Pacific Summer Music Festival

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Check out the Pacific Summer Music Festival (hosted by Cantate) this Saturday at 7:30pm. Quartet San Francisco (an amazing string quartet) as well as the Guam Territorial Band and of course Cantate and others will be performing that night.

One Door Closes……A Million More Open

I’ve never been good at blogging. Look at my post history. All my posts are like, half a year (if not more) apart. Geez. So I’m just going to outline really quick what has happened since then. I won’t get too much into detail, but it has been a GREAT year in every aspect. I went through a huge life-altering experience in February, and although I never thought at the time I would be as happy as I am today, here I am.

Hudson River viewing NYC Skyline

Hudson River viewing NYC Skyline

So…with my sucky storytelling skills comes an outline of this years’ events thus far:

  • Rejoined the Guam Territorial Band after being 5 years on break for their New York trip and played in Carnegie Hall and Central Park. Spent time there with my best friend every (Victor Palomo) and made many, many new friends in the process. Super special thanks to Max Ronquillo.
  • Had the pleasure of sitting in with the Guam Jazz Quartet (Carlos Laguana , Larry Franquez, Patrick Palomo, Michael DiAmore) while DiAmore had an acute injury. This experience probably provided the most musical growth I have ever experienced in such a short amount of time.
  • Joined a new reggae band: High Rise. I met their drummer, David Bautista, on the New York trip and sat with him on the plane coming back home. We clicked immediately, he asked me to join the band, I attended a few rehearsals, and the rest is history. Their reggae band originally had no 100% dedicated horn players (myself included). But sticking to it, we’ve managed to compile a full horn section (with John Bermudes and Ben Hardy). We earned a great reputation of being the only reggae band on island with a full horn section. Since then, we have performed over a dozen different places in many different venues. We have also recorded a single, “Yes I” (buy it on iTunes!), won a battle of the bands (the prize was to open for Steel Pulse, but for logistical reasons, we were cancelled), and we perform twice weekly. We are set to release a full album sometime next year.
  • Sitting in with Renaissance. DiAmore is going off-island during a very important Renaissance concert, so that is giving me the awesome opportunity to play two sets with them. It is a LOT of music to learn, but it is probably the most talented group of musicians in this genre that I have ever had the pleasure of working with…and again, further pushing my musical limits.
  • Almost 200,000 hits on my YouTube channel! Originally, I was shooting for 1,000,000 hits this year, but I haven’t had time to record more videos. Still satisfied :)
High Rise (plus some other people)

High Rise (plus some other people)

These are all the highlights of my year so far. There have been countless experiences, but the year is only a bit more than half over, and I am looking forward to so many new things that are coming my way.

YouTube Uploads

I’m going to start recording and uploading more videos to YouTube. There aren’t nearly as much stuff as there should be on there and I hope my contributions will be a valuable asset to those who are looking for more classical recordings on YouTube.

Oh, that, and most of my students are off island so I have quite a bit of free time – Yay! So look forward to it and enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/coufu

Student Recital

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I’m holding a recital for all my students on Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 7:00pm at the UOG Fine Arts Building Room FA127. It’s my first time holding a recital for my students so it’ll be pretty exciting to see how things work out.

Check it out if you have time. See you there!

2011

So far, the new year has been great to me.

I got back to the Philippines on the new year. Great way to start the year fresh after a nice vacation. Now that I’m back, I’m finally settled into the new year after a month of stressful juggling of new things.

First off, I now have 25 students. I usually max out at 15 students, but now this is just insane! All the cracks of my schedule are filled, and I barely have any time to do any of the other things I love to do (for work and enjoyment), like recording and programming websites. I still have time actually when the weddings are slow, but surprisingly enough, even tough we added a pianist at World Bridal, my hands are still pretty full. I may finally have my first student recital too, since I have a good number of students.

In addition to having lots of students, I have also opened my other room for my friend Jean Ann Hu to teach flute. She’s fresh out of college, so I’m excited that she’s able to jump on this opportunity and help me out.

