Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sneak Preview: Composers Today & Improvisation Web Sites

I created two new web sites - one to provide information about the Composers Today program, and the other to provide information about the Improvisation Program for the Music Teachers' Association California (MTAC) Long Beach Branch. These are just in the testing phase right now, and are pending MTACLB Board approval. The goal for me was to test Google and WordPress web site template and hosting usability.

What do you think of the web sites?
Current theme preview

MTACLB Improvisation Web Site:

MTACLB Composers Today Web Site:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Open Solo Division at SYMF 2011

SYMF (Southwestern Youth Music Festival) winner
Nicholas Echeverry in the Open Solo division
Congratulations to Nicholas Echeverry, student at Long Beach School of Music, for his 2nd place win in the Open Solo piano competition at the Southwestern Youth Music Festival this past weekend! "Open Solo" division is a pretty competitive category- nice work, Nick!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Philadanco! Passion and Precision at Cerritos Performing Arts Center

Cerritos Performing Arts Center photographed by Lisa Kato Fitchett, 3/13/2011.
The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) founded by Joan Myers Brown in 1970, is a modern contemporary dance company that tours nationally and internationally. For 34 years, the company has traveled the country and the world, performing before sold-out audiences of diverse people of all ages, creed, ethnicity and cultural traditions. PHILADANCO has a history of being a trailblazer.  They were the pilot dance company to be part of the State of Pennsylvania, Comprehensive Education Training Act, arts training program, one of the first companies to hire our dancers on a 52 week salary, the first to own housing for the dancers and the first to own a debt-free facility. Philadanco is also the company which founded the International Conference of Black Dance Companies and International Association of Blacks in Dance which addresses the special needs of the African American dance community in a supportive environment, and produces an annual conference.

Lula and Irwin Washington with Mark Fitchett at CPAC.
Mark and I caught up with Irwin and Lula Washington (both big fans of the Philadelphia Dance Company) at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center on the night of Philadanco's performance. Lula Washington is the founder of Los Angeles based Lula Washington Dance Theatre.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

After The Storm, Part 5

Oakhurst, California - A great afternoon of hiking and photography the day after a large snow storm blanketed the entire area surrounding our friend's family cabin.

Friday, July 15, 2011

After The Storm, Part 4

Wintry landscape in Oakhurst, CA photographed by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
We interrupt this week's bad news (Japan, tsunami, displacement, death toll) to bring you more photographs of the landscape the day after a big snowstorm in Oakhurst, California.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Potatoes Au Gratin

One of my favorite foods when I was a teenager was potatoes Au Gratin, so I am thrilled to present my version of this recipe here. This version is similar to making lasagna in that the key is layering.

4 russet potatoes, sliced thinly (1/8 inch slices)
1 whole yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
1 stick butter
6 Tablespoons flour (or Wondra)
4 Cups milk
3 Cups shredded Mild Cheddar cheese
2 slices well-done toast (for breadcrumbs)
Salt, pepper to taste

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Julien Musafia

I just got my hands on an extremely rare copy of Dr. Julien Musafia’s The Art of Fingering in Piano Playing, 95 pages, c. 1971 - a gold mine of information for the serious pianist, but unfortunately it’s been out of print for years. The book that I have looks like it was originally part of a college library collection - it's still got the college stamp and Dewey Decimal numbers on it. The few copies being sold on Amazon are going for anywhere from $145 to over $200.

For those who don't want to shell out that kind of dough, it looks like members are trading it on the Piano Files web site: http://www.pianofiles.com/search/music/sheets/julien+musafia

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Planet of Sound

From The Planet of Sound - 
We discovered this cool blog on Tumlr - The Planet of Sound...Where's the "Love" button?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Forecast

Long Beach, California - Forecast for Friday:

  • DeeDee Rescher's ukelele lesson
  • Weekly guitar jam session meeting with Makoto and Jim
  • Drum practice
  • Full day at Long Beach School of Music
  • Pack for Vegas road trip

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Leadership Redondo Aims to Raise $100k For Veterans' Park Band Shell

