Tag: Jazz Band

A car full of spaghetti

A car full of spaghetti

If I was quiet this weekend it’s because I’ve been immobile outside of family chores, and I didn’t think a second post about running the Burbank Ikea circuit would be very exciting.

The immobility comes from car troubles that have plagued me since early last week and at one point derailed my blog into a discussion on laundry.

I was headed to the gym that fateful day when I heard a pop coming from my engine, followed by what sounded like a rubber band flopping around.

After weeks of screeching sounds coming from the car when it turned on, needless to say I did not wind up going to the gym. I brought the car back home and it has been sitting idle in front of the driveway ever since.

Dad and I looked under the hood and found a completely shredded serpentine belt.

When I say spaghetti in the car, I’m not kidding.

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For those not knowledgable in automobile, that wheel on the left side should have a rubber belt around it. Instead it’s mangled at the bottom.

Mondays are street sweeping days, so the car couldn’t stay idle forever. Thus I called AAA this morning and had it hauled off to our preferred mechanic.

Mom and I drove behind the tow truck on the way there, which gave me the opportunity to photo the damage from a different angle:

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You can see some of the spaghetti dangling from below.

Luckily for my plans later this week, the issue was fixable in a matter of hours. No need to lose my vehicle overnight.

So I spent the afternoon driving around with Mom doing chores. We stopped by my Grandpa’s complex to pay his rent, got a document notarized and delivered, did some shopping and delivered a few held-up items from Friday’s Silent Auction.

By 3:00 p.m. the car was ready.

That’s more or less where the story ends, but before I left the mechanic I got to see a few of the parts that were replaced. The main one was the busted up A/C Compressor that actually had rubber remnants burned into the wheel.

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Pretty incredible.

To some extent I suppose my immobility was a blessing. Earlier today there was an active shooter situation at the Del Amo Mall that’s still being covered as I write this.

I know it’s somewhat cliché at this point (which in itself is a horrible statement on gun control in this country), but it’s hard to imagine that kind of thing happening so close to home.

My family frequents that mall. It hosts our usual movie theatre. It’s where I went to see Detective Pikachu with Aly, and Bumblebee with my friend Juan going back a bit.

This is a bit more visceral than Gable House Bowl was a few months back because I hadn’t been to that bowling alley in years. The Del Amo situation is so visceral that I’m not entirely comfortable with how I feel about it just yet.

So I figure let’s stick with car talk and leave it there.

To any of my local friends who may wind up reading this, I hope you’re safe today.

Stars full of Jazz in 2019

Stars full of Jazz in 2019

Last year I wrote a post about Alyson’s end-of-year Jazz Under the Stars concert. It’s a yearly event that is a lot of fun because you get to see the students at their peak and raise some money for the arts.

But this year Jazz Under the Stars was a bit more hectic for the Rochlins, since we were in charge of the silent auction.

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I say “we,” but all the credit goes to my Mom and Dad for picking up the project a week or two before the event to help a band program struggling with administrative issues. They rallied together 50 items comprised of even more bundled contributions and stayed up until 5:00 a.m. printing the sign-up sheets and programs.

All I did was help organize the goods and watch the auction tables that I helped set up and tear down.

Oh, and I did some social media stuff while I was at it:

Current estimates are that we made about $2,570 for the Band & Dance Guard, which is a fantastic achievement for how quickly the auction was pulled together.

Seriously, I’m beyond impressed with my parents. They’ll deserve every ounce of sleep they get after pushing so hard.

The students also made out well in the end with $45,000 granted by the Redondo Beach Educational Foundation and the Ahmanson Foundation.

The band director, Raymundo Vizcarra, obviously seemed happy.

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Here he is chatting up some auction browsers — including my parents.

But that’s just the money-side of the event. Naturally there was food: A mobile taco vendor, shaved ice and (my personal favorite) fried twist potatoes.

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Potate

You’re not here for the food, though. That doesn’t work well over text.

You’re here for the music.

A number of different bands performed throughout the night. The Adams Middle School Band, the Redondo Union High School Jazz Bands (A + B) and combinations of the various bands with alumni.

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The final song of the night, “Willowcrest,” was particularly special. It had a god damn bongo solo that actually rocked pretty hard.

But more importantly it featured a flute solo by my little sister.

