Posted by: Steve Scherer | March 15, 2010

Geneseo Brazil Project – Monday afternoon.

You guys are in 7th period on Monday right now.

I read what I wrote last night.  It was so late and I was very tired.  You know, when you’re trying to do homework and you’re falling asleep while reading or writing?  You can see that in my last couple of paragraphs.  Sorry about that.  I have to sit in the hotel lobby for the slow wi fi signal, so when I snapped out of it, I just clicked to publish the post, and went up to bed.  I see now that I was in the middle of a sentence.

So I’ll pick up where I left off.  Today we played at the Dannenman Cultural Center.  It is located in a little town called Cochiera.  They have a local community band and a youth band.  In Brazil they talk about seven arts.  The arts are very important.  So they encourage their youth to be involved in the arts.  One well known family in this city is locally famous because the mother and father were both artists and all seven children became successful artists.  Musician, painter, poet, actor, sculpter, and so on.  In the way that holding property is a sign of success and power, this family of artists owns all of the property on both sides of one of the city streets.  All of the families live in these buildings.  The mother is now over 100 years old.

We set up to play at Dannenman.  The other band had not arrived yet, so we started the concert, even though they had been scheduled to do so.  After about 20 minutes or so their band arrived.  They were a youth band from the community.  There were twenty four musicians.  They walked from their starting point to the cultural center, which took them through their neighborhood, across a long bridge, and to the center.  No money for a bus.  So we got to the end of a song, and heard them playing in the street.  We listened as they entered.  This group is so important to their community that the president of the city was with them.  Our group vacated the stage and they took over.  They had good looking instruments, although it is difficult to determine their quality.  Their ages ranged from 12 to 45.  They had an all white shirt and pants uniform, with red striping on the shoulders, and red and blue down the pant leg.  They had music that they pulled out of their pockets, but I could tell by the sound of the band that most of the music is taught by rote, meaning that they show the students what to do and how to do it, rather than teaching fundamental skills of learning music using their own skills and knowledge.  They demonstrated solid skills, although with an unrefined sound with regard to tone quality, balance, blend, dynamics etc.  And take that without an attitude of judgement, as the adult community band was performing elsewhere, we did not hear their example of what these young musicians will eventually be able to do.

This is an interesting point.  The music is supported by the community, and there is a group of citizens responsible for supporting, funding and promoting.  These are not parents, they are the community.  There was an older gentleman who was the president of this Philharmonica Association.  Philharmonica means concert band, or symphonic band.  He very proudly spoke for the band.  They were very gracious and expressed their excitement and appreciation for us being there.

This is interesting.  For every song that they played, the drum major told the president what they were going to play, and he introduced it.  Now, when we select repertoire, we consider the band, strengths and weaknesses of the performers and sections, level of difficulty, contrast of styles, etc.  In Brazil the music is performed for it’s meaning.  That is to say, when the President introduced every piece, he explained what the title meant, and the reason the music was written.  What the music is to say to the listener.  He gave a heartfelt and emotional account of the story behind each piece, and when they played, the audience listened to the message that was being said by the music.  So they perform music to preserve the values that the music represents.  A comparison I think of is when the American slaves in the deep south created songs to tell their stories and preserve their history, so that later generations would learn from their toils and suffering.  They could not read or write so the songs were the only way to record their history.  This was the birth of the blues and gospel music for the world.  The band played one song in honor of the American band from Illinois, USA who was visiting their country.  They were very very proud of playing this American song in our honor, and all of the audience cheered this sentiment.  The song they chose was “My Way”, the crooner classic made famous by Frank Sinatra.  What do you think about that?  We smiled and applauded enthusiastically in appreciation.

The WIU portion of the concert started with Blue Shades.  Yeah.  It was Dr. Fansler’s way of sharing with the audience some of the music that was originally created in America – Jazz.  Then several other pieces of various styles.  At the end, we combined the two bands on stage and played National Emblem March.  This was a wonderful experience for both bands.  Please see the photos posted by Abby.

