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Film scores make the movie, enhance the imagery

In Education, Movies, Music, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on August 8, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Music gives us a common language. Images give us a common vision. Together we gain understanding … and peace. Who knew that in the 21st Century, film score composers would become rock stars? They fill arenas with people of all ages and ethnicities who come together for a few hours to be one people, one music, one heart and one spirit.

As I tap this out on the tiny screen of my iPhone, I am sitting in the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, surrounded by thousands of people who have come to listen to a kind of music that penetrates our pop culture. All over the country, Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer not only conducts but performs alongside a group of incredibly talented musicians to bring his film music to life for crowds of thousands.

An incredible concert of pieces from films like Crimson Tide, The Lion King and Batman Begins, plus an amazing tribute to Wonder Woman with all-female lead musicians. The crowd is totally enthralled with this presentation and I cannot help but be moved and the thought of, “Finally, people get it.” What do I mean by that?

If you follow my writings at all, you know that I am a musician. Scratch that, I’m not as much a musician as an entertainer. Musicians spend years of their lives studying and working and perfecting their craft. I literally woke up one morning and could play the piano. Not exaggerating, that’s how it felt. One day I couldn’t, the next I could.

    Film becomes more alive with the right orchestrated score. (Photo Courtesy TheHustle.co)

I mention this because the most influential music in my life was that of film – John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars), Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek), John Barry (Dances with Wolves, Somewhere In Time), James Horner (Titanic, The Mask of Zorro), and, most importantly to me, Stu Phillips (Battlestar Galactica ’78). These composers shaped the music I would eventually play because theirs was the first to come to life at my piano.

I am an auditory learner, I play by ear, not by sheet music, so the combination of an image to go with the music was particularly powerful. I could see the images from the films in my head as the music came out and the first one was the theme to the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series. An elaborate piece of music that layered two themes on top of one another seems an unlikely choice for a 12-year-old budding pianist, but that’s what fell out.

And as I grew up, film music always kept a hold on my ear far more than any other genre. And my ear was drawn to scores, not soundtracks. The difference being that a soundtrack generally included vocal pop songs and such while the score was the more “classical” sounding background music and themes. In any case, sitting in this concern made me realize that what I’d always thought was cool had finally actually become popular.

Films bring people together. Music brings people together. A huge part of what makes a great movie is the music. Imagine Jaws without the “duh dum … duh dum …” of John Williams’ famous theme? It would just be water… and a mechanical shark.

As a Star Trek fan, I can close my eyes, listen to a score from one of the films and tell you exactly when the Starship Enterprise appears on screen just by the tone and use of various themes. It’s emotional, heart-pounding, drama-inducing sound that carries us along with the characters. Music makes the movie and it is part of what ties us together as fans of those films.

Like the movies themselves, film scores reach across political, social, ethnic and economic boundaries, allowing us to have a common ground in a way that nothing else can. Movies take us on trips to the stars, beneath the sea, into battle, and through the perils of international intrigue. But none of it would happen without the amazing music created by great and incredibly under appreciated (until now) composers like Hans Zimmer and company.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer and the producer of The Brothers & Co. music and variety show. More at thebrothersvarietyshow.com

 

 

Dare to Defy Productions Presents Children of Eden Thanksgiving Weekend

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Holiday, Local News, Music, Religion, Theatre, Uncategorized on November 2, 2016 at 8:19 am

Dayton, OH – Dare to Defy Productions is bringing the captivating musical Children of Eden to the beautiful Victoria Theatre for a limited 3 performance run Thanksgiving weekend.

photo2Featuring one of the most beautiful scores in contemporary musical theatre from the composer of GodspellPippin and WickedChildren of Eden is a heartfelt and humorous musical about the unique family bond. Inspired by the Book of Genesis, it tells the timeless story of what it means to be a parent.

From the moment you bring a child into the world everything changes; you learn to protect, cherish, and love unconditionally. But as they grow you have to learn one more thing, to finally let them go one day.

