Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New Blog Location

I've moved my On That Note... blog to be part of our Diane Martinson Music blog.  You'll find my future posts there as well as the existing ones that I imported.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bringing Peace Through Music

The emotional impact of music is one of the reasons we share it at social events. Typically the shared music is for pure celebration, but for memorial services there are other emotional aspects that the music reflects. The songs and underscoring music at memorial services are able to bring us to an internal place of remembrance and peace.

On Saturday I was proud of how Diane Martinson and I provided the music for a memorial service. It gave me a strong sense of purpose to perform meaningful songs that brought peace to the family and friends. I strove to play the piano to express assuredness and reverence through the music.

When I want to musically express a feeling, I draw upon my own emotions like a method actor. For memorials, I learn about the person during the service and feel their influence. It reminds me of others who are now with me in spirit. I reflect on my continued love for those who have passed and I also call upon a power outside of myself for a calming strength. When I channel those feelings it comes out in how I express the music.

Accompanying Diane is even more powerful. It's always an honor to create the musical canvas for her to paint the song on with her passionate vocals. Combining words with melody is a sum greater than the parts, the way that Diane is able to bring out the intent of the phrases and tell the story of the song. I love our unspoken connection as we musically co-create each phrase's expression - the benefit of years performing together. The feelings I channel unite with her expressed feelings bringing forth an uplifting sense with a deep underlying calmness.

It felt wonderful to hear the family's grateful comments when they talked with Diane and I after the service. I also experience a great benefit when I perform the music for a memorial service. I feel the reverence and comfort that I strive to bring to those in mourning. I am grateful for the peace and connection I feel in bringing healing feelings through music.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Groovy Flash Back Party

I'm really glad that Discount Steel asked our band back to play for their annual company party. Last year they had a 20's theme party with a murder mystery. This year it was a 70's theme party with casino games and a magic show. The thing I remember most about the previous year was how every single person at the event was dressed in 1920's attire. At most corporate celebrations I'll see at least a few employees who aren't into the party's theme, but this company had 100% participation. I was stoked to see all the 70's outfits (including my band mates) and once again everyone was into it.

Diane Martinson and JJ Saecker
vocal/piano duo for 70's theme party
Like last year our vocal/piano duo set the mood during the cocktail hour. I always love performing with Diane, and it was fun to bring some tunes we hadn't done before. Many songs from the 70's tell a story, and that's one of our duo's greatest strengths. Some of my favorites were Love Will Keep Us Together as performed by Captain and Tenille, Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Supertramp's Give A Little Bit, and We've Only Just Begun by The Carpenters. We also had fun taking the opportunity to perform the full length American Pie.

Diane and I had a break while David Farr entertained them with his magic. We've worked at gigs with David before and I enjoy seeing how he uses his charm and humor to put on a good show. I could tell that the audience enjoyed his routine.

Elevation band for 70's theme party
After the magic show our 8-piece band played a variety of great hits from the 70's. We kicked off the dance with Get Down Tonight and other disco and funk tunes. Throughout the night we also played non-disco hits like Spinning Wheel, Cocaine, and Joe Cocker's version of The Letter. I especially enjoyed playing the challenges of Got To Be Real and The Jackson 5's I Want You Back. I'm proud when we can do tunes that are musically complex because they are typically my favorites to listen to as well.

There were hippies, disco dancers, Elvis, lounge lizards, and others boogying on the dance floor till the end of our performance. When I was a kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday because I got to dress up and see everyone else's costumes. Now as an adult, dressing up and performing for a theme party is a special treat for me, especially when everyone participates. Thanks for having us back again, Discount Steel. I'll catch you on the flip-side.