Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Arranging a new show


Hello readers! This week I open a new doubleheader show in two cities--the show is called "Tish Oney--The Peggy Lee Project/Tish Oney's Swingin' Christmas." This pairing came about because a couple of venues could not decide between the two shows and were looking for something for the Christmas season... so we opted to combine them with a short intermission in between. The doubleheader will be presented Friday, December 2 at Fryeburg Academy (Fryeburg, ME) and Saturday, December 3 at Mt. Lebanon High School (Pittsburgh, PA). Guitarist John Chiodini will join me for both shows. Bassist Nick Walker and drummer Greg Evans will meet John and myself in Pittsburgh to play as a quartet for the second show.

When undertaking the writing of a new show I am attentive to two sets of criteria: my interests in performing certain repertoire as well as the audience's interests in hearing something familiar balanced with something new. The manner of arranging varies from show to show, but my goal is always to frame a piece in a way not heard before, unless the song is relatively unknown, in which case I change it very little in order to give listeners an authentic first hearing. In any case, I always leave room for improvisation within the piece so that each successive performance of it is allowed to grow and evolve with the musicians on the stage in the moment.

This month I was pleased to write an arrangement for a new song composed by a friend of mine--"Light a Candle" by Andy Beck will be featured in this weekend's doubleheader among several well-known Christmas favorites. This piece effectively functions as my "something new" in the new show and I am excited about sharing it with these audiences. I also will perform my jazz arrangement of "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" which is a traditional carol I have sung all my life in church, caroling, at home, you name it. Pairing the old with the new seems to reflect balance and growth in a musical sense and frames my shows with something for everyone.

I genuinely hope to see you on the road, perhaps at one of these concerts this weekend! Enjoy your holiday season and please be in touch if you would like to program one or more of my shows in your 2012-13 concert season! Thanks for reading...

Monday, October 31, 2011

This week's Artist Residency at Furman University

This week begins an Artist-in-Residence stint at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. The big event for the week will be my concert with the Furman University Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Matt Olson. We'll be collaborating for my touring big band show, "Tish Oney's Big Band Excursion" and the Furman Jazz students will open Friday's show with music performed by a number of small jazz combos and instrumental works for the entire 18-piece jazz orchestra. As the evening unfolds, listeners will be treated to a program of wonderful jazz works I've compiled by award-winning big band arrangers including Grammy-winner Chris Walden and Hall-of-Famer Joe Riposo. This show begins Friday, November 4 at 8pm in the Daniel Music Building's Recital Hall on the Furman University campus. Admission is $3 for students and $5 general and the public is heartily invited!

Earlier in the day Friday I will be teaching a master class for singers in an informal setting with a time for questions and answers related to my full-time career as a touring performer and recording artist. Students and faculty are welcome to attend! I am greatly honored to be sharing my musical interests and skills with the Furman University music community and I look forward to the music we discover together this week!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ithaca College Residency in Progress


Greetings from gorgeous Ithaca, NY! I am thrilled to be back at my alma mater as their 2011-12 Robert G. Boehmler Visiting Artist presenting two concerts on the main stage (in Ford Hall Auditorium) Thursday, 9/29 and Friday, 9/30. In addition to these public performances, throughout this week I have been providing master classes, jazz workshops, music history and songwriting lectures and private coaching sessions for students. I am also delighted to reunite with some wonderful faculty friends, colleagues and mentors who have shared music with me over the years. IC is a phenomenal place to develop as a musician--the faculty are truly top-notch and the opportunities for excelling in a spirit of healthy competition are second to none. This week has been a gift and I feel deeply honored to have been selected as this year's recipient of the Boehmler Artist Residency grant.

This week's concerts are free and open to the public due to this generous donor, so please take that short drive to Ithaca and join me Thursday, 9/29 at 8:15 for "Tish Oney--The Peggy Lee Project" which I will perform with a trio of jazz faculty including John Stetch, piano, Nick Walker, bass and Greg Evans, drums. Friday evening (also at 8:15) I present the debut performance of my new big band show, "Tish Oney's Big Band Excursion," with the IC Jazz Ensemble conducted by Mike Titlebaum. These represent two very different jazz shows (no material will be repeated) that I am looking forward to sharing with all central New York friends and fans! I hope to see you there and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Session Singing

Welcome to another installment of my blog! It seems the months fly by... This past month has been busy--I started it with a wonderful and fun recording session at Red Rock Recording Studios near Stroudsburg, PA with Alfred Music Publishing. I am honored to sing with some of the finest session singers in the country a couple of times a year to update the Alfred choral music catalog offerings. I plan to return for more recording at the end of October. It's a nice diversion from touring and teaching and gives me a chance to periodically refine my sight-singing skills!