The Dare to Defy production of Children of Eden stars John Benjamin, Alan Ruddy, Esther Hyland and is directed by Mackensie King with music direction by Lorri Topping and choreographed by Lisa Glover.

“This is the perfect show for families over the Thanksgiving weekend,” said Dare to Defy Productions photo1Executive Director, Becki Norgaard. “It has great music and a wonderful, family story that can be enjoyed by all ages and backgrounds.”

Show times are November 25 at 8 p.m. and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 26th. Tickets are available at the Ticket Center Stage Box Office located in the Schuster Center, by calling (937) 228-3630 or online at ticketcenterstage.com Senior, military and student discounts available at the box office. For more information visit the Dare to Defy website at d2defy.com.

Dare to Defy Productions Presents 35MM: A Musical Expedition

In Entertainment, Local News, Music, News Media, Theatre on September 26, 2016 at 7:09 am

Dayton, OH.Dare to Defy Productions will present 35MM: A Musical Expedition on September 30th and October 7th at 8 p.m. and October 1st and October 8th at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Mathile Black Box Theatre in the Schuster Center.

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-7-08-29-amA picture is worth 1,000 words — what about a song? Can a picture inspire a song or fifteen? In “35MM,” each photo creates a unique song, moments frozen in time; a glimmer of a life unfolding, a glimpse of something happening. A stunning new multimedia musical which explores a groundbreaking new concept in musical theatre.

This intricately woven collection of stories told through song re-imagines what the modern American musical can be.” (quote from 35mmmusical.com) The show was written by Ryan Scott Oliver inspired by Matthew Murphy’s photos. “We are excited to bring this thrilling and innovative collision of artistic mediums to the Mathile,” says Dare 2 Defy Executive Director, Becki Norgaard.

The incredibly talented cast of professional includes Alan Ruddy, Danielle Kubasky, Natalie Sanders, Skyler McNeely and Zach King. The creative team includes direction by A.J. Breslin, music direction by David McKibben and stage management by Mackensie King.

Dare 2 Defy Productions is a Dayton-based, not-for-profit, professional theater company under the guidance of executive director, Becki Norgaard. The company specializes in musical theater, hiring local, professional actors and production crew.

The show, 35MM, runs 80 minutes and is recommended for ages 13 and up. Tickets are available at the Ticket Center Stage Box Office located in the Schuster Center, by calling (937) 228-3630 or at www.ticketcenterstage.com. Senior, military and student discounts available at the box office.

 

 

The positivity of laughter

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Local News, Media, Music, Opinion, psychology, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 at 9:28 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGORecently the entertainment industry lost a legend in television comedy, Gary Marshall, who gave us hours of laughs with “Happy Days,” “Mork & Mindy,” and many other shows. I often wonder how someone can be so innately funny and creative and how that helps them cope with life’s down sides.

In plain black and white, a “sense of humor” is nothing more than one’s ability to perceive and appreciate humor. Some aspects of humor, however, don’t resonate with everyone. While a spit-take, for example, might be hilarious to one person, another (some would say with a more ‘refined’ sense of humor) individual would find it vulgar. As with beauty, humor is in the eye of the beholder.

To me, mimes and clowns aren’t funny at all. Actually, I find both kind of creepy. But then, I have one of those senses of humor that is all over the place. I’m never certain what’s going to tickle my funny bone.

My friend Jim Karns can make me laugh just by walking into a room, a fact I hope he’s never taken negatively. Jim and I started working together on stage in the late 1990s and he joined my family variety show, The Brothers & Co., in 2004. It’s part of our shared role to create comedy routines for the show, but they generally originate from an accidental punch line or a word that cracked us up.

We’ve known each other for more than two decades and we’re very different people. But our sense of humor aligns us to a level of craziness sometimes only we understand. Sometimes, all it takes is a word or phrase to set us off. Case in point – the casaba melon.

THIS is a casaba melon. Not all that funny by itself.

THIS is a casaba melon. Not all that funny by itself.

What’s so funny about a casaba melon? I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen one. All I know is that one evening at a rehearsal, one of us responded to a random question by saying, “… because casaba melons are out of season,” and that was it. Our sides were splitting the rest of the evening.

