Our first rehearsal was yesterday, and I think it went rather quite well!
I like how we learned some advanced elements about music. We learned some things about each other. We got some new music, courtesy of Dr Waters. We did quite a bit!
We are in need of a couple of musicians. If you know of a couple of horn players, please have them contact me. I'd love to have a full section of 4! I'd also love to get just 1 more trumpet player: the ones we have a great, but I'd just like to fill out the section with 3 or 4. If you know of someone who would fit the bill, please have them contact me, and they can use the "Contact Us" form from the web page.
Attendance yesterday wasn't bad. I think we have some sick people, and that's OK - please stay home and get better!
I changed a couple of things on the website here: I updated our calendar (I swear I thought thing updated itself!), I updated our members, and I removed the old Carol of the Bells from the music page. It was a good tune, but that arrangement is just wicked hard.
I think we're in good shape. We are moving towards being "set" for our concert on December 5... I think that's only 3 more rehearsals! Please try to make all of them. Next rehearsal is November 7. If you have any questions or issues, please feel free to send me an email and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Thank you again, LAYO family!
Dear Parents & Students,
It is with deepest sympathy and regret that inform you that the Lima Area Youth Orchestra will not be performing with Black Violin on Thursday, October 21, 2021. We were placed in a situation where we (Dr Waters and I) had no control over our outcome. In short, their management team will not allow us to perform with the group in a performance situation. We were in negotiations all week, but they repeatedly turned us down, and claimed that it was due to COVID precautions. To us, when we work for an end product, we always want to showcase what we have worked on, and put our best foot forward. We felt that we were not in a situation that would allow this to happen.
However, all of our players still have a free ticket to the show. Please, come if you want to and are able. There would be no need to show up earlier than the show itself, and you can wear the clothes that you deem appropriate. If you don't want to go to the show, please feel no pressure to do so.
If you decide to go to the show, we are under the assumption that we have a block of tickets held for "LAYO", so feel free to swing by the box office, and tell them you want a ticket for LAYO for the concert. Again, it begins at 7:30. I would tell my students that it's good practice to show up around 15-30 minutes before the concert to get yourself situated. If you want to let me know that you're going, please do. If you had parents/family who bought a ticket, and you now want a refund, please call the box office and let them know.
We feel like every situation, whether positive or negative, can be an excellent learning situation for all of us. In this case, we now have a little more experience working with an off-site management crew. We also feel like it was a good practice, moving forward, to begin the season with some strings-only rehearsals.
And speaking of rehearsals, if we don't see you at the Black Violin concert, we'll see you at this Sunday's rehearsal! We hope that you & your family have a pleasant evening (please go enjoy the beautiful fall weather!) and a fabulous week!
Well, first of all, here's a news piece about... us!
And then, in the next couple of days, there's going to be a lot of information on here about our new Cadet Orchestra! For those who already play, think of it as LAYO "lite"! It's designed for more beginning students, with about 1-4 years of experience. It's just string players. If you know of anyone who would be interested, PLEASE send them our way, and at least check out the information page which will be up & running soon!
First of all, our string section gets an award for being the most all-around awesome group in LAYO that I've ever seen. 100% attendance tonight! Nothing against some of our alumni, they were great, and contributed a lot. But this whole family of instruments is just great. Maybe it's the bias of being gone from the pandemic and just coming back? Whatever it is, if the winds/percussion section can match what the string section does, this year's LAYO is going to be unstoppable!
We're getting ready for our Black Violin performance. Like Dr Waters said during rehearsal, I'll send out a pretty detailed email shortly after we get the directions ourselves.
Regardless of your instrument, we are going to be eliminating Carol of the Bells from this concert. But, we absolutely love the tune & love the song, so we'll definitely fire up a different arrangement - maybe end of the week-ish? Maybe next week-ish?
Again, I just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate you & enjoy working with you. Today at rehearsal, we had one of those collective moments where (I think, at least) the students, myself, and Dr Waters were all like "this is how we get better". I wanted to drop in a Mandalorian quote: "this is the way." Thank you all again for being your awesome selves - I appreciate you.
Also, Dr Waters & a couple of our senior members were interviewed by Hometown Stations today in preparation for Black Violin. As soon as that article goes up on their website, I will link to it. Have a great evening. Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day. Have a great week ahead!
