Symphony Opens Season With a Nod to Hispanic Composers and Performers

Central Ohio Symphony Opens 37th Season In Delaware

Central Ohio Symphony Preforming at Grey Chapel

The Central Ohio Symphony taking a bow

When the Central Ohio Symphony launches its 37th season at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, it will fill the auditorium at Gray Chapel with the sound of Brahms and works by three Latino/Hispanic composers. 

The season debut concert will feature a world premiere of Recuerdos by Ohio composer Sonia Morales-Matos, along with Danzon #2 by Arturo Márquez and Huapango by José Pablo Mancayo.  The orchestra will also showcase two members of the internationally renown Dalí Quartet, violinist Simón Gollo and cellist Jesús Morales, performing the Double Concerto in A Minor by Johannes Brahms. This will be the third concert featuring the cellist Morales, brother of composer Sonia Morales-Matos and Music Director Jaimes Morales-Matos, who will begin his 13th season with the Symphony. 

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The Covert Psychological Weapon Inside High School Sports

Hey, remember that time?

We went to your high school’s basketball game together as old buddies and, even though it was a sleeper of a matchup, we decided to go. We hardly had a chance to get together and were looking for something to do. I remember the atmosphere of that game as we walked into your stoic yet historic high school gym. In its glory days, it had to be something beautiful, but it still  had a weird romantic sense draped over it like a fine, invisible coating of primer on the roughly whitewashed walls. I think you were wearing your letter jacket, trying to look pretty as the senior girls were looking on from the ever-nearing student section. We stepped down those little steps entering the room, beholding the barbaric matchup between us as we rehashed an old-yet-timeless joke in small conversation and paid for admission. You have to remember hearing the sharp screech of the players making sharp turns on the floor in pursuit of the bouncing, thump-producing basketball. If you close your eyes, you could probably see the ball swishing through the net as we looked for a smart angle to dart to the bleachers, which were across the floor from where we entered.

It was a packed house, we realized, as we neared the stands. Everyone was sitting down, having a grand social time. I mean, as if these people didn’t see each other enough, we entered into a sea full of chatter as I sat beside some of your friends in the student section. Conversations ranged widely and sporadically – “Where should we eat afterwards?”… and… “That test was so hard today!” were a few of the expressions I caught as I met some of your friends. We talked it up! What a fun time that was.

Wait… Who ended up winning the game?

Maybe that’s why you don’t remember that game… because it was never really about the game in the first place. I think we may have been inadvertently conspiring in a growing epidemic among American teenagers. I mean, are high school sporting events really just social events?

One may think of the players playing and the gyms housing the competition. Does playing in a team’s “home” gym aid their state of mind as opposed to visiting an opposing school?

A skeptic may point to the simplicity of sports which presents itself regardless of circumstances — Two teams, one victor. The beautiful thing about sports remains, though, in the fact that high school sports most certainly double as an entertainment form for various onlookers, fans, parents, and friends sitting on the bleachers. Since players and spectators are all of the same glorious species, support or rejection from these spectators should vastly affect a team’s mindset, an element seen time and time again in every level of sports. Logically, this type of audial and visual influence would undoubtedly affect the quality of play by the team in the crosshairs, an element that would directly affect the game’s outcome.

So, following this logic, why didn’t you and I take up the gauntlet for our stake of the game? In our fallen world, both you and I attended a game where we didn’t even know who was playing, let alone who won. The hypothetical, aforementioned gym we were both in was dead enough to allow cob webs to form on the ceiling.

Something deadly to the game exploded in a deafening case of demure yet extravagant chatter, like little cockroaches scattering through a ruin that was recently eradicated of all human life.

Everyone should remember the sound of a crowd roaring as the iconic Alan Parsons Project tune “Sirius” blasted over speakers as the hearty, memorable announcer proclaimed the names of the Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup, creating an atmosphere of true fire and wrapping up the festivity with the introduction of Mr. Michael Jordan. Those fans were keyed in, screaming their loudest as the lights were dimmed. Of course, those people paid a lot more cash to get into those games, and the Chicago Bulls had some spotlights and a video board, but something tells me that the game of basketball played at its purest does not just keep people ecstatic. Those games were true experiences.

At Delaware Christian, the high school which this writer attends, our gym is relative to the size of our school – small. Big enough to sit around 225-250 people or so  at its fullest, it has two speakers hoisted from the ceiling facing the bleachers, controlled by a mobile system that almost resembles a DJ stand that plugs into a rather aged connection in the wall leading to the speakers. The mobile control panel opens up to reveal a soundboard with standard microphone and sound inputs – the usual. Sometimes, while playing music or speaking too loud, the system will cut out for some odd reason, signaling maybe a short in the connection. With the connection shorting at weird and, usually, the worst times, the operator must finagle the connection directly or adjust the level of bass or treble through the equalizer on the sound board to try to eliminate the problem. I have used this system regularly over the last three years to announce sports games in our school, and from every aspect, we need to just air out the obvious: We are not the old-time Chicago Bulls.