No, it’s not that funny by itself. But, to us, it was hysterical. Sometimes it hits so hard, I can’t breathe or, no kidding, I actually fall out of my chair laughing.

Not everyone loses it that way and I have only one theory as to why it happens to us in that fashion. William Shakespeare said that all the world is a stage and, clearly, life is a mixture of tragedy and comedy, as life is imitated in art.

We all experience our share of tragedy. For Jim and I, we share the common experiences of the long term caring for and loss of our mothers to early disease, painful divorce, and similar job stresses.

To us however, and the rest of my Brothers & Co. family, I think, humor relieves that stress in a positive way that benefits more than just us. Our audiences benefit from what comes out of it and finds its way into our show.

We are not drinkers or gamblers, nor do we spend money on elaborate vacations to unwind from life’s stressors. Instead, a laugh is our elixir, our tonic and our escape. When my brother became ill a year ago, and the outlook was grim, we laughed our way through it, regardless of what the result was going to be.

Thankfully, he recovered, and is, for the most part, his smiling self again. This is in no small part thanks to our resistance to the darkness that could have taken over our hearts and minds without our sense of humor.

Gery Deer & Jim Karns in Whips & Wands ...

Gery Deer & Jim Karns in Whips & Wands …

All of this begs the question: does a strong and natural sense of humor also imply an unusually high level of optimism? I’m not a psychologist but I’d have to guess there is something to that suggestion. I’m not always optimistic, but it’s tough to get me to buy into the negative.
Even though most people overestimate their sense of humor, who cares? Isn’t that up to you? If you think you’re funny, the only time it matters whether anyone else does is if you’re planning to become a comedian. Otherwise, laugh at whatever you want. But watch out for those casaba melons.

Gery L. Deer is an independent casaba melon thrower. Deer In Headlines is usually full of it, so why are you reading this? More at deerinheadlines.com

Xenia rock band to open for national headliner, Bobaflex

In Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Local News, Music on November 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Desalitt will open for Bobaflex Dec 5 at Oddbody's in Dayton.

Desalitt will open for Bobaflex Dec 5 at Oddbody’s in Dayton.

At 7PM on Friday, December 5, Xenia hard rock band, “Desalitt,” will take the stage at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road in Dayton to open for the national headliner group, “Bobaflex.”

Founded in 2008 Delallit features “Blazin” Dave Anderson on drums, Greg Crawford on rhythm guitar and lead Vocals, “Gravy” Shannon Ligier on bass and singing back up, Shug Hanson on vocals, and Nick (Samson) Starns on lead guitar. The group performs a variety of covers as well as their own original work. This is not the group’s first time appearing with a national headliner.

“Being from a small town, it is not every day you get to do something so amazing like open for a favorite national band,” says lead guitarist and Desalitt manager, Nick Starns. “I’ve been a musician for 15 years and counting and love every minute of it.”

Starns is fully immersed in the musical endeavors of his group, which also hosts an annual summer music festival in Jamestown benefiting local charitable causes. “The last 9 months with Desalitt has truly been outstanding for my musical career,” he said. “All that’s left is to start touring with a national act and I can begin to get paid for making/performing music. If Cecil Caudill was still around, he would tell me to keep rocking, so I’m gonna rock the stage for him and all of our fallen Brethren in Music.”

Local fans can take advantage of bus service to the show as well. Desalitt has fan buses available to ride to and from the show for $8 with pick up in Jamestown at 5:30 PM from Greeneview Elementary on SR 72 North, and at 6:00 PM in Xenia at the Old Kmart Parking lot. Riders are asked to arrive early as the bus will leave on time and no refunds are available.

Fans are asked to RSVP for bus service in advance via www.desalitt.com, the group’s Facebook or Reverbnation pages, or email nick@desalitt.com or call the Desalitt Hotline (937) 347-7377. Presale tickets for the Oddbody’s Music Room show are $10 for ages 18 and up (through the Desalitt Hotline), $15, at the door.

For more information and a complete schedule go online to www.desalitt.com.