“Boston is a State of Mind”

I found this quote among a plethora of quotes about Boston with a simple google image search. Thomas Gold Appleton, who was a writer and artist born in 1812, spent most of his life here which led him to make this statement. While I’ve only been in Boston for a few years I still believe it rings true. Before this semester, I was away from the city for 8 months, I spent the summer at home in Chicago and the fall semester abroad in London. Coming back this year strangely felt like coming to a new place that was still familiar. It took a little while for me to get over not being in London, but being reunited with friends and doing this project helped me to truly feel happy to be back in Boston again. The people, the energy, the accents, the sports, the spirit; it’s all truly a state of mind.

1. City Snapshot

I ventured over to the musically inclined part of the city in Back Bay where the Berklee College of Music, Huntington Theater, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and more places can be found. I also went near Northeastern University and Newbury Street where the city was bustling with shoppers and students. – Taken from 360 Huntington Ave., 1140 Boylston St., and 361 Newbury St.

2. Food/Drink

Valentine’s Day was a night to remember, mainly because I helped surprise my best friend with a dinner planned entirely by her fiancé (who unfortunately is studying abroad and couldn’t be with her). We ate at Tiger Mama in Fenway, known for its Southeast asian food. The restaurant prides itself on shareable dishes and suggests that two people order around 4/5 dishes to share. It’s a bit on the expensive side so I was glad I wasn’t paying. – Taken from 1363 Boylston St.

3. Person on the Street

I talked to Michael Cocolla about what he enjoys about Boston and he loves that the city is small but still has everything you need. – Taken on Snapchat right in front of Kenmore Station

4. Student on the Street

Candice Lim (COM ’19) loves the hustle and bustle of the city. As an up and coming journalist she thrives off of Boston’s energy. – Taken at 640 Commonwealth Ave.

5. Academic Excellence

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a reckoning of sexual assault allegations coming to light in nearly every industry, BU held a faculty-student forum to discuss the movement and how the faculty are contributing to the research of this movement and of sexual assault. The fact that BU held such a forum and has faculty contributing to such a groundbreaking research shows it is a leader in excellence and innovation. -Taken at 775 Commonwealth Ave.

MIT is another school that displayed Academic Excellence this month. This photo features a student project made for Black History Month. – Taken at 77 Massachusetts Ave.

6. Weather

We had some unexpectedly beautiful weather in Boston this week and many people, and animals, were taking advantage. I met Joseph on the Charles River Esplanade while he was sketching the skyline. – Taken at the Charles River Esplanade

7. Scenic Spot

Back Bay is definitely scenic with its historical buildings, shopping and dining. Some of the Churches even have gorgeous stain glass windows that are decades old. – Taken near 180 Berkeley St.

8. Sports Talk

Siblings Issac and Bertha Borin couldn’t stop raving about their love for David “Big Papi” Ortiz, who retired from the Red Sox in 2016 but not before becoming a Boston Icon. I asked them if they thought the team could ever get back what they had or ever be the same without him. Check out their answer below. – Taken on Bay State Road

9. Fashion Shot

There was no way I could walk past Sage Holloway without asking her about her purple hair and her colorful jacket. She was happy to talk to me about her colorful 80’s style and explain to me how she picks her hair colors. Spoiler Alert: She doesn’t actually pick them. – Taken at 115 Cummington Mall

Sage Holloway did not know what color her hair would turn out to be, and that’s the way she likes it. She is bold and mixes random colors to surprise herself. Her hair color and jacket immediately caught my attention when I passed her at BU, which is exactly what she wanted. She lives for the 80s and wants everyone to know it. “I saw this at Garment District and I just love it. I love how bright it is, there’s this little belt that I think is just so unique and I just never have seen anything like this and it’s functional as a jacket, I hate buying things that just aren’t that functional so this is practical and super fun. I want to be the person who walks past and catches someone’s eye, like that’s what I want so goal reached.” 👾👩🏻‍🎤🦄 @sageholla #jo304

A post shared by Kyler S. (@kyl_r) on

10. An Olympic Moment

Nikki Havens (COM ’20) isn’t letting her lack of cable keep her from staying caught up with the Winter Olympics. Watch this video to learn more about how she will stay updated. – Taken at 736 Commonwealth Ave.