Wow, it's great to be back with everyone! Our string players did a great job today! We found out that Impossible is Possible needs to be memorized. We worked through some of the problems that come with technology. The string players played their 2 strings-only pieces, and we found out that speed can make things VERY difficult some times! Reminder: we'll be doing Christmas Time is Here first, we'll have a fermata or some type of transitional element, and then drop right in to Skating. I think those pieces will be stellar! We ran through the Mozart Sleigh Ride, and Mr MacBenn even missed the DC/Coda - shame on you Mr MacBenn! The Carol of the Bells piece is a challenge, for sure, but there is no doubt that we can do it! I'm just curious why there's little hints of other songs in there, because I KNOW that the violas had a snippet of Silent Night!
Personally, I was excited to see some familiar faces: Madison, Adanna, Jaden, Shivana, Evie, Haley, Alyssa, Lauren, and Bryson. I had a chuckle about Dr Waters being impressed by how tall Bryson is. I was elated to meet some new players: Phoenix, Lilliana & Lauren, and also to bring in some new players to our group that I had already known: Dakota, Jurisha, Ellaya and Carson!
Keep on practicing. Try to work for memorizing Impossible is Possible. Dr Waters and I will be trying to find out about the dress rehearsal and about seeing if y'all get a couple "comp" tickets (that means a free ticket so a friend or family member can see you play). Great job, everyone! See you next week!
Some extra stuff: here's tips to memorize music.
Here's some tips from Itzhak Perlman, violin legend.
And one more.
In case you missed it, we were recently in the news! Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center had a gathering at Vibe coffee shop downtown, and they talked about upcoming events. It was my first time in Vibe, and it was a cool space, and although I didn't have any coffee, it sure smelled great!
Just a reminder that if you need directions in/around the school, please see the post below. First strings rehearsal is tomorrow - I'm excited! Reminder for seniors that if you need anything, please say something to either Dr Waters or Mr MacBenn. I'll post tomorrow after our rehearsal. Looking forward to all of it!
Parents, students, friends, family members, and whoever else happens to be reading this: I can't wait for this season to start! I have officially uploaded ALL music to the members site! There are some GREAT tunes for this concert! Some are easy, and there's a couple that are definitely on the challenging side. All of our students: PLEASE look over those before our first rehearsal!
String players: there is some hype about Black Violin - I am excited that we are a part of this performance! We have some people in the community who are very excited to hear us perform, and I'm so happy that we have this opportunity! Also, if you're in the music section, the last 2 tunes are Skating and Christmas Time is Here. Just so you know, we're going to squeeze those two into a medley, so it's just going to sound like 1 larger piece of music. I wish there was a piano part for Skating. We're going to make one, though... and a percussion part, too!
For all NEW members: I realized earlier in the week that you might be confused about Lima Senior. You'll be driving in to the east parking lot. If you see "Student Activities Entrance" you're in the right general spot. Then, you sort of follow the driveway along, and you want to enter near the big "rolly garage door" - it will be a silver colored door marked "E3". The door should be unlocked before our rehearsal. You'll go in and see the bathrooms directly on your left, and take the left at the first double door, which is the music wing. From there, the orchestra room will be sort of in the middle of the hallway (it's shaped like a large, flat "U"), and the band room should be on the left just after you enter. If you're a string player, we would highly encourage you to put your cases in the hallway, or (if it's open) the orchestra room. I know that sounds a bit confusing and/or a bit strange for right now, but I'm sure you'll find that to be a pretty accurate description.
Seniors: if you need a recommendation, or some direction for your future, all you need to do is ask! Dr Waters is a seasoned college professor with a varied and rich background. Mr MacBenn has been sending seniors to college for twenty years. One might think that we know what we're talking about if you have any questions.
Fair enough? Again, I'm so excited and happy to be a part of our organization. I speak for Dr Waters and myself both when we say that we want you to be successful with all that you do. We're glad that we have each other for this season. See you all soon!
Hey everyone. I did some work. I have uploaded Impossible is Possible for the string players, for the performance with Black Violin in October. I have uploaded parts for L'Inverno, Sleepers Awake, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Carol of the Bells, and Simple Gifts. That gives our Christmas concert 5 songs. I still have 3 to go, which will give us 8 pieces of music - that will be great! I believe that I will get those last few uploaded at the beginning of next week. A Sleigh Ride (sorry, not the one you're thinking of) will be another piece of music uploaded soon. I would humbly recommend working on Carol of the Bells, because as I listened to the recording, it's anything but easy.
