Category Archives: Performances

Today’s Listening in the Burbs

In my life I have been around some amazing people and heard their stories.  This man, Olivier Messiaen and a personal friend of his, Jean Langlais befriended me on a performance trip to Europe in the eighties I made. The “Quartet for the End of Time” was a piece I had heard and thought it to be way outside my boundaries both on technical and artistic aspects.  However, when I heard his and Jean’s story, they inspired me to move beyond my self-imposed boxes and explore different realities in interpretation and performance.

 

I was not aware of the life history of Olivier but I found out as he shared with me about the conditions around the composing of the Quartet and that sharing was so powerful to me that I made a decision to tackle that work.  At the same time, there was another influence in my life, a young artist named Marshall Fine, who saw the potential in me and pushed me to look outside my personal boundaries and become the artist that was trapped inside me.

There is another work that is performed a lot by Charles-Marie Widor, one of the mentors of Olivier, the Widor Toccatta.  It’s a powerful, fantastic work and every time I hear it here in Houston, I go to a different place mentally and remember.

Another composer I work with is John Rutter and I just played the clarinet for this work in Houston.

While I am in the kitchen cooking ,it’s on auto play through the house sound system!

Laters!

 

 

Preparations

In my life I have been around some amazing people and heard their stories. This man, Olivier Messiaen and a personal friend of his, Jean Langlais befriended me on a performance trip to Europe in the eighties I made. The “Quartet for the End of Time” was a piece I had heard and thought it to be way outside my boundaries both on technical and artistic aspects. However, when I heard his and Jean’s story, they inspired me to move beyond my self-imposed boxes and explore different realities in interpretation and performance.
I was not aware of the life history of Olivier but I found out as he shared with me about the conditions around the composing of the Quartet and that sharing was so powerful to me that I made a decision to tackle that work. At the same time, there was another influence in my life, a young artist named Marshall Fine, who saw the potential in me and pushed me to look outside my personal boundaries and become the artist that was trapped inside me.

IMAG0840
There is another work that is performed a lot by Charles-Marie Widor, one of the mentors of Olivier, the Widor Toccatta. It’s a powerful, fantastic work and every time I hear it here in Houston, I go to a different place mentally and remember.
Today, as I am preparing these pieces again, I feel very blessed to be surrounded not only with memories but with amazing artists and composers. Paul Pellay, Don Freund, Marshall Fine, John Bell, William Shumann, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, John Rutter, William Matthias, John Williams and the list is endless it seems.
Well, back to work now and finish my first book and on to the concert stage again. I have too much to share still and without the music in my life as a way to express myself and speak from my soul, I feel empty.
Have a great day!
JereJere World

Sakura Sakura!

It’s Cherry Blossom Time in Japan and DC. Actually around the world! If you have never been to Japan, I feel for you. It’s a beautiful country full of life, vitality and culture.

The yearly excitement awaiting the announcement of Spring begins when the Cherry Blossoms begin their path to blooming and when they do, life stops for a space of time. The festivals are amazing, full of friendship and kinship.

Japan 3
I had the great joy, from the seventies as a young Marine to present day, of experiencing this rebirth of nature. It’s absolutely amazing!

To begin, here is a traditional performance of the Japanese Folk Song, “Sakura Sakura”. Relax, have a cup of green tea and perhaps some Umeboshi or a full plate of Oshinko, Japanese pickles along with a light addition of Poke or Ika Yaki!

Nabeyaki Udon Nippon
Nabayaki Udon from Nippon in Houston

By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nippon Japanese Restaurant in Houston, Texas is my go to place here for the authentic experience!  It’s now in the second generation of a traditional Japanese family owned restaurant here and it’s wonderful.  If you are in Houston, be sure and stop by.  Tell them Jere sent you.  The Uni is fantastic as is the shashimi.