Session singing moves very quickly--for this session we rehearsed each song once through (if that) and then recorded it, and I (along with a few other singers) performed all the women's parts on separate tracks (first and second soprano and alto). Having several excellent singers with well-developed ranges and sight-singing skills is crucial to make the session run efficiently. Each "take" must be accurate and perfectly reflective of the composer's notes and rhythms as well as the editor's dynamics and articulation. Fortunately, this group of singers not only sings phenomenally well, but they are also gems to work with, showing courtesy, kindness, humor and a team-oriented spirit not always found in groups of artists everywhere else... I am honored to be able to work with them and consider our times in the studio together to be highlights of my year!

On another note, my new CD of originals and jazz standards, "Sweet Youth," featuring John Chiodini on guitar, has been released on the Blujazz label and is available for ordering at www.blujazz.com. For a sneak-preview of the album, please see my newly-updated website, www.tishoney.com, where you can hear clips from the new album as soon as you arrive at the site. Thank you for your interest and support! I hope you love the new CD... Listen for it on your local jazz radio station, adult standard radio station or XM Satellite Radio and please call in to request a song if you are so inclined! God bless you as you enjoy the end of your summer!

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Sweet Youth" release date and upcoming concerts


Blujazz, my new record label, has announced that my new CD, "Sweet Youth," recorded with the incomparable guitarist John Chiodini, will be available for sale worldwide on August 16 with a jazz radio release date of August 29! We are very excited about this coming month's events and look forward to sharing our new music with all of you. To order the new CD, you can find it in the coming weeks at www.blujazz.com...

In conjunction with the new album release, my concert schedule will begin to get busy throughout the fall...I'll be performing August 20 at First Baptist Church of Honolulu (7 pm), September 9 at The Master's College in Santa Clarita, CA (7:30 pm) and September 29 (The Peggy Lee Project) and 30 (Tish Oney's Big Band Excursion) at Ithaca College School of Music (Ithaca, NY) at 8:15 pm in Ford Hall Auditorium. For information about these and more concerts, please see my website, www.tishoney.com.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Final CD production notes and a new label!

Registering copyrights, purchasing mechanical licensing, paying royalties, registering new titles, searching for publishers, answering questions about public domain...so much to do before releasing a new album! Now that the recording, editing, mixing and mastering are done, I must be close, right? Not necessarily! But seriously, we ARE close and I expect I will have the final product in my hands within another month. The cover art and liner notes are currently in the design/production stage and that is an exciting process. I absolutely treasure being the producer of my own albums and being able to have the strongest influence on every aspect of the recording, including the artwork design and development. I have hired wonderful photographers and a graphic designer with a gifted eye and a sense for creating something beautiful to match the intent of the music. I am blessed!

Another exciting bit of news is that this new album, "Sweet Youth," will be my debut recording on the Blujazz label, based in Chicago. I am hopeful that this new relationship with an established jazz label will yield rewarding results for all involved! I am honored to be added to the Blujazz artist roster and am thrilled about this change. Thanks to my fans and friends for your well wishes, support and prayers and keep them coming as we move our way through to make this new recording available to you in the next month or so! Thank you so much for your patience and I hope to see you at a show in the near future!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tish Oney's Big Band Excursion


I am thrilled to be putting together my first-ever full length big band show which will be taken on tour this coming fall season. I have compiled a show of songs arranged by some of the greatest big band arrangers of our time--Chris Walden, Joe Riposo, Jason Goldman and Jim Hughart. I am tremendously thankful for their time, talents and energy in writing these wonderful charts and sharing them with me for this tour!

The tour will be under way in late September with my first big band outing back where it all started--Ithaca College School of Music. Several years ago as a Masters student I fronted the IC Jazz Orchestra on a number of occasions, most notably when Les Brown came and visited the campus for our Commencement Eve gala concert. In September I will return to the Ithaca campus as their 2011-12 Robert G. Boehmler Visiting Artist to teach master classes and workshops, to do some guest lecturing and to give two evening performances in their main concert venue. At this moment, the concerts are scheduled for Thursday, September 29 and Friday, September 30. For updated information about these events, please see www.tishoney.com and click on "Dates."

Since then I have loved performing with big bands and now can finally take my show's charts on tour to perform with bands all over the country, happy to share this terrific music by my favorite classic jazz composers and outstanding living jazz arrangers. For information about booking this show, please write to us at contact@tishoney.com. I hope to see you on the road!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Sweet Youth" in progress


I recorded my new album in November with the amazing John Chiodini on guitar and with help from a phenomenal recording engineer from Los Angeles named Paul Tavenner. The three of us had loads of fun making great music over a couple of weeks in the studio and now are continuing to listen to the tracks, editing and mixing them from afar. I made a point not to rush the production of this album--planning CD release events too far in advance can tend to bring unwanted stress, and so I decided not to add more pressure to my life than necessary! I am still enjoying the benefits of our second CD, "Dear Peg," which thankfully continues to receive international airplay and brings a continuous stream of concert performances into my calendar.

This forthcoming project, "Sweet Youth," is coming together beautifully. Some of the highlights include several new arrangements of favorite standards of mine including a very tricky-to-sing piece called "Autumn Nocturne." This song, incidentally, is on the album precisely because a fan told me specifically (after hearing me perform it live) that she hoped to hear my recording of it on my next album...that compliment got me thinking more seriously about the song. I am very glad to have received that nugget of a suggestion, considering the fact that this song is exceedingly hard for singers (due to wide, challenging melodic arpeggiations), so I was excited to find that the end result sounded great.

