Luna Jamboree musicians reflect on mentor’s lessons

Luna Jamboree (from left): Tom Pearson, Tyler Mathews, Kim Painter and Bryan Copeland.

Luna Jamboree (from left): Tom Pearson, Tyler Mathews, Kim Painter and Bryan Copeland.

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Nov. 7, 2014
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Lou Whitney

Lou Whitney

… While the outpouring of testimonials around the death of Lou Whitney on Oct. 7 often praised his mentorship, two members of Luna Jamboree — Bryan Copeland (guitar) and Tyler Mathews (keys) — reflected on exactly what he offered and what they learned. The EP, “And Those Seen Dancing,” was one of the last projects Whitney supervised from start to finish, and it happened to be released on the day he died, Copeland said.

… Among Whitney’s advice: …

Less is more: “You don’t have to play all those flourishes; just clean it up and simplify it,” Mathews said, channeling Whitney. “People’s ears hear it, and they like it, but they don’t know why they like it. It’s that little bit of space.”

Avoid duplication of parts: Mathews said Whitney noticed that the piano and guitar parts in a passage of their song, “Stray,” were nearly identical, and he suggested a severely stripped-down part for keys.

“There were maybe three notes that stood out between the guitar and the piano parts,” Mathews said. “He said, ‘Why don’t you try this on the organ?’ We called it ‘chirping.’ I’d never thought to do that, and now I play it like that live. It completely changed the way I play that song.”

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Tripwire reassembles to celebrate 15 years

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Oct. 31, 2014
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Tripwire Blues Band (from left): Jody Cottengim, Nathan Bryce and Stoney Cottengim.

Tripwire Blues Band (from left): Jody Cottengim, Nathan Bryce and Stoney Cottengim.

Two actual brothers and a close buddy, who all think of each other as brothers, aka Tripwire Blues Band, are reuniting for one show to recapture the magic that sustained them for more than 12 years.

The show at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Lindbergs will celebrate 15 years since the founding of one of the highly entertaining and better-dressed local bands of blues brothers — not to be confused with that band of comedians from the 1980s.

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Bass Pro festival: Just move!

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Oct. 30, 2014
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… Zoe Cofer, running coordinator of the Galloway Training Program at CoxHealth Fitness Center, encourages runners to introduce walking into their runs in a way that actually helps them go faster. …

Many seasoned runners are skeptical of the run-walk method, but Cofer said she often wins them over once they try it and see their times improve. Likewise, she motivates runners who doubt their ability to run a long distance. She asks them, “‘But could you run for 30 seconds?’ Then they get to walk for 45.”

Runners need not join a group to benefit from this run-walk format; they could experiment with different intervals on a do-it-yourself basis. However, Cofer said running in a group is much more fulfilling.

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Wine, song and autumn air promise happiness

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Oct. 24, 2014
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 OOVVDA Winery's lawn is the setting for musical events.

OOVVDA Winery’s lawn is the setting for musical events.

Fans of mirthful wine and fine singer-songwriters: Here is a fall festival for you.

The OOVVDA Folk and Americana Music Festival will unfold … with eight musical acts and a wine list of grape and fruit varieties to satisfy palates from dry to sweet.

OOVVDA — the all-caps winery named after a Norwegian word of many definitions — has been holding free monthly outdoor concerts, April to September, for several years, but this is the first time that owners Brian and Fran Overboe have staged a daylong event. …

Their offerings encompass: hearty red-grape wines Norton and Chambourcin and whites Traminette, Reliance and Cayuga; fruit wines made of apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, red raspberry, peach, pear and tomato; and mead. Their wines are available in drier and sweeter versions. Fruit-wine skeptics should give OOVVDA’s semi-dry fruit wines a try.

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‘The Normal Heart’: Themes, debate still alive

IMG_3658 copy

Bruce, played by Art Duncan, spars with Ned, played by Rick Dines, over the direction their advocacy organization should take. Springfield Contemporary Theatre’s production of the “The Normal Heart” runs Oct. 17-Nov. 2. Ed Peaco/For the News-Leader

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Oct. 16, 2014.
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As “The Normal Heart” dramatizes civic inaction and activist push-back during the beginning of the HIV-AIDS crisis, the play aims to energize audiences to discuss issues and take action to right wrongs. It’s political theater, and those are the goals.

