fresh inc 2014 — day 6

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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fresh inc 2014 — day 5

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.



fresh inc 2014 — day 4

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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fresh inc 2014 — day 3

Day three of fresh inc 2014 was one of the days that we look forward to the most at the festival each year — it was Milwaukee Art Museum day!  For the third year in a row, we loaded onto a bus and headed to Milwaukee to perform in the absolutely gorgeous Windhover Hall at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  With a stunning background of Lake Michigan behind our performers, it’s one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen a performance!

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We heard works both contemporary and classical, solo and ensemble, from a number of our participants that they auditioned on the first day of the festival.

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We’ve absolutely loved playing at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and we cannot wait to be back next year!  If you’re in the area, you should definitely head over and check it out.  A number of our participants were able to walk through the museum and enjoy the art while the performers were doing soundcheck.

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In addition to our performance at the Milwaukee Art Museum, festival participants took part in 5HE’s Transitioning to College to Career workshop where Eric, Valerie, Clark, and Jani talked to the room about their paths from being in school to where they are now, and they shared the tips and tricks they’ve learned along the way.

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We continued the day with Melissa & Eric presenting our Putting Your Audience Center Stage workshop, which talks about psychographics and designing the concert experience to fit your audience.

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We concluded the day with a few more rehearsals, lessons, and composer presentations.

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Day four included a great marketing workshop with Professor Paul Wang from Northwestern University and James Buckhouse from Twitter — stay tuned for more updates!


fresh inc 2014 — day 2

After closing out day 1 of the festival with a performance of Luna de Cuernos by our faculty members, we kicked day 2 off with a rehearsal techniques and coaching do’s & don’ts workshop.

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Jenny & Deuce gave some tips & tricks for getting the most out of your rehearsal time, and Dan & Stacy demonstrated their now famous Goofus & Gallant rehearsal coaching.

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Dan walked in eating Milanos and showed ways for a composer to NOT coach a rehearsal, and then Stacy came in and saved the day demonstrating good ways for composers to interact with ensembles during a coaching.

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We continued the morning with fresh inc 2.0 meetings between faculty members and fresh inc 2.0 participants, who are participants who are attending the festival for the second time and are working on specific projects.  While these meetings were happening, the rest of the morning was spent in rehearsals and composition lessons.

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After lunch and another set of rehearsals, Eric & Jenny lead a public speaking workshop — a fresh inc staple!  Participants had the chance to demonstrate piece introductions, and Eric switched things up and asked them to introduce the same piece for both an audience of standard concert goers and a room full of kindergarteners!

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The rest of the afternoon was filled with lots of rehearsing, practicing, and lessons.

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After dinner, we had our first guest expert workshop.  Genevieve Theirs, creator of Sitter City, soprano, and entrepreneur, talked to us about her various ventures, how she started them, and how she’s balanced her new ventures, artistic career, and personal life.

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Stay tuned for more updates from fresh inc 2014 — day 3 includes our third annual performance at the Milwaukee Art Museum!