Hillary House Christmas performance 2015

On December 6, 2015 Tim Snyder and his great aunt Louise Clarke performed Christmas carols at a singalong at Hillary House in Aurora.

Tim performed on saxophone and piano, and Louise Clarke performed on piano.  It was a fun afternoon shared with visitors at Hillary House!  Now Tim is definitely in the Christmas spirit after performing all these wonderful carols!Tim saxophone Hillary house 2015 Melanie Bell Snapd Aurora

Photo: courtesy of Melanie Bell, Snap’d Aurora

A Family Christmas
When: December 6, 2015 1pm to 4pm
Where: Hillary House National Historic Site, Aurora, Ontario
What: Enjoy live music, children’s activities, light refreshments, the gift shop for Christmas shopping, Art at the Manor 2015, AND a visit with Santa!

Photo below:  courtesy of Aurora Historical Society

http://aurorahs.com/

Tim Louise Hillary House 3 -AHS Erika Mazanik

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Yamaha C7X Piano and The Piano Guys Accomplish the Impossible on The Great Wall of China

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Yamaha C7X Piano and The Piano Guys Accomplish the Impossible on The Great Wall of China

Group secured unprecedented permission from Chinese government and help from support groups including Yamaha Entertainment Group and Yamaha Artist Services.

Buena Park, Calif. (PRWEB) October 31, 2013

 http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/11/prweb11288167.htm

The very idea of moving a grand piano and cello atop the Great Wall of China to shoot a music video sounds like an impossible feat, at best. For starters, the unprecedented special permission required from the Chinese government, along with daunting restrictions and logistics are enough to dissuade even the most determined musician.

And yet, a newly released video by The Piano Guys performing on the wall is a study in how to accomplish the impossible, with the help of a willing government, artistic determination and support organizations such as Yamaha Entertainment Group and Yamaha Artist Services Beijing.

The resulting video, “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends,” (http://4wrd.it/KUNGFU_PIANO_VIDEO) captures this beautiful and historic performance, and has already garnered more than 3.6 million views since its release on October 9.

The Piano Guys, an immensely popular group that has made their name based on self-made videos of their pop classical music performances on YouTube and subsequent album releases, consists of pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, producer/videographer Paul Anderson and music producer Al van der Beek. Together, they have amassed more than 276 million views to date, and more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube.

“Since The Piano Guys began, it has been our impossible dream to put a grand piano on the Great Wall,” said Jon Schmidt. “People laughed at us when we said we were determined to do it. It is done. All of us at The Piano Guys would like to dedicate this music video to the visionary behind it all and the man whose dream this has always been: Paul Anderson.”

The behind-the-scenes action leading up to the video shoot was nearly as improbable and compelling as the finished video. While getting permission from the Chinese government was a great coup, the group soon discovered that they still faced real challenges.

To start, the permission they received only allowed them a limited 12-hour timeframe to shoot the music video. And while they were able to use a crane to get the 913-pound Yamaha C7X grand piano on the Great Wall of China, 20 local men were given the harrowing task of carrying the piano by hand up countless stone steps to where it appears in the video.

Additional hurdles included lighting, uninvited onlookers climbing the wall to get a glimpse of the performance and the limited equipment and crew that were allowed (and that could fit) atop the wall. This video chronicles the arduous preparations for this production (http://4wrd.it/MAKING_KUNGFU_VIDEO).

“It was an amazing feat and a life changing experience. We are very grateful for the opportunity and all the support we received from our support organizations, including Yamaha Entertainment Group and Yamaha Artist Services for providing and transporting the C7X piano to this lofty perch,” adds Paul Anderson.

“The Piano Guys are valued Yamaha Piano Artists and their series of YouTube videos are wildly popular, with hundreds of millions of hits. We jumped at the opportunity to support them in this ambitious project,” said Chris Gero, founder and VP, Yamaha Entertainment Group. “We are very proud to have our world-class pianos featured regularly in their sophisticated music videos. This one, of course, is particularly breathtaking.”

The Piano Guys started making music videos together for fun and their “hobby” turned into a worldwide phenomenon when their self-made YouTube videos resonated with a huge online audience. With the success of The Piano Guys’ first two major label releases, The Piano Guys and The Piano Guys 2, Portrait/Sony Masterworks has just released the classical-pop group’s new holiday album, A Family Christmas.