11. Off the Beaten Path

I saw a glimmer of blue and yellow peeking out behind a building in Allston and when I went to check it out I discovered a whole lot more. This mural exemplifies everything Boston is all about. – Taken behind 136 Harvard Ave.

12. Freestyle

Boston is known for a lot of things, but having soul isn’t usually one of them. However, Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen in the South End has as much as soul as you would find anywhere in the South. It serves delicious soul food like Chicken and Waffles, and if you go there on the right night there will be live jazz performances! (You have to pay extra on any night where there is a performance but I say it’s worth it). – Taken at 604 Columbus Ave.

My Favorite Tweets

This was hard to narrow down because my classmates did a lot of cool things this week but here are the ones that stood out to me:

1. Natasha Mascarenhas’ pictures of the skyline are amazing. I’m definitely inspired to leave campus more often now.

2. Pamela Fourtounis captured a beautiful aspect of Boston: its inclusivity.

3. I love that Morgan Cheung actually talked to a student who dreams of going to the Olympics one day. Really cool interview!

My Replies

  1. I replied to Yasmine Ghanem’s interview with Julia because we both love the amount of students in the area!

 

2. I also replied to Aleah Floyd’s interview with a student on the street because I also enjoy that I’ve met and made friends with people of different cultures all because I came to Boston for college. (Can you tell that I love meeting people in Boston yet?)

3. Watching Morgan’s interview with Ravi was pretty cool, for reasons I mentioned above, so I just to had to reply.

4. I’ve been in a Black Panther mood for essentially two years, so now that the movie is out and Black people all over the world are feeling inspired to be themselves, I reply to and share images of outfits from the movie showings any chance I get.

5. Laura Guerriero ate at Sweet Cheeks, a place I’ve been eyeing lately but haven’t yet been to. I was happy to see that the food looked tasty.

There are a lot of people and things I miss from London but I think I’m finally in that Boston State of Mind.

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Who’s got spirit?

VP Mike Pence may have refused to stand when the unified Korean team entered the floor for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, but that didn’t matter since they had an entourage of more than 200 cheerleaders on their side.

The fact that North and South Korea decided to compete in the games under one flag was originally the big news, but once people saw the North Korean cheerleaders doing over-the-top choreography with over-the-top outfits, the conversation took a big turn.

Vox compiled the best, and weirdest, photos of the cheerleaders in action. Win or lose, North Korea has great team spirit to fall back on.

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North Korea wants to make sure we don’t forget them this olympics, and it would be hard to do with their cheerleaders, taekwondo demonstration team and 140-member orchestra.

If you ask social media users, the cheerleaders were the team that stole the show.

But others say this is Kim Jong Un’s way of waving something shiny in our faces to distract us from the potential threat of his nuclear weapons.

WWMLKD

What would MLK do? When a tragedy or triumph occurs many people wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would say if he was still here with us. And in regard to that Dodge Ram commercial that aired during the Super Bowl featuring sections of his “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, many believe the visionary leader would not be pleased.

The commercial included quotes from the sermon that had to do with serving one another, but it left out the parts of his sermon condemning advertising and capitalism. “The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism…Now the presence of this instinct explains why we are so often taken by advertisers. You know, those gentlemen of massive verbal persuasion. And they have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car.”

Twitter exploded with responses, most were critical of Dodge and wanted to uphold MLK’s legacy.

The twist is, Dodge made the ad with the blessing of the King Estate. Dexter King, MLK’s son, said the ad “Embodies” MLK’s philosophy about service as the ad is promoting Dodge’s Ram Nation Volunteer Program.

Vox wrote about how someone remade the ad and overlaid it with what MLK actually said about advertising.

Do you guys think Dodge messed up and started off Black History Month the wrong way or are they embodying King’s philosophy?