Rendering of proposed structure by Ottolia & Barnes Architecture. 
Redondo Beach, California - Who is Leadership Redondo Class of 2010? This group of dedicated volunteers initially set out to raise $70,000 to replace Redondo Beach's 50-year old band shell structure in Veterans' Park, not realizing that it would cost nearly $180,000 to get it done. Due to their persistence, coordination with the City of Redondo Beach, and the help of many contributors and supporters, it looks like this hardy group will succeed. Here are a few highlights about the group and participants in their capstone fund raiser which was held Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the Redondo Beach Historical Library.
Band Shell elevation drawing by Ottalia & Barnes Architecture.
"We first met in September 2009, no one in our group knowing any other group members...After nine months of meetings, we embarked on our project, never realizing what a truly challenging and rewarding project it would be. Somehow it seemed like this day would never come, but here we are, and thanks to all of you for making the trip in this awful weather to support our project to replace the aging Veteran's Park Band Shell here in Redondo Beach..."
--excerpts from the keynote speech by Leadership Redondo Class of 2010 Project Leader Larry Rosolowski of Razor Scooters (www.Razor.com).
Leadership Redondo Class of 2010, photographed by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
Leadership Redondo Class of 2010: Leadership Redondo Class of 2010 are: April Pitcairn (Pre-paid Legal Services), Marina Mora (Massage Therapist, Riviera Village), Brant Griffin (North Pier Fiduciary Management), Michael Ude (Custom Video), Gail Davis (Acme Clean Air), Susie Grant (South Bay Galleria), Ron Maroko (U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney), Chris Benson (City of Redondo Beach, IT Department), Michael Fitts (Endangered Habitats League Staff Attorney), Sandy Marchese (Protection At Location), Seth Berg (South Bay Music), Deborah Fehn (Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center), Kerianne Lawson (Beach Cities Health District).

Councilman Matt Kilroy, Steve Napolitano representing
4th District County Supervisor Don Knabe, Redondo
Beach Mayor Mike Gin, Councilman Steve Diels.
Dignitaries in attendance: District City Councilman Matt Kilroy, Steve Napolitano representing 4th District County Supervisor Don Knabe, Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin, and District City Councilman Steve Diels.

Major Contributors: Athens Services ($50,000) COO Gary Clifford, VP Finance Greg Huntington and wife Jasna, Director of Governmental Affairs Ed Chen; Deborah Fehn (member of Leadership Redondo 2010 and Director of Business Development) and Gold Sponsors ($10,000) Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance.

Architects Domingo Ottolia & Dorothy Barnes;
Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin; Project Leader
Larry Rosolowski; Stella Rothluebbers, Linda and
Vic Braden of family-owned Cornerstone Construction.
In-Kind Service Providers: Particular recognition goes to in-kind service providers who have donated $50,000 worth of services to the project. In-kind service providers are: Domingo Ottalia and his wife Dorothy, Ottolia & Barnes Architecture; Aurich Lawson, graphic designer; Vic Braden of Cornerstone Construction; and Jason Carter and Kathy Villa of Spectrum Catering who underwrote almost the entire cost of the catering.

Additional Donors: Other donors included Andrea and Mike Zislis of Shade Hotel, Rock'n'Fish, Mucho Restaurant (www.ZislisGroup.com), Steve and Jennifer Goldstein of PayRoll Management Solutions (PayRollManagementSolutions.com), Kayli Yoong, event party planner. Steve Goldstein is the Chairman of Redondo Beach Chamber Board of Directors, and a graduate of the Leadership Redondo Class of 2007.

The Mark Fitchett Band: Mark Fitchett (guitar), Bob Luna
(keyboards and vocals), Gregory Scott Alban (drums),
Donna Butler (vocals), Anthony Alvarez (bass).
The Mark Fitchett Band: Mark Fitchett (guitar), Bob Luna (vocals and keyboards), Anthony Alvarez (bass), Gregory Scott Alban (drums), with guest vocalist Donna Butler.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Links To Reliable Relief Agencies Helping Japan

Updated Links to Reliable Relief Agencies Working to Help Japan:

