A little curiosity about a Music course in UCSB’s College of Creative Studies leads Phillip Mitchell to reunite with a classmate from his past. In this piece, Mitchell explores this long-lost connection, what has changed about it, and what significance of his old friend’s passions.
Drum Corps International, or DCI, is essentially the major league equivalent of marching band. Thousands of marching arts enthusiasts under the age of 21 join one of the 44 active drum corps and go on a nationwide tour, performing at high schools, colleges, and even NFL stadiums for thousands of fans across the country.
Michael Hall, one of those many drum corps members, recalls the elation that he felt when his team won the title of “World Champion” at the 2018 Drum Corps International World Championships and how he has sought to recapture the joy that he found through music in the music and film departments at UCSB.
The Carsey-Wolf Center launched Beatles Revolutions, a series showcasing The Beatles’ impact on culture and politics in the US. The series kicked off at Pollock Theater with a screening of A Hard Day’s Night, followed by a conversation with journalist and author Ivor Davis. The next event takes place this Thursday, January 24th from 7:00-9:15 p.m. at Pollock Theater with Let It Be, a documentary directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, followed by a discussion with musician and producer Alan Parsons.
“We hope that those who attend the series will learn more about The Beatles both in the 1960s and beyond,” said Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center Patrice Petro.
The manner in which two different musicians compose and perform can be just as distinct as their personalities. “Individuality of expression is the beginning and end of all art,” wrote the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Cory Fildes and Will Stout, both undergraduate music composition majors at UC Santa Barbara’s Music Department, are a perfect example of this individuality. Both students write sheets of music every week. But although these two room together, their personal journeys differ completely and these variations become strikingly apparent in their music.
Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama, two PhD students from Brown University, are on a mission to share and perform their musical multimedia project “No-No Boy.” The piece consists of a slideshow and performance of folk songs to tell about Asian-American experiences during WWII and to confront prevailing narratives of that era that are found in textbooks. Saporiti and Aoyama presented their project to a UC Santa Barbara audience.
This series of videos, produced by UC Santa Barbara students, showcases the creative talent of students, faculty, and alumni from Humanities and Fine Arts.
Imagine if you could explore the world of atoms, fly through the human brain, and come face to face with the surface of the moon. After years of collaborative research, JoAnn Kuchera-Morin and her team of scientists, artists, and engineers have made this possible here at UC Santa Barbara.
The AlloSphere, a 3-story-high spherical research instrument, takes data too small to see or hear and visually and sonically magnifies it to the human scale, allowing scientists and engineers to interact with complex data like artists: creatively and intuitively.
In a recent interview, JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, a professor of Media Arts and Technology and Music who is director of the research lab, discussed the importance of holistic thinking and a return to the learning-by-doing that the AlloSphere enables.
“Contrary to popular belief, I was not born under some auspicious sign, playing Mozart and doodling hyper-realistic portraits since I was two days old,” explains Marc Rusli of his passion for the arts as he majors in physics. “I developed each skill slowly during some period in my life…Doodling was the only option I had to relieve boredom…I sometimes wonder whether I would have any amount of drawing skill if I had been born five years later, whether I would entertain myself with an iPad rather than pencils and paper.”
“I grew up listening to independent music,” writes third-year UCSB English major Angie Garcia. “But until recently, I had never questioned how and when music should be categorized as indie. Then, an intriguing question popped out at me from a UC Santa Barbara music course description: ‘What does it mean for music to be independent?’ The class was called Independent Music in America and I immediately knew I had to sign up for it.”
The course takes a historical look at the underground music from the 1970s to the present in the United States. In seminar style, the class is led by David Novak from the Ethnomusicology Program and specifically explores the punk movement that began with bands such as Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Beat Happening and the genres that expanded out it.
Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Newberry was 14 years old when she found her vocal gift. She walked into high school in Simi Valley and signed up for choir since she needed an elective and all her friends were doing it. The teacher gave her a solo and that marked the beginning of her music career.
