Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Launch of Yamaha Tyros3 arranger/keyboard on 9th December 2008

Mainline Musicworks hosted the launch of the exciting new flagship Yamaha Tyros3 arranger/keyboard on Tuesday 9th December 2008 at the Band Hall, Taharoto Road, Takapuna. DSCF0909Darren Smith from Musicworks HQ demonstrated this new flagship keyboard as well as the latest Yamaha Clavinova CVP-407. Everybody in attendance were amazed at the clarity and realism of the sounding that Darren demonstrated as he ran through a variety of music and genre.

DSCF0910 Darren mentioned that this was a revolutionary model rather than evolutionary as Yamaha has spent much energy on significant new features such as: 11 dsp (digital signal processor) chips to control the effects of individual accompaniment instruments in the rhythm styles and real time instruments that your play; 11 amazing new super articulation 2 voices with up to 400 samples per voice; top of the range and new sampled grand piano; artificial intelligence to monitor your playing and change the sound characteristics to suit your style of play; a guitar engine that sounds like a real guitar strum (expands your chord over two octaves like on a real guitar); built-in 80 Gigabyte hard drive; two USB 2.0 ports for memory sticks; USB host to computer; sliders to control precisely and in real-time the real time and style tracks; ability to install inside the keyboard additional sound cards to expand even further the sound banks; sharper and brighter TFT LCD screen; ad infinitum. Yamaha have, however, been careful to leave the layout of the Tyros 3 similar to previous models and so people switching over should feel very comfortable with the operation of the instrument.
After the concert, Darren was available to answer questions whilst people had the opportunity for a 'hands-on' play. There were plenty of admirers and plenty to admire!

Thank you Mainline Musicworks for putting this concert on for the Auckland keyboard enthusiasts and a special thanks to Alan Lavis, Manager of Mainline Musicworks, for organising the concert and of course to Darren Smith, from Musicworks HQ, for giving us this concert at a hectic time of the year for him.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Deryn Trainer Mini-Concert for Atwaters Keyboard Club

Deryn Trainer gave a great return mini-concert for the Atwaters Keyboard Club at Atwaters Musicworks, Hobson Street, Auckland City. DSCF0908 Deryn played a variety of popular music including songs from his recently released album "Deryn Trainer". DSCF0905 Deryn played a Yamaha Stage Piano CP33 and a Yamaha grand piano with equal aplomb. Some of the songs played included: "Fly Me To The Moon"; "Route 66"; "Leningrad" (one of Deryn's favourite songs from Billy Joel); "Misty" (this was a spontaneous request and Deryn's orchestrated arrangement was magnificent and off-the-fly!); Mark Knopfler's "Goin Home"; and by request, of course, Billy Joel's "Piano Man" replete with harmonica. DSCF0906 The concert continued for just over an hour and then Deryn spent about 10 minutes answering questions about his musical training and background which started at an early age with classical piano training. DSCF0907 Very interesting and what a great guy - good sense of humour and no 'edge'. Thank you very much Deryn and good luck from all your fans in your quest for recognition in Las Vegas.

A big thank you to Murray Hancox of Atwaters also for arranging this concert as a Christmas special.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Club Night 2nd December 2008

What a great way to complete our 2008 music programme. Our last Club Night of the year seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed by the substantial audience. IMG_0251 But with the wonderful playing skills and extensive repertoire of professional musician, John Bercich, as our guest artist what would you expect!

Photo of John courtesy of Club Secretary, Colleen Kerr

Mind you the evening did not get off to a good start with the President having his car smacked on the way to the meeting! However, things soon picked-up when Ngaire Lonergan set-up her lovely Technics sx-KN2600 keyboard to do the arrival music for us.DSCF0884 Ngaire's enthusiasm was manifested in getting started at 6.50pm and playing non-stop until the formal programme commenced at 7.30pm! Ngaire played a selection of Christmas songs in her usual very smooth style. Thanks Ngaire for getting the evening off to a great start. It is good to have you back playing at the Club again.

Next up to 'cut-the-ice' was Club President, Gordon Sutherland, who had brought his Korg Pa1X arranger/keyboard. What else to start the evening off with but "White Christmas" that had been pre-recorded with a vocal track and then played over live. IMG_0249 Gordon admitted, sheepishly, that the voice was his, but only made this acknowledgement after positive comments! After the bangs and crashes with the car, it was ironic that the next piece had lots of bangs and crashes in the style for Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire".

Photo of Gordon courtesy of Club Secretary, Colleen Kerr

Barbara McNab then chose the Clavinova to play a couple of lively songs in the genre of ballads/Country and Western. DSCF0878 Very smooth Barbara and she doesn't even have a Yamaha Clavinova - well done!

