Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts

May 2012

Nebraska has a reputation for being flat, and, being on the Great Plains, a reputation for being, well, plain.  But if you thought that would be true of Nebraska City, you’d be as wrong as I was.  With rolling hills and giant old-growth trees, Nebraska City was more like visiting a small town in Ohio or New Jersey.  Or really more like visiting a small town in Ohio or New Jersey in 1963.  But all part of the charm.

The rolling hills are a product of the land flowing down to the river that separates Nebraska from Iowa.  The giant trees are a product of the fact that Nebraska City started Arbor Day, which is a product of the fact that once, someone came to Nebraska city and said “You know what?  This would be a nice place if it wasn’t so flat and… plain here.”  And then planted several thousand trees.

Below, a random business, one of about 500 charming houses, and the great old bank and courthouse building.

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The view of my studio complete with computer setup and piano, and view of courtyard adjoining studio.

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And the best part–the great group of women I spent the weeks with:  from L to R, 1 and 4 are Pat and Jenni, our staff and administrators–by far the coolest staff of any residency I’ve done–and 2, 3, and 5:  Deborah, Jenni and Jenny, visual artist, poet, and visual artist, respectively.  Sometimes it’s nice to be immersed in a creative arts environment with those who understand your work from the inside and feel your pain.  Good company for a great residency.

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OCU Jazz Ensemble Performs "No More Blues"

The Oklahoma City University Jazz Ensemble (which is a Jazz Orchestra or Big Band or whatever you’d like to call this kind of group) gave the second performance (after the OKC Jazz Orchestra gave the premiere at the Petroleum Club in OKC’s Chase Tower) of my arrangement of “No More Blues” with guest artist John Riley, the excellent jazz drummer from New York.  John is one of those very nice guys whose relaxed and soft-spoken demeanor stands in sharp contrast to the fact that he’s an absolute beast at the drum set.

Thanks to John Allen, the ensemble director, and everyone in the group for a wonderful job with my arrangement of this great Jobim tune.