PHOTO CREDIT ~ Delaware Christian Athletics Facebook

Though, without arrogance, I would confidently and unabashedly say that Delaware Christian’s game experience and production are second to few.

1779037_785573718124825_1482184392_nWait, before you scoff at me and hit the dreaded red “X” in the top right corner or this page, consider this: state-of-the-art audio technology doesn’t guarantee state-of-the-art psychology, and average audio technology doesn’t guarantee average psychology.

That is all that this is, right? Psychology at its purest – How do you create a slight home-court advantage for your team,  trigger the emotions of the spectators, and hide those two goals all at the same time to make for a fun, memorable overall experience?

That’s what the Chicago Bulls had right back in the day. They had it all – the right music, the right announcer, the right colors on the spotlights, the right timing, the right players, which made for the right fans. They had everything state-of-the-art and delivered on that standard. The Bulls won multiple championships during that era.

What if, though, the psychology behind high school sports could be innovative in a different ways?


What if…

…the role of an announcer was taken seriously?

I contend, from experience, that no better asset can be held by a high school sports announcer than pure “passion”. That may be the psychology inside the psychology – One cannot sell a product to someone else without believing in it himself. Experience will come, decision making speed will come, and general fluidity and comfort-ability will come as with anything worked on in life. I contend that an announcer would be one step ahead of the game to truly treat his job like a “job” and work to be the best at it.

…preparation was next to perfection?

With passion comes thought, and with thought comes preparation. Unlike any other job, a sports announcer can manipulate the circumstances to fit his needs best, with the main goal of producing a great performance. With passion should come the need for preparation, a step which will grow an announcer the most. Personally, I prefer to prepare for games by preparing my music the night before. Over about six years of announcing, I have built up a rather large personal music library as cheaply as I have been able to, nabbing deals that pop up regularly on internet stores such as ITunes and Google Play. From that library, I pick out about fifty songs out of my library to put in a playlist that will fit the coming game as much as possible. If the opponent is Tree of Life Christian School, for example, one of the songs I pick may be Trees by Twenty One Pilots, a song that can be explicitly used within context for that matchup. I try to pick a playlist that will not only keep the audience tuned into the game and the players pumped up, but that could tell a story, an element that I try to implant into games to leave people thinking about lyrics or tunes in songs after the night is over. Going to a Christian school, I have the privilege of making some of those lyrics reflective of my faith, for example, to make people think, within the context of the game, differently then they would without music and announcing.


Shure 55SH Series 2 Microphone – Shure Stock Photo


Google Nexus 7

One could also be preparative in other ways, such as purchasing personal equipment to ensure maximum performance on the announcer’s end. Personally, I bring three things along with me to every game I announce: my Shure 55SH Series 2 microphone, a Google Nexus 7 tablet (for music), and a cord to connect that to the sound system. These instruments have served me beautifully in aiding the effort to produce a good performance on the production end.

Most importantly, though, preparation is most key in word pronunciation and preparation for speaking as an announcer. At Delaware Christian, I play the in-game role of both announcer and DJ/Music Guy most of the time, so this sometimes gets overlooked, but credibility can’t be ruined faster than from a mispronounced name. An announcer needs to be sensitive to name pronunciations!

Overall, the reason for preparation is not self-centered in the least bit, but, rather, to do one’s best to give the home team a little mental advantage and for the onlookers to think and have fun all at the same time.

…game production was a team sport?

It is rather unfair the credit the announcer can get comparable to everything going on behind the scenes of a good operation. Most of the time, the announcer purely serves as a pretty cover for rather jumbled numbers behind the scenes. The people that work towards a better game experience by keeping score, gathering lineups, keeping track of little stats and details, setting up the technical equipment beforehand, and suggesting new material and music for the game are the people who deserve to be in the spotlight. Just as no one person has ever won anything in a team sport, an announcer who tries to do it all will fail miserably (I know from experience!). When a team comes in who knows what they are doing, that plays their designed positions to the best of their ability off of the floor, it frees up (notably) announcer to try new things and make the game on the hardwood more enjoyable for everyone looking on and participating.


These what ifs have become Delaware Christian’s why nots. I believe we are a step ahead of the game. Though we will never be perfect, as no one can, we can work to help our organization’s face and performance in the subtle, yet extravagant ways. We put these and more into practice each game and are constantly looking for different ways to aid the spectator’s feelings and mindset about the game at hand, which, in turn, extremely affects the mindset of the players and, therefore, the overall quality of the experience.

You will remember the next game we go to, my friend.


ALBUM REVIEW ~ Phillip Phillips’ “Behind the Light”


How many ways can a musician make a unique name for his/herself in the music industry? The exact answer is not above debate by any means, but for American Idol winners, the number of possibilities goes substantially down due to the mold that the show makes the winner into.

Many have distanced themselves from the show and have moved up from the “grandfathered” status of the music industry by being one of the best in their genre. Kelly Clarkson, winner of season one, has dominated the pop industry and has taken a stake out of it for many years, as has Carrie Underwood to a larger degree in the country music industry. Underwood’s net worth rose above $70 million in 2013, making her one of the richest persons in the industry. Those two musicians have undeniably made their name and music relevant by dominating within their respective genre.