Another thing that I’m really proud of is that I’ve started running! No more of this Wii-fit business (not that I didn’t enjoy it). Wii fit was great, but it’s time I graduated to some real exercise. Actually, I’ve always wanted to run, but the only convenient place really is UOG, and that’s a 15 minute drive from my place. Now there’s a pool near my house (just about 5 minutes away) and it has a nice .5 mile sidewalk surrounding its perimeter that a lot of people run on.

Anyway, I’ve been doing the C25k (Couch-to-5k) program, which is a 9 week program to get you to run a 5k nonstop. I started it since the new year, and now I’m on week 6. I’ve been able to work up to running 20 minutes straight from only being able to run for about 60-90 seconds at a time. Talk about a milestone! I can’t wait to finish the program and try to tackle another 5k to see if I can run it in about 30 minutes.

I also have a few recording projects still open. I am still working on Freedom Fries’ recording as well as recording a new band called “Flyspeck” (sp?). They have a pretty cool song coming out that you might hear on the radio soon! :)

That’s the year so far. Oh, and I’m looking to start recording YouTube videos once again if someone is interested in helping me out. I have a nice video camera and editing software. I just wonder if someone out there is wanting to get into video editing and is interested in helping me out. I want to upload a video every week onto YouTube. Let me know if you’re interested.

Oh, and I may try to blog a bit more. Or maybe not. Who knows! Ciao.

Freedom Fries

So I recorded Freedom Fries today. They have a new song coming out soon, and I’m VERY excited! This song is even better than their first two, so look forward to hearing some awesome stuff on the radio, people of Guam.

Speaking of which, I forgot how much fun recording is. I’ve been recording Fiyahdub (actually mixing them down now, they have 4 songs), and now with Freedom Fries, man I am having a blast. It helps that I think that my mixing skill has gone way up since the days of Matala. It makes me want to go back and remix all of the old stuff to see how good I can make it sound. Listening to all the old Matala tracks, I really am unsatisfied with the way I mixed some of them, so I would like to go back and maybe just play around.

Seaside Concert

The symphony seaside concert was pretty alright. It’s the same old same old. It started with a Bell Choir, then UOG Singers, then GTB Brass Group, then UOG Jazz Band, then the Symphony. All groups did just fine, although I have to admit that the acoustics are pretty terrible. The sound amplification does an okay job, but without any monitoring, it’s almost impossible to hear what exactly is going on on stage.

I actually really hate the Ypao beach shell. It’s facing the worst way possible, because the sun is shining right into it for all of the afternoon, so it’s pretty damn hot for the whole entire concert.

Either way, each group performed just fine and I’m glad this musical weekend is over! Except I have another gig coming up on Friday for the Guam Woman’s Club and another concert for a church on Sunday, so meh. I was hoping to get some relaxation in before my PI trip, but I guess I might as well make as much money and stay as busy as I can, and my trip will be that much better.

Music Week

It’s been a very musical week. Of course, on top of my weddings and lessons, I took part with UOG Jazz Band concerts and I’ll also be playing tomorrow with the Seaside Concert at Ypao beach from 3pm-6pm. I’m still having some body aches, but overall, it’s really fun and I’m glad to be a part of it all. I can’t wait til it’s all over and I get a break! That’s what PI is for I guess :)

Also, one of my students is going to be playing for his church, and he hasn’t been the bright student of mine, but his mom has insisted on him taking lessons almost every day and he’s gotten way way way way better than any of my other students have been. This makes me want to start a daily class for people of certain levels, because it turns out, I guess meeting with my students once a week isn’t enough.

Anyway, he will be playing 4 short pieces, and he had such a hard time with it before (not to mention a bad attitude about hating all the songs I gave him), but now he loves them all and is doing really well. Hopefully this will inspire me to try to alter my teaching methods for the better and trying to recommend my other students to meet more often throughout the week.

Recording and Mixing

So I’ve been recording this band: Fiyahdub. They came here because of Junior, and I was kind of hesitant at first because I have my hands tied with way too many things right now. After mixing them for the past month or so though, I’ve found a whole new love for the craft. I even brought out all my old mixing equipment (3 mackie control surfaces, hr824 speakers, mmmm).

