Hello, Newgrounds! You've been busy! I've enjoyed seeing all the donations and prizes offered through this community; it's wonderful. I love the Drawing Tablet Giveaway, which seems like a great way to support artists.
I was saddened to hear that Wiesi had passed away. It seems he touched a lot of people through his positive, encouraging online presence. I'm sure I played some of his early Flash games in high school, probably when I was supposed to be doing something else on the computer.
Reviewing Wiesi's output back to 2002 makes me grateful that early Flash work is being preserved, not just for nostalgic trips down memory lane but as a time capsule for the future. Yes, a lot of the early internet was silly and juvenile, but it's also part of our culture.
History can be like that. Classical music fans probably know about Mozart because of his serious work like the Requiem, but did you know Mozart also wrote a piece called "lick my ass"? Yes, really. And there's one Ancient Roman poem so filthy that rather than quote from it I'll just link you to Wikipedia and suggest the incognito mode.
This topic has been on my mind recently; I'm working on a concert in January called "Curses", which features a lot of swearing as sung by an opera singer. Here's a full update on what I've been up to ("...on what up to I've been"?).
I'm planning a concert in January called "Curses". It's a collaboration between Central Texas Composers and the poetry group Typewriter Rodeo. This concert will feature all-new commissioned poetry and music on the theme of curses. There's music about hexes, cursive writing, swearing, bad luck, and more.
The event will be on January 14 at 7:00pm at the Spiderhouse Ballroom in Austin. To learn about how you can support this project through an ongoing fundraiser, go to www.bentibbetts.net/curses.
Timbral Fall Recital
On October 15, many of my piano students participated in the Timbral Music Studios Fall Recital. We heard music by Beethoven, Edvard Grieg, Elmer Bernstein, Scott Joplin, and The Decemberists. We also heard music from video games such as Super Mario Brothers, The Legend Of Zelda, and Plants Versus Zombies.
I'm proud of all my students, both for their musical and personal progress and for their courage displayed in performing on-stage.
Student Art Gallery
Students also had an opportunity in recent months to showcase their visual creativity. Earlier this year, I released a “call for original art” video to my students at Timbral.
Since putting out this call, the office has received thirteen pieces of original visual art from music students at the school.
The art, which came from both children and adults, is currently on our walls in the kitchen and the lobby. Some of the images are on a musical theme, but others just depict pretty things like a tree at sunrise, or food-related items to decorate the kitchen. I think this is all fantastic. They brighten the office and add a touch of whimsy.
Music For Organ
The month of October brought another Halloween, a holiday for which I often compose a bit of spooky music. This year I came up with an original piece for reed organ.
Passacaglia is a dark, meandering set of variations on a theme. As the piece progresses, the variations become more and more twisted until finally they barely resemble the original theme. I recorded it with the help of my friend Keith Allegretti, who I also worked with on my previous pieces for reed organ.
Halloween also brought the annual Armstrong Spooktacular, an open house event at the school where the faculty dress up in costumes, teach kids about music, and give out enough candy to feed a small country.
This year I dressed as the “phantom of the piano”, with a costume as scary as it was low-budget...
I also took the opportunity to showcase a project I've been working on with one of my students, an original video game which features my student's music. We set up a computer and a controller, and guests at the Spooktacular tried out the game. People liked the music and the game play, which my student and I tweaked together.
Music For Diwali
In the beginning of November, I released some videos to celebrate the Hindu holiday Diwali.
Open Mic For Students
There was another opportunity for my students to perform, as well. This time it was at an outside open mic event in Cedar Park.
I had seven piano students participate. Outside events are always tricky, but this one went off without a hitch. The weather held, and everyone had a good time.
This coming month will be a bit of a transition for me. I'm slowly moving into a larger office that I'll be renting full-time for music work. I got a new used piano for that space and tuned it myself. I'm looking forward to having an office space that I can use seven days a week, instead of my current part-time arrangement.
And that's it! Thanks very much for reading.