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Check her out, standing in the red!

It was a killer song… And it was very long. Easily six or seven minutes long as jazz tends to do.

I recorded the whole piece for you all to enjoy, including the multi-minute long introduction from Vizcarra and the band bowing at the end. Check it out if you want some smooth jams:

Just before that piece, I recorded the same band’s performance of “Act Your Age” from a totally different angle.

Decided I would try to shake things up with my cinematography.

I got pretty into it after my Dad asked me to be the point man running his Facebook livestream of the event for a while. It was a relatively new experience for me, and even though I think three people were watching at most it was a lot of fun.

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Had to take the extra initiative and photograph myself recording the event, because that’s what any good media-focused journalist would do. Right?

Well maybe not, but I wanted to keep record of my own exploits either way.

I had a lot of fun taking in the music and putting my skills to work basically running social media — at least for my family.

Especially because doing so gave me the chance to nab some wonderful candids.

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Ice cream passover

Ice cream passover

After Aly won big at the Dos Pueblos Jazz Festival last night, I decided it would only be appropriate to celebrate by taking her out for ice cream.

Thus, this beautiful image of us together was born.

The girl and I actually spent most of the day together. Waking up relatively early to make breakfast (Bacon and eggs? Can’t go wrong), listening to internet videos while sitting on the couch doing homework/novel-writing and, of course, getting ourselves some of that classic soft-serve frozen milk.

In the process we also made some classic lols, including the most brilliant movie script doctoring ever imagined by anyone in the history of time.

What a good gif!!

I’ll be waiting on my check, DreamWorks. Because as soon as more than ~35 people see this Bee Movie joke pulled straight out of 2017, I’ll be raking in the followers and likes for sure.

Alright all joking aside, that’s just the kind of dumb humor that flows out when my sister and I spend some quality time together.

But because I’m a terrible human being that somehow still finds Bee Movie jokes humorous, I figured I would share that quality post with the world.

Consider me inspired by Nando v. Movies recently finishing his Man of Steel rewrite.

Obviously this whole post is a little lackluster, and that’s more or less because I actually did spend most of the day either cooking or working on my Senior Honors Project. Doesn’t give me too many interesting things to share, but I also didn’t want to just leave another blank day after losing March 1 to my all-out lazy afternoon.

So consider this a passover post of sorts. Just a real quick 300 words about my day to tide you all over in the hopes that I have something more substantial tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m going to get back to eating fancy pasta and writing. Because very rarely does my Comm Law class give out no homework, offering me the opportunity to catch up on my novel.

Looking to get past 100 pages before Tuesday.

Wish me luck.

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

At this point it feels like I’m collecting California high school visits for a checklist.

Once again my day has been spent journeying to watch my sister perform with the Redondo Union High School jazz band.

The destination? Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara.

The event? The 50th annual “Jazz in Paradise” Jazz Festival.

Luckily hosted indoors, as it rained hard all morning on our way up north. None of those outdoor venues like the marching band competitions get.

While I appreciate any and all opportunities to break out my Master Sword umbrella (and boy has it gotten work this rainy season), I was more appreciative that we could hide instead.

Especially with such a nice auditorium to hide in:

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The beige whites, wooden trim and striped-blue decor gave the Elings Performing Arts Center a nautical harbor vibe that felt like home, even though home was a good few hours away.

I was also a fan of the music, even if I can’t speak to why quite as well as I can for a visual aesthetic.

That’s frankly my biggest problem with these events. While I can’t say I’m the biggest jazz listener in the world, I typically enjoy what I get to hear at the competitions. I just don’t have near enough musical knowledge to be able to tell people why — and usually those who can will tell me how awful a band was despite my thinking they sounded as good as the rest.

The one thing I can point to is Santa Ynez, who really impressed me in particular by utilizing a violin in their set.

After a while, the performances across different events do start to sound similar, so shaking that up was nice.

Plus I’ve found that I’m actually a huge fan of taking more “classical” instruments like the violin and using them in unique, more modern settings. Been noticing that a lot more in different soundtracks I’ve listened to for games and such.

But beyond that, hopefully you aren’t here for deep diving musical analyses.

All I can really provide are these screenshots and videos to help you feel like you were there.