Though, can a person make music in modern society that doesn’t fit the bill of any normal genre and be successful? That’s what season eleven winner Phillip Phillips might look to accomplish in his new LP “Behind the Light”, which was released Monday, May 19th. Featuring a plethora of musical notions and high reaching precedents within the album, each track showcases what may be truly something musically, lyrically, and meaningfully unique from the often-stale music industry.



Cover Art ~ “Behind The Light”

SEARCHLIGHTThis album opener creates an issue to be resolved even before Phillip Phillips opens his mouth. The first struck note has a distinctive, unresolved tone that sets up for a introspective track. With a rather heavy, folk-y beat and a straightforward 4 beats per measure, Phillips puts his bold foot forward musically, and follows the same notion lyrically.

Pleading for a person that has left him to return again, Phillips explains how he is lost and alone (“Lost again / In this night / The sun just leads me into shadows”) and that this person is the only thing that can “bring him back to life”.  Like a baseball pitcher, Phillips lunges toward his destination with his first motion and leaves intrigue as to how the momentum will be resolved throughout the rest of the album.

          What’s left unsaid, say it loud / There’s a fire in me / That’s still burning
RAGING FIREEven though it is the lead single, “Raging Fire” nestles in comfortably with the musical storyline started by “Searchlight”. Apparently, Phillips finds and reunites with the person described in “Searchlight”, as he reiterates that there is the littlest spark inside of him (“There’s a fire in me / That’s still burning”) and boldly proclaims directly to the recipient that, with this person’s help, it has the potential to become something as uncontrollable and magical as a “raging fire”. This message is convincingly conveyed and further materialized by means of a full orchestra blasting a heavy triplet-grouped tune in support of Phillips’ vocal. Though, the best work in “Raging Fire” may be hidden in the soft sections of the tune, where subtle yet evident and strategic placement of guitars, percussion, and synthesized sound effects underline the haunting picture of the little spark that remains evident after “Searchlight”. At the percussion-driven final chorus, Phillips begins the process of opening the door of his heart that would reveal the spark inside of him.
You know how to give and how to take / You see every hope I locked away / 
So pull me close and surrender to my heart
TRIGGERBacking away substantially from the taste left from “Raging Fire”, “Trigger” is plagued be a solemn guitar riff with a synthesizer playing softly overhead, creating the mental picture of a hypothetical wasteland. “But you stopped me and said / Please just leave me be / I feel as though no one knows what goes on inside of me’“. Told through the perspective of Phillips, this song delves into the mental warfare of a person close to him. Feeling the need to intervene after solemnly realizing that he might be the only one that can prevent this person from “pulling the trigger” and shutting out the world completely, Phillips tries as best he can to reach out to his friend. When this person ends up shutting him out (“Please just leave me be. / I feel as though no one knows what goes on inside of me“), Phillips wonders if he, himself was the one that inadvertently “pulled the trigger” and executed this person’s breakdown.
Inside your hand it holds the question to it all / I start to pull the trigger, I start to pull the trigger
LEAD ONUnusually for Phillips, “Lead On” begins with a pop-like piano beat to begin the track. Some critics argue that he strays away from his roots with this oddity, as he is known for his folky-er mantra. Though, to the contrary, Phillips may have planned for that musical twist to be in his back pocket from the beginning. In the tune, Phillips talks to a girl that he is romantically attached to and is hypnotized by her elegant swagger. It seems to Phillips as though the closer he gets to her, the more she changes him, which haunts and scares him. He then rejects the notions from his conscience that he is going down a dark, winding path to selling his soul and willingly encourages the girl to “lead on”, and reassures her that “he’ll follow”. The climatic moment in “Lead On” is when Phillips makes the ultimate decision to follow his love interest (2:44 in the track) backed up by a light, unresolved chord in the background: “I’ll follow you into the night / Let’s get lost until it’s light”.
And I’ll follow wherever you go / Right down that rabbit hole / Then everything gets dark / And I feel pulled apart

Photo Credit ~

ALIVE AGAINRight off the bat the listener is treated to the lyric from which the album title is derived (“I see myself again / Behind the light I flicker“). This humble beginning chugs forward en route to becoming a turning point on the record. Despite of the woes expressed just recently, Phillips’ attitude buds through the avenues of the music and lyrics because of a person that has genuinely “made him feel alive again”. This may just be the results of the experiment proposed in “Raging Fire”, as the spark within him monumentally buds within the track through the musical arrangement. A soaring, powerful anthem, Phillips “throws out what makes him thin” even though “it lingers” inside of him still. Consequently, the track has a majestic-yet-restrained, stereotypical feel through the unusually smooth vocal from Phillips and the musical arrangement that resembles a power-pop ballad. Though, the notion that anything plaguing hides deep inside of him seems to be rejected as light sounds and intrinsic musical features (charicteristic of Phillips’ arrangements) hang prettily overhead his vocals like a starry night, and a powerful orchestral accompaniment below straps onto Phillip’s back like a jet pack to blast him into an uncertain future.