Photo: Shelter Boxes heading to Japan. www.ShelterBox.com.
  1. UNICEF - U.S. Fund appeals for donations for children and families in Japan - 100% of donations will go to Japan relief efforts - funding needed for items in short supply such as diapers and hygiene kits.
  2. Shelter Box (International charitable relief organization) - Japanese authorities request Shelter Boxes for the north, shelter boxes are heading to the worst hit areas of Japan.
  3. AmeriCares - Preparing first aid shipment, urgent supplies for shelters - Shipping basic hygiene items originating in Japan for urgent delivery to shelters in Miyagi and Iwate where hundreds of thousands of survivors have been forced to flee their homes.  In addition to building a relief convoy for shipments to Sendai, AmeriCares is setting up an office in Tokyo to coordinate their relief efforts. 
  4. International Medical Corps - International Medical Corps’ emergency response team is assessing the post-disaster needs of isolated coastal villages north of Sendai that have yet to receive humanitarian assistance. They found acute shortages of food, water and some medicines, and survivors in need of mental health support.
  5. Convoy of Hope - Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response team is working around the clock to deliver much needed food, water and emergency supplies to hurting families in Japan. On their web site, Kary Kingsland, vice president of Global Initiatives, shares how Convoy of Hope is responding to the disaster and explains the organization’s long-term strategy for helping the people of Japan. Update (3/21/11): Despite news reports of countries encouraging their citizens to leave Japan because of escalating concerns over radiation, Convoy of Hope is pressing forward with plans to deliver emergency supplies to victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
  6. The Salvation Army in Japan - Latest News (3/18/11): In Sendai mobile team served about 1,000 meals to evacuees. Hot meals and drinks were prepared in The Salvation Army's mobile emergency canteen and given out at Sendai Corps (Salvation Army church)..."
  7. Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) - Update (3/17/11): In Tokyo, the emergency coordination team is working to get food donations to people in evacuation centers. They are also planning to procure donations of water that can be driven by truck to the affected area, now that road access has improved. Another 5,000 blankets have been purchased in Tokyo and will be delivered by Sunday.
  8. Japanese Red Cross Society - Gifts will support the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Funds will be utilised for the on-going provision of immediate relief and for eventual recovery support to the affected population.
  9. American Humane Association - Red Star Animal Emergency Services and Japan Relief Fund - 100 percent of the donations received for Japan animal relief go to helping the animal victims in Japan. 
Photo: Convoy of Hope's Disaster Response Team.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Coming Up Sunday: Mark Fitchett Band in Redondo Beach

Mark your calendar! The Mark Fitchett Band will perform a selection of jazz, classic rock and blues in Redondo Beach this Sunday, March 20, 2011, in order to raise money for the revitalization of the Veteran's Park Bandshell in Redondo Beach. The event includes catered dinner and silent auction, and is sponsored by Leadership Redondo Class of 2010, a group of South Bay volunteers who are trying to raise $70,000 to replace the hazardous 50-year-old public structure. The Mark Fitchett Band consists of Robert Luna (keyboards and vocals), Gregory Scott Alban (drums), Anthony Alvarez (bass), and Mark Fitchett (guitar), with guest vocalist Donna Butler.

Sunday, March 20, 2011
5:00pm to 9:00pm
Redondo Beach Historical Library
309 Esplanade
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
$100 per person / $1,000 per table

Please make checks payable to: Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation

Mail checks to:
Leadership Redondo 2010
c/o CS Business Management
2615 190th Street, #210
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Or go to www.VeteransParkBandshell.com and click on the PayPal button to send your money directly.

The Veterans' Park Band Shell Project needs the funds raised by Leadership Redondo Class of 2010 are a group of volunteers who are trying to raise at least $70,000 within a six-month period to replace the crumbling current structure - in place since it was commissioned in 1957 - with a safer, new multi-use public structure by Domingo Ottolia of Ottolia and Barnes Architecture.

Thanks also to Spectrum Catering for their generous contribution to this event.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan - How to Help

Eight Things You Can Do To Help: (Updated 3/19/11)

Related Post: List of Reliable Agencies Helping Japan (Updated 3/21/11)
  1. Donate a ShelterBox - Over 492,000 people have been displaced.
  2. Go to Japanese Red Cross Society (page is in English) and click "donate".
  3. Donate to the Red Cross by phone by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 to add $10 (billed to phone bill).
  4. Donate $10 to American Red Cross: Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund online.
  5. Go to Google: Tsunami Relief Links Page and check out the many useful links there.
  6. Go to MercyCorps.org to find out more.
  7. Go to Peace Winds Japan to find out more.
  8. Join the Support Japan Facebook Event, Another Donation of $500 if we reach 50k people by March 19th, Total $1,000 started by Calvin Do. 

