state-o-zen-for-ezine2Thank you for all the beautiful comments on the State-o-Zen videos I posted for Thanksgiving!

Wow – I got more comments on that blog than any other – and I loved them all!  I kept adding videos throughout the day, so now there are 6 of them.  If you you need some holiday stress reduction and haven’t seen them, visit the blog and I’ll love to hear your comments, too!

I’m in Indiana, Pennsylvania!

I’m here for a Holiday Concert with the IUP Jazz Band (Indiana University in Pennsylvania) on Thursday night, and today I have a casual noon concert at the library and two rehearsals. You can read a little about the concert in this article.

If you have friends anywhere near Indiana, PA (and don’t ask me where it is!) tell them about the show! It’s tomorrow night!

Here’s what I learned about Indiana, PA from my driver who picked me up at the Pittsbugh airport tonight:

          • Jimmy Stewart was born here
          • It’s the Christmas Tree Capitol of the WORLD (don’t tell me if I’m wrong about this, I like thinking it is)
          • The famous Groundhog Day Groundhog lives near here somewhere
I’m so excited about this collaborative project with IUP and here’s why:

My official reason for coming was to play a concert with the jazz band, but that’s turned into collaborations with both the music department AND the educational outreach office in unexpected and wonderful ways.

A. New Instruments in New Arrangements!

They have a great music department here, and Kevin Eisensmith, the leader of the jazz band and I got excited about the possibility of re-arranging my orchestra scores for Jazz Band. So earlier this year, I sent Kevin 9 of my orchestra scores, he handed them out to the talented faculty and they’ve arranged them all for tomorrow night’s concert.  So I’ll be playing tunes of mine at this concert in ways I’ve NEVER played them before!  Violin parts have been transformed to saxophones, and cellos to trombones.

It’s a holiday-themed show, so we’ll be playing my Blues-Stomp version of “Angels We’ve Heard on High,” (you do NOT play a song with “Angels” in the title on harp without adding something a little funky), my mini-suite “Season of Celebration,” my Calypso version of “Joy to the World” and a whole program of other tunes including The Garbageman and Baroque Flamenco.I’ll attend my first rehearsal with the band today and I can’t wait!   I LOVE working with creative dedicated folks like this, and the students sound GREAT in the MP3s Kevin has been sending me.

B. Two Harps – No Waiting!

My wonderful harp friend, Lucy Scandrett, a longtime leader in the harp community and adjunct professor of Harp at IUP, is joining me on stage for a Dueling Harps Blues with jazz band.  You gotta love a blonde harpist whose website is http://www.BlondeHarpist.com/

C. A brand new Online Education Project!!!

About 2 weeks ago, Jeff Wacker, coordinator of IUP’s ArtsPath program, asked if I could visit a few classrooms during my visit.  Alas, I had just bought my ticket and my schedule was too tight BUT, I had a sudden thought, “What if I could visit ALL the classrooms, at a time that was perfect for EACH OF THEM?” I blurted this out and Jeff said, “What do you mean?”I explained to him that for the last 2 years I’ve been building an online school for harpists all around the world. I realized I could use the same platform to create an interactive “Virtual Artist-Visit” that every classroom in his area could have access to.

We both got excited about it, I built a pilot site that gives students a visit to my work, along with discussion questions and some activities.Then I asked my own online students – some of whom are teachers themselves – to take a look at the “Virtual Artist-Visit” site and see if they had any suggestions – and WOW did they!  I got great feedback and one amazing harpist, Margi Miller, actually created a set of downloadable PDFs as activity-pages for the younger students. And it opened to classrooms today!

Here’s the opening page:

…. and here’s one of the pages deeper in the program:

You can read what the Indiana Gazette had to say about the project HERE. Don’t forget to tell your friends in Pennsylvania about the IUP show Thursday night and hopefully one day soon YOUR children will be learning about reinventing an instrument from me, in their classrooms!

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