 

From many of the masterpieces of the koto house, Michio Miyagi is a musician that represents Japan, promotional video we produced this time “Sakura Variations” As the first step. This work is composed in Michio Miyagi is 1923, very as timeless classics even now about 90 years have passed since a popular work. To represent the Michio Miyagi of the music world, please watch a performance by the Miyagi Orchestra volunteers. In winter, the “Spring of the sea” as the 4th we plan to up the promotional video. Please stay tuned. Miyagi Soke Facebook: Facebook.Com/miyagimichio Twitter: Twitter.Com/miyagimichio Web: Www.Miyagikai.Gr.Jp

Ah, the inspiring music of the Koto! The Geisha Houses are still active and quite relaxing. Taking a stroll down the Ginza or in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is a nice place to be also during this time.

Tokyo Imperial Palace
Cherry trees of the Imperial Palace “dry street (dry as)” pass-through in the spring of introduction to the general public. Was for the first time published, about 75 connecting from Sakashita Gate Kitanomaru Park to near the dry Gate 0m. Inui street bloom 76 cherry trees, such as Yoshino cherry tree in the spring. Until now, New Year and the Emperor Reborn except for the general Sangha production date, generally was not able to pass through it is. Open to match the full bloom of the cherry blossoms will be the first time. Cherry Blossom In Imperial Palace (Tokyo) The Imperial Palace, Where Their Majesties The Emperor And Empress Reside, Is Situated In The Center Of Tokyo. The Palace Is Surrounded By A Water-Filled Moat And Tree-Covered Grounds Of Nature Within The Bustling Metropolitan City. In Commemoration Of Umbrella Kotobuki Of His Majesty The Emperor, Opening To The Public Is Performed According To Imperial Palace Inui Street In Spring. Inui Street Has 76 Cherry Trees And Is The Perfect Place For People To Experience The Beauty Of Nature.

In Japan, time progresses and for an updated version of this very traditional folk song, enjoy!

Rin ‘- Sakura Sakura ((Sakura Sakura)) Instrumental

For those in the United States, get thee to our nations Capitol for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!

I apologize for my absence as of late but I have been dealing with some health issues. Coming up is my take on Japanese Cuisine, Culture and my life there and here in the States. It’s wonderful being an artist and having the opportunity to travel the world as a performer and teacher.

Dealing With Perfectionism

I am sharing this today from my memoirs coming from my excellent past into my glorious present with the empowerment that if you have a dream, you can achieve it through work, dedication and perseverance! Mr. Robert Marcellus was the premier clarinetist in the world for a long space of time and someone that we young clarinetists based our abilities on. I believed that studying and working with him was not attainable and only a pipe dream for most of my young life. However, I finally took the chance with the obligatory lesson with this great master and was immediately embraced into his very interesting world.
From a young man, full of self-doubt and not thinking highly of my abilities, I achieved this part of my dream and treasure the time I spent with him and his wife.
Mr. Robert Marcellus or Dr. Bob

Continue reading Dealing With Perfectionism

Dedication for Man in the Penguin Suit

Hello! My name is Jere Kizer Douglas, better known as JK.  This is the story of my life and world, how I’ve grown and come into being.

The title of this biography reflects what it is like to be a professional musician, playing in the pits, symphony orchestras and back up to major stars.  I am of the ones you hear but probably never see or know.

Behind the Ligature was suggested by a dear friend and my Auntie Mame that I met in Houston, Mr. Lloyd Wassenich.  Lloyd is a major theater buff and quite knowledgeable on not only that but other topics as well.  He is a dear friend and we have been there for each other through sickness and in good health, therefore I consider him one of my brothers of choice.

Other people in my life include Mr. Don Johnson whom I grew up with in Memphis and let’s just say other places around the country.  We met and became dear friends as young adults in the bars and denzions of Memphis and the MidSouth.  Without him, I sometimes wonder if I would be here today.

Then there is Mr. Vance Reger, Dr. Marshall Fine, Mrs Michelle Pellay-Walker and Dr. Kelly Ker Van Hacklemann who have been around me for decades and I consider to be a part of my family of choice. All greatly talented artists and musicians.  I treasure there friendships and closeness.