A little background about the Facebook group: Calvin Do initially created this event on March 13th with the pledge that he would donate $.05 for each person who attends, to a capacity of 10,000 people, i.e. $500. But he was stunned when the number of event goers jumped from 81 people on the first day to over 13,000 people on the second day. By midnight, March 15th, $500 was donated to the Salvation Army. Due to the overwhelming growth of this event, he decided to run another event and commit an additional $500 donation towards an organization (to be chosen by majority of a vote later on) towards the aid of Japan. The deadline will not be extended; by the deadline, if the goal does not achieve 40k people, the donation will go to $.01 per total persons.
"In essence, you can pretty much donate to the people affected in Japan for FREE. Absolutely free. How awesome is that? In the past, people might have wondered if they should donate the cash in their pockets. But here...all you have to do is press one button."
Support Japan Facebook Event
--Kit Wu (Facebook user)
Related Posts: List of Reliable International Relief Agencies Working to Help Japan

Map of affected areas from ShelterBox Relief Agency site.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interview with Freedom4U Founder Greg Allen

Freedom4U Community Youth Concert in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
As the founder of non-profit organization Freedom4U on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Dr. Greg Allen is a prominent community fund raiser, and advocate for local youth in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

The Daily Fitchett: Dr. Allen, what is Freedom 4U?

Greg Allen: Freedom4U, in a nutshell, is an organization that offers youth positive activities and creative outlets as an alternative to drugs and other destructive activities.

Concert for Youth Sponsored by Freedom4U
The Daily Fitchett: What motivated you to do this kind of work?

Greg Allen: After spending many years as a drug and family therapist, I saw firsthand how the lack of fun and safe social outlets for young people could lead them onto destructive paths. I also saw a need for a better local support system that could connect our young people, help them to pursue their passions, and provide the tools to work through the many challenges of adolescence.

DF: How did the organization get its start?

GA: We began Freedom4U to meet a clear a need for young people in the South Bay and particularly here on the hill. While families may have resources in this area, our middle school and high school students struggle to find fun ways to socialize and connect with each other in healthy and safe environments.

Freedom4U Concert for Youth
Our schools are excellent. We are a community of doting and dedicated parents. Most of our children are enrolled in some combination of after school lessons, organized sports teams, and volunteer programs.

But when Friday night rolls around, most of our young people want to hang out with each other. And there is often not much productive for them to do. That was the beginning of our vision for "Freedom4U".

So to we started the organization in 2002. Since that time, we have served more than 2000 young people per year, creating a wide range of programs to fulfill Freedom4U’s guiding mission; ‘to coach young people to fulfill their potential’.

DF: What events do you offer?

GA: We have created a Friday night concert series that has become one of the most popular nights out for our high school students and given aspiring young musicians the opportunity to perform in front of their peers in a safe, local and drug-free environment. We have also put counselors in all of the local high schools to provide support for students in working through major life challenges, from family and social issues to substance abuse.

DF: We also noticed that you have regular youth jazz jam sessions.

GA: Right! We built a monthly Jazz jam session at Trump Golf Course for young people interested in jazz and other improvised music. For this program, we brought in the some of the best young professional and college musicians in Los Angeles to help instruct our young people and perform on stage alongside them.

Other effective programs consist of: creative arts, life skills workshops for middle school boys and girls, parenting education and support, the 5th annual film contest is coming up along with a photography contest, leadership and service opportunities.

DF: It sounds like the program has really grown.

GA: It has. In July, we hosted our second annual “Jazz Through the Generations” Festival here on the Hill. This event featured internationally-known jazz artists performing alongside the participants in our youth programs, highlighting the importance of mentorship in the arts. We had over 1000 people attend this annual event at beautiful Terranea Resort.

Watch Behind-the-Scenes Video of Jazz Through the Generations.
DF: I remember the event was huge. Paul Smith, David Benoit, and Barbara Morrisson shared the stage with the younger up and coming musicians. "Jazz Through The Generations" was very well attended and was a great concert as well. Speaking of which, when is the next one?

GA: July 17th, 2011! We'll keep you posted. The next event that we have coming up soon is our 4th annual fundraiser 'Evening with the Stars'.

We are just beginning to realize the full potential of Freedom4U to make a difference in the lives of our young people. Our Priorities are: Community: Investing in young people; Character: Supporting young people in their strengths and confidence; Creativity: Being a laboratory for new ideas to be created, developed and expressed.

Freedom4U can only fulfill this mission with the generous help of the community. Together we can make a real difference in this community, providing our young people with the community support that they need, a place to pursue their passions, and important tools and skills that they will carry with them forever.

The 3rd Annual Evening with the Stars Lineup:
Olympic Gold Medalist Ron Brown, Redskin Jeff Severson,
Dr. Jeff Miller, Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Tillman,
LA District Attorney Carmen Trutanich,
Bear?Bruin Tim Wrightman, Van Barbieri,
Producer/Composer Tom Harriman, 49'er Cedrik Hardman,
Redskin/Bruin Billy Kilmer, CEO Bill Harris, GA
DF: What are the details of 'Evening With The Stars', and who is invited?