View a selection of my photos from a rehearsal of the play.

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Jin J X travels the sound waves of the iPod of life

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Oct. 17, 2014
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Jin J X

Jin J X

Ever since the iPod, it’s routine for musicians to collect and blend styles, but it’s always interesting when musicians merge those elements so you’re not thinking about the genre slurry; you’re just listening. For Springfield singer-songwriter-guitarist Jin J X, it was the iPod of life that brought him to so much different music.

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Improving Federal Veterinarian Capacity: A Vital Issue in U.S. Homeland Security

A peer-reviewed article by Joel C. Spangenberg
A term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former Navy surface warfare officer (nuclear) and subcommittee deputy staff director on the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Edited by Ed Peaco
Published in the online journal Inside Homeland Security, Summer 2014
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Despite the presence or promise of funding in the past, it has not been enough to identify, address, and fix root cause issues facing the Federal veterinary workforce. Fortunately luck has been on the nation’s side in that it has not had to face a major animal disease outbreak of the scale envisioned by experts or experienced by the U.K. This luck could run out at any moment. This leaves only willpower, armed with greater data and insight, as the prime motivator to make the changes that will prevent or at the very least mitigate the impact of animal disease outbreaks and other related threats to the homeland.

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Mitigating the Risk of Gun Violence through the Use of Technology

A peer-reviewed article by Marie Wright
Professor of Management Information Systems at Western Connecticut State University
Edited by Ed Peaco
Published in the online journal Inside Homeland Security, Summer 2014
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… In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the technologies necessary to make smart guns have received renewed attention. On March 14, 2013, leaders in the technology investment community announced new funding initiatives to reduce gun violence with technology. A group of more than twenty Silicon Valley venture capitalists announced plans to work with the Sandy Hook Promise Technology Committee to Reduce Gun Violence. … Smart guns might not prevent all gun violence, but they could decrease the number of mass shootings, as well as lower the number of youth suicides, accidental shootings, and deaths from stolen weapons. The use of safety enhancing technologies is an important step toward making guns more secure, and lessening the risk of gun violence.

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Symphony to play uplifting modern piece

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Oct. 1o, 2014
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A new generation of classical composers has awakened to the fact that if they want their work to be heard, they have to write things that people want to hear, Springfield Symphony Director Kyle Wylie Pickett said.

Leaving behind the dissonance and austerity of the modern era, these contemporary composers have rediscovered beauty and are creating appealing and exciting works. …

For these reasons, Pickett said he encourages symphony patrons to reassess how they feel about modern music: “When you see a new piece in the concert season, that’s not the one to avoid; that’s the one you want to hear.”

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Jazz festival: Channel of knowledge keeps music alive

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Oct. 3, 2014
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Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 1.54.13 PM

Arthur Duncan. Photo credit: Ed Peaco

When [Arthur] Duncan was a youngster, [Dallas] Bartley was middle aged, having traveled nationally as the bassist for jump-blues innovator Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five and then living and teaching in Springfield. Through Bartley and others, Duncan learned the basics of jazz.

Dallas Bartley. MSU archives

Dallas Bartley. MSU archives

“Like he used to tell me, it’s not how many notes you play, it’s what you play. You play it with taste, and I kept wondering what he meant by that, being young,” Duncan said.

While learning his instrument, Duncan wondered how musicians like Bartley made it look so easy. Duncan said a musician in St. Louis gave him an answer: It was a matter of seasoning, of playing in a dedicated way over a long time.

Meanwhile, Duncan tapped into another channel of jazz awareness at Drury University, which exposed him to national figures such as Stan Kenton.

Duncan kept playing. He and his trio mates — drummer Richard Allen and bassist Ernie Bedell (nephew of Dave Bedell, who was one of Duncan’s mentors) — have been playing together for more than 30 years. They know each other’s moves and how to follow each other, how to interact and counteract.

“When I was younger — yes, I had some talent. When I got older, I knew what I had to do with it. It took me a while to figure that out,” Duncan said. “Now, everything fits. It’s easier for us to come together and put it together.”

Over the years, following in Bartley’s footsteps, Duncan has worked with young pianists and in schools, particularly with rhythm sections, he said.

“He told me to keep jazz alive,” Duncan said. “He told me, ‘One day you’re going be our age,’ and he told me to pass it on. That’s what I remember, passing it on to the younger ones.”

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