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Work and Art PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Smith   

Unlike the controversy between seventeenth century mathematicians Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz as to which of them discovered the calculus, I lay no claim to being the first to discover a connection between work and the fine arts. Nevertheless, whether they are original or not, here are a few observations I've made that make my life richer.

For years I've worked as a computer programmer. Although I've learned a few piano pieces, memorized lyrics to some standards, and, most recently, acted in a couple plays, until now I've always separated work from these other interests. But drawing parallels between work and art helps in the development of both of them. One isn't necessarily better than the other, each enhances the other.

For example, details in my daily work, at first seeming to be insignificant and therefore easily forgettable, started to take on more meaning when I realized that each note in a composition was put there by the musician for a reason, each word was put in a play, each color selected for a painting because they thought it the best expression. So at work I read things more closely, I listen better, because chances are, those details will be significant in doing good work. Details mean more to me than they would have had I not made the similar discovery in art.

As for one enhancing the other, consider the play that I was fortunate to have a small role in, Freedomís Light: A Stop Along the Underground Railroad, written by Kelly Boyer Sagert. In two hours, through beautiful words and music (although not a musical) we witness expressions of love, courage, friendship, duty, belief, and hope - by both the conductors and especially by those whose lives were at stake, the slaves.

A beautiful play helps us grow in these areas. But a two-hour play could not happen without real people, be they slaves struggling for their freedom, conductors, doctors or computer programmers, who often spend entire lives doing what they think is valuable so that life can be better for themselves and others.

The ARC Band PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Smith   
Saturday, 29 January 2011 06:50

Here's an idea maybe some big band leader in the area can do something with. Similar to how a community theater director auditions, rehearses, and puts on a show for two to three weekends, I think a music director or band leader could put together a show to run two or three weekends at venues where you find live music - night clubs, festivals, malls, special events.

Audition/Rehearsal/Concert - call it an ARC band. It's not one band, it's a type of band. There can be one or more in any community, just as there are multiple community theaters.

I would love to sing a couple songs with a big band, for example, but I would not be ready to commit to perform with an established band as their full-time singer indefinitely. That is, say I had the talent to be that singer, or say that I could do a good job after a number of rehearsals, then, similar to committing to a play for a month or two, I could easily put the same effort into band rehearsals. I still have too many other things going on throughout the year where I would not want to rehearse every week, then perform each weekend, possibly far from home, week after week.

Now that's great for those who can commit to a band, and a good band must build its reputation and its quality through continuous work together, but what I'm proposing here is a stepping stone concept. I would bet there are many people who do musicals that would like the opportunity for something like this.

It could also benefit musicians. There are probably musicians that are good enough and would take a month for rehearsals for the joy of performing (probably unpaid), but who don't want to keep the band together indefinitely, for the same reasons actors want to do a show for a relatively short time.

Given a scenario where this short-run band concept takes off, it might be argued that current bands would suffer financially. But it could also be argued that those places willing to pay a band will continue to want an established band, while the "community band" would fill a gap where a professional band wouldn't be playing anyhow. Furthermore, if the concept increases big band appreciation, the established professional bands would reap the benefits through wider audiences wanting to see the best after getting their interest piqued by seeing their friends play in the community versions.

Frank Sinatra sang, "All or nothin' at all, If it's love, there ain't no in-between." Maybe he's right when it comes to music, too. Maybe some of these ideas have already been tried and things are the way they are for a reason. Yet, on the other hand, maybe there is room "in-between" for something new.

Use the 'Contact Us' page to send me your comments and I will post them and maybe we can come up with a model and outline the who|what|where|how much. The possibilities are many:

  1. have one or more singers rehearse with an established band
  2. singers could pay the professional band to rehearse and sing with the band
  3. the band can be volunteers just like the singer(s)
  4. have the band play at a night club with the understanding that audience members can sign up to sing (call it karaoke-plus), possibly with the band's regular singer helping out when necessary

Definitions of arc and its ARC equivalent
1. something curved in shape
(a bridge from one skill level to another)
2. part of an unbroken curved line
(music can run the full circle)
3. an electric current, often strong, brief, and luminous, in which electrons jump across a gap
(a flash of entertainment full of possibilities)

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