Spring 2021 Newsletter

BLUEBONNET SEASON     APRIL 2021

It’s the Blowcomotion Newsletter! 

Announcements and Class Updates – JOIN US!!

Good News!!! We are so happy to tell you that several of our sections are starting to meet in person! The sectionals are being held outside, socially distanced, and with masks on when not playing. Each sectional is deciding for itself when they want to meet in person – typically that decision is based on vaccination status. Percussion is meeting on Monday evenings and low brass is meeting Tuesday evenings. Woodwinds are meeting sometimes in person, sometimes via Zoom. High brass is still meeting via Zoom. We’re not trying to be secretive about the locations, but since the locations and times can change at the last minute, please email blowcomotion@gmail.com for further details.

What’s new in the sectionals? 

We’ve asked a member from each section – high brass, low brass, woodwinds and percussion – for an update on what is happening in their respective sections:

WOODWINDS by Ken Hallenberg

Woodwinds are continuing our one-on-one Zoom mini-lessons during sectional time each week, focused on technique and improv. We have added a couple of new members recently and we are looking forward to resuming in-person sectionals when we are all fully-vaccinated in May.

PERCUSSION by Bev Larkin

Percussion started meeting in person on Monday nights at First Unitarian Universal Church since the beginning of April. Our section has had the chance to see members who’ve not been able to join us by Zoom since last year and welcoming a new member. We are masked, outside in a parking lot six feet apart and all participants are vaccinated. It’s been very productive to be able to see techniques, get live feedback and play and hear each other – currently we are practicing rudiments and the rhythms for “La Murga”.

LOW BRASS by Debbie Fehrenkamp

Low brass started meeting in person on Tuesday, April 20. What a great day! We practiced Ave Maris Stella, a trombone quartet. We also started practicing “Guess What! Chickenbutt!” written by Blowcomotion’s bari sax player, Elliot Pena. It was fun to play with everyone.  Our first in-person practice was in Shipe Park, but please email blowcomotion@gmail.com for future location details, since the location may change.

HIGH BRASS by Brian Miller

High brass have been meeting in weekly Zoom sessions on Tuesdays. We’re planning to meet in person starting the last week of April at Mueller for socially-distanced-yet-syncopated practice. Omar has been leading us in an exploration of chord progressions, including rhythm changes, while helping us increase our improvisational and reading skills. Looking forward to seeing more trumpets and horns join us! 

Instrument Lending Library

Want to join in, but don’t have an instrument?

Our available instruments include: 2 cornets, 4 trombones, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, a french horn and a trumpet.  

To borrow one of Blowcomotion’s instruments, please email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com.

City of Austin Community Initiative Grant

We are so thrilled to announce that Blowcomotion has been awarded a Community Initiative Grant by the City of Austin!! The third time was the charm! Thanks to Michael Nelson and Niko Druzhinin for their hard work.

Blowcomotion is planning to hold a couple shows in September as part of our grant from the City. One of the shows will be a song share collaboration with Moontower Brass Band. We would LOVE for you to participate with us! There is plenty of time to find that perfect purple and black attire.  

Stay tuned for all the details!

HONK!TX – this year and next year!

HONK!TX will be virtual again this year and will be held on Saturday, May 29. Follow the HONK!TX Facebook page for more updates. Our new video for “Rhino Run” will premier at the festival. “Rhino Run” was written by one of our members, Francesco Petrogalli, and is based on a song his son was humming. Francesco turned that humming into “Rhino Run,” a brass band composition. Blowcomotion members recorded their parts in Bandlab and sent in videos of themselves performing. Thom Proctor edited the video and Matt Mossman provided audio engineering for the track. Thank you, Thom, Matt, and all the Blowco members who participated!

HONK!TX will be holding a silent auction as part of the virtual festival. If you have a gift card or service you would like to donate, please email blowcomotion@gmail.com and we will let you know where to send the item.

AND… no joke, the date has been set for next year – April 1, 2 and 3, 2022. We’ll be ready.

Fundraising

ADAPT of Texas Fun Run 

The ADAPT of Texas Fun Run is virtual again this year and will be held on Saturday, May 1, 2021. There’s still time to register.

