RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • PAS Diversity Alliance Spotlight: Catherine Cole, Artistic Operations Coordinator, the Florida Orchestra by Haley Nutt

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Nov 25, 2020


    Catherine Cole

    PAS Diversity Alliance
    : What is your job description?

    Catherine Cole: I’m a member of The Florida Orchestra’s (TFO) operations team and am responsible for managing hospitality and contract advancement for our guest artists and staff conductors. The bulk of my work is fulfilling guest artist contract requirements, which includes booking flights, hotels, and ground transportation for guest artists, preparing itineraries, and making sure the artists are paid on time. I am the guest artist’s go-to person while they are in town and help ensure they have a positive and memorable experience with the orchestra.

    PAS DA: How might you describe a “day in the life” for you? 

    CC: TFO is a traveling orchestra. We play in at least three different venues every week in the Tampa area, so I am constantly on the go! I attend most orchestra services (we have 7–9 per week), so a lot of my work is done from a spare dressing room at a venue. I even have my own trunk that travels on our company truck where I store my hospitality supplies (hand towels, cases of water, tea, paper products, first-aid kit, ice bucket, snacks, etc.). A typical day might consist of a trip to the grocery store for a guest artist’s rider items (their list of required items for every service), preparing dressing rooms for the conductor and soloists, setting up catering spreads, greeting guest artists and going over their schedules, and working through a rehearsal and concert to make sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time. We have long days!

    PAS DA: What inspired you to pursue a career in arts administration? 

    CC: I’ve always been interested in a multi-faceted career in the music industry and have felt at home working in production and logistic planning. I decided to explore arts administration when I was in graduate school completing an Arts Leadership certificate. This program lead to several internships in the administration realm, including work at a classical radio station and operations positions at various summer music festivals. I love producing concerts, so the TFO opportunity felt like a great next step to immerse myself in the world of orchestra operations, and now I assist in producing over 100 orchestra concerts a season.

    PAS DA: What advice could you offer to someone considering a career in arts administration?

    CC: Summer music festivals are a great place to start for discovering what aspect of arts administration might interest you, as they usually hire seasonal positions in operations, fundraising, marketing, and community engagement. It’s also helpful to find someone in the field who is doing something you find interesting and ask them about their job; I did this a lot when I was interning. Create opportunities for yourself to try on your administration hat: put on a concert or short festival, apply for a grant, run a consortium, market your chamber group, etc. You’re probably already doing arts administration in some aspect of your musical life!

    PAS DA: Who are your influences in the percussion world?

    CC: I am influenced by the festival producers, the instrument inventors, the composers and method book writers, and anyone who is using their artistry to make a positive impact in the music community.

    Haley NuttHaley Nutt is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida State University. She earned her Doctorate in Musicology and Master’s in Historical Musicology at FSU and a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Texas Christian University. Haley is a member of the PAS Scholarly Research Committee and the Diversity Alliance, and has presented her research on percussion, gender, and institutions at PASIC, the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, and other regional and national conferences. During her time as a graduate student at FSU, she was the director of the FSU Rock Ensemble and has performed frequently with the Balinese Gamelan and Percussion Ensembles.

  • Three Cs for Better Vibraphone Playing by Josh Gottry

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Nov 23, 2020

    A vibraphone is a unique keyboard instrument that requires a unique approach. Rather than being viewed as a marimba with metal bars and a pedal, the techniques and concepts that give this instrument its unique sound and character should be thoroughly considered and exploited. A short article won’t cover all the variables in play, but here are three quick Cs that can help you improve your quality of sound when approaching the vibraphone.

    Before even playing the first note on the vibraphone, consider the harmonic indications of the music you are playing. Because the instrument has a pedal, you are able to control when the notes you strike are allowed to sustain and when the instrument is dampened. Just like the end of every line of music isn’t the end of a phrase, neither is every barline or strong beat within the measure a change of harmony. Take time to do a quick chordal analysis and determine when the harmony changes. Use those points as the primary indication of where pedaling would be appropriate.

    The most frequent error I see in pedaling is motion of the pedal in parallel with the mallets. Too often, as the mallet lifts to prepare for the next stroke, so does the pedal to dampen the previous sounding notes. This creates unmusical space, as if a wind player took a breath before each note or string players lifted the bow every time they changed direction. Yes, sometimes there should be a breath or space between notes, but most often we should strive to have one note begin to sound simultaneously as we are dampening the previous note. This is only accomplished with contrary motion between the mallets and the damper bar. As the mallet descends to strike the bar before a rebounding in a legato motion, so should the damper bar ascend, touch the bars, and then rebound again off the keys to allow the newly struck note(s) to ring freely.

    Beyond the damper bar, the mallets in our hands also can serve as a muting agent, able to dampen individual notes while others ring free. Facility with mallet dampening is a critical skill to musical performance on vibraphone. Whenever more than one pitch is allowed to ring at a time, there may be an opportunity to create clarity by removing individual pitches to avoid clashing pitches or simply to better highlight a note of choice. Mallet dampening can be done quickly to immediately mute a bar or to gradually fade out a pitch. Mallet dampening provides a vibraphonist with another tool beyond the pedal that is arguably much more precise and flexible in controlling resonance.

    Here’s to better sounds and better music on your vibraphone!

    Josh GottryJosh Gottry is a respected educator, accomplished percussionist, and internationally recognized composer who has been working with, and creating music for, the next generation of percussionists for over twenty years. He has served on the music faculty of college and university campuses around the Phoenix metropolitan area, works regularly with ensembles and students at all grade levels as a clinician and within his private lesson studio, and his performance record includes professional orchestras, musical theater, worship teams, jazz combos, community and chamber ensembles, as well as solo performances and recitals. Gottry is an ASCAP award-winning composer whose works have been performed at universities, junior high and high schools, and multiple national conferences, and he serves as editor for Rhythm! Scene. Along with Paul Buyer, he is co-author of The Art of Vibraphone Playing, published by Meredith Music.

  • In Memoriam: Candido Camero

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Nov 21, 2020

    Candido Camero, a Cuban musician widely regarded as “the father of modern conga drumming,” died on November 7, 2020, at age 99.

    Known professionally simply as “Candido,” he began his career in Cuba at age 14 and stayed active well into his 90s. Before Candido, congueros only played one drum, with bands typically having two or three conga players. But when Candido first came to the U.S. in 1946 to accompany Cuban dance team Carmen and Rolando, there was only enough money to hire a single conguero. So Candido played both a conga and quinto, keeping the basic groove on the conga and adding embellishments on the quinto. He eventually expanded his setup to three drums, tuning them to a chord in the manner of timpani. Later he added a set of bongos and became known for playing the melody of “Tea for Two” on his tuned bongos and congas.

    Candido moved permanently to the U.S. in 1952 and spent a year working with pianist Billy Taylor in New York, adapting Cuban rhythms to American swing. He went on to work with a variety of jazz musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Tony Bennett, Woody Herman, Erroll Garner, George Shearing, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. He appeared on hundreds of albums, and he recorded as the leader on Candido (1956) and The Conga Kings (2000). A documentary on Candido’s life was released in 2008, titled Hands of Fire.

    In 2008 he was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2009 he received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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