For more information on The Piano Guys and tour dates, visit http://www.ThePianoGuys.com. For more information on Yamaha’s record label Yamaha Entertainment Group, visit http://4wrd.it/YEGONLINE.

Practicing piano increases brain size

from an article titled “Piano Boosts Brain Power”

Published April 12, 2013 | By Kristin

– See more at: http://www.eartrainingandimprov.com/piano-boosts-brain-power/

Brain scans show that the brains of adult musicians are larger than those of non-musicians.

Research now shows that learning to play the piano actually causes parts of the brain to increase in size.

Kudos to all you parents who are helping your children learn to play! You’re making a real difference in your child’s development.

Read a Summary of the Research

Brain scans reveal clear differences: certain parts of the brain are larger in adult musicians as compared with nonmusicians. So are special brainy people genetically predisposed to music or is the process of learning an instrument responsible for the larger size? Researcher Gottfried Schlog and his colleagues developed experiments to investigate.

Schlog’s study demonstrates that learning to play an instrument does in fact cause structural changes in the brains of children, and that the amount of time spent practicing is important. Test children received lessons on piano or a string instrument for two years.

Brain scans performed at the beginning of the study revealed no significant differences between children in the test and control groups. Brain scans performed at the end of two years showed significantly increased size among children who were high practicers.

Parents Can Make a Difference

These results provide great news for parents! While nature helps determine your child’s potential, there are measures you can take to enrich your child’s developing mind, such as providing your child with piano instruction.

The other good news is that obtaining these positive effects is within your reach. High practicers were children who practiced 2-5 hours a week–this is doable!

Read the actual research publication:

http://www.musicianbrain.com/papers/Schlaug_CorpusCallosum_Children_Music_nyas_04842.pdf

Saxophone Choir from UK performs Bach’s Toccata, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and more…

A 20 piece sax ensemble -also check out their version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody -Freddie Mercury would be amused I think!
Visit www.saxchoir.com to learn about the 9 different saxophones used in this ensemble: soprillo, sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, tubax, contrabass

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Children make beautiful music out of recycled landfill items

Children discover Mozart in Paraguay landfill, playing instruments made from recycled garbage

I think the following article, by Pedro Servin, dated Dec. 15, 2012 from the Ottawa Citizen, beautifully illustrates the creativity of the human spirit, in spite of tremendous adversity!  Of course these children still live in extreme poverty beside a landfill in Paraguay, but hopefully enough international attention will cause people to make a lasting  difference in these children’s lives.  Tim

ATEURA, Paraguay – The sounds of a classical guitar come from two big jelly cans. Used X-rays serve as the skins of a thumping drum set. A battered aluminum salad bowl and strings tuned with forks from what must have been an elegant table make a violin. Bottle caps work perfectly well as keys for a saxophone.

A chamber orchestra of 20 children uses these and other instruments fashioned out of recycled materials from a landfill where their parents eke out livings as trash-pickers, regularly performing the music of Beethoven and Mozart, Henry Mancini and the Beatles. A concert they put on for The Associated Press also featured Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and some Paraguayan polkas.

Rocio Riveros, 15, said it took her a year to learn how to play her flute, which was made from tin cans. “Now I can’t live without this orchestra,” she said.

Word is spreading about these kids from Cateura, a vast landfill outside Paraguay’s capital where some 25,000 families live alongside reeking garbage in abject poverty.

The youngsters of “The Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura” performed in Brazil, Panama and Colombia this year, and hope to play at an exhibit opening next year in their honour at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We want to provide a way out of the landfill for these kids and their families. So we’re doing the impossible so that they can travel outside Paraguay, to become renowned and admired,” said Favio Chavez, a social worker and music teacher who started the orchestra.

The museum connection was made by a Paraguayan documentary filmmaker, Alejandra Amarilla Nash. She and film producer Juliana Penaranda-Loftus have followed the orchestra for years, joining Chavez in his social work while making their film “Landfill Harmonic” on a shoestring budget.