GA: Here's the details, and as far as who is invited...everyone! Please come and support the youth on the hill. Here's the invite:

Come to the 4th Annual Evening with the Stars
Mix & mingle with sports and entertainment stars
While listening to live jazz music
Fabulous silent & live auction items
Exceptional Trump National dinner and wine included

with stars:
NFL Hall of Famer Deacon Jones
Super Bowl Quarterbacks Billy Kilmer & Vince Ferragamo
US Olympic Gold Medalist & NFL All-Pro Ron Brown
US Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Tillman
and other Stars

Join us in honoring TV anchor Ed Arnold with the
George H. Allen Lifetime Achievement Award

Jessie and Greg Allen at event.
Where & When:
Trump National Golf Club Grand Ballrom
One Ocean Trails Drive
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. 90275

Thursday, April 21, 2011
5:30 PM – 7:15 PM Silent Auction
7:15 PM - 9:00 PM Dinner, Music, Program & Live Auction

Business Casual Attire

Tickets: $100 if received by April 9th, $125 until April 18th

You may reserve your place online at:
www.freedomcommunity.com, call 310-897-5043
email: awakening02@hotmail.com or mail check to:
Freedom4U, 336 Tejon Place, PVE, CA. 90274

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Founders' Circle at the L.A. Music Center

The Founders' Circle at the L.A. Music Center photographed by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
"The restrooms in the Founders' Circle are practically reason enough to pony up the $30,000 donation to get in." - a female patron overheard at the L.A. Music Center. Pictured here: The Founders' Circle, a private club for donors who support the Los Angeles Opera. The Founders' Circle serves a pre-performance dinner, and h'ors doevres, cappuccino, and desert during intermissions. Oh yes, and there's nary a queue for the restrooms. Reservations are required. The club is located within the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion on the South end of the Music Center Plaza on North Grand Avenue. --The Daily Fitchett, 3/10/11.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The 6th Annual Celebrate Dance Festival in L.A.

The Alex Theatre in Glendale, California photographed by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
Glendale, California - The dance community of Los Angeles packed the Alex Theatre on North Brand Boulevard for the sixth annual "Celebrate Dance", a varied program of over half a dozen preeminent dance companies representing some of today's most exciting talents in contemporary, jazz, ballet, and modern dance.

The Regina Klenjoski Dance Company oozed, pulsed, undulated, bounced, glided and sailed through the air in their fearlessly athletic and original "Emoticons", under the sure artistic direction of choreographer Regina Klenjoski. "Everybody Knows" - a pas de deux from San Diego based Malashock Dance company - showcased lyrical pairings, shapes and vignettes, making virtuoso lifts, partnering, inversions, and gravity defying leaps look easy under the mature direction of John Malashock, another veteran choreographer.

BARE Dance Company turned the stereotype of serious modern dance on its head with "Unoccupied", a light-hearted, fun piece demonstrating expressive capability, musicality, and a very connected delivery while never losing its sense of humor. "Tethered" (from Wayward Glances), a beautiful, athletic and thoroughly modern pas de deux by choreographer Michael Mizerany was made postmodern by being set to Henry Purcell's baroque era opera Dido and AeneusTerri Best Dance almost bent the passage of time with its unexpected slow shifts in tempo, deftly controlled timing, muscular suspension, well-honed choreography, and refined delivery in "Threshold". 

While it is almost unfair to pick a stand-out performance from such a collective display of creative talents, special mention must go to Monat Dance for showing strong classical lines and elegant, ballet-based modern choreography in "Beyond the Edge". Never confusing technique with artistry, the company danced with the musicality of Ailey, the refreshing modernism of the Joffrey, and with perfectly synchronized, artistic details of heads, arms and hands moving as one, the unique and total togetherness of London's Royal Ballet corps

Finally, this reviewer must point to the achievement of choreographer Jamel Gaines and Creative Outlook Dance Theatre of Brooklyn in its Los Angeles Premiere of "Prize", a piece exploring identity, race, political dissidence, war, and peace. Impeccably performed by a quintet of powerful dancers (Amber Hill, Epiphany Davis, Cara Maldonado, De-on Sass, Victor Reddick) and set entirely to the rising and falling tones and cadences of President Barack Obama's speech excerpts, the company showcased phenomenally strong, talented dancers articulating a decisive artistic statement without the obvious polemicism that could have cheapened the performance. Stunning, exceptional performances by the outstanding soloists and universal appeal reminded this reviewer of Alvin Ailey Dance Company at its very best.