Read more here.

Vox – Understand the news

Vox’s mission is no mystery; it’s placed directly next to the title when you google the organization. They don’t want their readers to get lost in the news cycle or become so overwhelmed with jargon that they stop reading and watching news altogether. They want to make the news digestible for all, by explaining things in simple terms and giving necessary context.

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Their goal isn’t to get the news out first or to sound the smartest, it’s to help you and I decipher what’s going on in this ever-changing world we live in. They cover not only what’s new but what’s important, through writing, video and social media stories. You can find them anywhere: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, email and iTunes. They have sections dedicated to food science, technology, first person narratives, politics and more. Their “Explainers” section is what exemplifies their mission. Here, they take a large topic and break it down to what it means for the average citizen.

For example, when the government shut down there were countless stories about the disagreements between specific members of congress and the president, and while those articles got people’s attention they didn’t bring the topic close to home. But Vox wanted to do just that.

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Informing people there was a shutdown is important, but explaining what it means and how it will actually impact people is crucial. This story explained that food and nutrition programs for poor families would only be able to operate through March without additional funding, that services for veterans and military families are hit the hardest, that more than 1,300 low-wage federal workers were unable to work, but also that Social Security and Medicare are not at all affected.

The story’s organization made it easy to follow; each time a new group who would be impacted was brought up, it was noted with a new title.

The story is followed by a “Storystream” of all the other stories written about the topic in the order they were written so readers can follow the timeline easily.

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Their process isn’t something they want to hide; they have an entire section dedicated to explaining “How we make Vox” and they want readers to be part of it. On this page they celebrate milestones in readership, they reached over 60 million on Facebook alone last year,  explain website updates, how they aggregate, how they’ve connected with sources and more. This page has articles from this month and ones dating all the way back to when the website was launched in 2014. In an article posted in March 2014 explaining the then new organization’s purpose, Vox did what they do best and they made it simple.

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But by simple, they do NOT mean boring. They believe that any topic that is important to readers, that impacts their lives, should not be boring and if that’s the case then they see it as failure on their part.

In the four years since its launch, Vox has continually delivered on its promise of explaining the news, in an engaging way, whether it be through an in-depth article or a podcast or even just a video explaining where the babies in movies come from.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Vox’s move to curry favor with advertisers through their explainer videos and mentioned that Vox “quickly won attention” for its success at explainers.

With a mission statement as broad as “explain the news” one would think the news site would easily lose focus, but it seems that they’ve stayed on course. I’m excited to track them to see how they will stay with this goal throughout the semester.

 

All that glitters is not gold

138 names shine in yellow on a recent Vox Instagram article, but the color begins to fade away as the true darkness of their actions is revealed. A closer inspection of the names brings familiarity – Nassar, Affleck, C.K., Trump, Weinstein – and it becomes clear this isn’t a list you would want to be on.

The names of high-ranking men who have been accused of sexual assault and harassment, in this time of reckoning, make up the body of this article. All their names are together in one place, and they all flicker in yellow before turning grey. I picked this story because you can’t look away.

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The headline struck me: “138 power brokers have been accused of sexual misconduct since Bill O’Reilly was forced out at Fox News…” but the article’s visual elements made me stay.

The story includes quotes from victims, to show how these actions impacted their lives. I commend Anna North and the Vox team for compiling all the information on every high-profile person accused so far, including accused women, and continually updating the list. There are also separate sections for each industry. They include more than just the famous actors and directors, they make it a goal to hold all of the accused accountable.

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The last two words of the headline, “So far”, show that this story is far from over.

Is the UK doing Black Friday Properly?

Twitter reacts to the lack of queues and fighting

In the US, Black Friday involves a frenzy of bargain-hunters running from shop to shop, braving long queues and sometimes fights, injuries and even deaths.

The phenomenon, only seven years old in the UK, has provoked mixed feelings on this side of the Atlantic – and today’s efforts struck some observers as disappointingly restrained.

