Day three of the festival started off on a hilarious and educational note!  (HA!  See what I did there?)

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Our first workshop of the day was a rehearsal technique and and rehearsal coaching workshop.  Jenny and Crystal spent the first half of the workshop demonstrating and talking about ways to work through some issues that might arise, as well as various rehearsal techniques.  They also filled everyone in on 5HE’s tardiness policy: when you’re late to rehearsal, the next time you rehearse, you have to bring your ensemble members coffee.

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The second half of the workshop, composers in residence Stacy and Dan lead a rehearsal coaching workshop; they demonstrated do’s and don’t’s for composers coaching ensembles in rehearsal.  Their portion started with Dan demonstrating multiple things a composer should not do when coaching, and then Stacy demonstrated what to do.  While preparing for this workshop, most faculty members could be heard calling this the Goofus and Gallant rehearsal workshop. Fifth House Ensemble members stayed in the rehearsal room and had a rehearsal for Stacy Garrop’s Frammenti, which they will perform at the Saturday, June 22 final performance at Nichols Hall in Evanston.

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Before lunch, Nancy Bieshcke of Cedille Records stopped by to give a workshop on recording contracts.  She talked about some of the multiple ways artists might go about recording an album and also pointed out that there is no text book way to do it.

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After some more rehearsals in the afternoon, Herine led a resume, bio writing, and interview skills workshop, complete with demonstrations of both a horrible and awful interview with help from Drew and Clark.  I think the best part of the demonstrations was when Herine asked each of them to teach her how to hold a bow.  Drew, the bad interviewer, thrust the bow into her hand and bossed her around like a surly teenager, and Clark’s instructed Herine by having her make a bunny with her fingers.  It was awesomely adorable.

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In the afternoon, Drew and Chris stopped by the composers forum for some demonstrations.  Drew talked about writing for young violinists, and Chris gave some demonstrations and explanations about various percussion instruments, sticks & mallets, and techniques.

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We finished the evening off with some more rehearsals and a relatively early night.  Well, the schedule ended early, but I heard some pretty awesome practicing going on while walking through the music building at the end of the day.  On Day 4 we have our first participant salon night!  Pretty excited!!

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We had a pretty amazing first day, but man, day 2 topped day 1!

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After waking up to beautiful sunshine, we started the day off today with an education workshop led by Crystal and Eric.  With a little help from Drew, they explained the different kinds of education and outreach programs we lead, and  even demonstrated some of the activities we lead in education performances!  My favorite activity that they demonstrated involved a jump rope & the speed of its twirl and how that correlated with the tempo of the music.  Festival composer Nick Baskin help Crystal twirl the jump rope beautifully while Drew & Eric played along with the tempo.

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After our education workshop, we loaded a bus for our first off site performance!  We headed to Milwaukee and our performing participants left us awestruck with their performances, accompanied by the stunning back drop of the Milwaukee coast of Lake Michigan.  Performances today featured festival participants Danielle Simandl, Rita Andrade, Matt Kline, Rachael Eid-Ries, Jennifer Ellis, Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, Elmyn Johnson, and Jabez Co.  What made this performance even more exciting is that in addition to hearing instrumentalists perform, some composers also had the opportunity to perform on their primary instrument.

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Once the performance was finished, we loaded the bus, headed back to campus, and Melissa & Jenny presented our Arts Start Up workshop, complete with an activity that involved crayons and an assignment for our participants.

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We had time to squeeze in a rehearsal block this afternoon and a couple of composition lessons before dinner, and this evening, we rounded out the day with a workshop about budgeting with Melissa, Stacy, and Dan.

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I heard through the grape vine some of our musicians were planning on rehearsing tonight, so the day isn’t quite done for all of us!  Tomorrow night we end with our first participant led salon!

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WOW!  I can’t believe it!  After months and months of planning, lots of staff meetings, and even more emails, the 2013 fresh inc festival has started!  On Sunday, participants from across the country traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin to start the epic journey that is this festival!  After finding their way through the maze that gets you from the dining hall to the music building and back, we all ate dinner, everyone very patiently listened to me give them more information than any one human should have to absorb in an hour, we introduced ourselves, and then we had s’mores!  For those of you who don’t know, s’mores are a tradition for us, and we would have been outside roasting mallows in the pouring down rain if we had to (and if that were possible…)!

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After what was hopefully a good night sleep for everyone, we awoke to a foggy morning for Day 1 of the festival!  But despite the limited visibility across campus, our participants dove right into the day with their eyes wide open!  Here’s a little of what we were up to today:

First, we started with auditions.  This festival includes THREE performances for which participants (composers and instrumentalists) can audition to perform!  Karl and Jenny sat through hours of auditions today, and had the extremely difficult, but very exciting task, of programming these concerts.

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We took a break in the middle of auditions to have a Skype session with composer JacobTV.  He talked about the influence of pop culture on his music, his experience with copyright issues, dealing angry music lovers turned bloggers, and the opera he’s writing!  The biggest take away from his workshop for our composers is that JacobTV got his big break by writing for accordion!  He found that writing for rare instruments meant his pieces got played, and therefore people started seeking him out to write music for them.  Lesson learned: WRITE MUSIC FOR VIOLA AND BASS!

