This season is off to a good start. Well our opening concert had a power failure and we had to cancel the second half of the concert. That was a bummer! But we got the city to pay for us to perform the Scheherazade several weeks later. The British are Coming is the theme of our next concert. I am so excited to be working with Ron White, who has been a member of the SOST for a very long time. What is amazing is that after I had been working with the orchestra here in Beaumont for three years, Ron and I were sitting next to each other playing a gig at a local church and we started talking and realized we were at the same band camp, in the same clarinet section and in the same concert band up in Michigan back in 1981! We could not believe the coincidence and that it took us three years of working together until we realized this fact. Ron’s training on the clarinet is really top-notch having studied with some of the biggest names in the clarinet world. The Mozart Clarinet Concerto is a piece that is near and dear to my heart as a clarinetist. It was one of Mozart’s last compositions and shows his absolute mastery and how he was light years ahead of any of his contemporaries at the time. A true masterpiece
It is hard to believe that we are almost through another season with the Symphony of Southeast Texas. This orchestra has been around for 61 seasons which is a testament to the community of Beaumont and surrounding communities. This is my 5th season here in good ole’ Beaumont. Some of the highlights this season the Peck Glory and the Grandeur with our awesome percussion section, performing with the blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, our holiday concert and the Beatles pops concert, kicking off our new chamber music series and some awesome youth concerts. The orchestra just did a hot performance of the Mozart Jupiter Symphony. Some really good things on the horizon for the SOST.
On a personal front, I received the Aspire Award from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. This award recognizes the work of African American and Hispanic leaders in the community who promote inclusiveness in the arts. Lord knows we could use more of that! I have had my longest association with that orchestra and love the ATL. We have one more concert left with an opera spectacular with the orchestra. A new frontier for me and the orchestra. Must keep stretching and moving out of the comfort zone. Henry Venta, our board president says that you can not cut your way to success. So true so true SO TRUE! We have to keep creating new pathways to reach into community and attracting people to us. And that is what we are going to do. Come and take a ride with the Symphony of Southeast Texas!
So that is the latest with more to come.
Peace out Y’all,
Well we had a very successful 60th season with the Symphony of Southeast Texas and very proud of the staff and musicians. Some of the highlights this year included the Side by Side concert, Beethoven Triple Concerto with Jon Kimura Parker, our Gospel Pops Celebration with the Antioch Baptist Church Choir, a fantastic reading of the Don Juan by Strauss and closing out the season with the Carmina Burana. Just great music making all around and to very enthusiastic audiences all season long.
So what is in store for the rest of the summer. Not much actually. Summer is a time to reflect and prepare for the future. I will probably attend a workshop to sharpen my saw some. This orchestra has been here for 60 years and now we need to prepare for the next 60 years. (I won’t be here for the 120th anniversary in case you were wondering!)
I am looking forward to the summer months. Our next concert is July 4th and is air conditioned so I hope that many folks will come out for that. In the meantime, enjoy the leisure days of summer.
Ok, I am back. It has been a long time since my last entry. So much has gone on it is hard to even know where to begin. First of all, we are having a fantastic 60th season with the SOST. Just each concert is better than the last one. The big focus this year has been on working on our strategic plan and dreaming where we can take the orchestra over the next 10 years (with or without me! LOL)
We just had our pops concert for the season and it was wildly unusual and popular. We did a gospel themed concert with Antioch Baptist Church, a church that is here in the community. The audience (and orchestra for that matter) did not know what hit them! Umm, well I didn’t know what hit me either. The choir just sang their hearts out, we had a kickin’ rhythm section and there was me dancing and swaying of the podium. It was nuts but crazy fun. I hope that we can do it again in the future. These two genres are not commonly placed together. Gospel, which is an oral tradition and the very rigid European orchestra traditions. It was great to introduce the community to this hybrid of music.
So, what I am going to try to do drop in shorter entries but do it on a more frequent basis. That is all for today. I am headed to San Antonio tomorrow to participate in the Texas Music Educators Association convention. It should be fun.
Bye for now.
Well, the summer heat is beginning to subside thank goodness. It has been a wonderful summer and I am ready to get back to work with the SOST. We are gearing up for our 60th Diamond season here. Last summer I was on the road it was nice to be here and just a lot of prep work for the symphony.