“People appear to be queuing, behaving themselves and managing not to get into fights,” Metro says. “They were then able to go around the supermarket with their bargains with apparently little care as to whether or not someone would grab their purchases from them.”

One shopper calmly bought two packs of hot dog buns, teacakes, and lettuce along with a 40” Sharp LED TV. In the US, few Black Friday shoppers would stop to buy groceries.

In Manhattan, hundreds of people lined the streets outside a branch of Target before 6am, and in Missouri one shopper sustained life-threatening injuries after a shooting in a mall car park. An Alabama mall was forced to close early when fights broke out, Reuters reports.

By contrast, in Walkden, Greater Manchester, a total of five shoppers showed up at Tesco to cash in on Black Friday deals, and a Twitter moment titled “The UK isn’t doing Black Friday Properly” presented a compilation of the eerie quietness around local shops.

When the BBC showed up at Currys PC World on Oxford Street, it was met by just one eager early shopper:

Things weren’t looking much livelier down the road at John Lewis:

 

Or at any other big-name stores:

Lacklustre discounts have sapped shoppers’ enthusiasm for Black Friday sales, says The Guardian. The number of online shoppers active between midnight and 7am was 24% down on last year, according to e-commerce trends service PCA Predict, although sales increased by 11% in the preceeding week. “This longer sales period has shifted the emphasis away from Black Friday being a major retail event in its own right, towards becoming part of a pre-Christmas mini-season or ‘golden quarter’ for retailers,” Chris Boaz, ‎the company’s head of marketing told The Guardian. While there was little evidence of panic-buying, Metro says this weekend is still expected to be the biggest ever for retailers. UK consumers are expected to spend £8bn over four days.

Originally published here.

Accomplished pianist, teacher, author leaving Hyde Park after 70 years

JUNE 21, 2017

 

When Martha Faulhaber was six years old you might’ve found her hiding under a piano. Her father Harry Finke was a self-taught pianist who played musicals and composed Christmas songs and songs for the local high schools and universities in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Naturally, Faulhaber began taking piano lessons at age six and her introduction to piano wasn’t pleasant.

“My first experiences were with a very mean, difficult teacher who used to slap me on the hand with a ruler, it was terrible,” Faulhaber recalled. “I used to hide under the piano and luckily she left after the first year, then I had a wonderful teacher.”

Since her early days of learning piano, the 90-year-old Hyde Park resident has gone on to accompany the Chicago Children’s Choir for 25 years, including a 6-week European tour, teach at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School for children facing emotional challenges and Head Start, co-write three children’s music books, play at Orchestra Hall, and more.

She majored in piano and music theory and graduated from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana in 1948 and moved to Hyde Park that same year to get her master’s degree from the Chicago Musical College, which is now housed in Roosevelt University. There she met her next piano teacher: world-renowned Swiss pianist, conductor, and composer Rudolph Ganz.

“He was a great, he was a recognized pianist in those days,” Faulhaber said.

At the time she didn’t know that one-day she too would become a recognized pianist, here in Hyde Park and in the city.

After meeting her husband Robert Faulhaber here in 1950 -they both missed their graduations to go back to Dayton to get married -they traveled to Europe where she attended a music school in Paris: Ecole de Normale de Musique. Upon her return she started her 25-year-long journey with the Chicago Children’s Choir, which currently over 4,600 youth participate in.“A lot of the older children from the Children’s Choir, when I’ve seen them they’ve come up and said hello and it’s a nice feeling to have people remember,” Faulhaber said. “I remember one especially, there was a young woman who still plays the piano, she plays for ballet dancers and she’s in New Hampshire now.”

Kathleen Finke, Faulhaber’s niece and a schoolteacher, recalled how a colleague at her school remembered Faulhaber from his days in the choir.

“In one of my first years of teaching in Chicago I mentioned that my aunt had played and he was so excited he got this big smile on his face and went ‚ÄòOh Martha’,” Finke said. “He was so excited to know that I was Martha’s niece.”

