Dr. Alice Hammel remembers when Vinnie started school. He had frequent outbursts and struggled throughout most of his elementary school years; eventually, he was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. Dr. Hammel, who is a nationally recognized expert on teaching music to children of all ages with special needs, said Vinnie was unusual in that he could not match pitch – at all.
Composer Eric Whitacre delved into the visual world of film after he received an invitation he could not refuse. After conducting his Deep Field orchestra piece, which is based on the Hubble Space Telescope’s findings, he was approached by audience member Scott Vangen, a NASA payload specialist, who invited Whitacre to come to the Kennedy Space Center for a visit. Just a month later, Whitacre was there.
J.W. Pepper would like to thank all the musicians and teachers who shared their time and expertise with us in 2018, making it possible for Cued In to cover meaningful stories. Here is a countdown of the 2018 blog articles viewed by the most people. Click the arrow to move through the slides, and click on the image if you’d like to read an article you missed:
This month marks 100 years since the guns were silenced in Europe on “the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month” in 1918, ending World War I. Concerts are being held across the globe to commemorate how the war influenced the world of music. Here are ten ways the war had an impact on the arts and culture:
The Fox Business Network selected J.W. Pepper® to be featured in a Manufacturing Marvels segment that aired on October 30 and 31. The piece was shot at one of Pepper’s two distribution centers – a 76,000 square foot facility in Lithia Springs, Georgia.
J.W. Pepper President Glenn Burtch says he often encounters people who are surprised by the complexity of his company’s business. It takes a tremendous amount of planning and work to be able to distribute large volumes of sheet music and other music products to schools, churches and other organizations across the country each year. That effort occurs quietly behind the walls of Pepper’s distribution centers in Georgia and Utah.
Horror movies don’t just play on the minds of the audiences. They’re also a cerebral project for horror music composers like Joseph Bishara and Christopher Thomas. Bishara has composed music for the Insidious and The Conjuring franchises and Thomas for haunted amusement attractions and film productions. Both have spent hours, days, and months formulating ways to create unnerving sound tracks – a job that gives them a unique perspective on the world of fear.
Alex Meixner’s hands fly across his accordion when he plays crowd favorites at Oktoberfest celebrations across the country. The talented musician, who is known for the Hormel pepperoni commercials and his passion for the accordion, can play thousands of songs and has an encyclopedic knowledge about many styles of folk music. He began to learn how to play the accordion at age four; he now owns 14 accordions and travels with his band. Meixner says he loves how the accordion always gets a crowd reaction.
Composer Craig Hella Johnson calls it the “long sacred silence” – his way of describing a common audience reaction after choral performances of his recently published composition Considering Matthew Shepard. In an age when hate crimes are on the rise and divisiveness is rampant, Johnson’s work raises deep questions about our humanity. It focuses on how people can learn to love those who are different from them. Audiences often pause in silence before applauding; such is its impact. During a performance at the University of Southern California this year, one student performer described the reaction this way:
It was at a television station in San Francisco, California, where Deke Sharon realized how far his work in a cappella music had reached. He went to the station to complete a satellite interview for an Australian morning show when he struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was there to talk with the national media about military drone strikes. Sharon said the man, who was dressed up in an “FBI suit” and looked very serious, had an outburst of joy when Sharon said he was there to promote the movie Pitch Perfect 2.