Monday was our day off, so there’s not too much to report!  Faculty members hit up their favorite Kenosha food place — Captain Mike’s, and our participants went to the beach, explored Kenosha, and did some practicing.

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The second Tuesday of fresh inc got us back into the swing of things bright and early!

For the first half of the morning, we had more rehearsals, composition lessons, and composer presentations.

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The second half of the morning found us in a couple workshops.  John Henes returned for a second Alexander Technique workshop with our instrumentalists.  John, who teaches Alexander Technique at Northwestern University, did demonstrations with some of our participants.

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The composers had a workshop with Dan & Stacy on producing and commercial works.

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After lunch, we had one of our most popular workshops — fundraising!  For the first part of the workshop, Kevin Clark, a composer who also works at New Music USA and happens to be an expert on crowd funding, talked about the ins and outs of crowd funding, answered questions, and even highlighted a few of our participants who raised their fresh inc tuition through crowd funding this year!

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For the second part of the workshop, Melissa talked about fundraising through grant writing and individual donations.

We broke the afternoon up with some more rehearsing and composer presentations, and then we all came back together for a workshop on sales and budgets, which was lead by Melissa and 5HE’s program director Anna Duncan.  We were excited to have Anna with us on campus for the day!

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Dinner followed our sales and budgets workshop, and after dinner, Anna and other 5HE faculty members rehearsed with the participants who signed up to go to the Boys and Girls Club the following day.  In one room, Jani, Deuce, and Stacy worked with a group to rehearse 5HE’s Young Composer workshop, and in another room, Clark & Valerie lead the rehearsal on Music Can Tell A Story.  Anna floated between the two rehearsals to give her expertise when needed!

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Stay tuned for an update for day 10, which includes our visit to the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha!

The first Sunday of the festival began with one set of rehearsals and composition lessons.

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Following rehearsal & lessons, we loaded up the cars and headed down into downtown Kenosha for another performance.  We played at the Kenosha Public Museum right on the lakefront.  Our performance space was on their mezzanine overlooking the main hall of the museum, so all guests who entered could hear us performing.

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We were blessed again with a beautiful backdrop of the park and lake behind us as we played.

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Not only did our participants play more of the pieces that they auditioned on the first day of the festival, but we also programmed some of the standard repertoire pieces that were being rehearsed at the festival.

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We brought box lunches with us to the museum to eat during soundcheck or on the car ride home.

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After we returned to campus, the composers had a workshop with Daniel Dorff of Presser Publishing.  And many of the instrumentalists joined in on this workshop as well.  Daniel talked about publishing and the various avenues available, and at the end we had time for composers to ask him questions.

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Following the workshop, we rehearsed some more, and a few composers had lessons.

We continued the late afternoon with some more presentations of work by our participating composers in the composer forum, and Eric Snoza continued to take headshots of participants.

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Sunday night was another night off for festival participants and faculty!

On the first Saturday of the festival, the instrumentalists had the morning off to practice or have lessons with faculty members.  The composers got together for a presentation from one of their colleagues and the first of two forums on composer resources.

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We ate lunch an hour early because after lunch we loaded up the cars and headed over to the Kenosha Public Library.

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We had an absolute blast hearing performances from our participants at the Kenosha Public Library.

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It was wonderful to hear a quiet and reverent space filled with beautiful sound and see the patrons of the library embrace the music.

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After our amazing library performance, we returned to campus for a workshop with Ezra Claytan Daniels, one of 5HE’s favorite collaborators.  Ezra wrote and illustrated 5HE’s first graphic novel series, Black Violet, and each year at fresh inc Ezra comes up to lead a workshop on music and storytelling.

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During the workshop, Ezra talks about his process of creating Black Violet, from inception to performance, and then asks the participants to create their own short music & story telling experiences.

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The music & storytelling presentations our participants were charged to create were accompanied by fresh inc participants playing the opening to Schubert’s Death and the Maiden string quartet.  After spending some time creating these presentations, we gathered together again for each group to present theirs.  These presentations are one of the highlights of the festival — people get to let loose and put their creative impulses to use in a new way!

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Ezra’s workshop closed out our afternoon, and after dinner, our participants had the night off to rehearse, practice, venture off campus for dinner, or, rumor has it, get together to read the Mendelssohn String Octet.

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Day five of fresh inc started with a morning rehearsal, and Eric taking more headshots of our participants.

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After some rehearsing, we gathered for another workshop, and Sugar Vendil of the Nouveau Classical Project joined us via Skype to talk about starting new ventures and to share her story and experience with new projects, groups, and events.

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After a few more rehearsals after lunch, festival participating percussionists Kevin Rank and Andy Hall met with the composers to talk about writing for percussion and demonstrate some aspects of percussion.

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After that, Clark lead a great workshop on writing a good bio and cover letter.  As part of this workshop, Clark showed examples of really terrible and really great bios and cover letters to help demonstrate good structures of both and help our participants write their own versions.

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Clark also did the Goofus and Gallant of interviews.  Drew joined him to be the bad interviewee, including having his cell phone ring during the interview, and then Deuce demonstrated a great interview.  Deuce was so good, in fact, that he was able to get Clark, our violist, to make a good sound on one of his bassoon reeds.

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Don’t think we’re ignoring resumes as part of this workshop! The composers had their own forum just on writing resumes and CVs for composition, and all participants have the opportunity to review their resumes in their lessons and in advising sessions with Melissa.

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To close out that afternoon workshop, Dan and Stacy talked about commissioning contracts.  One of the best parts of this festival is the collaborations that come out of it between our composers and instrumentalists.  And Dan & Stacy’s talk about commission contracts helps give them a base for future collaborations with each other and future collaborations with others.

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After dinner, we closed the night with one more rehearsal and some more presentations from the composers.


Day four of fresh inc 2014 was a big rehearsal day for us.  We had four separate groups of rehearsals, including some of our composers sitting in on rehearsals of their pieces.

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In addition to rehearsals and lessons, we had a couple of great workshops.  We had marketing Professor Paul Wang from Northwester University join us up on campus, and we had James Buckhouse from Twitter corporate join us via Skype again for the third year for a joint marketing workshop.

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Professor Wang talked about telling a story with your marketing and your music to really pull people in and make them connect with you on multiple levels.

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James talked about best tactics and strategies for using Twitter to promote yourself, your work, your performances and more.  The biggest tip he gave was that in order to get more retweets, follows, and faves on Twitter, you need to be sure to share a gift with your followers — a picture or a video to give them a sneak peek into the world of your art.  

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Eric & Jani also let an education workshop during which they talked about the curriculum integration we do on the stage and in the classroom, and after the workshop, participants signed up to participate in our education performances at the Boys & Girls Club in Kenosha during week 2.

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We closed the day with our first of 2 participant salon nights.  We heard some great performances from our participants including Debussy’s Trio for Flute, Viola, and Harp, which was rehearsed here at the festival, a number of solos from our participants, and an awesome arrangement of a Jackson 5 song!

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