During the summer of 2012, Professor Alyson McLamore received an unexpected invitation — she was asked to write the music curriculum for the 2013-14 Competitions of the U.S. Academic Decathlon (USAD). The theme for this year's competition is World War I, so her contributions to the 158-page Music Resource Guide address general trends in classical and popular music during the first two decades of the 20th century, as well as music that responded directly to the war. Along with the Resource Guide and other study materials, McLamore oversaw the compilation of a 14-track CD that illustrates these various types of music, ranging from Impressionism, Nationalism and Primitivism to Ragtime, the Blues, New Orleans Jazz and Tin Pan Alley. (Cal Poly music majors who are veterans of the music history series will be glad to know that an excerpt from "Pierrot lunaire" is used to represent Expressionism!) The national USAD finals will take place in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 24-26.
Another long-standing writing project is also coming to fruition in 2014. Two Cal Poly graduates, Loren Keagle and Chad Tindel — veterans of the band program and other Music Department courses — are producing a series of DVDs under the title "Learning From the Legends." The recordings guide student musicians through the complexities of various masterworks, starting with violin concertos by Mendelssohn and Bruch, and the Haydn and Hummel concertos for trumpet. McLamore wrote the program notes, to help students understand the context and stature of each composition. For more information on their project, go to the Alumni Update.
In the meantime, McLamore has continued to provide program notes to the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the Cuesta Master Chorale, and the Festival Mozaic summer concerts (along with its affiliated Wintermezzo series). She also presents pre-concert lectures for the Festival Mozaic and Cal Poly Arts. Early risers on New Year's Day might have spotted her in the Pasadena Rose Parade, once again serving as assistant director of the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. She is also rebuilding her horn embouchure in order to join the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra and the Cuesta Master Chorale in their spring performances of the "Queen Symphony."
After longtime radio host Andy Harp decided to step down from hosting his classical music programs on KCBX, the local affiliate of National Public Radio, the station approached Professor Craig Russell and Jill Anderson, co-founder of the Pacific Repertory Opera and the Canzona Women's Ensemble, to see if they would become the new hosts of "KCBX In Concert." The program features music performances and musicians from the Central Coast and airs every Wednesday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. It can also be streamed from the KCBX website using "Listen Now" link.
Russell has interviewed Grammy Award winner and violinist Kathleen Lenski, organist Katya Gotsdiner-McMahan, vocalist Sarah Jackson; and from the Music Department, Director of Choral and Vocal Activities Thomas Davies and Arab Music Ensemble Director Ken Habib. He has an extended interview with composer Garry Eister in production. Anderson's inaugural broadcast was an interview with the department's W. Terrence Spiller.
Tune in to 90.1 FM on the radio every Wednesday and hear Russell or Anderson in their exploration of our local artists and musicians. You can also listen to current programs on demand from the KCBX website.