for me as a marketer and graphic designer.
Happy Monday to you, wherever you are!
Well, I’ve done this over the years for friends, but I think I should stop underselling myself. This weekend I mixed sound at the Global Day of Prayer/Love Pasadena event on the steps of the Rose Bowl. 500 people, 5 bands, several hours, and lots of running around and soundchecking. And the event went off without a hitch. I’m really proud of Advantage Productions in Santa Clarita for finding me a sound system on short notice, and the pastors of the churches who helped put the event together.
Running live sound is a lot different than recording in the studio. In the studio, you can move mics around until you get it right, you can punch-in to fix a bad line, you can EQ and compress to your heart’s delight on your own time. But live sound needs to sound great — NOW. So I was really happy that, with no soundcheck for any of the bands, we were able to walk in and make everything sound awesome the first time. Having great equipment can make or break a show, and that’s why I’m s0 pleased with Brett and Ron from Advantage Productions, and how easy it was to work with them.
So, I’m hanging my shingle out for running live sound for events. And next time I’ll wear sunscreen.
After more protests at a meeting last week, city staff Tuesday night told residents at a meeting of the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee that the inclusion of the garage and road in the new plan was an oversight and would be fixed. “The roadway will be removed from the plan’s addendum,” said Theresa Fuentes, of the City Attorney’s Office. “The plan will be edited for removal of the parking garage.”
Well, I’m glad to hear it. Hahmongna is a city treasure, and, even more, a local gem. Can you think of many other locations within a few minutes’ drive where you can get completely lost in nature? There aren’t many in Southern California.
Next time I’m up there, maybe I’ll take the video camera and post some video. It’s truly that beautiful.
According to the Pasadena Star News this morning, the Gold Line extension project from Pasadena to Montclair has lost its bid to receive federal stimulus funding. Apparently the people at Metro don’t think it’s high on their priority list.
I only have a few things to say about this. First, I know funds are tight, and there are a lot of mass transit projects that need funding in Southern California. Second, it has taken years for the current Gold Line to reach the capacity that they were expecting/needing to generate expected revenue. But third, when the 210 Freeway extension was completed from San Dimas to Rancho Cucamonga, the entire 210 Freeway took a hit, and now I can’t stand to drive it. There is no longer a “rush hour” — it’s just a 24-hour traffic jam on the 210. So I would take the Gold Line Extension to the Inland Empire in a heartbeat if it was there. I’m just saying.
Come on, guys. Let’s save the planet. And soon.