Peter Littlejohn then played the Technics GA3 organ with some great arrangements of Abba songs including "Honey, Honey" and "Money Money Money". DSCF0879 Very nice Peter, and wait until you get to grips with your newly acquired Technics GA3 - something for us to look forward to.

Ken Mahy then played the GA3 for us but not until he had got us rolling-in the aisles with laughter with his proverbial Irishman/Englishman joke. DSCF0880 Ken said he was really pleased to be asked to play the Christmas Night meeting as he had never had this opportunity in the last four years of so. Well Ken, it was worth waiting for as he played some seasonal Christmas hymns very smoothly. Well done Ken - very enjoyable.

To finish the first half, Colleen Kerr, our Club Secretary, played two semi-classical pieces: "Autumn Concerto" and the very difficult but classic "Rhapsody in Blue" by Leonard Bernstein. DSCF0881 Colleen has been working on "Rhapsody in Blue" for about six months and we were enthralled with this gorgeous piece of music. Colleen reckons there were a few hesitations in there but the audience didn't notice and just enjoyed the wonderful music. Thank you so much Colleen, especially as the writer knows how much effort went into perfecting these pieces for us.

Unusual for the our Club, we had five minutes to spare before supper and so the Gordon Sutherland, played a third piece on his Korg: "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square" complete with Church bells and the inimitable 'birdie sounds'. Gordon assured us that the birdie sounds were genuine samples of Nightingales - fortunately for him we had no ornithologists present to challenge this assertion!

Next it was time to head downstairs to the dining room where Phyl and Jack Briscoe and many willing helpers had set up a nice cup of tea or coffee for us replete with seasonal fruit mince tarts. Very nice Phyl/Jack - as they say an army marches on it's stomach and so we were then ready to absorb the wonderful music of our guest artist, John Bercich.

John had brought his Korg Pa1X arranger/keyboard together with his magical Trixon Vibraphone (the last one that came out of the German factory about 40 odd years ago according to John). DSCF0885 To add to the fun atmosphere to finish the year, John also brought his multi-coloured light show which really added mood to the evening when the lights were dimmed and with the backdrop out of the windows behind John - the sight of the Takapuna business district lights - added a surrealistic feel to the performance. John treated us for about 55 minutes of popular music across many genres and over a 70 year range of composition. Such versatility, such consummate skill - wonderful to listen to and watch John's dexterity on the keyboard and the Vibraphone. John told us that the Vibraphone is a very difficult instrument to master and is probably the most exclusive instrument in an orchestra. John even played a few requests, one was "Moonglow", for which John used a pre-recorded backing track on his Korg that he happened to have recorded himself previously and that was in his Songbook database, and to which he then played the Vibraphone to the backing - superb. Also, a favourite of the President, Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" was requested and played on the keyboard. This is probably one the best arrangements of this song that the writer has ever heard and is on one of John's two professionally produced CD's that were for sale on the evening at a very reasonable $20 each. John brought a couple of his talented mature students with him, Jan and Yvonne, and it was wonderful to listen to John on the Vibraphone duet with Jan on his Korg Pa1X. Well done Jan, you get better each time I hear you play - but then you have a master to teach you the tricks of playing a keyboard correctly. DSCF0887

To cap the performance off, John must have enjoyed the evening, our warm response to his great music (built-up over 50 years of professional playing), prompted John to decide he wanted to join our Club there and then. There were no objections! Thank you so much John for coming along and playing for your friends and enthusiasts here on the North Shore and at a very busy time of the year for your musical engagements.

To finish the evening, we held the Christmas Hamper Raffle. Thanks to the magnanimous generosity of our members donations, we managed to fill six buckets full of food and drink goodies. DSCF0892 Our former President, George Watt and his wife Jean Watt had been working hard to prepare the packages over the last couple of months, so a big thank you for a job well done! Congratulations to the winners and remember to start the slimming exercises straight away to burn off those tempting calories!

A special thank you goes to member Trevor Waddel, whose engineering background was put to good use, as he magnanimously volunteered to make a set of wheels to place under our Clavinova piano and so that it is now a breeze to slide around the Club Rooms on the plush carpet. Whilst thanking support staff a big thank you to our tireless treasurer, Jim Nicholson, for keeping us on the straight and narrow and to our Club Secretary for all the secretarial work done in the year and all the 'behind-the-scenes' PR support - not to mention the muscle power to rearrange the furniture in the Club Rooms before the start of each meeting! Thanks also to Committee Member, Ken Mahy, for all the words of advice over the year.

The North Shore Amateur Organ and Keyboard Club wishes all our members and families and 'regular' visitors a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. See you all next year for some more exiting musical happenings.