Also this summer I went to an awesome conductor’s retreat in Maine. It is called the Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak in Washington Maine. It was 18 days long and I felt every minute of everyday. There were 36 conductors and the primary teacher was Kenneth Kiesler. He is a very exacting teacher and did an amazing job of working with all of us. It was also interesting being around that many conductors at once. Typically as conductors we one or two in a given community so fellowship is not so easy. But Ken did a really good job of forming us into a supportive community. I was one of the elder statesman so to speak but I learned a lot. Two things that Ken kept referring to during the course of the retreat was we should use music to transform the world. And the other is that our conducting should be a visual coefficient of the music.
Transform the world through music is self explanatory. We can effect change in peoples lives through using music. The visual coefficient refers to the fact that what we show with our hands needs to visually reflect the music. This is hard to do and hard to break the habit of “generic” conducting and time beating. We also taped all of our sessions which is painful to watch yourself conducting. You think that you are doing one thing and you realize your tongue is hanging out of the leftside of your mouth whenever you do a four pattern. Not a good look for me.
So today we start the media blitz around here and first rehearsal tomorrow night. Let the GAMES BEGIN!!!
I hope that everyone’s summer is progressing well and staying cool or dry. Some crazy weather patterns are happening around the country. I’m in here in Maine at the Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak. It has been a crazy intense experience but very rich in knowledge shared and a wonderful community of conductors here. It is an 18 day retreat that will end on July 22 and I will be ready to return back to Beaumont. I have learned so much here. We have a big singing project left to do and the final concert on Sunday. I will be conducting the 2nd movement from the Mozart Symphony No. 40. It is all about learning.
One of the aspects that has been really refreshing here is that there are 36 conductors and just to be able to compare “notes” (small pun intended), meet people, network and just fellowship. In the conducting world we get so cut off from our fellow conductors because there is not usually many of us in any given community. So it can get a bit isolating. We are also hanging in the woods from civilization. No McDonalds, no Diet Pepsi, no TV (now that hurts), just a lot of trees, lakes and fresh air. It has been nice to detox out here, just some good living.
One of the challenges after one gets off of the formal training track (out of college and such) is how does one continue to grow. The other issue is that you can reinforce bad habits and habits as you know can be a silent killer. I have been trying to exorcise some conducting demons these past two weeks and it is not easy. It is especially not easy when you are in front of an orchestra, a room full of conductors, in front of a teacher who is going to share your faults with the world AND you essentially have no control. But my motto here has been, lets deconstruct so that we can reconstruct. One has to put their beliefs and methods to the test, put them to the fire otherwise you live in your own fantasy of greatness…….in your head. If all you get is the “Atta Boy” and pats on the back then is there any real growth? This is about truth and exposing your truth to the world and getting it picked apart. Is it difficult, yes it is but hopefully I will get on the podium a stronger conductor.
The SOST season is kicking off September 15 and more about that later. Wow, the summer flying by. SOST will be back in business before you know it. Have a great rest of July. Bye for now.
Chelsea “The Woodsman” Tipton, II
Well having a Stay-Cation here in beautiful Beaumont this summer. It is really lovely around here and the heat has not been unbearable thank goodness. Actually this week it is suppose to get into the triple digits for the first time. The season is done and this morning we recorded commercials for the upcoming season celebrating 60 years of SOST-ness. Pretty cool and we have some real treats coming your way. Great music with a great orchestra!
This summer for me is far less travel than last summer. It has been a summer of reflection for me. Not always easy but certainly necessary. Last summer with the Sting tour was crazy exciting and I would do it again in a heartbeat but it was a grind that is for sure. Nice to be sleeping in my own bed this summer. So this summer I will be headed to Medomak Conductors Retreat right after the SOST July 4th concert. Ken Kiesler is the teacher and he has a staff that works with us. It will be a good learning experience and great to meet some other conductors in the “biz”. I really enjoy learning and try to stay open to learning. It also lets me know where I have grown in my conducting. The only thing is that my flight leaves at 5:55 AM on July 5th out of Houston Airport. I probably will not even go to bed on July 4th with such an early start to my day. Then I will head back here at the end of July to get the season up and going for the SOST.