My family including my wonderful grandparents who fought over me and yet saw to it that I had a great foundation to build a life on.  My mother, father and step mother who dealt with and overcame some major issue in their lives including acceptance and compassion with a gay son, grandchildren that are multi racial and a great sister who said one Christmas Eve as we were sitting in the snow while Papa was asleep on the couch, “Bubba, Reverand Jesse Jackson would be very proud of this family, it’s the whole Rainbow Coalition under one roof!”

To the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and all the great musical artists there that have an inspiration to me and a part of my development since childhood.

Last but not least, my life partner and spouse, Mr. Jody Turner.  What a great adventure meeting you and taking that trip to Houston so many years ago. And to our unique little family group, the Ukitena Clan of Houston, Texas.

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Dr. Marshall Fine, artist, composer, friend, colleage.

This work is dedicated to the gracious memory of Dr. Marshall Fine.

Without his wisdom and knowledge, I might not be here today.

Dr. Fine, gone too soon, this is for you Sir!

Reflections

Coming from an educational standpoint, it’s not necessarily the teacher’s complete responsibility to guide each and every student to the trough of knowledge and wisdom, that responsibility lies in the laps of the parents and families of the children also, perhaps more than the teachers themselves. My personal educational experiences are a more hands on approach than sitting in lectures about methodologies and pedagogy.
There is a very old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink!”Well, for me, I would drink, but I’m not a horse, I don’t think I am at least, but then, I had the want to know feeling about who and what I am and how I can impact myself and the world around me. There is a wonderful experience in my life, studying with a great mentor, perhaps an icon of artistry and intellect, Mr. Robert Marcellus.

Continue reading Reflections

Messiaen and the Quaret

In my life I have been around some amazing people and heard their stories. This man, Olivier Messiaen and a personal friend of his, Jean Langlais befriended me on a performance trip to Europe in the eighties I made. The “Quartet for the End of Time” was a piece I had heard and thought it to be way outside my boundaries both on technical and artistic aspects. However, when I heard his and Jean’s story, they inspired me to move beyond my self-imposed boxes and explore different realities in interpretation and performance.
I was not aware of the life history of Olivier but I found out as he shared with me about the conditions around the composing of the Quartet and that sharing was so powerful to me that I made a decision to tackle that work. At the same time, there was another influence in my life, a young artist named Marshall Fine, who saw the potential in me and pushed me to look outside my personal boundaries and become the artist that was trapped inside me.
There is another work that is performed a lot by Charles-Marie Widor, one of the mentors of Olivier, the Widor Toccatta. It’s a powerful, fantastic work and every time I hear it here in Houston, I go to a different place mentally and remember.
Today, as I am preparing these pieces again, I feel very blessed to be surrounded not only with memories but with amazing artists and composers. Paul Pellay, Don Freund, Marshall Fine, John Bell, William Shumann, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, John Rutter, William Matthias, John Williams and the list is endless it seems. I did attempt to communicate with J.S. Bach but he was decomposing at the time and it didn’t go well. Maybe another day…..(smile).
“Jere Douglas, Founder of the Parlor Project, is the premier Arts Experiences Curator. He empowers us to see and live life as an art form! Through the Parlor Project, he connects professional artists and musicians to rabid professional arts lovers, their organic fan-base. As the Man in the Penguin Suit, Jere curates multi-sensory artistic experiences that challenge staid traditions in the arts and antiquated concepts in arts presentation. In a powerful combination of access, interaction and adventure the Parlor Project puts a human face to the marvelous sounds that people hear and provides an opportunity for its members to explore their creativity in all aspects of life.”
Jere

An Experience with Maestro Alan Balter

Behind The Ligature

Maestro Alan Balter, My Teacher and Friends

Alan Balter, Musician, Mathematician, Conductor, Maestro, a Wonderful Human Being!  Working with Alan was never dull or boring, always a new adventure each and every day. 