The attendees comprised a Who's Who of the Los Angeles and Southland dance community, including choreographers Deborah Rosen, Sophie Monat, Terri Best, Michael Mizerany, John Malashock, Macarena Gandarillas, Mike Esperanza, and Regina Klenjoski; costume designers Denise Lichter, Tina Haatainen, Lilia Lopez, Bradley Lock, Liz Pelster, and Sue Julien; soloists Blythe Barton, Bradley R. Lundberg, Johnny Zhong, Anh Dillon, Joey Thao, Christine Marshall, Nicholas Strasburg, and Dana Vultaggio; award-winning lighting designer Eileen Cooley; and members of the major dance and fine arts press.

Celebrate Dance 2011 was a smashing success, with its strong and varied program, mature artistic statements, and outstanding young talents performing before a packed theater. Executive Producer Jamie Nichols (the founding force behind Pasadena-based Fast Feet dance company, honored at the 19th Annual Lester Horton Dance Awards with the Furthering The Visibility of Dance Award, among many other prizes and recognition) is the marketing director, fundraiser, press contact and sole producer for Celebrate Dance. Ms. Nichols currently teaches Contemporary Jazz at Live Arts Los Angeles and Movement for Actors at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, California. Thank you for your contributions, Ms. Nichols. We can't wait to see what's in store for "Celebrate Dance 2012".

Sunday, March 13, 2011

After The Storm, Part 3

Snow covered tree in the day's fading light, photographed by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
Snow covered tree in the fading light of day, from a series of snowy landscape photographs taken the day after a snow storm blanketed Oakhurst, California.

See Related Posts:

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/13/11.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

After The Storm, Part 2

Snowy Tree Tops. Photograph by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
We saw the late afternoon sun glinting off of snowy tree tops, and behind it, the cobalt blue sky trying to peek through lavender clouds. Subject: Travel, Photography, Oakhurst, California.

See Related Post:

More Related Posts: Oakhurst, California.

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/12/11.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Midlife Crisis at the Long Beach Aquarium

Long Beach, California - Coming up in April, the members of the Adult Garage Band 101 rock camp, a.k.a. "Midlife Crisis" will rock the Aquarium of the Pacific on April 1st, 2011, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Midlife Crisis members are: Randy Berler (vocals and guitar), John Tailor (bass), Gregory Hex (vocals and guitar), Jim Crenshaw (guitar), Linda Thompson (drums), Barbara Jackson (vocals, keyboards, mandolin), Bob Warpehoski (vocals, keyboards), and Mike Grady(guitar). Adult Garage Band 101 is a class available to adult students of Long Beach School of Music, South Bay School of Music (Redondo Beach), and Peninsula School of Music in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Click on the picture here to see a bigger image of the poster and to get gig details.

Related Post: Restricted: No One Under 30 Allowed Midlife Crisis rehearses for their upcoming gig.

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/11/11.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

After The Storm

Snow Storm Blankets Oakhurst, CA.  Photograph by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
On the day of a huge snowstorm, we drove in to Oakhurst, California. What you see here is the wintry scene that we witnessed as we hiked around on the following day.

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/10/11.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cornish Game Hens

Cornish Game Hen, Rosemary, Lemon & Garlic. The Daily Fitchett.
The new big hit at our house is Cornish game hens, pictured below with rosemary garnish, potatoes au gratin, and mixed green salad with dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and sliced pear. See the pinkness in the juice in the photo above? That's what I couldn't see when it was still in the baking pan. This one had to go back in the oven. In order to avoid this problem, make sure to check the internal temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer, and to use a large enough baking pan so as not to crowd the hens. If they are too close together, it will take significantly longer to cook. Another mistake that you can see in this photo was the raw rosemary garnish. Mark tossed the rosemary garnish back in the oven at the last minute to toast it for tenderness, better texture and flavor.  Once that was done, it was a phenomenal meal. Thanks to MoonAndBack on AllRecpies.com for posting the original recipe.

