India D’Avignon was recently promoted to associate professor with tenure. She currently serves as president-elect of the San Luis Obispo Symphony board of directors, is on their Executive and Artistic committees, and is chair of the Governance Committee. She continues her work this November in chairing the California MTNA Competition that brings together the best instrumental, vocal and piano performers in the junior, senior and collegiate levels from across the state. She serves on the board of the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition, and in October this year served on a panel of judges for the competition.
Ken Habib recently wrote eight articles (“Arab-American Music,” “Bob Dylan,” “Bobbie Gentry,” “Diaspora,” “Don McLean,” “Singer-Songwriter,” “Suzanne Vega,” and “Warren Zevon”) for the second edition of the “Grove Dictionary of American Music” and completed a review of a documentary video (“We Loved Each Other So Much: Stories of Beirut and the Music of Fairuz”) for the “Yearbook for Traditional Music.” Last spring he took the Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble, which he directs, to Monterey Peninsula College and to UC Davis, where the group was warmly and enthusiastically received in well-attended concerts. In reciprocation, he worked with Henry Spiller in the UC Davis Music Department to bring the UC Davis Gamelan Ensemble to Cal Poly, where they performed a lovely concert to an enchanted audience in a full house. Currently Habib is working on a collaborative project supervised by A.J. Racy for “Hip Deep in Lebanon,” which is a public radio series produced by Banning Eyre and Sean Barlow for “Afropop Worldwide” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Habib’s primary responsibility is the episode “Fairuz, Woman for All Seasons.”
Paul Rinzler continues to arrange swing dance tunes for the Cal Poly big bands. Recent titles include “House Party” by Louis Jordan and two tunes recorded by Sam Butera, “Closer to the Bone” and “Love Is a Five-Letter Word, M-O-N-E-Y.” Butera was a tenor saxophonist and vocalist best known for his collaborations with jazz and swing artist Louis Prima.
Rinzler is currently creating a new class based on his book “The Contradictions of Jazz.” The course will explore various humanistic values, such as individualism, creativity, tradition, and others, that are expressed through jazz. While not intended as a textbook, “The Contradictions of Jazz” has been adopted as one of the primary texts for a philosophy of art class at Orange Coast College.
Christopher Woodruff, associate director of bands and instructor of trumpet, was a featured soloist on a recent program titled “Bach with Trumpets,” presented by the Symphony of the Vines, a chamber orchestra based in northern San Luis Obispo County. Both performances were held at the newly renovated Mission San Miguel, which provides an acoustic favorable to such intimate programs. In addition to playing as part of the ensembles for two of J.S. Bach’s orchestral suites, Woodruff was a soloist on the Cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” (BWV 51).