I hope everyone in the Southeast Texas region can stay cool. If you want to stay cool on July 4th come and join us at the Julie Rogers Theater at 8 PM. We will have some great music to serve up. GO SOST!!!
Sorry for the long lapse since my last post. So much has happened since the new year. The season is coming into the coda portion for the SOST. We have just two concerts left for the season and then next season we will be celebrating our Diamond season, number 60! We have some good things in store for our peeps in Southeast Texas region. Our next concert we will feature the music of Salieri, Stravinsky and Mozart on March 3rd. Things with the SOST are going well. I did my Atlanta Symphony gospel concert in December. I kicked off the year with the Cleveland and Detroit Symphonies. That was pretty amazing to get to conduct in Severance Hall in Cleveland. But it was COLD and snowy. We had an absolutely AMAZING pops concert here with the SOST. Byron Stripling came and joined us on stage and did his Louis Armstrong New Orleans program with the orchestra. He was fantastic and the orchestra loved working with him. The ultimate musician, Byron was a classmate of mine at Eastman School of Music and he really brought it to the stage. One of the best concerts I have been a part of. By that I mean, rarely do you have everything lined up, the right audience, right music, right musicians, right evening, it just really clicked.
I was part of a really hard program up in Midland Michigan in February. Music of Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin and Marquez. Again, cold, snowy and dry. My voice completely gave out right at the end of the visit and thank goodness it was at the end of the visit. I also visited some high schools and worked with the band and orchestras during the day. It was a busy week but the concert came off great. I used to live up there back in the early 90s when I worked at Central Michigan University so I knew a lot of folks in the orchestra and in the area. It was a great return to my stomping grounds.
So we move forward. I promise to post more in a week or so. More to discuss. Hope to see you at the Requiem March 3rd. It is going to be a great concert.
Happy Holidays Everyone,
It has been a while since I was on here with a post. Where does the time slip away to? It just seems to go by faster and faster with each passing year. The first half of the season is done with the SOST. And we are going into the Christmas break in a good position. Our second Master Series concert was very well received by the audience. The orchestra played great and it was my first time conducting the New World Symphony of Antonin Dvorak all the way through. I have studied the piece for many years and done a movement here and there but never in its entirety. What just supreme music and amazing backstory to that piece.
Following that concert we added two concerts to our schedule this season. The first was a Side by Side concert that we resurrected after a 10 year absence from the schedule. We brought in 15 high school students to sit next to our orchestra member and we performed for area school students. It was a big success! Then we packed up our toys and headed over to Calder Baptist Church where we took about a 22 piece string group there to play the music of Mozart, Bartok, Vivaldi and Piazzolla. The audience was really locked into the performance. I am hoping that we can do more of these type of outreach concerts in the future. We are making really good in roads into the community and we will continue our expansion in a slow measure pace.
Peace and blessings to everyone during this holiday season. We have so much to be thankful for.
Well, it has been a while since my last post on here. Where to begin. I made it out of the Sting bubble which was actually a little more difficult than I thought it might be. I was certainly ready to head back home to Texas and get off of the road but there were aspects of the journey that I did miss in particular the uniqueness of the gig. Although it was an orchestra gig in certain respects it was just different. I know that I like to get outside of the box from time to time and this certainly took me there. Also, usually when we as conductors perform, there is a central focus is on the conductor, soloist and orchestra. It was nice to be in the background in a more supportive role and let Sting carry the responsibility of the show. It was a different type of pressure and a different type of skill set required for the concerts and rehearsals.
Anyway, it is now time to get refocused on the matters in the Golden Triangle region. We had auditions for the season and have some good additions to the SOST. Our first concert of the 2011-12 Season was September 24 and was very successful. A good start to the season. The program was Barber of Seville Overture, Ravel Piano Concerto in G with Philippe Bianconi on the piano and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Wow, that Beethoven is so hard to play. It is so easy to confuse the orchestra from the podium! Which of course is something that I do not want to do if I can help it. LOL The only downside to the evening was that the temperature in the auditorium was a bit warmer than usual. I think that we got it worked for future concerts. I was really happy with how the orchestra played especially to be the first concert of the season. We hope that you will come and join us for future concerts. Our next one is October 29 featuring some music of some great Czech composers. I promise that my next entry will not be so long from now.