Tag Archives: connection

Concert and Swing Band Hits Many Right Notes

Community Ensemble Hits Many Right Notes from Kaley Perkins on Vimeo.

Bright and early Monday and Wednesday mornings is when Cary Pederson and his merry concert band meet upstairs in Beacock Music’s rehearsal studio to practice, laugh, and be together. Pederson took over the directorship of the band after the stores founder, Dale Beacock was killed in a tragic biking accident on the Oregon Coast. Russ Beacock, Dale’s son, asked Cary to take over when the band started to flounder with interim directors.

Pederson, a professional clarinetist and saxophonist, holds a Master’s degree from Portland State University in performance music. When the younger Beacock approached him, Pederson was just back from a stint in southern California where he tried to break into studio music and found the cost of living to be prohibitive.

While many of his fellow graduates have given up dreams of being professional musicians, Pederson has found a way to make it work. But not without cost. He credits his desire.

Pederson teaches over 50 students a week, directs the Concert and Swing Band and the jazz ensemble at Beacock’s, and keeps his own skills sharp by practicing at least two hours a day. He also volunteers at local high school bands and ensembles augment the band directors’ generalism with his woodwind expertise.

Talking about how he feels when friends tell him he is unbalanced and needs to introduce something else besides music into his life, Pederson responds, “Music is my ‘else’.”

Depression is a widespread condition that afflicts large numbers of us as we age. (Click the link ’10 Facts on Ageing’ toward the bottom of the article for a great slideshow factsheet.)

Studies show that some of the keys to maintaining physical and mental health as we age is to continue to contribute, keep learning, and incorporate creativity in areas that bring joy: it’s called active aging. And in Vancouver, this band is finding success.

For a podcast on Pederson’s thoughts on the plight of public school music educators, click here.

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‘Happy Improv Fun Time’ Founders See Robust Future for Portland’s Improv Scene

With a combined total of 42 years of stage performance between them, veteran improvisers Brad Fortier and Phil Incorvia actively evangelize a life of improv. According to the pair, the communication muscles developed in improv contribute to success in relationships, professional endeavors, and, more broadly, life.

‘Happy Improv Fun Time’ Founders Evangelize Improv, See Robust Future for Portland’s Improv Scene from Kaley Perkins on Vimeo.

The longtime friends met “before the turn of the century” as roommates when Incorvia relocated to become an active part of Portland’s improv community. Fortier, a new improv teacher at the time, lived in a house he terms “Planet Morrison,” where the newly-arrived Incorvia became one of a memorable cast of roommates. They’ve been fast friends since, performing and growing into men together.

Fortier and Incorvia founded “Happy Improv Fun Time,” their independent improv studio currently housed in the Willamette Cultural Resource Associates office building and warehouse in Portland, Ore., where Fortier contracts his archeology expertise. With a unique master’s degree in anthropology and theater arts from Portland State University, Fortier has traveled internationally to teach improv, the fine performance art that teaches people how to work together to make meaningful scenes in the moment.

Speaking about Portland’s improv scene, Fortier says, “It’s (Portland) starting to be a place where people are moving to to do improv and comedy which, like geez, five years ago I never would have imagined.”

Incorvia adds, “Yeah, it’s certainly… If you want to get in on what will appear in the not so distant future to be the ground floor… like now will be the ground floor.”

Fortier and Incorvia hold classes in Portland, and their schedule can be found online.

An in depth interview of Fortier and Incorvia discussing the how the lessons learned in improv apply to life in general can be found below:

Happy Improv Fun Time currently meets here:

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Fortier’s Books:

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