Cat Taylor's Mewsings

Balancing left and right brain madness…

Category Archives: Music

Phoenyx’s Keepers of the Flame” – Now Legendary?

phoenyxOnce upon a time there was a Celtic Fusion band called Phoenyx,
I guess we’ve now reached legendary status… Keepers Of The Flame: Music.


A Spectacular Evening at SF Symphony With John Williams and Steven Spielberg

I am still coming back to earth after last evening’s concert, it was stunning. Peter and I had seen that John Williams was going to be here when looking through Mom’s San Francisco Symphony pamphlet a few months ago, and have both been VERY excited to attend. We knew he would be including a lot of the music for the films he has worked on with Steven Spielberg, but had been too busy to look up more information on the concert. We sat down in our seats, opened our programs and were thrilled to see that we were going to see not one legendary master of the cinema, but two.

When John Williams walked onto the stage to open the program, he was greeted by a standing ovation. It was just the first of many that evening. Maestro Williams is 81 now and walks a bit more slowly, but like other great conductors before him, is removed from any infirmities of age when conducting a great orchestra like the San Francisco Symphony. The first half of the program was dedicated to non-Spielberg music, including a suite from “Far and Away”, “Three Pieces from Harry Potter” (with Robin Sutherland playing the lovely celeste opening), Dartmoor, 1912 from “War Horse” and (of course) concluding with Star Wars. Having played that suite many years ago, made it just that more enjoyable for me, but the whole audience was having a ball.

Maestro Williams surprised us with an extra musical treat after the intermission and made the audience laugh and applaud with a short suite based on the movie “Jaws”. Steven Spielberg then joined him and during the next hour we were treated to a glimpse into a 40 year friendship and masterful working relationship. We saw Michael Tilson Thomas sneak in a sit a few rows ahead of us (he had introduced the evening) and George Lucas joined him.

Close Encounters was next, with a specially edited film suite to show how the music supported the film. Then the Circus Train sequence from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, first without music and then with. It was fun watching Mssrs. Williams and Spielberg chat about the film while the orchestra wasn’t playing. The music to “The Duel from The Adventures of Tintin” was accompanied by a film of great swashbuckling moments in cinema, which probably introduced younger audience members to some of those great actors for the first time: Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks, Gene Kelly and more.

One can tell from Mr. Spielberg’s introduction to “Schindler’s List” how very personal and meaningful this film is to him. The concert master Alexander Barantschik gave a beautiful rendition of the violin solo that Itzhak Perlman played for the film, only a few feet from where Mr. Spielberg was sitting. Mr. Spielberg sat with his head bowed and his hands folded, his fingers forming a triangle, looking as if he were praying. The audience was as quiet as I’ve heard in that hall, reverently respecting both the performers on stage and the private moment that we were privileged to share, but there were tears and ovations at the end of the piece.

The official portion of the program concluded with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: grand music and grand fun. The ovation was immediate and thunderous, prompting a very pleased Mr. Spielberg to say that they should *come back* to San Francisco. We were treated to two encores: one from their newest release “Lincoln” and then, of course “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The final ovations were loud and long and I think it was only Maestro Williams imitating sleep with a cute hand gesture that forced the audience to allow them to depart. I can only hope that they enjoyed the evening half as much as we did.

photo courtesy Oscar Benjamin

photo courtesy Oscar Benjamin

Odd Fellows Vallejo Renovation Project Phase 1 | Indiegogo

This is a pretty great project, combining the efforts of an older generation of Odd Fellows with a new one and trying to revitalize a hall from the 1870’s to benefit the current Vallejo community. The term “Odd Fellows” does amuse me when speaking of the greater “us” (meaning folks who work at the Dickens Fair), you may see some familiar faces in the video.

Odd Fellows Vallejo Renovation Project Phase 1 | Indiegogo

SF Blind Cafe Now Auditioning Musicians for Small Chamber Orchestra

A Concert and Sensory Tasting In The Pitch Dark!

I just got a note from Rosh Rocheleau who is putting together the music for this very interesting project. First, a little background from their website:

“The San Francisco Blind Cafe, is a mind bending / heart opening experience where the audience will indulge in a vegetarian ‘Sensory Tasting Experience’, participate in a Q & A with their blind wait staff and enjoy a concert of original music…all in the pitch dark. This is NOT just another dinner in the dark…it’s a community experience where people connect, learn and grow from working together to participate in something greater than themselves. The San Francisco Blind Cafe is designed to help you feel more alive, awake, present and connected to your world. We donate a portion of the proceeds from our events to a local blind organization to help the blind community.”

