The Cascadence collaboration includes four musicians and musician/composer Chus Alonso who was also my key sound advisor. Together, the group engaged in a combination of composed and improvised efforts, creating sounds by animating a range of objects engaged with water in a series of rhythms.
Chus Alonso, a flautist and percussionist, at the time was playing Cuban music with Orquesta la Moderna Tradición (which he is a founding member) and lead and composed for Potaje, a music ensemble that blends Flamenco with Cuban Charanga music. At the Community Music Center in San Francisco’s Mission district, he taught Flamenco and Latin Ensemble Playing for intermediate and advanced adult musicians. In his work with children Alonso developed a music program where children create instruments from unusual, yet common, materials and then compose music for them.
We met while teaching as LEAP artists-in-the-schools in San Francisco. His work inventing instruments with children was an early source of inspiration that fueled my interest in sound sculpture. He was a natural choice when I was seeking a composer for my newest project. This was the first time we collaborated together.
Fran Holland had been teaching musical instrument building, improvisation and acoustics in the Bay Area for prior last fifteen years. He worked extensively with young people in a number of settings including schools, community centers, and museums (Oakland Museum, SFMOMA, Discovery Museum, Exploratorium, Lawrence Hall of Science). He also constructed interactive exhibits (often in collaboration with youth) that have been exhibited in local schools, community centers and museums. He taught hundreds of teachers how to integrate musical instrument building into their science and art curriculum. He performed in and directed the Dactyls of Phrygia, a musical theater group that employed both homemade and modified musical instruments. He served as the Education Director of the Tinkers Workshop where he helped to create a community-access shop.
Brian Rice, at the time, was a freelance percussionist with a B.M. in Percussion Performance and Ethnomusicology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. A well-rounded musician, Brian was a highly acclaimed performer, recording artist and educator. Brian’s experience in education included workshops and performances in secondary schools throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and across the United States as well as lectures at Queens College, Oberlin, Portland State University, Shoreline Community College, Reed College, Lewis and Clark College and the University of Washington. Brian performed with the critically acclaimed school show Bochinche.
Yari Mander, at the time, was a drummer/percussionist who performed with Chus Alonso’s Flamenco/Latin ensemble Potingue, with Chaim Maim, a klezmer/tango group, and co-directed the One World Drum Ensemble. He also performed with Peter Whitehead’s Lower Back People, Kim Epifano, and Mark Growden’s Electric Pinata. Yari has a multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University, taught 3rd through 7th grade (all subjects) for five years in the San Francisco Unified School District, and one year in Brazil. At the time he was the music teacher at Live Oak School and the Creative Arts Charter School in San Francisco, taught ensemble drumming for Young Performers International, and taught residencies for Performing Arts Workshop. He was working on completing his certification as an Orff-Schulwerk teacher at Mills College.
Darren Morgan, born in Bath, England, is a flamenco guitarist by training. At the time, he was studying with Jorge Laciaga at the Community Music Center and working on a degree in music at San Francisco City College. Darren performed with the Community Music Center’s Latin Flamenco Ensemble and Ku/tu/trá, a production for children at Zeum in San Francisco.