Weird Carol of the Bells

It’s only December 9 and already we’ve been bombarded with cutesy holiday commercials: shoppers dancing, impromptu choirs singing about computers, and of course, ads for cars with huge Christmas bows on them. (Which always leads me to wonder–who gets a car for Christmas? And where do you get a bow like that?)

With all of these twists on Christmas songs and traditions, I started thinking about just how much the traditional Christmas songs have been recycled, distorted, and “revamped” throughout the years. And because this blog embraces what some would call the “weird,” I created a YouTube compilation video with people around the world playing “Carol of the Bells”–on weird instruments.

Happy Holidays!

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Moving to the BIG 10

Just a quick post today about Maryland moving into the Big 10 conference. I was reading this Rolling Stone article about “10 Mind-Blowing College Marching Band Cover Songs,” because, well, I’m the kind of person who loves watching that. I’m sorry. I have a blog about marching bands. What do you expect?

Anyway, although I don’t think most of these were mind-blowing, the Michigan Marching Band’s Beyonce show caught my eye. Not because it was an amazing arrangement or amazing drill, but because of the atmosphere. They had almost the whole stadium in their seats for their halftime show, they had lights and special effects, and they got freakin’ BEYONCE to endorse them in a video. BEYONCE!

This is what Maryland is getting itself into with the Big 10. It’s going to give us a lot of new opportunities, but we need to start taking advantage of them and developing a culture like this at football games. We also need to go and tell every high school musician we know to join band to get an even bigger group to do shows with. Big 10 bands are BIG bands and we need to market ourselves. We do a lot of internal band social media, but are there any additional special events, Facebook pages, or ambassador programs we can create for prospective band members?

Let’s see some band members take initiative (because I’m already out of place when I say “we” still in referring to the band =[ ). We can be at this level if we all start thinking of the BIG picture!!

 

Those are my thoughts for today. But to end on a less serious note, here are two videos to make you happy:

-Lisa

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23 Weird Musical Instruments

Last week I was on vacation in Arizona, and if you know my family at all, you will not be surprised to hear that one of our stops was at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Yes, it exists.

Yes, it exists.

I learned that musical instruments come from all different times, all over the world, in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and sounds.

First, we’ll start with the old-looking ones.

A Tungehorn, AKA an old-looking clarinet

A Tungehorn, AKA an old-looking clarinet

Chapeau Chinois (bell tree) from Belgium

Chapeau Chinois (bell tree) from Belgium

Harpsichord

Harpsichord with the key colors backwards

Some type of horn from Scandinavia

Some type of horn from Scandinavia

These next instruments, some teenage boy was just like, “Lemme grab some random crap and make noises to impress someone.”

Cantaro (vessel drum) from Spain

Cantaro (vessel drum) from Spain

Shell castanets

Shell castanets

Klepelo (clapper)

Klepelo (clapper)

Reque-reque (scraper) from Portugal

Reque-reque (scraper) from Portugal

Frottoir (scraper), USA

Frottoir (scraper), USA

And at the most basic level..."The Stick"

And at the most basic level…”The Stick”

But if everyone just played THESE instruments, maybe band people would get a good rap:

DSC08028

Basson russe (bass horn) possibly from France

Basson russe (bass horn) possibly from France

Drum from the Beijing Olympics

Drum from the Beijing Olympics

At the Musical Instrument Museum, I learned that size does matter…

Bass trumpet, AKA "tuba in trumpet form." The trumpet right above it is a normal size.

Bass trumpet, AKA “tuba in trumpet form.” The trumpet right above it is a normal size.

Martin trumpet (do I see a theme here?)

Martin trumpet (do I see a theme here?)

A harmonica trying to do its part!

A harmonica trying to do its part! And wait…does that say trumpet again??

Not your mother's hand bells.

Not your mother’s hand bells.

…but animals apparently don’t matter.

Some bag pipe variations

Some bagpipe variations

This is called a Zaqq...MOOOOOO

This is called a Zaqq…MOOOOOO

Also, somehow Taylor Swift made it in here.

Taylor Swift

She shared a floor with an awesome, historic military piano that was parachuted down to soldiers during WWII.

G.I. Field Piano

G.I. Field Piano

Most importantly, though, I found a solution for all marching band directors’ problems: instruments that play themselves.

Sax mechanical mouth organ

Sax mechanical mouth organ

Trumpet mechanical mouth organ

Trumpet mechanical mouth organ

My dream: Clarola, the mechanical clarinet

My dream: Clarola, the mechanical clarinet

The Musical Instrument Museum was actually one of the coolest museums I have ever been to! Make sure to visit if you are ever in Phoenix.

Musical Instrument Museum donations

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New blog

Hey Take Note readers,

Sorry I haven’t posted here in a few months. After the college marching band season ended, the joys and stresses of the last semester of my senior year took precedent. I may occasionally post here, but if you’re interested, please check out my new blog, created today! It’s called Apollo 20 and it’s about the craziness and confusion that comes with navigating your twenty-somethings.

Thanks for your interest!

Lisa

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Music = Success in Politics

This video in my Twitter feed this morning inspired me to do some of my only thinking this winter break.  The video is of President Obama at a fundraiser in New York–a fundraiser at which Al Green happened to be present.

(In my opinion,) Obama singing is COMPLETELY effective!  Females in the audience were screaming and crazy.  It’s like when Justin Bieber, *NSYNC, or male a capella groups sing. Girls can’t resist men who sing well.  (I guess Justin Bieber doesn’t totally fit into the “man” category of course.)  I mean Obama probably wouldn’t have made it past Hollywood on American Idol, but he was decent!  And that’s all that matters to his screaming female audience.  Yes, he may be getting votes through women having tiny crushes on him, but it’s not news that candidates who are better looking, taller, and with more hair are usually more successful with both sexes.  I’m not a guy, but men probably though this video was at least funny and ballsy.  What a great campaign strategy.

If you think about it, politicians who are musicians are often well-liked by the public.

Examples:

Bill Clinton and his saxophone: Condoleezza Rice and her skills as a concert pianist:

Thomas Jefferson played the violin and once called music “the favorite passion of my soul.”

Musicians are often motivated, self-disciplined, and intelligent.  I think people also enjoy seeing that musical politicians have another, more human side to them.

Even more reason for me to become the first female President of the United States.

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