Another fun trait of this album will be the majority of original songs featured therein. We have a new setting of an old Arthur Gillom poem which came off as a folksong, a meditative song with Biblical text, a playful blues tune and several songs which look back upon more tender times. I am thoroughly excited to share this project with the public and am now accepting sponsorships from people who are interested in partnering with me to put out this new album of guitar/vocal duet music as John and I were inspired to perform together. If you or your company would like to sponsor a song on this album (you'll be acknowledged in the liner notes unless you prefer to remain anonymous) your help toward this artistic endeavor would be much appreciated and you can feel great about supporting working artists! After all, we would not have much of the music of Mozart or Haydn or so many other master composers had it not been for their patrons and benefactors paying them to write... To sponsor a song, simply write to us at contact@tishoney.com. Thank you so much to those who have already undertaken this venture--we could not do it without you. I hope you will enjoy the final product as much as I know I will!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Discipline of Practice

The discipline of practice can be elusive for the busy artist... but as the virtuosic pianist Vladimir Horowitz famously said (and I paraphrase): "When I miss one day of practice, I notice a difference in my performance. When I miss two days, my fellow musicians notice. When I miss three days, the public begins to notice." When it comes to singing, muscles necessary for precise musical execution don't take long to atrophy, and so require regular workouts on a daily basis. Add to that the responsibility of performing a completely memorized program and the necessity of practicing becomes intensified. Further, the fact that I am constantly writing music, arranging songs and creating songlists or programs tailored specifically for each performance requires a regular investment of practice time in advance of each concert.

Over the years I have found ways to view my daily practice session as special time for me, like an hour spent at a spa, rather than an hour of drudgery and "homework." Concentrating on pleasant sensations connected with healthy singing, deep breathing work (akin to meditation) and body-conscious release of tension can keep me thinking about musical practice in a positive light.

Finally, practice of my material requires time-management, creativity and advanced planning. Because I currently present five different jazz/concert cabaret shows on a national level and occasionally work as a lyric soprano soloist as well (performing full-length baroque recitals and oratorio solo work), my practicing must incorporate the skills, music and memory work required for whatever presentation I'm scheduled to do next. This reality keeps me excited about practicing and diligent about the work I have to do. I am continually grateful for the positive results that come from focused, undistracted practice time and am blessed to enjoy a career that reaps the rewards of those sacred solitary hours!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New album and new touring shows


It's a new year and time to look forward to new shows, new music and new opportunities! I am excited about a few nascent projects coming around the bend...in particular, my next album, "Sweet Youth," will be released this spring. The project features the one and only John Chiodini playing several types of guitars, reflecting the varied nature of repertoire I selected to record. The project includes thirteen songs (eight originals) and a few different genres... John and I incorporated Latin, jazz, folk, blues and a bit of pop nuance throughout the course of this album. Jazz lovers will be right at home, as improvisation weaves itself throughout the project while the five non-original songs display my persuasion to arrange challenging, less well-known "standards" to suit my preferences, abilities and ensemble. John and I will enjoy performing material from "Sweet Youth" as a vocal/guitar duo on tour throughout the coming year.

I am particularly impressed by the way John adapts his sound and style so readily, suiting the character and feel of each composition with an honesty and sense of discovery that keep him always on the edge of fresh ideas. This willingness to explore and surprise as he records and performs helps me to remain inspired and courageous about venturing forth into uncharted territory. Some of the compositions "found themselves" in the studio--effectively defining their styles, genres and even personalities before our very eyes and ears. This, for me, is exciting music-making: determining to allow a sense of discovery and improvisation to guide the outcome of the recording (or live performance).

Another exciting venture I have undertaken consists of writing and producing a new themed show: Going My Way: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen. I have long admired Van Heusen, not only because we share a hometown, but also for his numerous imaginative hit songs as well as his brilliance for writing material targeted for a particular artist. His songs composed for Bing Crosby and for Frank Sinatra reveal unparalleled understanding and masterful sensitivity toward the idiosyncratic qualities and strengths of these great singers. This show debuts in cooperation with the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation on May 22, 2011, and will continue to be available nationwide at jazz festivals, performing arts centers, cabaret series, and university or college concert series. Please see www.tishoney.com for information about this and other touring concerts.

Finally, we are unveiling a new big band show, available on tour for 2011-12 and beyond: Tish Oney's Big Band Excursion, featuring big band arrangements of great standards (and my originals) by some of the greatest jazz arrangers on the international scene today. For this show I will not be traveling with a band, but flying solo, meeting up with bands all over the country and collaborating with them as their featured soloist...I am very excited about this venture--what an opportunity to perform great music with musicians all over the world who share my love for this genre! For more information or to book this show, please contact us at contact@tishoney.com. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you soon on the road!