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In between more auditions, we managed to squeeze in a couple of composer presentations.  Composers in residence Stacy Garrop and Dan Visconti each presented some of their works to the composers, and then a couple of our festival composers had the chance to present some of their works to the group for discussion and questions. Over the course of the full two weeks, all 15 composers will get a chance to present their work.  I snuck in while composer (and Rapido! Take Three Midwest semi-finalist) Kevin Wilt was playing a recording of an orchestra piece he’d written that included some pretty awesome oboe solos!

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In the afternoon, Chicago actor and director Aaron Todd Douglas joined us for a public speaking and stage presence workshop.  We learned about the various ways that stage fright or anxiety presents itself physically or mentally, ways to work through those times, and the importance of standing in a relaxed, neutral position.  And a bunch of other stuff, too!

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In between these workshops and auditions, we were able to squeeze in a few rehearsals.  I snuck past the room where Melissa, Jennifer, and Katie were rehearsing a Debussy Trio for flute, viola, and harp, and it sounded pretty stellar!  One of the pieces I’m most excited to hear rehearsed at the festival is Shostakovich’s Ninth String Quartet.  You might remember that 5HE played this in March, transposed for the Real String Quartet (violin, viola, cello, bass), and it was epic!  Well, since the instrument we have the most of at the festival is viola (4! Well, 5 if you count Clark.), we thought this would be piece would be perfect to do!  Participant Timothy plays the violin part, Clark plays the violin ii part on his viola (which he learned for the March concert), Katie plays the original viola part on viola, and Matt E playing the cello part on bass just like Eric did in March.  The minute or two I got to hear while passing through today sounded pretty awesome!

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We rounded the evening off with a faculty salon, and we ended up playing three pieces from last year’s festival!  Our RSQ played Jason Charney’s Ocean Body, Melissa & Jenny played Chelsea Komschlies’ Steam, and our reed trio played Jesse Limbacher’s Air.  Plus, we rounded the salon off with George Crumb’s Voice of the Whale, a 5HE favorite!

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Tomorrow morning we have an education outreach workshop with Crystal and Eric, and then we head to the Milwaukee Art Museum for our first performance!

 

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As you might have noticed by checking out the 2013 performance schedule, we have a ton of exciting performance opportunities at this year’s festival!

Just like last year, we will perform at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Rush Hour Concerts (as part of the Make Music Chicago Grand Finale), and have two final performances, plus well as our salon nights on campus.  And the concerts we’ve added are equally as exciting!  We’ll be heading up the road to Racine, Wisconsin to perform at the Racine Art Museum, and we’ll make an additional trip into Chicago for a performance on the Chicago Cultural Center’s Classical  Mondays series in Preston Bradley Hall.  We’re really looking forward to hearing all of the exciting music our participants have to share with the world this summer!

But how will we decide what to program on these six performances?  I’m so glad you asked!  In addition to the extensive list of repertoire that our participants will be rehearsing at the festival, which includes 15 pieces commissioned for the festival by our participating composers, we are also inviting our participants to audition pieces to perform at the Milwaukee and Racine Art Museums and the Chicago Cultural Center.  On the first day of the festival, participants will have the chance to audition short pieces, including works for toy piano, and our faculty members will have the difficult but exciting task of selecting which pieces will be played on which programs.  This means that not only do you have SIX chances to experience fresh inc in performance, but each of these performances will be distinctly different!  So you should probably try to catch them all!

 

 

And we’re back!  Part 2 of your sneak peeks into fresh inc as we get closer and closer to this year’s festival!  This week, our staff has been busy getting scores and parts out to our participants and reserving large motor coach buses to get us to and from our performances in Chicago, Evanston, and Milwaukee.  They definitely don’t teach you how to book motor coach buses in music or theatre school (I went to the latter, although I know most of you went to the former), but when you gotta do it, you gotta learn it!  And it’s actually not that hard!  

Kevin Clark HeadshotAnd here’s your actual sneak peek: three weeks from today, on the first Thursday of the festival, faculty members Melissa Snoza, Stacy Garrop, and Dan Visconti will be joined via Skype by Kevin Clark, a composer and the communications manager for New Music USA, to team lead a workshop on fundraising that will cover grant writing and fundraising for musicians and composers.

They’ll also discuss Kevin’s area of expertise: crowdfunding.  Kevin will share the nuts and bolts and practical steps of using crowdfunding in a number of capacities, and we’ll also see what kind of observations he might have on the larger landscape of funding for artists and why this is such a good option for many of us.

Melissa, 5HE’s flutist and executive director, is our grant writing genius, and both Stacy and Dan have applied for, and won, a number of grants each as well (including with 5HE!).  We’re also excited to hear about New Music USA’s grant giving process and some recent changes they’ve made to their giving strategy.  As some of you might know, 5HE was a recent winner of a New Music USA grant to fund the commission of Caleb Burhans’ chamber opera Excelsior, A New Music USA Commission*, which we premiered in March.  

And lastly, here’s a shameless plug for you!  Speaking of Caleb Burhans’ Excelsior, Fifth House Ensemble is hosting a reprise performance of the piece.  On Sunday, June 2, 2013, 5HE will make its Constellation debut here in Chicago.  Constellation is Chicago’s new premiere new music venue, and this exciting program will also be Caleb’s midwest release party for his new album on Cantaloupe Records.  We hope you’ll join us at 8:30pm on 6/2 for an exciting performance in addition to joining us at as many fresh inc performances as possible!

*Excelsior was commissioned through New Music USA’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support form the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund.

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