For instance, here’s Aly and RUHS’s Jazz Band A performing “Barnburner” by Les Hooper:

I know I say it a lot, but I am quite proud of how good she is at this stuff. So much so that she recently got accepted into a rather prestigious-sounding summer program in New York.

Then again, I also make fun of her falling off video games whenever I can, since I know she loves that a whole lot.

But recently I found a good game to get her into solo play with Kirby’s Adventure on the Nintendo Switch online NES game compilation. Thus I can’t really make fun of her.

… Though I will pester her about finishing Let’s Go Eevee with me again. Especially now that Sword and Shield are coming soon.

Oh- By the way, RUHS won first place in the advanced bands with their set.

As well as smaller awards for having the best saxophone and rhythm sections.

Then they won best overall band score, on top of one of their musicians winning best solo performance of the night.

AND Aly got an outstanding soloist certificate for the advanced division.

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In other words, they swept the floor.

This event in particular also stood out because after the awards there was a concert featuring Wayne Bergeron — who has apparently worked on things like the soundtrack to Pixar’s The Incredibles.

That’s pretty cool!

Unfortunately my parents and I did not stick around for that part. We went hard from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the awards at about 6:30 p.m., plus the drive home after. So we were beat down.

Especially me after an unexpected nosebleed in the middle of the performances.

Wound up scrubbing my hands of spots like Lady Macbeth as people came in and out of the bathroom.

Never had that particular flavor of “unintentionally embarrassing myself in a public venue” before. It was fun.

Just like it was fun when my family and I went to Chili’s in the rain while waiting for the festival to start.

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Hi, welcome to Chili’s

A fact that I only bring up so I can finally reference an ancient Vine in some attempt to appear relevant and hip with the kids.

Because that feels like the most appropriate way to end off a blog post all about Jazz.

Proud Big Brother Moments

It’s kind of strange being on this side of the fourth wall when it comes to a high school award ceremony.

Which, I now realize sounds a bit dickish to lead off with, as if I’m trying to put more praise on myself for previous achievements?

But I swear that’s not at all the intent.

Because this is a blog post that’s all about my sister getting a sweet Academic Letter tonight!

Or, alternatively, if you prefer vague facial features:

Girl works her butt off with a heap of AP classes on top of doing Marching Band, Jazz Band… And probably like three other bands I’m forgetting off the top of my head.

Because she plays at least 300 instruments.

No exaggeration. I swear.

I’ve certainly talked about her performances and such enough that I’d hope you all would be pretty in-the-know by now. Just gotta update whichever new folks might be swinging around with this as their first post.

Aly actually gets to rub this one in my face, because her time in Marching Band has allowed her to get an Athletic Letter as well as an Academic Letter. Even though I’m not entirely sure what the point of having two identical letter “Rs” that you’re supposed to put on a single letterman jacket is.

I think that’s the first time I’ve ever mentioned a letterman jacket before.

Do I get to be honorary sports person because of it?

Probably not. But hey, I can fake my way through it.

While I could spend the next 300 words talking about how much I’m proud of my sister, that’d probably get old fast. So I figured I’d talk a bit about the experience of being at the ceremony.

Like I mentioned up top, it was a bit strange being on the audience side of the equation for a big academic event like this. Because I’m always 5ish years ahead of Aly, she usually has to suffer through long ceremonies and stuff for me.

I have to apologize to her now, because god was it boring.

Yeah it was exciting to cheer when Aly went up. But for everyone else? I pretty much just lingered on my phone, texting some peeps and playing my vidya games.

There were a few key points in the event that did keep my interest.

For instance, while waiting outside of the Redondo Union High School auditorium, an old lady walked into the glass panel wall thinking it was an open door.

Which I would laugh way harder at if I hadn’t done the exact same when I was much younger, costing my grandmother a housing complex here in California as a result.

True story. I’ll have to tell it another time.

Another fun thing at the event was watching the PTSA President make a blatantly political statement at the top of this otherwise completely unrelated school function.

It was a harmless point about how “the U.S. will be in better hands in the future,” but boy if it wasn’t jarring and distracting in the moment.

During the actual ceremony itself, there were a few goofs of note. Most notable was one of the announcers mispronouncing “McGonigle.” Compared to the many other last names that he got through just fine which had clear Indian origins (as well as some other nationalities but Indian was the one that stood out), it was hilarious how bad he screwed it up.