I’m recording Freedom Fries next week too. I want to go back and remix a lot of old songs that I recorded in the past because my mixing skills have gotten way better over the past year or two recording on and off. :) Fiyahdub’s songs are really great too. When they’re released, you should definitely check it out. I’m pretty sure you might here a song or two on the radio.

Cinderella

I actually miss Cinderella. It was a pretty well done show with a lot of talented actors and singers. It also made me discover the Disney Teleplay that I didn’t know about with Brandy and Whitney Houston etc etc. I’ve been watching it a lot and I really like the music. Of course, the music will be stuck in my head for the next month or so, hearing it so many times throughout the week, as is normal for any other production I am a part of.

Power Outage and Cinderella

So last night, the power went out during the final dress rehearsal so there was no final dress rehearsal. That was kind of interesting since the previous rehearsal was still pretty choppy and we hadn’t even played the final bows music.

This morning was the first show though, and most people were calling it the actual last dress rehearsal. It actually went a lot better than expected. The fact that there were a bunch of kids there watching really helped the energy (except for the parts where they were bored and kept squeaking their theater chairs).

So, at least now, I just have to wait for 9 more shows to go, as it is every time there’s a GATE theater show. K go!

GATE Theatre presents Cinerella

So check out Cinderella. It’s going on this weekend and next weekend (Thu-Fri-Sat) starting at 7:30pm. Not sure how much tickets are, but I’ve been in dress rehearsals the past couple days, and things are going pretty well! You should definitely check it out and support local arts!

I’m playing Oboe, so if you show up, say hi to me. I’ll be in the pit :)

Practicing Sax!

I’m going to start practicing sax again.

Ever since we played Spain in Jazz Band at the Mardi Gras earlier this month, my surge of thirst for getting better at improvising has never been stronger. I totally busted out a hot solo, but my solos can be REALLY unfocused sometimes. So I’m breaking out this book again: Patterns for Jazz.

The iPhone is a great practicing tool too. I downloaded the Tempo app (metronome) and I use the built in Clock timer to time myself 30 minutes per practice session. I learned that practicing in surges of 3-4 hours only really leads to quick burn out. I’m going to pace myself.

After a few days, I’m already on the 20’s of the exercises. I only got right before the 100’s before I graduated from UOG, so let’s see if I can eventually finish the book. Here’s hoping…

Recording and the Music Industry

So I’ve been had a few recording gigs in the past few months. I recorded Freedom Fries’ new single (you’ll hear it on the radio soon!), and Pia Mia Perez, a 12 year old amazing singer!

Recording is something I love doing and it was the first business I planned on running after graduating from college. Unfortunately, after finishing Matala’s CD and also watching some other recording studio companies on Guam come and go, it simply seems that Guam isn’t a place where someone can run a recording studio full-time.

If Guam wants to see its music industry flourish, it needs to have some infrastructure. I remember being in Japan and ALL the performing bands in the bars and clubs having professionally made CDs. It was amazing. My friend, Tim, was telling me how it was required for bands in the city to finish a CD before performing. It makes perfect sense. Not only will you have something to sell at all your gigs, but it will help increase visibility and popularity and it will also show that you mean business.

Anyway, recording is very rewarding for me because I spent so many sleepless nights and countless hours learning tips and tricks from many books and many blogs and trying my best to perfect the craft.  I am not sure of my ability until I get these recording gigs once in a while where my clients will be very happy with my work, and it makes me with Guam had the economy to support a full-time recording studio.

Until then, I’m still here doing small jobs if you need me :)

Sunday Night Concert

Hey everyone! I’m going to be doing another one of those Sunday Night Concerts for World Bridal. It’s $5 admission and only 30 minutes at the Nikko Hotel in the Crystal Chapel. It’ll be a set of all Classical pieces, so if you’re looking for something different, come over and check it out!

Brass

I saw this commercial on TV about this guy that started a Brass band for kids in New Orleans. It got me thinking about Guam. Guam has a serious lack of brass players. GTB is great, but GTB has always lacked brass players too. So I thought, hay what if I start a brass band??