Her dedication to music education for children was clear due to her teaching and leadership roles as well her role as a children’s music book author. The advice she would give to children aspiring to be musicians is to remain focused.

“They have to work hard. And keep at it,” she said.

She has four children of her own and started them all out on instruments at a young age, her oldest daughter Roberta studied piano, her son Peter studied violin, her daughter Christina studied viola and her daughter Elizabeth studied cello. With starting them out so young Faulhaber didn’t know what sizes they would grow up to be so to her surprise Christina ended up being the smallest of her children, too small for a viola, and her son Peter ended up being the tallest so he would’ve been perfect on cello.

“I was hoping to get a string quartet,” Faulhaber laughed.

Faulhaber also embarked on a musical journey of her own, accompanying more singers than she could count, performing classic works at venues like Orchestra Hall and the American Conservatory, and gaining a duet partner in fellow pianist Laura Fenster.

Fenster recalled that she was drawn to Faulhaber’s music because Faulhaber is always sensitive to what is going on harmonically in music and is always trying to figure out, “what the music is trying to say.”

“She has a very good sense of color, she’s a very visual person so when we work together it’s interesting because she thinks in terms of picture, what is the visual thing, whereas I think of the dramatic thing, what would it be like if someone was saying it in a drama,” Fenster said. “But she has a very visual sense.”

Faulhaber and Fenster met while they both studied under Rudolph Ganz and began performing together in the 1950s. They were known to perform classics like The Variations on a Theme by Haydn, by composer Johannes Brahms, and Visions de l’Amen (“Visions of the Amen”) by composer Olivier Messiaen, of which they were the premiere performers.

“At first I was living in South Shore and she was living in Hyde Park but then we moved to Hyde Park just a few doors away,” Fenster said. “So we’re kind of sisters almost, we did a lot together besides the piano.”

“Yeah it’s been a long time because we’ve been playing together since the 1950’s really,” Faulhaber said. “And I just stopped playing recently (in the last 5 years) because my ears are not good.”

Even with her continuous travels to Europe over the years, with specific trips to Paris that resulted in her and all her children knowing French and her daughter Roberta moving there, Faulhaber believes it was because of her move to Hyde Park that she became the pianist she is today.

“[Hyde Park] offered so many playing opportunities and that isn’t true of a lot of other neighborhoods, it was a big advantage,” Faulhaber said. “I think it was a great place to raise my kids too because it was an integrated neighborhood which was what I liked about it.”

Faulhaber continued on about her love for the neighborhood’s diversity, all of the different people she was able to meet here, and the neighborhood’s proximity to the University of Chicago where she attends lectures and concerts. While she’s optimistic about moving she will definitely miss the neighborhood where she got her start.

“I have lots of friends here who are musicians and there was a Hyde Park Music Club and I was a member of that group so they’ll all remember me and I’ll remember them,” Faulhaber said. “I’ll still have contact with all of my friends here.”

Faulhaber’s husband passed away in 1986 and all of her children have moved from the city, two have also followed in her footsteps and pursued the arts. As she gets older she believes it’s important to be close to her children and grandchildren. For these reasons she plans to move to Denver at the end of the month to be with her daughter Elizabeth and one of her grandsons.

In her past few years in Hyde Park she’s been able to connect more with her niece, who also went to college at Saint Mary’s, her alma mater.

“We graduated 50 years apart from each other,” Finke said. “So we’ve gone back for reunions on the same years but when I was there it was a very proud moment for me because my freshman year she was invited back to perform as a distinguished alum and I was a freshman in college and to have my aunt come and play, it was a big deal.”

Finke also talked about how important it was for her to have a familial connection with Martha in her adult life since she didn’t know her as well because she grew up in their hometown of Dayton.

“We meet for dinner on a bi-monthly basis, and there aren’t any other Finkes in town, so that’s a big part, to have that connection,” Finke said.

For Fenster, having Faulhaber in her life has shown her what true kindness looks like.

“Oh her,” Fenster replied when asked what she would miss most about Faulhaber. “Her personality, her kindness. She’s just totally kind and there’s a sense of understanding what the world is like at the same time. It’s a lot more than a personality trait, she’s just really a good person.”

