10/14/2016 – So, this was my Wednesday night….
This group really tore it up with strings forward versions of classic rock tunes…lots of interest in them now. Once my guys approve the videos Mike Hope shot (thank you Mike), I’ll have some videos up.
It was a long journey to get here. I teach a rock orchestra class. I’ve been doing it for several years now. That’s been great. NS and Warwick have been very supportive. We’ve been filmed for a documentary, played the Marine Corp Marathon, almost opened for Heart (we got rained out after our soundcheck)…it’s been a decent ride.
And there’s been a lot of kids who are quite “meh” about their school orchestra situations (or they can’t participate). So this is a great alternative. However, many of them honestly don’t work hard enough to tackle the material I give them at a good rate of speed (ie they don’t do the work of practicing and being prepared for class). This is normal. Most kids are like this…so I’m not holding it against them. Kids choosing to be kids. That’s cool.
BUT…there are a few students who practice, did prep for class, and picked up the material quickly. REALLY quickly. Because they do the work. And those folks were feeling held back by the folks who did not. So I created a smaller group; the Double Koru Rock Ensemble.
I’m keeping the orchestra around to serve as an alternative to community orchestra for my adult students, an alternative to school orchestra for those students with schedule conflicts, and as a space for growth for the younger students who can’t get challenging music in the school system. (I am told that the music I offer is still harder and more interesting than what is offered in their school orchestras.) So Double Koru Rock Orchestra is in no danger of going away.
However, DKRE is the “special forces” version of DKRO… and the more serious students get to audition for this group. It is a hybrid of advanced “students” and professionals. They are going to gig a lot more than the DKRO. The idea is to create a working group situation that creates mentorship/apprenticeship opportunities. I tried to do that with the large ensemble, but I think that message was lost among the participants of DKRO.
So DKRE is where I’m seeing my vision of an apprenticeship situation finally bear fruit; older professional musicians come in and advancing musicians can learn from them. This covers stage craft, music business, gigging…basically, everything people would learn while being in a working band.
Best part is…the folks who have come in are of a caliber and personality that we are all equals. I’m not a teacher here. I’m a bandleader, and I’m a guide in certain situations, but we are equals. I don’t charge for this. We rehearse like a band, we gig like a band, we have respect for each other. We all share ideas. We’re serious about delivering quality music and a good show.
And I’m looking forward to seeing where this new group is going to go.