To participate as a fundraiser/virtual runner, you can register at https://www.adaptfunrun.net/ and then select Blowcomotion under the “Organization I am Supporting” menu to ensure your donations go to our group.  

Once you are registered, you will receive a “Runner Registration” email with a personalized link that you can share with family and friends via email or social media. Donations can be made via credit card, PayPal, or check.  If you need it, they even offer a physical sign up sheet – but  their online registration and donation process is so simple that likely it will not be needed.

If you have any questions, please contact Beverly Larkin at beejcctx@gmail.com.  

Patreon

Our Patreon page has been really successful and we greatly appreciate those who have joined.  As we’ve mentioned before, almost all of the money we raise is used to pay our instructors (the remainder goes toward things like our website, insurance, and instruments). To access our Patreon account, you can go to https://www.patreon.com/blowcomotion.  Patreon levels begin at $5 per month.

Amazon Smile

Blowcomotion is listed as a charity on Amazon Smile. If you use Amazon and don’t already have a designated charity, would you please consider designating Blowcomotion?  Just go to Amazon Smile, and search for Blowcomotion.  

Car Donations

We are participating with Car Easy for vehicle – car, truck, boat – donations.  Have a used vehicle, donate it to us! Go to https://careasy.org/nonprofit/blowcomotion to have your donation support Blowcomotion’s music education programming. 

Volunteer with Us

The group that keeps Blowcomotion moving is composed of volunteers and we need help.  The Board has created the following committees:  Fundraising (includes grant writing), Marketing, Community Outreach, Curriculum, and the City of Austin Community Initiative Grant Show.  Most of these committees only have two members so if you are interested in helping Blowcomotion grow, email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com.

OUR INFORMATION

Reach us at blowcomotion@gmail.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/blowcomotion

On the web at www.blowcomotion.org

*************************************************************************************************************

Blowcomotion is a nonprofit corporation and has received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations are tax-exempt. Blowcomotion greatly appreciates your financial and instrument donations.

Blowcomotion is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

Cultural Arts City of Austin Economic Development Logo

ADAPT OF Texas Fun Run

How to raise money for Blowcomotion from the comfort of your home!

by Beverly Larkin

ADAPT of Texas has been very generous to host us during the inclement and cold weather months  in previous years- and one way we can give back, and help Blowcomotion at the same time is to participate in the ADAPT FUN*RUN!  They offer to us as a group — 75% of the monies we generate while they receive 25% which is a huge win/win for our band.  

This year, it will be held on Saturday May 1, 2021 – so we have plenty of time to prepare. 

It’s super easy to register at https://www.adaptfunrun.net/ and then select Blowcomotion – we are listed in the “Organization I am Supporting” menu option on the web page to ensure your donations go to our group.  

Once you are registered, you will receive an  “Runner Registration” email with a special personalized weblink that you can easily share with family and friends via email or social media.  ADAPT also made donation options very easy — folks can choose to use credit cards, PayPal or mail in a check.   If you need it, they even offer a physical sign up sheet — but have made their online registration and donation process so simple that likely it will not be needed.Using social media or email can easily get the word out to your friends and family — even a small gift of $5 – $10 from each person can quickly add up to a nice donation to ADAPT and Blowcomotion.   Every bit helps, even if we are not performing live, we are still holding sectionals and continue to pay our excellent instructors!!I really hope you will consider participating this year — If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at beejcctx [at] gmail.com.  Expect to see an email from Bev with more information!

Help support Austin’s only brass band festival — March 4 – 5, 2021!

A message from Honk!TX

A year ago, we were preparing for the tenth edition of our well-loved, free festival. When COVID-19 changed our plans, we continued working to support our local musicians and planning for the day we can all come together and celebrate the joy of live community band performances again. We’re still working toward that day, so we are asking for your support during Amplify Austin. Just like last year, this campaign will be our only online fundraiser for 2021.

Each year our city comes together to Amplify Austin. As part of Austin’s annual day of giving, over just 24 hours people like you ensure that local nonprofits have the resources needed to help make Central Texas an even better place to call home.