            Throw out what makes me thin / But the harder I try, it lingers
OPEN YOUR EYES – “I see who you are but don’t believe / You show a side you claim to be”. In this intimate yet powerful tune, Phillips encourages someone to stop their introverted, worried ways, because they both have only a limited time to be themselves (“For the moments we have in this life they will end”). He sings with the message that conformation to an outside source will dilute a person’s true being and put a restraint on what they can do and how they will think. Unlike the previous songs in the track, Phillips’ voice far overpowers the orchestra’s backing, which is a reflection of the bold message in the song. The orchestra is subtly heard in a beautiful undertone that facilitates the potential mental picture of flowers blooming. In the context of the album, it would make sense in the context of the album if “Open Your Eyes” was really meant to be just a memo for Phillips himself.
             It’s not too late to let it show / Cause it’s all yours
FOOL FOR YOU – Opening up with a orchestral beat resembling a pop ballad worthy of being played in shopping malls, this stereotypical sound is underlined by the classic Phillip Phillips’ orchestration of acoustic guitar and heavy percussion. “Everyday I wake up and I’m twisted in a dream / In between who I am and the things I want to be”.  He seems to musically toil with the fact that maybe he is softer and more vulnerable to conformation than he might’ve thought before. The song talks about a letter that Phillips’ romantic interest left for him to read. With the flowery language and the pleading message of love in the note, Phillips has his head in the clouds lyrically (while reading the letter) and musically, as shown in the disappearing act that the base and percussion perform during the first and the second choruses along with Phillips compassionate and excited vocal. Whether the message has depth or not, it influences Phillips, and he is obviously inclined to consider his love’s offer to “just hold on”.
            Everyday I wake up and I’m twisted in a dream / In between who I am and the things I want to be 

Photo Credit ~

THICKET – Beginning with a haunting and suspenseful array of fast moving violin melodies and many other wide-ranging sound effects, “Thicket” may resemble a dark Muse record to the avid listener. Though, Phillips puts his stamp on the arrangement at times including immediately after the first chorus, when all the instruments cut out to lead immediately into a spine-tingling acoustic guitar riff. Like the music, the lyrics intensify the almost-angry façade of the tune. A love interest slammed the door on a relationship between her and Phillips, and, after “giving her everything”, Phillips is confused as to why his love interest didn’t open her heart up to him as he did for her (I grabbed for your hand but you took it back / Trying hard not to let feelings show). As a result of the break up, Phillips is hurt and rather angry. As he opened his heart up for his love interest to see, she closed up hers and fired emotional bullets at the unarmed target. Nothing in the relationship was real, Phillips feels (Our love was just a dream, just a dream / With all my heart I gave you everything, everything), because he never really knew who his love interest really was. In the end, Phillips rather rationalizes the situation and realizes that the relationship itself was the real “thicket” (I felt I was the one to help pull you through / And I know, I know it’s alright / I found a way out, I found a way out). I would’ve personally appreciated a grittier vocal, similar to the one from “Trigger”, from Phillips for this occasion, but the instrumental majesties might just cover this up enough for it not to break the integrity of the track.
Is that all that’s there through the thicket of the leaves? / Yes, yes now you see / The bird flying out why don’t you jump and see where he leads
FLYPhillips reveals his inner struggle with self-identity with the second single off of the record. Wait. Let me clarify – I use the word “reveal” as a blanket term. Phillips doesn’t pen his words of struggle to a song like participation in a self-help support group. Rather, he blasts his soul onto the track’s substance to create an array of compelling colors to represent a rather inspirational fight against himself. Phillips finds it difficult to express himself in his own way (“I feel it’s hard to say what’s on my mind”), and that struggle propels him to fight against the realization that fitting oneself into the mold of society dilutes any personal motivation or conviction (“You think your fight is over / it’s only so much closer”). Backed up by an overpowering and convicting rock-band style accompaniment (which greatly differs from the orchestra that dominates the rest of the record), Phillips delivers a transparent vocal that shows his personal conviction within the issue.
Two-thousand faces here but I don’t mind / Am I the only one with a reason behind?
UNPACK YOUR HEART – A vast contrast from “Fly”, “Unpack Your Heart” starts intimately to the tune of a single acoustic guitar playing a pleasant, soft riff. Phillips starts with an encouraging message of trust and reassurance to a new love interest. Coming off of the breakup described in “Thicket”, Phillips now has a new knowledge and wisdom concerning relationships. In this way, this message to “Bring your secrets / bring your scars” serves as fine print to his new interest. He knows that secrets and masks in a relationship will, one way or another, make their way to a forefront. So, consequently, this is a more calloused, fear-ridden message than a bystander might catch. The accompanying arrangement is one of bravery and ambition, laced with high-flying strings and punchy bass. The “ba-da-da’s” at the end by Phillips seem a little much, but contribute to the fearful aspect of the track fittingly.
Oh, I’m on your side / She’d your shadow and watch it rise
FACE – “I know it’s all there / Why won’t you open up and let me in”. In this swanky, Western sounding tune, Phillip pleads with a love interest, presumably the one from “Unpack Your Heart”, to search deeper for the things inside of her heart that would make her and Phillips the perfect match. The only problem is that Phillips is the only one that sees these things (“I found what you need / Come on and give me what I want, a taste of you and me”). In the process of searching and looking deep into her heart, Phillip accidently opens the door to his, and it breaks as it “falls onto the floor” (“Cause you saw my heart / And you saw how much it broke”). Once that happens, Phillips has the attitude of “fool me twice, shame on me”, “brushes his heart off” and “walks out the door”, which one could picture as a dusty saloon door from the old Wild West with the way Phillips organized the airy, twangy instrumental orchestration. He also showcases a softer, more vulnerable and fragile side of himself with his use of his rarely-heard falsetto in the chorus. One of my favorite tracks on the record, Phillips provides an accidently-intimate moment for the listener, who chillingly gets a look of the darker features “behind the light” of Phillip Phillips.
I‘ll take it out of your head / I’ll take it out of your thoughts / give you a reason to stay / Give you a reason to not
MIDNIGHT SUN – The clincher to “Behind The Light” starts of with the bang of a full orchestral sounding string section playing an upbeat, optimistic tune slightly resembling that of an Imagine Dragons record. A grandiloquent realization of his past experiences, Phillips realizes that his “window that he cannot clean” is a part of him that should not be changed but, rather, should be embraced. “Oh my friend / Look how time has changed / the cracks in our skin”. Phillips comes to the realization that light and joy have real depth that only come by variations of building blocks of many different colors. Some are dark, some are mystical, and some are bright and showcase-worthy, but all of them form Phillips into who he is. Even though Phillips strives to be unique and individual with his being, he realizes that moments and experiences in life help enhance who he is, and he shows that through the shifting transformation of his music in this record. He encourages someone to “chase the midnight sun”, and to go after and cling to the things in life which are unknown and scary.
Look how time has changed / the cracks in our skin

