Mustang Band socially distanced rehearsal

Student News

Some Ensembles Begin In-Person Rehearsals

Our students and faculty have continued to rise to the challenge which they were first faced with in March. As mentioned in the Message from the Chair, what is different in fall quarter is that some of our classes — primarily ensembles — can meet in person to rehearse. It was no small feat to devise plans, find suitable locations and to get approvals through all the proper channels.

Read 'From Bell Covers to Virtual Rehearsals, Mustang Band Adapts to COVID-19'

Cal Poly News article by Robyn Tanner

Students who for any reason do not wish to rehearse in person, can continue to participate virtually.

Pictured above is the Mustang Band having a socially distanced rehearsal outside the Performing Arts Center.

As the saying goes, the show must go on! Since we cannot yet offer live performances, events continue to be offered virtually.

Cal Poly's Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Mustang Band performed Bandfest on Nov. 15. The Cal Poly Symphony will give its fall presentation on Dec. 4, and the Cal Poly Choirs will present a Holiday Kaleidoscope on Dec. 6. Please check the department's calendar of events frequently as events continue to be added.

For those of you who live out of the area and haven't been able to see our talented student-musicians in action in awhile, now's your chance!

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Jazz Ensembles Release Album

Spring quarter's virtual jazz rehearsals culminated in the soon-to-be released album titled "another time, another place." The following is from Director of Jazz Studies Arthur White, who released his first solo album during the summer. Read more about his album, "when you find it …"

"Cal Poly’s philosophy is also its pedagogical model: Learn by Doing. Little did we in the jazz program know that we would be doing that in an extreme and unprecedented fashion! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this double album was recorded by the students of Cal Poly’s Jazz Ensemble and Vocal Jazz Ensemble from the safety of their homes during spring quarter 2020. Each student recorded their own parts and solos in their bedrooms, basements, bathrooms and garages, then shared the files with me for assembly, editing and mixing. The band met once weekly throughout the quarter to rehearse virtually via Zoom, and I use the term 'rehearse' rather liberally. The band recorded to tracks I assembled; I played bass and piano and used drum tracks to simulate live players. We had brief meetings about how to use digital audio workstations, interfaces and microphones. We had extra meetings to discuss music that I had finished writing for them a week before they were to record it. The students performed beautifully; they did all of this work while transitioning to complete virtual learning, moving away from campus, and enduring. I hope I've done justice to the stellar work they did. I'm very proud of these young and talented ensembles, and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor of love.

"A composition by Music Department alumnus Davis Zamboanga (Music, ’20) titled “More So” is included.

"Featured guest artists on the album include Grammy award-winning/nominated trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonist Ada Rovatti, trombonist Robin Eubanks and vibraphonist Joe Locke. Plus Cal Poly faculty member Dave Becker, baritone saxophone, and Chris Van Leeuwen, trumpet."

The album will be available through digital platforms including iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. All proceeds from the sale of the album will assist the Cal Poly Jazz Studies Program with recruiting, guest clinicians and artists, recordings and tours in the future

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Grant Smith Has Lessons with Gloria Campaner from Italy

Gloria Campaner and Grant Smith
Gloria Campaner and Grant Smith During a Lesson Via Zoom

Until recently, online music lessons were nearly unheard of. Now that Zoom lessons are the norm, new opportunities have arisen, such as my piano lessons this fall from Italian concert pianist Gloria Campaner.

Gloria is very kind and generous, and I come away from every lesson inspired and encouraged. She has a busy schedule with concert travel and recordings, but she has been very accommodating with lesson times. Her English is quite impressive! There has been no language barrier at all.

I seem to learn new things at every lesson from her stylistic approaches and technical suggestions. Some of the main areas of my playing that we have worked on are the emphasis of beats, accents, contrasts in dynamics and articulation, and getting into the mood of the music. She is somehow encouraging and yet direct about the areas I must improve, which I appreciate.  

Using Zoom for lessons certainly has its challenges, but we are managing well. In one lesson, we both marveled at how Gloria could hear the individual voices of cluster chords over the Zoom audio. Without such technology, and perhaps without the coronavirus, these lessons would not be taking place.

I am very thankful to Gloria Campaner and the Cal Poly Music Department for arranging these lessons. This is truly an unforgettable experience!

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Tedmon Tran Receives Cal Poly Arts' Service to the Arts Award

Tedmon TranCal Poly Arts recognized Tedmon Tran (Music/Electrical Engineering) with the Service to the Arts award. Tran is an advocate for STEM education and music education. “I look forward to finding new opportunities to assist and guide underrepresented students with their pursuits in higher education.”

Tran is very active on campus and has participated in Cal Poly's Symphony; Arab Music Ensemble; Cello Ensemble; the Radio Frequency, Microwave and Photonics Club; Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM program; and in the Electrical Engineering Department Mentorship Program as co-coordinator. He is a recipient of the Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association 2018 Student Scholarship; and a 2019 nominee for the President’s Diversity Award.

“I would like to thank my advisors in both the Music Department and Electrical Engineering Department. I also want to thank Dr. Ken Habib and Dr. Margaret Bodemer for their unwavering support!” Tran plans to attend graduate school to continue music and electrical engineering research.

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