Tag: Raymundo Vizcarra

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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Musical Space Filler

Musical Space Filler

I’m not sure how I forgot to write this until 11:00 p.m., especially considering I was looking to base it off of something that ended at 7:00 p.m. the whole time.

But if I’m being completely honest, I’m a little checked out right now. So I’m just going to go into the Aly band stuff I wanted to talk about real quick and move on. Try to get something out into the world before midnight.

As school quickly creeps up for me, it also creeps up for my sister. Thus, she and the Redondo Union High School marching band have been starting to rehearse their field show for the year. Traveling around to watch marching band competitions have become a pretty common activity for us since Aly started seriously doing high school band stuff.

We’re so early into things that I can’t actually talk about the show without breaking some kind of contract because something something secret high school band espionage?

I don’t know, it’s all a little over the top in my opinion.

So that picture up there in my featured image is just the band standing in a half-circle doing their pep band songs at the parent preview today.

Because that is what I’m talking about, by the way. The band puts on a preview for parents on what they can expect to see at competitions and such as the year progresses and a show slowly comes into maturity.

It was basically an hour of listening to the band play a few songs that they’d do during football games, then show us the first draft of a couple of overall show things.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected to be able to write on this subject considering I’m not really allowed to go into detail. But hey. I supported Aly and her band stuff today, it offers another opportunity to lament school coming and I have something to discuss that isn’t related to going to the gym.

Which I also did today.

I’m willing to bet that’s a good part of the reason why I’m so tired and out of it right now. So I hope you weren’t expecting anything cognizant and of significance tonight. Because I don’t have it for you.

If you want you can go check out the Gladeo Spotlight I did on the RUHS band director, Ray Vizcarra. That ties into this. I got to meet his husband today and they were both very pleased with the piece I wrote so I have that going for me.

Also something something new job callback.

Look I wish I had something else for you guys but I’m honestly, truly beat. Spending most of tomorrow with my friends for one final summer 2018 hang out as well so I can’t promise anything substantial until Monday when I’ll likely say something about my first day experiences for the semester.

But until then, please cut me some slack. I think I did pretty good with he whole one post a day thing this summer so I’ll just imagine I’m afforded an easy day or two now and then so long as I get something out before 12:00 a.m.

Yeah.

Later, man.

Two-for-One Deal on Gladeo Spotlights

You like reading?

I sure hope so, because today I’ve got two brand new published Spotlight interviews to check out. That’s right, the editing and publishing pipeline has finally caught up with me.

There isn’t a lot of build-up I can think to add to this other than a vague “keep on the lookout” message for some interesting developments coming soon. Next week when everything is confirmed I should have more to say.

But until then, feel free to enjoy these nice little interviews:

The first is featuring Raymundo Vizcarra, the band director at Redondo Union High School. Though my sister is one of his students, I never really had the opportunity to talk with Ray that often before going to chat for this piece.

He’s got a lot of solid advice in regards to balancing school and work, considering he’s working toward a master’s degree, as well as a rather heartfelt history concerning his family moving to the U.S., his father being absent for a number of years and how life led him down the path of music.

You can check that Spotlight out here.

The second features Ismael Villarreal, a design engineer for the aerospace manufacturer AdelWiggins Group.

I found Ismael after being asked to look for some individuals working in STEM careers, particularly engineers. My friend Jonathan’s dad works for AdelWiggins and was able to help get me connected to Ismael, a fairly young buck in the field that got a lucky break into aerospace.

We mostly discussed how the competitive business of aerospace manufacturing works and how his past experiences with education proved both beneficial and lacking in preparing him for the work he was going into.

With some advice on good practices for aspiring engineers who want to go into that field, of course.

You can check that Spotlight out here.

But of course, if you want to see my continually growing body of work, you can always head over to that listing over on the right!

It occurs to me that one day my entire blog could get a re-design and my mainstay “check this out on the right” message may become obsolete… But I think that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it.

Not super relevant for this conversation, however. For now, like I said, just be on the lookout for some things coming up in the near future.

Memorial Day in Redondo Beach

Memorial Day in Redondo Beach

I don’t believe I’ve ever felt the need to describe myself as having been “emotionally patriotic” before, but that’s frankly the best way I can bring to words part of how I felt during the Memorial Day ceremony I attended today.

The City of Redondo Beach put on the event at Veterans Park this afternoon, which for context is a nice sized park with a memorial statue right next to the Redondo Pier.

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It was all-and-all a lovely event with a rather nice turnout, including political figures like State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi and Congressional representative Ted Lieu, as well as both veterans and currently serving members of the country’s five military branches.

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My view from the back row at the Memorial Day ceremony.

Part of the reason I came out to the event, besides showing my respect for our country’s fallen, was because my alma mater’s band was performing — including my sister.

They did a great job not just during stand-alone performances like the one above, but punctuating the entire event with pieces of ambiance. For example, the band’s Trumpet Trio took the place of a bugle to play out recognizable military salutes and calls.

However, the National Anthem was what really got to me in an unexpectedly intense way.

Part of that was because it was a very sweet, slow and drawn out rendition being performed, and the high school kids really nailed the emotional delivery.

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The RUHS Wind Ensemble preparing to perform.

But it wasn’t just on them.

When the song started, it was just the band playing against the nearby crashing of the waves and seagull cries. Then, a couple members of the audience began to sing under their breaths, barely loud enough to be heard. It was mostly older folks who I would later see stand during the performance I linked above.

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A more full-scale shot of the audience at the event.

Those few singing members of the audience eventually blossomed into a fervent performance from just about everyone in attendance. It slowly built up throughout the song and left everything to wrap with a unified call for the “home of the brave.”

Totally unprompted. Totally unplanned.

Completely beautiful.

Like I said right at the top of this, I don’t often get very outwardly emotional with heavily patriotic things related to, say, military service. That isn’t to say I’m not emotional of course, it’s just typically a more silent, introverted and somber emotion.

But I actually cried a little at that moment during the ceremony where the audience unexpectedly joined in on the National Anthem.

Because of that and other parts of the event, like the keynote speech by U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jose Penã and the presentation in honor of Vincent Barbee, a local  RUHS student that died not too long ago, I found myself walking out feeling much more deeply moved than I had expected to.

Though the Master of Ceremonies punctuated the beginning and end of the event with jokes about Stormy Daniels and a George Washington impersonator in the audience, so there was also a good amount of chill Southern Californianism to break up the emotional introspection.



As a quick aside, the video I posted in this piece is actually something I took on my iPhone at the ceremony.

Decided to try something new with this blog post since I wanted to upload my sister’s performance directly here, but haven’t exactly been able to in the past because uploading video directly to WordPress is awkward with how much space it takes up. So I tried posting the thing to my unused YouTube account, that way I could link to it.

Hopefully it works as an experiment, because if so that’ll open up the possibility of my doing more video-oriented content in the future.

Just excuse the shaky-cam quality!