Photo Credit ~

Some critical reviews of this album cite Phillips’ first LP (“The World from the Side of the Moon”) and “Behind the Light” and poke at the obvious differences of style and execution between the two projects. Ignorantly, they point to some Phillips quotes and past acts to make the latter album out to be a disappointment. Evidently, these people did not regard the lyrics and the messages of the record upon writing their reviews. It is not a perfect record — It usually makes me very weary to see so many power-ballad (per say) dominated songs dilute an album’s overhanging message and meaning. Though, Phillips manages this potential problem as beautifully as he can, making all the songs sound completely unique and putting an appropriate purpose to each sound made, from little to loud. Even though I would love one more intimate track on the record like the ones experienced on “World from the Side of the Moon”, “Behind the Light” proves to be a real statement and step forward for Phillips, who boldly proves that you don’t have to reside within the confines of a certain genre to express yourself through music. Maybe that is what’s ultimately “behind the light”.
The ‘Deluxe Version’ of the album comes with three additional songs: the heartfelt “My Boy”, edgy “Don’t Trust Me”, and honest “Armless Crawler”.

Favorite Track(s) – Trigger, Unpack Your Heart, Face
Least Favorite Track – Fool For You (a VERY hard choice!)
One Word Description – Blossoming

Final Album Grade ~ A- 
Excellent Musicianship, musical variety and innovation, fantastic lyrical expression, and thought-provoking storytelling through the entire record blast “Behind The Light” up to an A, but a few questionably delivered vocals and just a little imbalance on the powerful instrumental orchestrations flaw it just a little for a high A- grade.

Central Ohio Symphony Jazzes Things Up


For many, seeing the symphony is like going to church — there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to go, but the crowds really show up on Christmas and Easter. Christmas concerts promise carols, hymns and other well-known pieces because that is what people are dying to hear this time of year. I, for one, am the girl who turns on the 24/7 Christmas radio station on November 29 and keeps it going through early January, because the 25th is just too soon to cut everything off so abruptly. So you can imagine my delight when I attended the Central Ohio Symphony‘s Holiday Concert this past Sunday at Gray Chapel on Ohio Wesleyan University’s campus.

Maestro Jaime Morales-Matos assembled a program with a range of traditional to funky pieces and everywhere in between. The concert also featured two guest artists, vocalist Dwight Lenox and pianist Bradley Sowash. The opening piece was a beautifully arranged compilation of “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” The entire piece, titled “Christmas Memories” invoked a number of emotions within it — one minute you’re feeling a bit whimsy with a classic and then you get an attack of jazz and big band roots.


Another compilation piece, titled “A Christmas Festival,” by Leroy Anderson added eight more traditional carols to the rest that the COS had already performed. “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Silent Night” (in addition to an earlier “Silent Night” sing-along), “Jingle Bells,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which introduced a booming chord on the beautiful (newly re-dedicated) organ that brought down the house. I swear I felt that final chord from my toes to the tips of my hair. It was phenomenal.

“The Blue Danube” or “An der schönen blauen Donau” was an exquisite feature of the symphony. With the flowing rhythms and tempos it was easy to start to imagine yourself traveling along the Danube river through Vienna, Austria.