Now we’re off to a recording studio to do a professional recording that will be played on Brazilian radio, and will be featured on a future WIU CD release.  Here’s the exciting part.  Earlier I told you about the lead drummer of Orkestra Rumpelezz, who is the highest authority and most famous drummer in Brazil.  He will be recording with us tonight.  I am undescribably (?) excited about this.  There will be a couple of other celebrity Brazilian drummers with us as well, but I don’t know the details about them yet.  Hafta go now, time to leave for that session.  More later afterwards.




  1. i haven’t had alot of time to blog lately
    wow ages range from 12 to 45 thats cool.
    is there more than one band

  2. This is for yesterday March 15. didn’t have time to blog…my bad…the description of the Brazilian band that you gave us is very detailed and they sound really cool…it was cool that the ages ranged from 12-45!!!

  3. wow 100 years old is really old! Thats very interesting about the way they choose the pieces! !que interestante! that is very cool 😀

  4. It would be really cool to hear the band, it sounds like they have a unique sound and they put a lot of emphasis on music there. That’s also interesting that they picked a Frank Sinatra song!

  5. How did blue shades go? Sounds interesting to have a band that ranges from a 12 to 45 year old. I think it is great that they value art, it shows compassion and cultural aspects.

  6. Sounds like a great trip so far! Recording was probably a neat experience, a once in a life time opportunity. I enjoyed hearing about the bands, and how they range from ages 12 to 45…thats neat.

  7. man. everyone is writing these big responses!!!! and i know the feeling mr schere. i get it a lot. I really wanted to wish chad a happy birthday… but i went to the comment section and it was all his family. so i felt awkward. maybe say happy birthday for him from me if you get a chance. I don’t know him at all, and he probably doesn’t know me but he looks like a nice guy.

  8. I liked how in Brazil people love the arts and especially music. They encourage their children to do it and focus on the meaning of songs, not how hard they are to play.

    • My favorite part about your day was simply the description of the Brazilian band you played with; a very whimsical scene. From the age range, to their attire, to the music in the pockets.. really neat stuff. I can’t imagine the positive impact you guys had on the younger members of their community.

  9. It sounds like the organization of music is actually closer to the way sports are here in the U.S., cause it sounds like the community as a whole, not just the music community is involved.

    I can imagine it would be incredibly awesome to work with the foremost Brazilian percussionist, since you’re primarily a percussionist. Gives me the urge to go find some really famous/infamous viola music on Youtube…

  10. Its interesting that you get to record with a famous Brazilian drummer and that your recording is going to be broadcasted on the Brazilian radio.

  11. This goes with what I read about on your blog yesterday! I like when things have connections…but enough rambling. I think it’s so interesting that they play things for the meaning instead of the band’s abilities. It’s kinda like they’re assuming that the band will live up to what the song means in order to pass on the message…if that makes sense. Like I said yesterday about the different rhythyms having different meanings, this is all fascinating! Can’t wait to hear more!!! :]

  12. i was gonna say wat alex was gonna say

  13. get some of the drummers to teach you some crazy funky beats. ya ya! RS’s are played.

  14. That’s cool that you get to do a professional recording. I also found it interesting that in Brazil, music is played for its meaning. In the US, most people just listen to the music to hear it and don’t really think about the meaning.

  15. I can’t wait to hear how your recording session goes with that famous drummer! You should show him how we jam out un the good ole’ U.S. lol show off the chops. Wow so far so good eh?

  16. Sounds like you’re lucky, getting to record with that famous drummer! I also think it’s cool that you opened with Blue Shades, I love that song, and I bet the Brazilians enjoyed it too. I wonder what they thought about American jazz.

  17. I think it would be interesting to here a brazillian interpretation of an American song. Sounds interesting

  18. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun down there! It is really cool that the people in Brazil place so much importance on, not only music, but also other forms of art. I watched the video of the performance and I thought it was really neat how the two bands came together to perform a song together. Well, I can’t wait to hear more of your adventure!