Did you know you don’t even have to wait for Amplify Austin day to make your gift? Thanks to the early giving period, you can make your Amplify Austin gift right now. Every gift made before 5:59 PM on March 4 will count towards Grand Prizes on Amplify Austin day. But that’s not the only reason to make your gift today.

When you make your most generous gift today you can help us start strong on March 4 and reach our goal of $5000. Your Amplify Austin gift ensures that local musicians will have financial support to weather the pandemic storm and be back on the streets and public spaces when we can safely gather again.

Give your most generous gift when you visit our page:
 https://www.amplifyatx.org/organizations/honk-tx-festival-of-community-street-bands. Until the pandemic is controlled, we are staying home and supporting our local music community. We distributed record amounts of funding to Austin musicians in 2020, and we will do so again in 2021. They are in turn providing us all with virtual moments of joy, which we will share in mid May (exact date and time forthcoming).

If you missed our online presentations in 2020, check them out here: HONK!TX Online

And here: HONK!TX portion of HONK! United: a worldwide online festival featuring Honk bands from all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica).

Still have questions? Visit https://www.amplifyatx.org/info/nonprofit-faq to learn more about Amplify Austin.

P.S. Check out this awesome marquee at the Paramount, spotlighting HONK!TX’s Amplify Austin campaign! 
Don’t forget: Amplify Austin runs from March 4 at 6 PM until March 5 at 6 PM.

Copyright (C) 2021 HONK!TX. All rights reserved.

Blowcomotion January 2021 Newsletter

WINTER (!)   JANUARY 2021

It’s the Blowcomotion Newsletter! 

Do You Vaccinate?

We hope so! We look forward to a time when we can play together — in person — and we think the only way we can do that is if musicians get vaccinated! We want to hear from you on this important subject so look for an upcoming survey. 

Announcements and Class Updates – JOIN US!!

Until we can play together, we are still meeting in our online sectionals! 

The sectionals are open to everyone — if you play the saxophone but want to come to low brass for sight singing or music appreciation — it’s OK.  The zoom information for the sectional is sent out by various zoom hosts.  If you are interested in attending any of the sectionals, please email blowcomotion@gmail.com  and let us know which sectional you are interested in attending.  Your request will be forwarded to the appropriate host.  Look for an email about 5 minutes before the meeting is to start.

What’s new in the sectionals? 

We’ve asked a member from each section — High brass, low brass, woodwinds and percussion — for an update on what is happening in their respective sections:

WOODWINDS by Ken Hallenberg:

Hey everyone!

The Blowco woodwinds (still all saxes at the moment) have been working on soloing skills under the tutelage of our fine instructor Jorion Dawson.  Sometimes we all work together on a single concept, other times we divide up the sectional into a series of short mini-lessons with topics chosen by each player.  Lately our main full-group topic has been using pentatonic scales (major and minor).  Individual mini-lessons have focused on such topics as fingering technique, bebop scales, altissimo, and learning some jazz tunes.

PERCUSSION by Beverly Larkin:

Percussion sectional experienced a bit of a turndown in attendance over the holiday weeks – showing more presence during the monthly full rehearsals.  Our instructor Sean has had us concentrating on Stick Control rudiments — foundational for any percussionist — and discussing percussion influences and instruction from various YouTube videos.  Looking forward to more time together with the new year.

LOW BRASS by Niko Druzhinin

A virtual rehearsal in the low brass section is always a treat that is sure to benefit any musician! From scales and sight-singing, to breathing exercises and music appreciation, you don’t even need a trombone or tuba to learn a lot from John. The format is free-flowing with plenty of opportunity to dive into the subjects that interest those who attend.

HIGH BRASS by Ike Eickstaedt

Trumpets and French Horns are discussing and practicing each week!  We love talkin’ high brass.   All are welcome to join us . . . regardless of your experience you will feel welcome as we explore the intricacies of our melodic and harmonic roles in the ensemble.  Come join us!  Led by instructor Omar Garcia Tuesday nights at 7 :00 pm on Zoom.  Looking forward to seeing y’all!

New Instruments

Thanks to everyone’s support Blowcomotion purchased more instruments for its instrument lending program. If you find some unused band instruments in the back of your closet, please consider donating to us.