The documentary is far from complete. The kids still have much to prove. But last month, the filmmakers created a Facebook page and posted a short trailer on YouTube and Vimeo that has gone viral, quickly getting more than a million views altogether.

“It’s a beautiful story and also fits in very well with this theme of ingenuity of humans around the world using what they have at their disposal to create music,” said Daniel Piper, curator of the 5,000-instrument Arizona museum.

The community of Cateura could not be more marginalized. But the music coming from garbage has some families believing in a different future for their children.

“Thanks to the orchestra, we were in Rio de Janeiro! We bathed in the sea, on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. I never thought my dreams would become reality,” said Tania Vera, a 15-year-old violinist who lives in a wooden shack by a contaminated stream. Her mother has health problems, her father abandoned them, and her older sister left the orchestra after becoming pregnant. Tania, though, now wants to be a veterinarian, as well as a musician.

The orchestra was the brainchild of Chavez, 37. He had learned clarinet and guitar as a child, and had started a small music school in another town in Paraguay before he got a job with an environmental organization teaching trash-pickers in Cateura how to protect themselves.

Chavez opened a tiny music school at the landfill five years ago, hoping to keep youngsters out of trouble. But he had just five instruments to share, and the kids often grew restless, irritating Chavez’s boss.

So Chavez asked one of the trash-pickers, Nicolas Gomez, to make some instruments from recycled materials to keep the younger kids occupied.

“He found a drum and repaired it, and one thing led to another. Since he had been a carpenter, I asked him to make me a guitar. And so we just kept at it,” Chavez said.

Come April, the classical stringed instruments that Gomez has made in his workshop alongside his pigs and chickens will be on display in Phoenix alongside one of John Lennon’s pianos and Eric Clapton’s guitars.

“I only studied until the fifth grade because I had to go work breaking rocks in the quarries,” said Gomez, 48. But “if you give me the precise instructions, tomorrow I’ll make you a helicopter!”

The museum also will display wind instruments made by Tito Romero, who was repairing damaged trumpets in a shop outside Asuncion until Chavez came calling and asked him to turn galvanized pipe and other pieces of scavenged metal into flutes, clarinets and saxophones.

“It’s slow work, demanding precision, but it’s very gratifying,” Romero said. “Chavez is turning these kids of Cateura into people with a lot of self-esteem, giving them a shield against the vices.”

Ada Rios, a 14-year-old first violinist, greeted the AP with sleepy eyes and a wide smile at her family’s home on the banks of a sewage-filled creek that runs into the Paraguay River.

“The orchestra has given a new meaning to my life, because in Cateura, unfortunately, many young people don’t have opportunities to study, because they have to work or they’re addicted to alcohol and drugs,” she said.

Her little sister Noelia announced with the innocence of a 12-year-old that “I’m famous in my school thanks to being in the orchestra.”

Their 16-year-old aunt next door, Maria Rios, 16, also is a violinist.

“My mother signed me up in teacher Chavez’s school three years ago. I was really bothered that she hadn’t asked me first, but today I’m thankful because she put my name in as someone who wanted to learn violin,” Maria said.

Her mother, Miriam Rios, who has 14 children in all, said Maria was born when she was 45.

“My neighbours said she would be born with mental problems because I was so old, but an artist was born!” Rios said, her voice breaking with pride as she brushed away tears.

The children gathered in a schoolyard to perform for the AP, sharing their pride as they tuned their instruments.

Victor Caceres, playing a cello made from a red-and-white drum, said “this recycled instrument has no reason to envy those that are, apparently, more proper. It comes out with an impeccable sound.”

Standing beside him, 15-year-old Brandon Cobone supported a double bass violin made from a tall yellow barrel. He said the instrument always draws curious attention, “but it sounds marvelous.”

The kids played without complaint for 40 minutes in 100-degree (38-degree Celsius) heat and humidity. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and “New York, New York” led to Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” and some Paraguayan polkas.

Chavez’s kids will be performing at Asuncion’s shopping centres during the holidays.

“We’ll get some money, not very much, but it will help these families from Cateura,” he said. “They’ll be able to enjoy a good Christmas dinner.” ___

Associated Press writers Brian Skoloff in Phoenix, Arizona, and Michael Warren in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed to this report.