In addition to my 5 year plan, here’s where I’d like to see myself 5 years from now:

  • Day Job (9am-3pm): Web work (programming/meetings/etc)
  • M/W/F: Brass Band 4pm-6pm (after school program)
  • Saturdays: Teach a Maximum of 8 lessons
  • Sundays: Off

I think my Brass Band will be all for beginners and I’ll buy all the instruments so that parents don’t have to invest too much. I’ll invest more in lower brass because that’s what Guam is really lacking. The good people will feed into GTB once ready. I think I’m slowly working out of my private lessons phase and I want to work on a group basis soon… Hopefully I can get the funding soon to rent out a place that’ll accommodate it.

Sick, but Productive

We’re finally almost done with the Senator’s site. After that, we have to get the Guam Veterans site up, which shouldn’t take too long as long as everyone participates to make it happen. DRT’s next project is Guam Arts Calendar, which hopefully will go up within the next couple weeks.

I’ve been sick so I haven’t really worked out these past couple days. I’ve been taking my body tests every day, though. Today, I lost 2.2 pounds from yesterday, which is weird, because I pigged out at Pochon Chicken last night (which by the way was FREAKING GOOD!!!!! A++++ WILL BUY AGAIN). Maybe I should eat more to lose more weight :D

I feel a lot better now that I don’t have so many weddings to do. Hopefully, web business will pick up before it gets busy with weddings again. I’m perfectly happy playing piano for weddings, but I keep hearing that numbers keep going down and down and there’s no telling how long the wedding business is going to last before one of the big shots take over everything. Well, at least I have plenty to fall back on.

Oh and I’ve also been productive because of PIANO! I made it a point to accompany all my students this semester. I’m doing it for myself as well as for them. I’m also kinda doing it as a favor for Stevie B too, because I feel sorry for him that he always has to learn at least 10 different accompaniments every semester. Plus, I really want to get back into practice and I want to get better at sight reading, so yeah. This semester, I’m going to be learning Faure’s Fantaisie for Flute, Vocalise for Flute, Vocalise for Alto Sax, Poulenc Sonata for Flute (1st mvt), and Weber Concertino op26 for Clarinet transcribed for Alto Sax, which is pretty much the same.

I have my work cut out for me. BRING IT ON!

Insomnia

I can’t sleep. I’m not entirely sure why, but there were tons of things going on in my head while I was trying to sleep. I’m actually really anxious for the first time after I graduated. Here are some of the top reasons I think:

  • I have a new flute student through UOG. I’m not sure if I’m qualified to teach him because he’s a really good flute player, but I think I’m just going to have fun because I know of a few pieces he and I can play together.
  • I’ve been working with DRT Web Solutions to try to get the Senator B.J.F. Cruz website up for months. We’re almost finished but there’s still a lot to do. I can’t believe I’m losing sleep over this.
  • One of my Clarinet students is trying to join the Guam Symphony. He’s only a Freshman, and he’s only been playing the clarinet for a few years, but for some reason, it would bring me great joy to see him get in. He’s auditioning tomorrow and he’s competing for the spot with a few others, so I wish him the best.
  • After my two off-island trips this summer, I am in DEBT! I really need to get my CC paid off, and quickly… stupid finances charges. It’s my first real summer as a working person, so I forgot that I have very little income during the summer as a teacher… combine that fact with my vacation spending and bleh.
  • I want to accompany my students this semester at UOG because I want to get better at Piano and this will give me the opportunity. Between juggling my 4 jobs, symphony and UOG rehearsals, I hope I can find time to practice.
  • I’m scheduling a DVD recital of my students to be recorded by the end of October. I’m hoping to do these 4 times a year, but they are so time consuming to mix down and compile. This doesn’t help at all considering my busy schedule, but I need to give my students a venue to perform.

So, that’s my venting. Maybe I’ll be able to sleep now. Hmm, actually maybe I’m not able to sleep because of that tea I drank at 8pm to soothe my sore throat.  Oh well, time to try again.

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