Newberry remembers when an opera singer from Austria came into her high school class offering voice lessons and sang Habanera from Carmen. Still not very much convinced that it was what she wanted to do, Newberry signed up and during her first lesson the instructor stared at her and told her she had an amazing voice for opera.
“I fell in love with it because of how emotional and raw opera can be and it’s so unabashedly emotional,” she recalls.
For many U.S. college students, hearing mention of Iraq evokes images of soldiers, oil, refugees, and destruction. In 2003, the United States invaded the country and American soldiers remained there for roughly eight years. Those soldiers and the combat that surrounded them dominated U.S. media coverage, leaving little room for the stories of Iraqi civilians and the hardships they endured during and after the occupation.
Now, 15 years after the invasion, several departments at UC Santa Barbara came together for a symposium to flip the script and reframe U.S. perspectives on Iraq. “[The goal is to] re-orient us towards Iraq in order to overturn these reductive and insufficient representations of human beings,” said organizer Mona Damluji, a professor in the Film and Media Studies Department.
The two-day event, called “Iraq Front and Center” was held earlier this month to create a space for interdisciplinary conversations, bringing together guest speakers from the diverse perspectives of novelist, journalist, filmmaker, and doctor.
At a time when Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music dominate the music industry, it can be hard for those playing classical and acoustic instruments to get the recognition they deserve. That hasn’t stopped UC Santa Barbara student Zac Erstad, a composer who hopes to fulfill his dream in the music industry by becoming a song producer for either films or video games.
Erstad played with the UCSB Percussion Ensemble in February in performance for mallet instruments called “Old and New,” transcriptions and compositions for mallet instruments. He will also take part in the College of Creative Studies’ musical at the end of the quarter when he will perform three songs that he wrote, along with the show’s overture.
Second year UC Santa Barbara music student, Vincent Gao steps forward on stage and waves his arms, facing the crowd as he sings the Chinese song “Confession Balloon” into a microphone along with his partner Max Wong.
“Everyone, can you please take out your phones,” Gao calls into the audience. Suddenly one by one, with arms raised and with loud cheers, the audience illuminates the Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall with a sea of bright cell phone lights, in a waving motion.
This was the first round of the Super Nova 2017 Finale in late fall, hosted by the Chinese Student and Scholar Association for Chinese international students. Excitement filled the venue as 300 Chinese international students filled the seats of the concert hall that evening in to enjoy music far away from home.
“I know that it’s not very practical to be a performer. That’s a hard life because you’re just gigging all the time,” UCSB senior Claire Garvais said as she sat at a Starbucks at UC Santa Barbara. “I never wanted that for myself, but I also wanted to stay in music.”
Garvais recently declared a double major in Global Studies and Music Studies. Though it may seem unlikely for a musician, she majored in economics her freshman year then switched her major to global studies only to realize by junior year that she wanted to participate more fully in the university’s music scene.
“There’s no one else in my family that does music. I’m the only one,” said Garvais, who picked up her first instrument in elementary school. “I’ve always been in music.”
Jon Nathan is the director of the UCSB jazz and percussion ensembles and has taught jazz performance for over 20 years. He has performed in a variety of music groups and collaborations, from concerts to musical theater and wants to see more students joining his ensembles. Becoming a member of the jazz ensemble provides opportunities for people with a range of musical abilities -- and students can join regardless of major. These ensembles perform both on-campus and off-campus in Isla Vista.
UC Santa Barbara students were met with standing ovations and enthusiastic cheers of appreciation when they performed Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The comedic opera showcased the talents of many of the Voice Program’s top graduate students.
Each year, the Music Department at UC Santa Barbara hosts "Montage," a concert open to the public highlighting the diverse musical talents on our campus. The 2017 showcase was held on Sunday, November 12 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Barbara. HFA intern Giovanna Vicini spoke to Petra Peršolja, a graduate pianist, and Scott Marcus, chair of the Music Department, about their roles in the unique concert.