Faulhaber is passing her talents, and her grand piano, onto her grandchildren.

“I have two grandsons who are really good at the piano. It’s nice to see them develop, and I’ll be with one of them in Denver,” Faulhaber said. “So we’ll probably be doing a lot of duets.”

This was originally published here.

Woodlawn Community Summit to host free Student Writers’ Workshop with Pulitzer Prize winning Poet Tyehimba Jess

JUNE 15, 2017

To Tyehimba Jess, Rhythm and Blues are the genetic material that make up America’s DNA.

The Detroit-born poet’s Pulitzer Prize winning book Olio, published in 2016, focuses on African-American artists from 1865 until WWI and their blues, work songs, and church hymns.

“African-American music is at the center of the American sound. So when you’re listening to the music you’re listening to the soundtrack of America, you’re listening to the heartbeat, the pulse of American history,” Jess said. “You are listening to the sonic signal that generated from all of the personal and historical events that are happening around a musician or a set of musicians at a particular time and when I write about those musicians or when I write about the art that they produce I’m also talking about their history’s, the history of the people they rolled with, and the history of the country that they’re in, they’re all pretty much inseparable.”

The book is about the first generation of Olio, which is defined as “a variety act or show.” Jess zeroes in on the first generation of free African-American artists in the year the 13th amendment was ratified and slavery officially ended.

Jess will read from the book and engage youth in an open conversation during The Woodlawn Community Summit’s Poetry and Writers’ Workshop for students this Saturday, June 17, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the University of Chicago, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St.

Following the reading, youth will participate in a one hour, hands on, writers’ workshop entitled “Phone Book” and facilitated by Asadah Kirkland of the Soulful Chicago Book Fair.

In addition to focusing on African-American musicians Olio is also about comedians, visual artists and the differently abled.

“It’s about the challenges of African-American artists, performing their art with dignity against the backdrop of the minstrel show,” Jess said.

Jess discovered his knack for poetry when he was 15; by the time he was a senior in high school he’d found his footing and won second place in a poetry contest.

He went on to earn his BA from the University of Chicago and his MFA from New York University. The two-time member of the Chicago Green Mill Slam team, and Chicago Poetry Ambassador to Accra, Ghana wrote his first book of poems leadbelly, a biography of blues musician Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s life in poems, in 2005 and it was voted a top poetry book of the year by Black Issues Book Review.

He reached the acclaim he has today by studying his favorite poets and writers, including Rev. James Lowery who Jess dedicated a blog post to for speaking out against the Bush administration with a note of protest during Coretta Scott King’s funeral.

Ahead of his student workshop this Saturday, hosted by The Woodlawn Community Summit for 6th- 12th grade students, Jess’ advice for aspiring poets is simple.

“Read, read, read and then write,” Jess said. “Read as much as you can, read people that you like, read people that influence the people that you like, and go out to poetry readings and listen to the work that’s being delivered out there and then set yourself down and set some goals for yourself and read and write.”

Jess compares being a poet to being a musician in that, “you have to hear the music before you can play the music, you have to read what’s out there in order to develop your own voice in poetry.”

The Poetry and Writers’ Workshop is free and has several sponsors including The University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, the South East Chicago Commission (SECC), and Robust Coffee.

“This event gives youth that have an interest in writing and poetry an opportunity to meet a new role model,” Woodlawn Community Summit Co-Founder Deidre McGraw said in the press release, “who is from an urban city (Detroit), that has professionally succeeded as a writer and poet.”

To register for the event visit http://www.secc-chicago.org/primary-news/the-woodlawn-summit-presents-tyehimba-jess.

For more information contact Deidre McGraw 312-342-7176 or by email at woodlawnsummit@gmail.com.

This was originally published here.

Branford Marsalis visits Kenwood Academy High School

JUNE 15, 2017

“If you’re not afraid to fail, you’ll go far,” Grammy-award winning Jazz legend and saxophonist Branford Marsalis said to music students at Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., when he visited on Wednesday, June 14.

