May 30, 2009
May 29, 2009
When it came time to learn another PJ tune, Mike Irish and PJ had a little work to do figuring out tuning for capoed acoustic guitars and the electric guitars. Being the guitar master he is, Mike had it figured out and notated in no time. I found it fun to watch Mike in a teaching environment again. Although I've been to many Jazz Lab Band gigs over the years, its been awhile since I've seen Mike work with the kids. I was especially impressed when he sat down with Dominic the drummer and laid down the beat for PJ's tune. Remember, Mike's a guitar player.
About an hour into the session, Todd rolled up with lights and a smoke machine. According to the girls, it was vanilla smoke. Todd is working hard to prep the space for the big Brockit rock star photo shoot. Todd was able to coax Dominic into donning some shades in preparation for the shoot.
Mike and PJ continued to work with the guitar players learning another great PJ tune. As is typical with all the bass players I've known over the years (with the exception of Todd), the bass player in this group is very laid back and just grooves. What is it about bass player personalities anyway?
I had a little tag-along who was disappointed that we had to leave prior to PJ working with the vocalists. I have a feeling my six-year old will be back for another session. PJs's tunes are so much better than Hannah Montana's and I would rather she learn substance over style.
May 27, 2009
Wow, what a great teacher. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the first evening of Camp Rock to take some photos for Todd. I must say Mr. PJ Olsson is a wonderful, motivating teacher. You can see the father in him in the way he communicates with the kids; such kindness, such motivation. This is one lucky group of kids. The closest I ever came to an opportunity like this was attending MTU’s Summer Youth Jazz Program with Don Keranen.
And speaking of Don Keranen, two of PJ’s special guest instructors have links to Don. PJ’s Dad, Dr. Milt Olsson was in attendance guiding the kids through some music theory and working with the vocalists. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. A gift for music and education were definitely passed on to PJ through “Doc” as he asked the kids to refer to him as.
The second link (not missing) was Mark Lucier, one of the most talented drummers I have had the privilege of knowing and playing with. Mark and I go way back to our Jazz Lab Band days when Don was our director. Last summer and fall, I got to reunite with Mark to back Hannah Bethel and Katie Marie Rukkila. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to watch Mark in a teaching setting and he was awesome with the resident Camp Rock drummer. During the jam sessions, Mark worked with this young man and taught him three or four different styles in a very short time period. This was prior to Mark blowing out of the place on his souped-up Harley.
The best part of the evening for me was hearing PJ sing live and in person. This guy has chops and he almost sounds better in person than he does on his CDs. You PJ Olsson fans will be very impressed with his upcoming CD. The kids and instructors got to hear previews of some of the tracks and there are some really neat tunes in the works.
May 24, 2009
May 23, 2009
What can you say when a visit to a camp site has it all? Todd and Jessie had the maiden voyage of their new pop-up camper (but they weren't there when we arrived). Rodney and Erin were gracious hosts as always. Gabby got to play, kids were fishing, hula hooping, campfires, some spring color, a bike goes for a splash, cute dogs, and Kriss even got to go for a boat ride on Lil' Johnny. We even had a visit from the young version of the Michigan Militia.
Yup, it was a fun evening.
May 19, 2009
May 9, 2009
Have a good season Gabby and Brad!
May 2, 2009
This past week I received a last-minute call to shoot photos for the Hancock Prom at the Miscowaubik Club in Calumet. Luckily for me, I have a friend with some flashes and light stands (www.brassardmedia.com). Also lucky for me, one of the owners of Brassard Media, the pregnant Jessie, agreed to help out with the formal shots.
Jessie and I shot the formal shots, the Grand March, and for the rest of the evening, it was SB-900 in Commander mode with two SB-800s on stands or the floor or a shelf or a speaker or wherever...for candid shots.
The kids bowled, played billiards, and of course danced. This type of shooting was definitely a new experience for me.
FULL GALLERY (requires a password to protect the innocence of youth)
This past Saturday, I attended an art show that featured paintings from instructor Lori Sleeman's students. This was the afternoon before the prom and gave me the opportunity to mess around with some multi-flash setup. I was amazed at the local talent represented at the show. (including a painting by my wife).