There was also one kid who collected his award and danced on-stage before exiting. He was a baller.

Also, I found out that “McCurry” is a last name and that led to me thinking about a McDonald’s signature dish in India. Because apparently I just had India on the mind tonight?

I don’t know, man. Don’t ask me.

I suppose that’s really all I had to mention of note, however.

Proud of Aly. Funny ceremony goofs. Obligatory post-ceremony ‘during dinner’ photo:

Check.

So I think I’ll leave you all on that note. Hope you guys have a great night!

Also, I hope you all return tomorrow for my Fire Emblem Heroes post. I thought the update was happening today, but turns out it’s happening tomorrow so my timing was really solid.

Also, also: There’s my talking about video games just to annoy Alyson in a post all about her moment of the day.

Take that, you.

Music by Moonlight

Music by Moonlight

Probably a shorter one for you all today. I’ve been out quite literally all afternoon at this event and don’t necessarily feel awake enough to spend all night writing.

That said, I suppose I can’t complain too much about being tired since I had a great time at Jazz under the Stars today.

Jazz under the Stars is an annual end-of-year concert that’s put on by the Redondo Union High School jazz bands/music program. Given my little sister’s involvement with the musical performing arts in high school, it has become a yearly tradition for my family to attend.

In fact, I still remember last year quite fondly. During the night’s performances, I finally managed to unlock the cards I needed in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links to be able to play the at-the-time overpowered Gravekeeper’s deck.

That deck was really fun while it lasted in the meta.

My aside here, by the way, only exists because Aly told me she was annoyed that my last post about her music stuff was interrupted by my talking about video games.

So there you go Aly. Have fun with that side story.

But that’s enough being petty. I do actually have some nice things to say about tonight’s musical event.

The show altogether was about five hours of different performances out in the front lawn of the RUHS auditorium.

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A bunch of different bands and combinations performed, including the two primary jazz band classes at the high school (Jazz A and Jazz B, as convenient naming schemes have it), quintets of freshman in the program and of like-minded brass musicians, as well as some performances by the student band from Adams Middle School – which also happens to be an alma mater of mine.

One performance also featured some RUHS music program alumni coming out to play, and a few songs were done alongside the band director’s own high school band director/mentor.

I took the liberty of recording a couple of the pieces at the show, in part because Mom asked me to and in part because it offered me the chance to continue guinea pigging this whole uploading videos schtick.

Here’s one of the songs done by the Adams Middle School band:

And here’s my sister performing as a part of Jazz A (the advanced band, #humblebrag):

No idea how these people can keep performing for eight minutes at a shot. Musicians are some special kind of talented, man.

I do wish I had recorded the brass quintet as well, since they did a cute maneuver where most of the members started off hidden amongst the audience and walked up to the stage… But oh well.

Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

Alongside all those performances was another display of talent by the school’s swing dance club. It’s apparently a frequently popular activity amongst band kids at RUHS, and my sister is also a part of that:

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She’s the one with the red hair if you hadn’t caught on just yet.

The night of music sitting out on a lovey Southern Californian plaza would be nice enough as is, but there were other parts of the event that I enjoyed.

Because Jazz under the Stars is the last major concert of the school year, the band director took an opportunity to salute a number of graduating seniors. It’s honestly kind of touching just how intimately he seems to know each and every kid with such a large collection year after year.

On top of that, the event was also full of little torch-passing moments. The middle school performance was one, as it was the opportunity to see some kids coming into high school.

I also caught this moment:

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Where Magic Moreno helped teach some kids how to work the sound board for the event.

However, arguably one of the best parts of the event was the food.

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See this tri tip sandwich? Yeah. Not sure I even have to say all that much more.

A guy named Kevin Pierre caters most of the band program concerts at RUHS and makes a hell of a steak sandwich. It’s always a highlight.

On top of that, there was also a gelato stand, a jarred pickle stand and a nut stand manned by an RUHS student who started his own business.

Pretty cool stuff.

That’s about all I’ve got to say about Jazz for today. Stay tuned for what will probably be a post talking about the end-of-year band banquet next week, but until then please go back and enjoy the Jazz Band A performance again.

Seriously still impressed me how long those guys can play.