To borrow one of the Blowcomotion instruments, please email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com for instrument availability and requirements.  

Fundraising

ADAPT OF Texas Fun Run by Beverly Larkin

How to raise money for Blowcomotion from the comfort of your home!

ADAPT of Texas has been very generous to host us during the inclement and cold weather months  in previous years- and one way we can give back, and help Blowcomotion at the same time is to participate in the ADAPT FUN*RUN!  They offer to us as a group — 75% of the monies we generate while they receive 25% which is a huge win/win for our band.  

This year, it will be held on Saturday May 1, 2021 – so we have plenty of time to prepare. 

It’s super easy to register at https://www.adaptfunrun.net/ and then select Blowcomotion – we are listed in the “Organization I am Supporting” menu option on the web page to ensure your donations go to our group.  

Once you are registered, you will receive an  “Runner Registration” email with a special personalized weblink that you can easily share with family and friends via email or social media.  ADAPT also made donation options very easy — folks can choose to use credit cards, PayPal or mail in a check.   If you need it, they even offer a physical sign up sheet — but have made their online registration and donation process so simple that likely it will not be needed.

Using social media or email can easily get the word out to your friends and family — even a small gift of $5 – $10 from each person can quickly add up to a nice donation to ADAPT and Blowcomotion.   Every bit helps, even if we are not performing live, we are still holding sectionals and continue to pay our excellent instructors!!

I really hope you will consider participating this year — If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at beejcctx@gmail.com.  Expect to see an email from Bev with more information!

Patreon

Our Patreon page has been really successful and we greatly appreciate those who have joined.  As we’ve mentioned before, almost all of the money we raise is used to pay our instructors (the remaining goes toward things like our website, insurance and instruments). To access our Patreon account, you can go to https://www.patreon.com/blowcomotion.  Patreon levels begin at $5 per month.

Blowcomotion is also listed as a charity on Amazon Smile.  If you use Amazon and don’t already have a designated charity, would you please consider designating Blowcomotion?  Just go to Amazon Smile, and search for Blowcomotion.  

Car Donations

We are participating with Car Easy for vehicle — car, truck, boat — donations.  Have a used vehicle, donate it to us! Go to https://careasy.org/nonprofit/blowcomotion to have your donation support Blowcomotion’s music education programming. 

Volunteer with Us

The group that keeps Blowcomotion moving is composed of volunteers.  We are dedicated to seeing Blowcomotion grow strong, but we can’t do it all.  We would love to have some help.  

The Board has created the following committees:  Fundraising (includes grant writing), Marketing, Community Outreach and Curriculum.  Most of these committees only have two members so if you are interested, email us blowcomotion@gmail.com

OUR INFORMATION

Reach us at blowcomotion@gmail.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/blowcomotion

On the web at www.blowcomotion.org

*************************************************************************************************************

Blowcomotion is a nonprofit corporation and has received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations are tax-exempt. Blowcomotion greatly appreciates your financial and instrument donations.

Blowcomotion in Honk! United

Honk! United starts Monday October 5 at 7 p.m.  and goes to Sunday morning October 11.  The full schedule is on their website: https://honkunited.org/

Blowcomotion will be in the 2 hour slot dedicated to Honk!TX, on Saturday, October 10 from 5 to 7pm (central time). Don’t miss our epic contribution!

In addition to performances – some live, some recorded – from bands on every continent (Antarctica included), Honk! United has some workshops scheduled. See more at https://honkunited.org/.

Blowcomotion to appear in CBS TV Series – That Animal Rescue Show

Blowcomotion will appear in the CBS docuseries That Animal Rescue Show, premiering Oct. 29 on CBS All Access. Produced by five-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater, the series follows Austin’s animal rescue community.

How did Blowcomotion get involved? In February, we performed a benefit show at Central Texas Pig Rescue’s Pig Pageant. It turned out to be our last in-person gig before Covid!

A CBS crew filmed the festival, with Blowcomotion’s grand entrance and performance included. Now, we will be featured in an episode of That Animal Rescue Show. Check out the trailer for the series here.

That Animal Rescue Show – Trailer clip © CBS Interactive.

