Thursday, October 24, 2013

5 Questions with Brad Danho

Bradford Danho, B.M. 2003, studied Music Education at Hartt from 1999-2003.  He is currently living in Baltimore, MD.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

After graduating from Hartt in 2003, I began studies in the Jazz program at the University of North Texas.  While at UNT, I studied saxophone with retired professor of saxophone Jim Riggs and held a saxophone teaching assistantship.  I also played lead alto saxophone in the Grammy nominated One O'Clock Lab Band for two years.  

What are you involved with right now?

In 2008, I won a position in the Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band from Washington, DC.  The Jazz Ambassadors are a 19 piece big band comprised of all active duty soldiers in the US Army.  We tour 100 days a year in the continental US. 

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hartt Gala 2013

The 12th Annual Hartt Gala took place last Saturday, October 19, two days ago as I write this, at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Hartford. It was a blast. Over 300 people attended including several Hartt alums, one of whom, Miguel Vasquez, of the Class of 2013, sang brilliantly and thanked those present for their contributions which had made his arrival and continued attendance at Hartt possible in the first place.

 The scheduled performances, all by Hartt students -- a chorus of pre-college students from the Community Division, a second chorus from the college and then four student performers from the musical, Barnum, two of whom were performing on stilts -- were all enthusiastically received by the audience… as they should have been. They were terrific. The live auction was fun with Maestro Edward Cumming filling the role as auctioneer for the second year in a row. A lot of the trips that were up for bid were sold out quickly and at least two of them were sold at least twice over. Hartt can use the money. And, Steve Metcalf and Mike Morris topped off the evening with their post-gala cabaret featuring pop music, unrehearsed and often wonderfully surprising, in a sing along that has now become a traditional way both to wind down and still continue the festiveness of the event. After all, why would such a youthful, hip audience, especially one as young as this one was (sic), want to go home and turn out the lights on Saturday night at 10:00 P.M? Besides, the Red Sox Game 7 Victory didn’t end until after midnight. There was plenty of time to catch the ending.

 BTW, even Dean Aaron Flagg sang a solo, I’m told, though, alas, I had to exit before that.  I’m sure that alone was worth the price of admission. Did anybody video it, I wonder? You-tube here we come???

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the food and drinks were plentiful and very tasty as always. Yum!

 One of the great bits of fun at the gala for me is always the chance to bump into someone out of one’s past, recent or not so recent, and spend a few minutes reminiscing and catching up. One of those was Dr. Watson Morrison, better known as ”Will” Morrison to many of us, who turns 85 on Sunday, November 10th of this year and will be celebrating his birthday in his annual concert in Millard Auditorium at 3:00 P.M. on that day. He still plays “Willfully” and wonderfully. I hope that many of you who remember him “Will” -- Upper Case “W” definitely intended -- do your best to attend this memorable concert and have a piece of birthday cake with us afterwards.

 The best thing about the gala, for me, and yet at the same time not-the-best, is to hear newcomers to the event rave about the quality of the student performances. It’s terrific, of course, but it’s still so  surprising as Hartt approaches its own significant birthday. In this case, Hartt will turn 100 years old in seven years and there are so many locals who seem to know so little about the place.

What can I say? We’re working on spreading the word and the Hartt Board, under the inspired leadership of Tracy Flater in this area, is constantly inviting new Hartford area residents to student performances to increase awareness and to lessen the number of concert goers and potential friends of Hartt who remain unaware of the terrific actors, dancers and musicians all of whom continue to inspire those of us who are so proud to remain in the know.

Hope to see even more of you at next year’s 13th Annual Gala.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hartt's Honorary Degrees Given in the 1980s

Prior to the 1980s, the honorary degrees Hartt awarded focused on professionals in the classical music arena and the benefactors without whose help Hartt would not have been possible.

The 1980s, however, had a different focus.  Jackie McLean started the Department of African American Music in 1980.  Some prominent jazz artists were awarded degrees and even some of the "classical" musicians were clearly within the sphere of the jazz world.  For example, David Amram is difficult to categorize as a classical composer, especially since he has well-known as a jazz french horn player, who appeared regularly with Dizzy Gillespie.  Even Yehudi Menuhin recorded some jazz collaborations.

Nevertheless, here is the next installment of the Hartt Honorary Degree Recipients.

1982 - John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie

Monday, October 14, 2013

Participate in The Hartt School Gala Auction Online

If you cannot attend the Hartt Gala next weekend, please consider supporting Hartt Scholarships by participating in the online auction.
12th Annual Gala Auction



Auction proceeds will benefit Hartt School scholarships, tuition assistance and educational programming. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Alumni Panel at Paranov Hour/Musicianship

Recently, two Hartt alumni returned the Hartt to speak with students during a panel discussion - Tales from the Front Lines - during Paranov Hour, which is the current iteration of the Musicianship class many of us attended. Michael Thornton ('79) and Mary Junda ('79) gave freely of their time, memories and advice to the students.  Dean Flagg moderated the panel.  After introducing Michael and Mary, Dean Flagg asked a sereis of questions to the guests for their comments and then opened up the microphone for students to ask what was on their mind about life after Hartt.

By way of introduction, Dr. Mary Junda is currently Professor of Music at the University of Connecticut teaching choral music and world music.  Her work, and clearly her passion, includes studies of the Gullah people of the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina.  She explained that this culture was cut off from the mainland U.S. for many years, which helped preserve its rich traditions strongly influence by its ancestral roots in Africa.

Michael Thornton also attended Hartt as a music education major, but his career has taken him in a very different direction.  After further study at The Acting Studio and other theaters, Michael helped found and sustain The Capitol Steps, a show of comedy and songs parodying politics and politicians.  He produces his own theater productions and his experience on the stage is wonderfully varied.