Greetings, One & All~
The new year is already in fifth gear, January having been a most eventful month and February shaping up to be equally energized. On this chilly in-between weekend of record rain here in Northern Sonora, let me invite you brew a mug of your favorite tea and cozy up to the new issue of your A 440 Newsletter for a glimpse back and a look ahead. . . .
Beginning on Monday February 2nd and continuing through Wednesday February 18th I’ll return to Sonoran Sky School in Scottsdale AZ for my annual fourth grade Arizona Alive! Storytelling AIR. The youthful raconteurs will research, compose and perform their own original historical fictions, bringing the rich and varied history of the 48th state to imaginative life, spanning prehistoric and historic indigenous cultures through the colonial and territorial eras and right up to Valentine’s Day & Arizona Statehood Day on February 14th 2015–I know I’ll learn a lot along the way!
On Friday February 20th at 7 PM I’ll join my long-time friend and former Ananeah bandmate Arvel Bird for a rare concert appearance together at Sea Of Glass in Tucson AZ. If you missed our show at Green Valley Community Performing Arts Center last month (or even if you were there and left wanting more, as many of you said you did!) you’ll want to catch Arvel’s inspired mix of Celtic fiddle, Native American flute and storytelling, backed by Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Scotty Spenner, Kimberley Kelley on keyboards and smokin’ hot bodhran, and yours truly on pan-global percussion.
tickets & info at 615.406.3689 or www.arvelbird.com/tickets
A Glance in the Rear View Mirror
My lecture-demonstration at the world-renowned Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix AZ, presented in conjunction with the current Beyond the Beat exhibit, was a vibrant success. Many attendees stayed well after the formal presentation was over to pick your humble narrator’s brain for further insights into the meaning of the drum in the larger context of human culture, as filtered through the lens of one lifetime in drumming; many fruitful contacts for the future were established, and many new pan-global percussion aficionados “took me home with them” if the form of Pathfinder, Awakening the Fire, and Dancing into Silence CDs from the Museum Store.
Thanks to curator Richard Walter for orchestrating this event, and to all at MIM for their gracious support, encouragement and hospitality; it is always an honor to work with this temple of world music, and by all means go experience Beyond the Beat!
The SRO Founder’s Room crowd for my Beyond the Beat presentation at MIM
A happy post-presentation percussionist outside the BTB Exhibit at MIM
Ditto that sonic success for my Science of Sound Artist-in-Residency at Sonoran Sky School, in which third grade students enriched their physics curriculum and enlarged their technical vocabulary with daily hands-on workshops exploring the scientific and mathematical ramifications of polyrhythmic pan-global percussion.
Thanks to my long-time friend and AIR Coordinator Helen Maxwell for orchestrating this event; to Computer Specialist Crissy Malouf for graciously allowing me to conduct my workshops in her classroom; to the PTO for generously funding our program; and to all at Sonoran Sky for twenty years of excellence in arts education!
A quiet Monday morning at Sonoran Sky before my Sonic Scientists arrive
And last but by no means least, the R. Carlos Nakai Platinum Celebration Concert at MIM was a sold-out shimmering success, in which I was humbled and honored to have been invited to play a small part.
Personal highlights for yours truly (among too many to list) were a world-premiere flute, piano & udu improvisation with R. Carlos and his long-time collaborator Peter Kater; and holding the heartbeat for the encore extravaganza, an amazing hoop dance by Tony Duncan, backed by the All-Star Platinum Players: R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton, Peter Kater & Will Clipman–I hope my knees weren’t knocking louder than the drum!
Kudos to R. Carlos Nakai for his uncanny calm in the eye of the creative storm and his masterful musicianship amidst the myriad multifarious musical manifestations of the presentation; to Robert Doyle for his impeccable production and direction of this extraordinarily complex yet effortlessly-executed performance; and to the entire cast and crew for checking egos at the door and working together as a team to pull it off!
As part of the ramp-up to the Temenos Quartet Vernal Equinox Concert at Galactic Center on Saturday March 21st, TQ was interviewed and recorded by videographer, photographer and producer Pj McArdle for a Tucson Community Cable TV segment that will air throughout the month of February.
Catch this compelling glimpse into the artistry, philosophy and humanity of Temenos Quartet on TCC, and check out the March issue of your A 440 Newsletter for details on the concert!
TQ taping the TCC show out back at Casa Lobo (*note the new Amophone!)
Poem of the Month
As I venture back into the sanctuary of the classroom for a good bit of the coming month, I’m reminded as always of the profound impact teachers have had on my life, and mindful of the awesome opportunity to make a positive difference in the world by inspiring, encouraging and empowering students–not to emulate the teacher–but to discover their own passions and pursue a personal path to enlightenment. This Poem of the Month arose out of my hundreds of teaching experiences with thousands of students over the course of thirty-five years as an arts educator; while the text is ancient, the meaning and the feeling of the words seem very fresh to me just now.
If nothing else
it’s one less thing I’m ignorant about,
and that’s a small triumph.
I came in thinking
I will teach you,
but come away
shamed by how little I know
about that house
with a flame in every window
on the dark block of this world,
about masks hardening on many small faces,
on others some true flesh flowering.
Forgive my anger at bad language,
slow blood triggering in the temples
at your desire to guess the right answer.
I don’t want you to grow old so soon;
you refuse to be young.
There’s a wilderness in the marrow
that invents its own statements.
Let’s not forget
how the ten p.m. run of the Southern Pacific
starts up, groans out into the desert,
how the conductor is glad to be
absolute, blind, at the beginning.
Let’s not forget
it is too easy to love beauty
and too hard to be generous
toward the ugly parts of ourselves.
A man should be near his teachers.
I’m a Dark Age armorsmith
when I should be looming fibers of light.
what I mean is
I love you.
I don’t know what to say.
© Will Clipman 2015; from Wilderness in the Marrow; originally published in Rhetoric Review
I’m no photographer, but I’m an admirer of great photography. Since I’ll be rising before dawn most days in the coming weeks and getting to see many of our fabled Arizona sunrises, this serendipitously submitted shot of dawn over the Rincon Mountains on the far east side of Tucson (not photo-shopped, actual colors) seems like a fitting image to close with. What’s that old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words? Heck, this might even be the launch of a new A 440 Photo of the Month feature if more great images keep showing up!
photo courtesy R.C. Clipman Photography
May your February be fabulous
and may your year continue to unfold
in unforeseen blessings and opportunities
Making the desirable possible also makes the undesirable impossible.