Beginning with a couple of lessons when he was at the San Francisco Conservatory and I was still in the First Marine Division Band and carrying forward to Memphis, Tennessee, it was a decade of improvement and exploration without parallel. 

Most did not know of Alan’s expertise on the computer or of his double degree in Mathematics, an ideal combination for any musician or any other field of endeavor.  At his home in Memphis, we would work with the clarinet and the piano for hours and adjourn to his study for a bit of enlightenment on the computer and learning DOS from a true Master. 

During his performing career, Alan had a bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which caused issues with his ability to produce…

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The Man In The Penguin Suit

An Excerpt from my forthcoming autobiography, “The Man in the Penguin Suit”, about my time as a US Marine stationed in Japan during the seventies.

Act 1, Scene 4

I graduated from the Naval School of Music and went to my first duty station in Iwakuni, Japan. After sleeping for a day due to the jet lag and crossing the International Date Line for the first time, I was met by a friend from the School of Music who came to the receiving barracks and said, “Douglas, get up, time to show you Iwakuni and get you settled in the Barracks!” LOL. I think I lost a couple of days there with the Moose River Hummers, the Bar Hostess’s, checking into base and playing a Christmas Concert that to this day I do not have any recollections of doing, but I did it well, obviously.
Life in Japan was wonderful and what a great adventure! Outside the front gate was Four Corner and Three Corner and that was my first area to become aquainted with. There was Wimpys for late night burgers and such with a Japanese twist, the New Manhattan Bar which is where the First Marine Aircraft Wing Band hung out, Jimmy Son, Mike Son, Michi Cho, Tomi Cho and Sachici Cho. Hiroshima was not that far away and Tokyo on the Bullet train was only a couple of fun hours away.
I could talk about the people we performed for both in the band and otherwise, but I prefer to talk about us, the ones in the Uniform or as the title of this book says, the Man In The Penguin Suit.
Being a part of a wonderful unit is always fantastic and when the finished product comes together in a performance it is very fulfilling! However, in my journeys around the globe there is one thing that stands out to me. People may know the organization and the sound of the individual people, but does the audience actually know the people in the orchestra, band or group? It’s interesting as listening to people talk, they can wax poetic over the last performance of Cher but do not really know the back up people, the stage hands, the light techs or the ones that make everything come together for that one stellar moment in time, the performance.
I guess I was lucky at times as I did a lot of solo work in Japan and the Far
east along with Australia during this time frame and thought I was making a name for myself. What I learned was that as a Marine, I was representing not only the Marine Corps but also the United States as pwhat we did in the world of Public Relations was what a lot of people saw as a product of the United States. Being in the Marines also was not limited to combat situations as we were also involved in Special Olympics around the world, working with orphanages, some of us volunteering our time to help build schools, homes, teaching, sharing with others in the civilian world. But the thing that stood out was being a United State Marine and in the Full Dress blues, that appeared to be all that was needed as part of the unit. By the way, just to clarify, I am very proud and honored to have earned the title of United States Marine, but what do I do after my time in the Corps?
While I was in Japan, I took the time when we had liberty, to travel to the home of the Suzuki Institute as the Suzuki method was new and it was unique to me! I met the creator of the method and had some wonderful enlightening conversations over tea and sushi with him about adaptability and other things, including working on my Japanese. I also traveled a lot to Tokyo on the Bullet Train and hung out in the Yamaha store trying out the horns and just having a grand old time when I met some of the designers and instrument repair people there. It was quite interesting as a Buffet man, that they actually wanted my input on a new line of clarinets they were developing and the new line of saxophones. Imagine that, a young Marine possibly affecting the next generation of musicians. I felt a bit overwhelmed later at the Clarinet Convention where I tried out those lines of instruments. Humm, maybe I’m more respected than I thought. Oh well, moving right along.

(Stay Tuned!  It gets better!)