All episodes of That Animal Rescue Show begin streaming October 29th on CBS All Access. More details here.

Blowcomotion September 2020 Newsletter

STILL  SUMMER — SEPTEMBER 2020

Welcome to the Blowcomotion Newsletter! 

Announcements and Class Updates – JOIN US!!

Well, it’s hard to believe we have not been able to practice as a band, in-person, since March.  It is the safe, right thing to do, but WE MISS YOU!! We are keeping our fingers crossed that someday soon we will be able to be playing together somewhere in Austin. 

Until then…..join us ONLINE.  Based on input from our band members, we’ve made a few changes to our online playing.  The first Tuesday of each month, the ENTIRE band is meeting via Zoom to chat and play along to our songs.  Before each song, our instructors point out a few things to help us improve our playing.  

The remaining Tuesdays of the month, we meet in our instrument sectionals.  Each of the sectionals are run a little differently.  The Low Brass sectional has been doing sight singing exercises.  If you want to work on your music reading skills, please come to the Low Brass Sectional and John will help you.  

The High Brass Sectionals meet twice a week – Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.  Also Omar is discussing holding a class on music composing and arranging. 

Both the Woodwind Sectionals and the Percussion Section are still meeting on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. 

The sectionals are open to everyone – if you play the saxophone but want to come to low brass for sight singing – it’s OK.  The Zoom information for the sectional is sent out by  various Zoom hosts.  If you are interested in attending any of the sectionals, please email blowcomotion@gmail.com  and let us know which sectional you are interested in attending.  Your request will be forwarded to the appropriate host.  Look for an email about 5 minutes before the meeting is to start.

Honk!TX – How I Honk!

On August 30, Honk!TX put together a great online show   – if you haven’t seen it , you can check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1007314976349501&extid=WJq0vbW7tedxJxxu).  There were a lot of amazing videos of Honk bands. One of the highlights was one of our former instructors, Lauryn Gould, who sang and played soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones in her video. Another interesting submission included interviews of a number of musicians about their Honk!TX experiences. Highly Recommended.

Honk United!

Along the same lines as the online Honk!TX experience, Honk (Somerville MA) is going online on October 10 and 11.  Blowcomotion will be submitting videos of Varga Varga with Vibrass and Flashlight.  Flashlight should be fun – our members submitted videos and Thom Proctor has put it all together!   

If we can’t play together, watching Honk bands online is the next best thing.  It is fun seeing all the bands and our friends, but it really makes us long to be able to play together. Honk!TX 2021 should be lots of fun, right?

New Instruments

Thanks to everyone’s support Blowcomotion purchased more instruments for its instrument lending program. We have added a french horn, a flute and of course, another trombone.

If you find some unused band instruments in the back of your closet, please consider donating to us.

To borrow one of the Blowcomotion instruments, please email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com for instrument availability and requirements.  Because we are adding more and more instruments, we have instituted a lending policy and agreement.  

Fundraising

Our Patreon page has been really successful and we greatly appreciate those who have joined.  As we’ve mentioned before, almost all of the money we raise is used to pay our instructors (the remaining goes toward things like our website, insurance and instruments). To access our Patreon account, you can go to https://www.patreon.com/blowcomotion.  Patreon levels begin at $5 per month.

Blowcomotion is also listed as a charity on Amazon Smile.  If you use Amazon and don’t already have a designated charity, would you please consider designating Blowcomotion?  Just go to Amazon Smile, and search for Blowcomotion.  

Volunteer with Us

The group that keeps Blowcomotion moving is composed of volunteers.  We are dedicated to seeing Blowcomotion grow strong, but sometimes we can’t do it all.  We would love to have some help.  

The Board has created the following committees:  Fundraising (includes grant writing), Marketing, Community Outreach and Curriculum.  Most of these committees only have two members so if you are interested, email us blowcomotion@gmail.com

OUR INFORMATION

Reach us at blowcomotion@gmail.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/blowcomotion

On the web at www.blowcomotion.org

*************************************************************************************************************

Blowcomotion is a nonprofit corporation and has received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations are tax-exempt. Blowcomotion greatly appreciates your financial and instrument donations.