From Rosh:
“The SF Blind Cafe dates are booked and I’m now auditioning musicians for the small Chamber Orchestra that will perform in the dark with me. The shows will be Oct. 10th – 12th, 24th -26th and Nov. 7th -9th. We are looking for a ‘lead Cellist’ ( the scores for the songs are written with the Cello as the lead instrument) and also for a violist, two violinist and bass. Since this is a charity event, it’s not a highly paid position but the musicians do get several comp seats to give to their friends.

Here is the link to the music page:
And to the SF Blind Cafe site:

You can reach Rosh at

Music education helps kids learn to read — study

This makes great sense to me, along with learning dance or martial arts to help with movement.

EFDSS News – World’s biggest free digital archive of English traditional folk music and dance tunes to go live

Today! – “The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) will launch a new digital archive that will allow anyone anywhere in the world to explore traditional English folk music and dances tunes on Thursday 20 June.”

EFDSS News – World’s biggest free digital archive of English traditional folk music and dance tunes to go live.

Evening classes in sight singing and beginning music theory at The Freight

Here’s something cool from my friend Ken Malucelli at Prince Productions:

The Freight

Greetings, all. I’m very happy to announce the Freight, in Berkeley, has assigned me to conduct a six-week series of evening classes in sight singing and beginning music theory. These classes, held on Wed. eves from 5:30-6:45, begin Wed. July 10 and continue through Aug. 14. The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse is located at 2020 Addison St., just west off Shattuck, Downtown Berkeley; across the street from Berkeley Rep.

Classes, very informal and totally stress free, will get into all the basics for a solid basic foundation in music. For those interested (or if you know of anyone who might be), contact the Freight directly, as I’m not in charge of taking reservations, fees, etc.

Appreciate your help in spreading the word.

Ken Malucelli, Owner
Prince/SF Productions

Japanese Musician’s Million-Dollar Guarneri Violin Seized in Germany – Japan Real Time – WSJ

PEERS: Robin Hood Ball 2012 | PEERS: Robin Hood Ball 2012 Line-up, Ticket Info | Songkick

Join Avalon Rising at the PEERS: Robin Hood Ball on September 1st!

Robin Hood, Robin Hood
Riding through the glen.
Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
With his band of men.
Feared by the bad,
Loved by the good,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood.

Join Robin Hood, Lady Marian, and the Merry Men at the Blue Boar Inn for a rousing English Country Dance.

Dance to the glorious music of Renaissance rock band Avalon Rising, who will play Medieval and Renaissance music, Celtic fusion rock, and some highly anachronistic English country dances and waltzes from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

There will be a pre-ball dance class for those desiring to brush up on the evening’s country dances, and all country and set dances will be briefly taught or called at the ball.

Remember that, like most adaptations of the Robin Hood legend, this is a purely fantasy event. While this particular version of the legend is set in the 12th century, during the absence of King Richard the Lion-hearted, costumes from the later Middle Ages, the Renaissance, or any fantasy version of either are very welcome. As usual, costumes are admired but not required.

Punch and a light Olde English snack buffet will be served (Potluck contributions to the Kitchen are most welcome, especially if lifted from the Sheriff of Nottingham’s table).

Saturday, September 1, 2012
Masonic Lodge of San Mateo
Doors Open: 6:45p.m.
Dance Lesson: 7:00 p.m.
Dancing Begins: 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15.00 in advance (by August 25)
At the door: $20.00

PEERS: Robin Hood Ball 2012 | PEERS: Robin Hood Ball 2012 Line-up, Ticket Info | Songkick.

Avalon Rising in Dublin & Alameda on St. Patrick’s Day

Avalon Rising (your local Celtic Medieval Progressive Rock band) has two performances on St. Patrick’s Day for your musical pleasure:

Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Festival
in downtown Dublin, CA
(You’ll find us from 1:00 to 3:00 on the Pub Stage, where else?)
Experience authentic Irish music, dance, crafts, food and drink, as well as over 200 artists booths, carnival rides and more! Three stages of Irish music and dance.

Celtic Soul: A St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza of Music and Dance
Eight hours of Irish music and dance!
3:00 – singer/songwriter Sean Lightholder
4:30 – Accordionist Renee de la Prade from Culann’s Hounds and Whiskey & Women
7:00 – 9:00 – Avalon Rising
9:30 – 11:00 – Anam Rince stepdancers with Margaret & Kristoph Celtic duo plus bodhranist Rob Wilson and violinist Cat Taylor

at Urban Island Home Furnishings , 1901 Broadway, Alameda, CA 94501

We will of course have copies of our new cd “Elbows & Antlers”
(Thanks to Laura Brueckner for the name! … it’s a long story.)