Essential Equipment:
  • Large Baking Pan
  • Large Rack that can fit inside the baking pan, and accommodate 4 Cornish game hens with space in between each (hens should not touch, nor be too crowded)
  • Meat Thermometer
4 Cornish game hens
1 lemon
8 sprigs rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 dozen cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 Cup white cooking wine
1 Cup low-sodiu chicken broth

Cornish Game Hens with Rosemary & Potatoes au Gratin.
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Rub hens with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff a lemon wedge and sprig of rosemary into the cavity of each hen; Tie the legs together with string. Arrange on a rack placed inside a large, heavy roasting pan, and arrange garlic cloves around the hens. Roast for 25 minutes.
  3. In a Pyrex cup, mix together wine, chicken broth, and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil; pour over hens. Continue roasting, and baste with pan juices and additional chicken broth/olive oil mixture every 15 minutes. It can be difficult to tell if the juices "run clear", so continue roasting hens and use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the hens reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Each instance of basting reduces the temperature in the oven and adds on to the total cooking time, but it is oh-so worth it.
  4. Transfer hens to a platter, pouring any cavity juices into the roasting pan. Tent hens with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices, garlic cloves to a medium saucepan, add the rest of the chicken broth and olive oil, and boil on medium high until liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about 6 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise, spoon sauce and garlic over the hens, and garnish with rosemary. 
Here's another great link that I found regarding the proper way to cook these hens: How To Roast Cornish Game Hen on www.HowToCookMeat.com.

Cornish game hens are small, light, not too overpowering in flavor, and yet extremely tasty.  This dish goes well with red wine and French bread.  Serves 6-8.

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/9/11.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cult of the Wrong Note: "Muscle Machine"

Last week we wrote about the new reissue scheduled for Mark's classic 90's rock/jazz/fusion album Cult of the Wrong Note. One of the songs off of that album is "Muscle Machine", a hard-driving funky uptempo tune with snarling guitar and a strong bass line. Muscle Machine is now available for preview on www.SoundCloud.com. The Cult of the Wrong Note are: Mark Fitchett: Guitar, Rick Hollander:Bass, Chuck Messana: Drums, Craig Roth: Keyboards.

Click here to listen.

Related Post:  Soon To Be Released: Mark Fitchett & The Cult of the Wrong Note

--The Daily Fitchett.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Herbie Hancock at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall photographed at night by Lisa Kato Fitchett.
Los Angeles, CA - Herbie Hancock shared the stage with saxophone legend Wayne Shorter, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Vinnie Coliauta for an almost sold-out concert Saturday night at Walt Disney Hall.

The focus of the evening was the sonic explorations of four masters, beyond the bounds of a predictable groove, melodic motif, and chord progression. Which is not to say these guys didn't groove. They grooved, but far outside the expected bounds of bar lines and predictable time signatures.  And not to say there were no melodies and no chord progressions.  The arrangements were solidly tonal but pushed the boundaries of audience expectations with their extended scope and development.

The first two pieces, more recently written by Wayne Shorter, took over an hour to perform, setting the mood for an evening of improvisatory wizadry with their stretched out openings, long development sections, and expanded recapitulations. The third piece, "Maiden Voyage" finally took us back to familiar territory.  But even there, the Maiden Voyage melody was deconstructed and transmogrified, put in unexpected places, rhythmically phased, playfully transposed into different keys and then transposed back again.  Wayne Shorter's "Visitor from Nowhere" was another broad sonic territory for the four virtuosi to traverse, ideas and inspiration unfurling and multiplying under their direction.

The encore was Herbie Hancock's classic "Cantaloupe Island",   which began as mysterious ruminations by Dave Holland on bass, eventually coalescing into fragments of that world-famous "Cantaloupe Island" bass line, but holding back on being completely recognizable until Wayne Shorter stepped in boldly with the first two notes of main melody.  Saturday evening's concert was a window for the audience to see what can happen when masters step in with invited friends to deconstruct their own and each other's pieces.  Herbie Hancock - transformed, transmogrified, and transcendent.

Related Posts: LA Times Blog "Culture Monster" - Jazz Review: Herbie Hancock at Walt Disney Concert Hall

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/7/2011.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jam Session: Knypstra, Cser & Fitchett

Knypstra, Cser & Fitchett
Palos Verdes Estates, CA - A wonderful set of standards was performed at this impromptu jam session with bassist Ravi Knypstra, pianist Laszlo J. Cser, and Mark Fitchett. Professor Cser, formerly an instructor of jazz composition and big band arranging at Los Angeles City College, is very much an impeccable pianist with a sharp sense of musical humor.