  19. I like how they try to get their youth involved in the arts. I also thought is was cool that seven siblings all were all successful in the arts.

  20. That sounds freakin’ awesome! I’d like to hear some of their style of music compared to ours. Enjoy the recording.

  21. This sounds so fancy! You are recording and you get to see celebrities. It sounds awesome!

  22. I think it’s neat that they value the arts so much down there. And I liked how they explain the meaning behind each song before they play it. Sounds really cool.

  23. Wow i wish our community valued music that much. GENESEO FOOTBALL GET SOME!! Hope blue shades went well, enjoy your session 🙂

  24. this sounds amazing! I really enjoyed listening to blue shades last year. It would also be really cool to listen to a Brazilian interpretation of Frank Sinatra.

  25. I think it’s really cool that they pick the songs for the emotion and what they portray rather than the difficulty! I bet it was really moving to listen to them playing songs that they picked for the culture, and it sounded really sad how they couldn’t afford a bus and had to walk, yet they are so prestigious in Brazil.

  26. Its pretty cool that they introduce the music with its meanings and intentions. The joint performance was a great idea.

  27. I think its interesting that they select music for the meaning. I imagine that they would put a lot of heart and emotion into it that way. Im sure even if there were wrong notes it still sounded good because they cared about what they were playing. Also I things its interesting that they teach the rote music. Take care and have fun!

  28. It is interesting that they teach by rote instead of teaching the technical side of music. I enjoyed the video of the performance that Abby put up. I think that it was really cool that they played a Frank Sinatra song for you! They were probably looking forward to meeting you just as much as you were looking forward to meeting them. Have fun performing with the drummer!

  29. Awesome that they played Sinatra! Did they like Blue Shades? Also, what channel will they play your recording on? I wanna see if I can get Fernanda to listen in 🙂

  30. sooooo cool!!!!Well not the whole slow-internet-connection thing but like everything! I watched the video from the Dannenman Cultural Center performance and I felt bad that there were only 2 percussionist. And the snare drummer was sitting with the drum like on his lap. That would be insane!

  31. I appreciate that music played in Cochiera and across Brazil is played for its meaning. I wish it was regarded the same way up here sometimes. The descriptions of each song and the song itself sound like Maracatu and Capoeira (some traditional folk styles).

    Eu daria tudo para estar la agora mesmo………

  32. Wish i could have gone to Brazil. While i was in calculus, you got to perform for an audience and listen to another band play a Sinatra song.

  33. Wow. I think that’s really cool that they pick their songs by title rather than by difficulty. Think about if the people in our whole community cared that much about music and really understood it. Then maybe Geneseo wouldn’t care just about football and could appreciate other things in the school.

  34. thats pretty cool being with the most famous drummer in brazil

  35. It’s super cool that they use music to pass down their history. That really shows how music is so much more than just notes on a page. I heard one of the trumpets playing Blue Shades in the band room this morning and I was impressed. I don’t remember my part at all :S.

  36. that is a pretty wide age range for musicians. It would be cool to see 12 year olds that were better then 45 year olds…
    also, the gentleman who is the president of the Philharmonica Association seems pretty legit.

  37. You said this was a youth band you were playing with, but you also said that the age range was from 12-45. Do you mean that there’s another band that goes even older than that?

    The music in Brazil sounds like it’s quite meaningful, too.

    PS: Was Blue Shades played insanely fast like you said it would be?

  38. That’s mega exciting! You guys are going big time!! Let me know if there is perhaps a radio broadcast. I’d love to listen via Internet.
    How amazing is it that they played a Sinatra tune? That just goes to show you that if was good once, it should be forever. Amazing.

    Miss you back home. I’ve been checking frequently and I’m a huge fan of all the stories. Tell Allison I said hello and that I miss her a lot.

    Take care!

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