YOUNG DRONES: VOLUME ONE – A Collection of Noises

Download for free from Bandcamp.

The Macphail Music Program is thrilled to release YOUNG DRONES –A Collection Of Noises as our “Heart Of A Tiger” fundraiser to help purchase cardiac equipment for the new Centre Grey Hospital in Markdale. If you would like to donate please visit the link below and under “Fund” select the “Macphail Music Program, Heart Of A Tiger Campaign” option: www.cghsfoundation.com/donation-form/

This project is also meant to coincide with International Drone Day, May 29. As far as we can gather, we are the FIRST group of elementary school-aged artists and musicians ON PLANET EARTH to submit work for this worldwide celebration. For a program that fosters a creative, fearless, open-minded, outside-the-box outlook on life and music this was VERY exciting news indeed and another “first” to add to our collection!

What is a drone? This is the question that launched this project. Often, the first responses were “a remote-controlled helicopter thingy”. Being from a rural area, some students were able to identify a drone as a male bee. These suggestions led to the musical sense of the word—a long, continuous, (endless?) sound. Online classes participated in rich conversations about what different sorts of drone there are (instrumental, mechanical, natural) and provided countless examples of each (bagpipe, old fridge, waterfall). Bigger philosophical questions were asked—do we exist in a constant drone of sound/s? Is silence, or freedom from noise, possible? Virtual debates ensued—how is a drone different than other musical concepts like ostinato or pedal point? High school/university music stuff here!

Grade 4 to 8 students, in an attempt to make this project as creative and fun as possible, were then tasked with capturing, recreating or recording drones to submit. Josh Richardson and the good people at Mudtown Records agreed to compile and curate these sounds. This local record label has supported recording projects by the Macphail Music Program over the years and I’m sure they were a bit surprised and even overwhelmed when over 100 Macphail artists/engineers submitted work for this community-spirited project!

Many thanks to Darlene Lamberti at Centre-Grey Health Services. She has been nothing but encouraging over the last few years and we are so pumped (get it, heart fundraiser) to offer our work for the second year in a row to help the overall health and well-being of our community. Endless thanks to Josh Richardson for faithfully putting our Macphail musical magic out into the world.

Please give generously if you are able. We would like to eclipse the amount from our Covid 19 fundraiser of last year!

– Charles Glasspool

Thank you to Charles and the students of the Macphail Music program for involving me with this unique and exciting release. It is fascinating to hear these young drones, the different textures, timbres, and tones emanating from the wild. One can sense the exploration in these sounds and an attention to the environment, taking a lesson from Pauline Oliveros’ concept of ‘deep listening.’ It is a pleasure and a privilege to help produce this very special collection of drone noises.

– Josh Richardson

Album art by Sadie Phillips

Covid-19 Relief Fundraiser: There Was A Storm Last Night

Donate to the Centre Grey Health Service Covid-19 Relief fund in honour of Colleen Vandenberg by clicking here AND download the album “There Was A Storm Last Night: Sounds From The Macphail Music Program” from Bandcamp for FREE by clicking here .

From the album liner notes:

In 2016 Josh Richardson and Mudtown Records set up a live, off-the-floor recording at St. John’s United Church in Flesherton, Ontario. Over 100 Macphail Elementary School Music Program students joined by a handful of high school students from GHSS, staff and community members participated in a mad, magical, messy afternoon of one-take only captures of the ideas, the songs, the music presented here. The second track here “Duties Of A Lighthouse Keeper”, by the wonderful group Human Highway, was picked up by the national music magazine Exclaim! I’m not sure they have ever featured an elementary school ensemble before or since? Our Macphail Tigers Concert Band featured here as well went on to win a Platinum award at the prestigious Music Alive festival in York Region, receiving an invitation to play against the best elementary school bands in the country. Of course, this wonderful group went on to earn a GOLD medal at the Canadian Musicfest Nationals finals in Ottawa. This certainly represents one of the finest and most memorable years of my endlessly beautiful times at Mac Music.

Originally, the release of this album was meant to support a bursary/fund/scholarship for students of this tremendous campaign as they moved on to post-secondary studies. Given the dramatic turn of events in all of our lives, we would like to offer this recording as a fundraiser for the Centre-Grey Health Services COVID-19 Relief Fund. There is an important reason why and her name is COLLEEN VANDENBERG.

From the get-go, Colleen has been an unflinching and stalwart supporter of the Macphail Music program. She has been band manager and muse, nurse, chaperone, comforting force, and friendly face to HUNDREDS of Tiger musicians over the years. Words cannot my express my gratitude to this otherworldly superhero and front-line worker. How many times did she get off a night shift at the hospital just to sit on a school bus for hours on end and travel to some festival far away? ALWAYS bubbly. ALWAYS cheerful. ALWAYS THERE. In some ways, she is as responsible for the success of our award-winning, nationally-recognised, touring, travelling Tigers Concert Band as the kids involved or yours truly. This recording is TOTALLY dedicated to you, Colleen Vandenberg. Thank you. C

If you would like to make a donation to the Centre-Grey Health Services COVID-19 Relief Fund follow the link here. Be sure to direct your donation to said fund.

www.cghsfoundation.com/donation-form/

From Josh Richardson:

This was a very special project to be a part of. The students were so clearly engaged by Charles and his enthusiasm. What a captivating group of young people, listening carefully, and exercising their own creativity in such a beautiful way. I really hope that this can continue. Thank you to Charlie and all the students for involving me in the project. I was moved to tears by the performance. With much respect, Josh

Dibiki-Giizis by Chegahno & Richardson

This track was recorded in my sun room on June 29, 2007. Jake Chegahno heard a pre-mix just before he died in early 2017. It’s name is the Anishnabe word for moon, which literally translated means ‘dark sun.’ Jake was Anishnabe from Neyashiinigmiing (Cape Croker)and loved Gerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, so I thought it appropriate, being recorded in the sun room, and remembering the Dead’s song “Dark Star.” The photo is the ‘Chegahno’ illuminated musical glass, created by Patrick Dorfman for the Silent Film Ensemble and named for Jake. Chii Miigwech Jake.

– Josh Richardson, June 27th, 2018.

“…a gorgeous, soothing work.”

Exclaim! has called Josh Richardson’s latest ambient work “a gorgeous, soothing work.”  Read the review of the double EP “Book Ends” in full here.  Stream, or download the album here.

Richardson will perform a new ambient work entitled “Ataraxia” at the Georgian Shores United Church in Owen Sound on Wednesday, August 23rd at noon, as part of the Noon Hour concert series.  The event is free.

Listen to “Spheres” from the double EP “Book Ends” below.