Mr. Lenox’s vocals were a true treat to the ears. He brought a smooth soul and sweet jazz to his premiered new arrangements of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” A new song that you may hear this holiday season also debuted on Sunday called “Bending Toward the Light” performed by Mr. Lenox and arranged by Alan Klinect.


The “Radestzky March” had the audience clapping along, “The Christmas Song” could’ve soothed a crying baby, and “March of the Toys” sent my mind back to Disney’s 1961 “Babes in Toyland” with Annette Funicello (if you haven’t seen it, you’ve got to check it out – the Library has a copy available). However, none of those could have prepared me for the genius that is Bradley Sowash and his jazz-inspired compositions and arrangements. Mr. Sowash premiered an arrangement of “Patapan” that sounded like it was taken down to the French Quarter of N’awlins. It shook the house, it was gritty, and it offered a great feature of the brass section and drums. The ending was so strong that an audience member could not contain himself and exclaimed “Hey, now!” in approval before applause erupted.


“Advent from the Spirit of Christmas 2” was another original Bradley Sowash piece that was performed and kept the same jazz/pop roots of the others as a variation on “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The final Sowash piece was just some good, old-fashioned fun. If Jimmy Buffet and Dixieland had a baby, it would be Mr. Sowash’s arrangement of “What Child is This?” The orchestra began with the simple main theme with some chromatic undertones, then broke off into a bass riff, drums and Mr. Sowash on piano with a Havana/tropical-inspired section that culminated in one giant jazz explosion.

The concert was unique, entertaining, magical, and everything that a Holiday Concert should be. I hope you are able to enjoy their next performance, Sunday, March 23 of one of the most immortal pieces in music, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.


Delaware Community Chorus Strikes a Chord

Delaware Community Chorus

If you went to see a performance of the Delaware Community Chorus (DCC) just five years ago you would have seen a group of less than a dozen members — ten to be exact. However, with the help of a new Artistic Director, Daniel Hursey, the group has now quadrupled its size and continues to welcome new members. Current members say the growth is directly attributed to Hursey. “Because he’s a great musician and knows how to push us musically, people end up seeking him out and wanting to join,” said one vocalist.

This is Hursey’s triumphant return to Delaware, a place he calls home, after teaching elementary music for 30 years in Connecticut and then spending some time in Tuscon, Arizona with the Tuscon Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Delaware Community Chorus

I had the pleasure of sitting in on the 41-member chorus rehearsal earlier this week and listening to them prepare music for their busy holiday season. The group exhibited amazing amounts of control as they flew through the octaves, yet kept their dynamics hushed and the rhythms driving.

The music you’ll hear from the chorus this holiday season consists largely of religious baroque pieces, full of opportunity for a Capella singing, cadences and notes that soar as high as the sky and sink low into the basement. It’s a rich, classical style of music and pairs nicely with a minimal accompaniment. The December 22 Christmas Concert, titled “Awe and Wonder,” will feature local musicians from the Central Ohio Symphony on strings, oboe and trumpet.

Delaware Community Chorus

The “Awe and Wonder” concert is truly the highlight of the season for the chorus. With performances on Sunday, December 22 at 3 PM and 5 PM, it still is known to sell out. The concert takes place at St. Peter’s Church (located at 45 West Winter Street in Delaware) and tickets can be purchased for $10 a piece online at or from a chorus member. It will include such pieces as the beautiful benediction The Lord Bless You and Keep You (Lutkin), Carols from Australia (Wheeler, James), Christ the Lord is Risen! Alleluia! (Roman), and Vivaldi’s Gloria. The performance of the Gloria will be worth the price of admission alone. It is one of my favorites and brings out the best in all the instruments featured, vocal and non-vocal.

However, the Delaware Community Chorus isn’t just preparing for their concert on the 22nd, they have half a dozen other performances on the books before that. Just last weekend their season kicked off at the Delaware Area Handbell Festival in Gray Chapel. It continues with the Hospice Tree Lighting at Grady Memorial Hospital on Sunday, December 1; caroling throughout downtown Delaware during Main Street Delaware’s First Friday celebration on Friday, December 6 from 6 – 9 PM; four quartets singing at the Andrews House Christmas Cupboard from 9 AM – 3 PM on Saturday, December 7; and a performance at the Council for Older Adults Annual Luncheon on Wednesday, December 18 from 12 – 1:30 PM.

Delaware Community Chorus Director Hursey

The chorus accepts new members through an informal audition and will be welcoming new bodies for their spring performance season. Join them in January to start rehearsals. They’re already planning a May 4th concert titled “Love is in the Air.” If you are a vocalist looking to join a group with seasonal commitments, consider the Delaware Community Chorus, it will be fulfilling in more ways than one. At one point during this week’s rehearsal Hursey had to joke with his group that perhaps they are “too much of a family” because of so much talking during a break. Getting my family together to sing the Gloria might instead be considered more of a “beautiful noise” rather than what I heard with the DCC.  I’ll take their family’s version over mine.