Marsalis visited to work with students in piano instructor Bethany Pickens’ class.

Pickens, who is also a noted jazz pianist, credited Marsalis and his brother, fellow jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, for turning her toward her passion: acoustic music.

“That kind of music was not what I was hearing on the radio,” Pickens said to the crowd of around 25 students and faculty. “It was Earth, Wind & Fire and all these different groups that were electric oriented and they were playing some really hip music but they weren’t playing acoustic music, so he and his brother are the reason I’m even dealing with the piano at all.”

Pickens said Marsalis was a musical chameleon in the way that he could, “blend in with any environment. You could see him this week at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, you could’ve seen him as music director of The Tonight Show, you could’ve seen him play with Sting, you could’ve seen him even play with The Grateful Dead.”

The event kicked off with a performance of “Billy’s Bounce” with Marsalis on saxophone, Pickens on drums, recent Kenwood graduate Charles Morgan on piano, and sophomore Steven Bowman on bass.

The performance was spur of the moment as Marsalis remarked he hadn’t played the song in 30 years.

Following the performance there was a Q & A session where Marsalis talked about his journey from starting piano at age 5 to saxophone in his sophomore year of high school, his transition between classical and jazz music, understanding the culture of music, and finding your sound as a musician.

“You already have a voice,” Marsalis said, when asked whether he developed his voice by studying music and transcribing solos. “When I was 7 years old I sounded like me, when I was 17 fortunately I had more vocabulary, I read more books so I sounded like a more sophisticated version of me, and at 27 I sounded like an even more sophisticated version of me.”

Marsalis said, “You play your horn you sound like you, your vocabulary is all jacked up if you haven’t learned any solos.”

Marsalis explained that musicians start to all sound the same when they focus on learning scales instead of learning solos, and only listen to music and artists that they like.

“A scale is the same sound, it’s an OK sound but if you’re vocabulary is 2,500 scales then it’s 2,500 of the exact same thing,” Marsalis said.

Marsalis also talked about how the history of music is not what is most important, but rather it is the culture of music that is.

“Louis Armstrong recorded West End Blues in 1925, that don’t matter, that means nothing,” Marsalis said. “You have to understand the culture he came from to achieve that sound.”

Armstrong’s music is often not taught at music schools because even though everything he played sounded great, it was harmonically incorrect so most teachers didn’t know how to teach students about him, and Marsalis saw this as a flaw.

“How do you reconcile those things in a classroom? You don’t, you just avoid it,” he said.

During the Q & A, Marsalis spotted Kenwood junior Nyree Moore in the very last row holding her saxophone and wouldn’t take no for an answer as he asked her to come down to the front and play.

Moore, caught off-guard, didn’t know what to play and ended up deciding on Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”.

While Moore began to play she had a few hiccups and Marsalis jumped in with his saxophone to demonstrate a different way to play the classic and they finished out the song together.

Moore had been anticipating Marsalis’ visit for quite some time after Marsalis’ brother Wynton visited earlier in the school year, but she had no idea things would turn out the way they did.

“What was going through my head was, ‘Was this man going to school me, what did he want me to play?’” Moore said. “I didn’t know what else to think besides I have to play something or else this isn’t really going to go over well for [me].”

While playing with Marsalis, Moore was able to discover a new version of one of her go-to songs that she hadn’t heard before.

“I had never really played “The Entertainer” any other way than the one that I had always been taught so to hear him play it like that,” Moore said. “It sounded more correct to me more than anything else and I was like ‘Oh wow I’m getting schooled at the song I usually always play.’”

Will Curry, a saxophone player, recent University of Chicago Lab School graduate, and soon to be Oberlin College freshman, met Marsalis for the first time eight years ago when he was 10 at a jazz event held by Pickens’ father, pianist Willie Pickens.

“I just spent the night watching him in awe,” Curry recalled. The picture he took with Marsalis that night still sits in his bedroom.