--The Daily Fitchett.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lion Dance

Related Post: Chinese New Year

I'm following up on my Chinese New Year post earlier this week with a little more about the Lion Dance. Thanks go to our friends Jenny Ru and Jeff Kind in Palos Verdes Estates for including us in this fabulous event, and kudos to the lion performers who danced through the crowd, negotiating stairs, party guests, doorways, and furniture while operating the lion's head, eyes, jaw, and limbs from inside the full two-man costume.

History of the lion dance: The story goes that once upon a time a monk had a dream in which there were many sorrows and evils plaguing the land. The monk prayed and asked the gods how he could prevent these evils from occurring. The gods told him that a lion would protect them and fight back the evils. The Chinese people had never see a lion before, but had heard stories that the lion was the king of all the other animals, so the monk combined all the lucky or magical animals he could think of and so made a lion.

If you look closely at any lion, you can see a red sash tied on its horn. It is told that the lion was disrespectful to the Jade Emperor. This of course caused the Jade Emperor to get very angry, so as a punishment he chopped off his horn (The source of his life) and the lion died. The Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) felt bad for him so she tied his horn back on with a red sash with golden leaves and chanted to he lion and he came back to life. And there - with a nod to Wikipedia for helping us out with the historical details - you have it.

Related Post: Chinese New Year

--The Daily Fitchett, 2/26/11.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Peggy Zask Gallery

Peggy Zask Gallery in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Candid photo of three South Bay area guitarists at Saturday night's wine tasting and art auction at Peggy Zask Gallery, 2/26/11, in the Golden Cove Center in Rancho Palos Verdes. Pictured below, from left to right: South Bay School of Music guitarist Tim Wingate, guitarist Mark Fitchett, and Alva's Music owner Matt Lincir.

Tim Wingate, Mark Fitchett, Matt Lincir

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Long Haul Man" Preview From Mark's New Album

The third track off of Mark's upcoming Working Man album is here!

Click to listen: Long Haul Man, by Mark Fitchett

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/3/11.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mark Fitchett & The Cult of the Wrong Note

Mark Fitchett's classic 90's Cult of the Wrong Note rock/jazz/fusion album is slated to be re-issued and released with new artwork by Gabe Kreiswirth. The album shows The Cult of the Wrong Note's trademark tight rhythm section, virtuosic soloing, strong songwriting and orchestration. The entire album (all tracks) are available for preview on SoundCloud.  Featuring Mark Fitchett: Guitar, Rick Hollander:Bass, Chuck Messana: Drums, Craig Roth: Keyboards. Check The Daily Fitchett for announcements about when and where this classic re-issue will become available.

Listen to Mark Fitchett and The Cult of the Wrong Note on SoundCloud: Click Here

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/2/11.

Restricted: No One Under 30 Allowed

Adult Garage Band 101, adult rock camp, Peninsula School of Music.
Adult Garage Band 101 - students ages 30 and up from Peninsula School of Music, South Bay, and Long Beach School of Music in rehearsal for their gig at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. The band decided to call themselves "Midlife Crisis". 

See full color band poster and upcoming performance details here.

--The Daily Fitchett, 3/1/11.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

Prep cooking for Szechuan Ma Po Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken
Emboldened by last week's success with Chinese cooking, I decided to try cooking two dishes at once - Szechuan Ma Po Tofu (with some tweaks) and Kung Pao Chicken. I needed Mark's help to stir fry the Kung Pao veggies while everything else was going on in order to not burn anything! Okay, so I'm not exactly a chef yet...

Here is my version of this original Kung Pao Chicken recipe which was submitted by Arlena on AllRecipes.com.


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
1 whole yellow onion, coarsely chopped.
1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 Cup slivered carrots
4 tablespoons white wine
Kung Pao Chicken, Szechuan Ma Po Tofu and Basmati
8 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
4 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
2 ounces hot chili paste
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
4 teaspoons brown sugar
6 green onions, chopped
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
8 ounces chopped peanuts

To Make Marinade: Combine 2 Tablespoons wine, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons oil and 2 Tablespoons cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

To Make Sauce: In a small bowl combine 2 Tablespoons wine, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons oil, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.

Heat chicken on high in a large skillet until meat is white, then reduce heat. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil and soy sauce in a wok on high. Stir in bell pepper, onion, and carrots and stir fry until slightly limp. Add green onions and bean sprouts and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add in the chicken with marinade and sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Goes well with Riesling or beer.

吃个饱 !

...uhhh, hopefully that says "Bon appetit!" in Mandarin. If not, let me know.

--The Daily Fitchett, 2/28/11.