Delaware Welcomes the Central Ohio Symphony

I took this picture on Stage while listening to the Central Ohio Symphony rehearse October 2.

Stage view of the pre-rehearsal taking place at Gray Chapel

On the night of Wednesday, October 2, I had the pleasure of meeting Warren Hyer, executive director of the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra. I also had the chance to stay afterward for the pre-rehearsal and enjoy the amazing quality of the orchestra’s beautiful sound. The Orchestra will be performing at the Gray Chapel by Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware on the night of Saturday, October 12th at 7:30 pm and I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to attend, the experience will definitely be worth it. Allow me to introduce to you, Warren Hyer and conductor Jaime Morales-Matos.

“This is our 35th season as the Central Ohio Symphony”, says Hyer. Born and raised in Delaware, Ohio himself, “In 1970 I was a high-school student at Hayes taking lessons from the percussion teacher at Ohio Wesleyan”, “I love playing Timpani. That was my original instrument.” You will be able to see Hyer play timpani at the concert, which is one of the more powerful and noticeable percussion instruments in any orchestra. “[Music] is a great passion. I love playing it and hearing it”, shares Hyer.

Originally, the orchestra was known as the Ohio Wesleyan Orchestra. However, in the 1970s, “for a lot of reasons they formed the nonprofit the Central Ohio Symphony”, says Hyer. “There are three people [in the orchestra] who are still original members.”
As executive director, Hyer does “pretty much all the grant writing, oversee all the finance…I’m involved a lot in hiring personnel, marketing; I do a lot of community relations…I’m always out looking for funding.”

On the October 12th concert, the symphony will be performing four pieces. “They’re all great pieces”, shared Hyer. “They have a lot of different qualities.” When asked about his favorite piece out of all four, Hyer mentioned the Beethoven piece, Piano Concerto No. 3, “You kind of get to hold the bottom of the whole orchestra together”, “The other pieces are much more showy and flashy.”

The Central Ohio Symphony is very determined to make a mark on people’s hearts. “We changed our mission statement a couple years ago to ‘Engaging the Community through Music'”, explained Hyer. “We love to touch the lives of everybody in the community within Delaware County”, “We do projects because we want to be able to enrich [people’s] lives.” When asked about the orchestra’s success and accomplishments, Hyer’s response was “The way we work within the community”. The Central Ohio Symphony is part of a “very strong community that’s arts, business, government, all those types of things are important”, “A good community has a wide spectrum – and this is one of those spectrums.”

Later on, I asked Warren about the key components to a high-quality, successful orchestra. “It’s dedicated musicians, it’s a very good conductor. It’s having a dedicated board, and an appreciative community.” It’s also having “imagination and innovation in what you’re doing”. The full orchestra consists of about 60 musicians: 20 violinists, 8 viola players, 8 cellists, 5 bass players, 3 flutists, 2 clarinet players, 2 people on the bassoon, 4 horn players, 4 trumpeters, 3 trombone players, 1 tuba player, 2 harpists, 1 timpani player, along with 4 other percussionists and a pianist. “I think we’ve had many as 80 – 82 or 83 on stage at a time”, explained Hyer. “There’s always 2 or 3 [musicians] who have a scheduling conflict and can’t make it and we have to find substitutes”, “I think over the years we’ve hired about 550 different musicians in the 35 or so years.” Typically, “many of the musicians here – they’re all trained, most of them have college degrees…a lot of them have substantial careers.” The musicians are very talented and have very dedicated personalities. “Many have music beyond just orchestra music, Salsa, fiddlers, jazz players, composers, rock players, duos, there is is an all brother group. Some are college professors, a couple of instrument builders, lots of teachers, both private and school.”

Interestingly, Hyer is “very partial to Gershwin.” George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist whose most popular melodies are widely known. Hyer also said “I like Bernstein a lot”, “I tend to like newer composers. By newer, I mean the last 100 years.” I found it pretty interesting when Hyer said to me, “I like Schwantner, who actually came up to Delaware and worked with us for a week.”

“I think music can do a lot for different people”, Hyer explained. “Even when we’re done with a piece, people are still talking about us.” The Orchestra has performed in different parts of Ohio along with doing out of state concerts such as Illinois, South Dakota, and Kentucky.

There are lots of ways to be involved in and support the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra. “You can be involved as a volunteer. We have volunteers in the office and with ushers”, “you can be involved by sitting in the audience, which is a great way to be involved.”

“What you learn to do with music – both individually [such as] practicing, and cooperating as a group – are great life skills to have”, said Hyer. Back to the pieces for the concert, the conductor “wanted to do the Beethoven, typically because of his relationship with the pianist. And then the other three pieces – they’re kind of orchestra fireworks – real bright and often fast”, “the audience will know many of the pieces very well.”

Moving onto conductor Jaime Morales-Matos, who is originally from Puerto-Rico interestingly enough. Jaime has been conducting for 30 years and “started conducting in high-school.” Conducting is not as easy as it looks. “I have to learn all the parts…and I can’t make any sound”, shared Jaime. Conducting also has its benefits. “We try to interpret the music that somebody else wrote.” Jaime has “conducted many other orchestras here in the U.S”, and also in Europe. He came to the U.S after high-school and also plays the trombone!