After Pickens, a member of his church, sent him a text late last night saying she invited Marsalis to come to Kenwood, Curry knew he had to go.

“He’s such an inspirational guy,” Curry said. “Especially because I’m going to be headed off to music school next year, I’m trying to figure out how to navigate all that and he’s very much a guiding voice.”

This was originally published here.

OWL announces name change to attract more members

JUNE 5, 2017

 

OWL, previously The Older Women’s League, has announced it is changing its name to stand for Outstanding Women Leaders.

The organization has undergone many recent changes as it disbanded as a national organization earlier this year. Reasons for disbanding included low membership numbers, trouble raising necessary funds, and an aging leadership.

Local chapters, like Hyde Park’s, remain active as nonprofit organizations under a 501(c)(3) tax status they were required to file paperwork for several years ago.

Past President of the National OWL and the Hyde Park chapter, and current newsletter editor of the Hyde Park chapter, Margaret H. Huyck explained that the previous name did not draw enough members.

“We found that many women were not willing to identify themselves as older women, and they didn’t want to join any group that said they were an older woman, which I think was unfortunate,” Huyck said. “I think it’s a terrible denial.”

Talks to change the name began in 2005 and since then the group has worked to change the name to Hyde Park OWL, The Voice of Women 40+, with OWL now standing for Outstanding Women Leaders. They followed the lead of organizations like the AARP, which was previously known as the American Association of Retired Persons but after dropping the description is just referred to as the AARP.

“There’s a lot of resistance to changing, there’s a lot of practical difficulties,” Huyck said. “We decided we would just do like a lot of other organizations have done and shorten it to OWL and that could mean Outstanding Women Leaders, or Older Wiser and Lovelier, or anything.”

According to the OWL website, the organization was founded in 1980 and its purpose is to “work solely on the economic security and quality of life issues impacting women 40+, who account for almost one-quarter of the U.S. population.”

During its 37-year-long lifespan, OWL created “The Health Insurance Rights Act” which was adopted by several states in the 1980s, was invited to The White House by President Clinton to host a meeting on Social Security in the 1990s, and partnered with pharmaceutical companies to conduct research on menopause and osteoporosis in the 2000s.

No matter the name, Huyck insists that the group’s goals remain unchanged.

“We’re speaking and advocating on issues of special concern to mid-life and older women,” she said. “[Our goals] have to do with ensuring financial stability and that of course includes social security, equal pay for equal work, supporting family, and medical leave because a lot of the reasons that women end up poor is because they take time out for caregiving, unpaid family caregiving.”

Unpaid family caregiving has persisting negative effects in women’s lives. By the time they become older they retain the flexibility needed to care for their family members and remain in lower-paying jobs and get paid less in those jobs than men, which results in them having much lower social security payments later in life.

“Children, old people, and people with disabilities, rely mostly on unpaid family caregivers and we can’t ignore that,” she said. “I don’t want the cost for that to be borne only by women.”

The group believes that by making things better for older women, this in turn would make things better for many other people, especially young women.

“Most women will in fact become old,” Huyck said. “So it’s really important if we’re going to protect [them] that we try to make things viable so that [they] can grow old and not be poor.”

With the name change the Hyde Park chapter has seen an increase in membership in the last few years with new leadership and greater emphasis on publicity. While the membership is still largely older women, the group has begun to attract younger women as well.

Huyck believes that in the upcoming years younger and middle aged women will form their own organizations and will figure out the way of promoting education and advocacy that is right for them.

“I still think of it as the Older Women’s League because that’s how it was for a long time,” Huyck said. “But we did have 37 years as a national organization where we did a lot of very good work.”

On Saturday, June 10, Hyde Park OWL will host a presentation and discussion titled “Updates From Our State Representatives and Alderwomen” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lower Level Community Room at Treasure Island, 1526 E. 55th St. Ald. Sophia King (4th), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other local officials will be in attendance to answer audience questions.

For more information contact Hyde Park OWL president Dee Spiech djspiech@aol.com.

This was originally published here.