If I missed someone, if I forgot someone, or if I did something to mess up a link, you're going to have to tell me about it. I've had a few parents & students email me already, so thank you for helping me fix that stuff. Full disclosure, I have a degree in music, and I can sell real estate, but I do not have a degree in web design. For my "peeps" in LAYO, I will always do my best, though.
I can't wait to make some music with everyone.
Our season is picking up speed, and we haven't even started! Christmas music should be up in the next week or so. If you are a string player, PLEASE have your music ready for our first rehearsal. All of the music: Black Violin AND Christmas music. If you want to do the music digitally, that's fine. If you want to print off your own music, that's fine. If you need a physical copy of it, you will need to inform Mr MacBenn. You can send him an email (if you already have it), you can send him an email through the "CONTACT" button at the top, or you can use your LAYO Handbook to find his cell phone number and send him a text message. Our first rehearsal is scheduled for SEPTEMBER 26, 2021. 3-6 PM at Lima Senior High School. This will be a strings only rehearsal. You'll need music for Black Violin and the Christmas Concert music. (I know I already said that, but I'm feeling the need to repeat myself, because it's so important)
Parents, on the days of rehearsals, you might want to check out web page for any last minute information that may come up, such as time or location changes. We don't want to change anything of the sort, believe me. However, if we need to because of disinfection/COVID protocols, or inclement weather, or whatever other reason, that's the medium that we will do it through. The entire pandemic experience has taught us all that even some of the best plans change at the last moment, even though we don't want them to do so.
And finally, our holiday concert is looking to be a great one. There are some familiar Christmas tunes, as well as some that are a little less familiar. Your directors believe that we've put together a solid and achievable program. We beg you, please look at the music before the first rehearsal. We understand that, especially with high schoolers, schedules get busy and there's all sorts of things that come up, which makes practicing difficult, which then makes a truly excellent performance almost impossible. If we can afford a few minutes here & there before the season starts, it makes everyone's job immeasurably easier.
So much going on right now! First of all, again, I'm so proud to be a part of this organization. Thank you to ALL of our sponsors, supporters, friends and family who help us get this awesome ensemble up & running.
Black Violin is coming! October 21 is the performance. I sincerely hope that we (players, myself, Dr Waters) get a chance to meet and interact with the guys.
Masks & Covid related news! It will be expected that everyone will wear a mask during rehearsal, unless you are actively playing a wind instrument. Please understand that this whole Delta Variant is a big deal, and EVERYONE's safety & health is important. Yes, it would not be a fun thing to get the COVID, and I totally understand the people out there saying "kids aren't as strongly effected by it". Ok, but what about when that kid takes it home and passes it around to the family, unknowingly. That would be awful. Let's all do our part to protect & respect one another by keeping our masks on & up. Thank you!
Cadet Orchestra. MAYBE it's coming? I am working on a program to get some younger string players into our ranks. It would actually be a separate orchestra. String orchestra only. Best if someone would have between 1 and 3 years of playing. Notice how there's no age bracket attached to that. Every one of our students in LAYO is pretty awesome. The string section, though, makes up a huge part of what we do. It should be the responsibility of the director (or co-director... which is me) to encourage/foster/bolster our general sections. Well, I know several younger students who play string instruments, but they don't feel like they're "good enough" to be a part of our larger ensemble. How do we fix this? Cadet orchestra. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I get the go-ahead to start it in January.
Christmas Music! Dr Waters and I have looked at Christmas music extensively. [Do you know how hard it is to seriously look at Christmas music in August?!?] I should have that up in the members section by mid-September. Please remember, I have to scan in and then post every one of the parts. Sometimes, this can be difficult to do! Also, if you're NOT OK with printing out your own part, or with using a digital format (tablet, etc...) you're going to have to let me know. You can just click the "Contact" if that's quick. Some of you know my email. Some of you even know my cell phone! Please, send a message if you need to!
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to starting this season with everyone! Please stay safe & healthy. Best of luck to ALL of our students for great school year!
News // Updates
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