Make room on your calendars for this amazing orchestra! Come and enjoy Berlioz’s magnificent composition, the Roman Carnival Overture, along with Liszt’s widely known Hungarian Rhapsody, not to mentioned the “spontaneous rhythms” of Enesco’s  Romanian Rhapsody. Featured soloist is renowned pianist Bruce Murray who will be performing Beethoven’s celebrated Third Piano Concerto. Murray is known more particularly for his performances of Bach, Beethoven, and Liszt as well. I, as an orchestra participant at Hayes, was very astonished and memorized by the energy and beautiful, emotional sound. Musically speaking, the accents and dynamics coordinated in the songs were just flawless and very well emphasized. I strongly suggest attending this concert – it will definitely be an enjoyable, worthwhile experience.

Band Breakouts in Delaware Ohio

Making Music


Wait for the Day

Music continues to be the center of main interest amongst teens and people of all different communities, especially those of Delaware, Ohio. I’d like to introduce two bands who have not only worked hard and dedicated themselves to get to where they’re at now, but who both have a strong passion and talent for music.

Ties That Bind

Delaware’s Ties That Bind consists of four members from Delaware Hayes: junior and lead vocalist James Woods, sophomores and guitarists Matt Jordan and Travis Helman, and sophomore and bass player Tylar Helman. The four of them have been under the band name, Ties That Bind, for about 3 months now. When questioned about the name Ties That Bind, James responded “I was in Gameplay and I saw a game that I hadn’t played in a long time and it was called the Suffering: Ties that Bind.”

When asked about the type of music that the four like to focus on playing, James responded with “Medalcore”, which according to the band, is a combination of medal and hardcore music. “We just wanna get the in your face message” says sophomore Travis Helman. Interest sparked for me personally after hearing Travis talk about how their lyrics are “based off problems we see with society like government, political things, relationships, and religious undertones”.

When I asked the four guys about what they liked most about being in a band, James was the first to respond. “I like the ability to express yourself in a very angry tone”. Next, was Tylar, who replied with “being buds and doing what I love”. Matt mentioned “I wanna change society”. James expanded this idea by saying “I feel like there’s too many people who have a voice that don’t use it correctly, and we want to use ours correctly”.

When I asked about any struggles, Travis jumped in, saying “finding every band member that you need”. The band is currently struggling in looking for a drummer. James made the point that “Delaware is not really the most musically centered place”. Travis

acknowledged this by explaining how hard it is “trying to get yourself out there”.

As much as time the four boys spend on band practice twice a week, they spend a lot of time together outside of the band. “We went ice skating before”, said Matt. “We played ice tag, like in the rink. It was fun”, replied James.

The band is currently working on a new EP and will eventually be working on a Facebook page in order to gain more support, so be aware for that!

 Wait For The Day

The next band is somewhat similar, but not completely. Christian hard core band, Wait For The Day, includes two members from Buckeye Valley; junior and guitarist Nick Lyons, 8th grader and vocalist Kovy Arseneau, and Hayes freshman and drummer Chase Grant. The three guys are really close friends who met at church. “Chase came up to me and told me we need to start a band of some sort”, said Kovy. The band has performed previously at Delaware Grace Brethren Church for youth events which typically consist of 100 people or so. When asked about the content of their lyrics, Kovy replied with “things that will help people get through their troubles such as depression”. When asked about the perks of being in a band, Chase made a point that I found inspiring which was “having other kids see what forming a band can contribute to in the long run”. Kovy also mentioned the “fun experience to get together to do a whole bunch of music with my friends…we’re like brothers basically”. This group really enjoys conveying a positive message throughout their lyrics in order to help people get through every-day hardships and struggles. The band currently has 10 songs and is also working on an EP. They have been together as a band since last January.

“Music is a big part of my life”, says Nick. “My dad was a band director and my mom is a choir director right now”, “We’ve mixed a lot of styles together”. The boys have some favorite bands of their own that they are influenced by. Nick likes the band August Burns Red. “The way they approach their music has definitely influenced me” Kovy likes the band 21 Pilots, which is a personal favorite of mine as well.

The guys are very close outside of the band. “Food is the best way to spend our money as a band”, says Kovy. Chase said he likes to eat Pizza and Nick likes to play call of Duty. Wait for the Day currently has their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram page. On Facebook “We’re at 198 right now”, shared Nick.

These two groups of boys are very hard-working, dedicated, friendly and have a strong drive for performing and sharing their message and values with not only Delaware, but the rest of the world as well. Continue to show these local bands support and visit their social media pages for more updates!



“Killin Time” at Brooklyn Heights.

Killin Time "killin" the crowd with some sweet sounds.

Killin’ Time “killin” the crowd with some sweet sounds of good ole’ fashion Rock-N-Roll.

Not looking for a place to sit on the patio and hear live blues and good ole’ fashion rock-n-roll, the management staff was pleasantly delighted to catch “Killin’ Time” at Brooklyn Heights. [Read more…]