In spite of what we see on the local and national news, if the maxim that our future is our next generations holds true, I’ve seen some great evidence that the USA will be okay in the coming years. First time I mentioned this was a month ago. Having experienced the Next Generation Jazz Festival presented by Monterey Jazz Festival for nearly 50 hours from Friday through Sunday, I was introduced to a fresh-faced, polite, passionate group of young musicians. This experience was enough to bolster my beliefs in the future of our country. Now, it’s time to sound the trumpet once again. For the past several weeks, our television station and internet sites have been abuzz about an event taking place today, May 5th. It’s a benefit for the Salvation Army, and includes a lineup of 3 local bands whose members are in their teens, several still in high school. They’re performing simply for their love of music and to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. The organizer of this wonderful event is Aaron Dally, a talented young musician. The benefit is Aaron’s Eagle Scout project. His father, Dave Dally is one of the foremost musical forces of the Central Coast. Along with being a virtuoso on violin, Dave conducts the MPC Orchestra, several strings groups, and plays in a multiplicity of bands including Monterey International and the Monterey String Quartet. Like the Next Generation musicians, Aaron is passionate, ambitious and also polite. He refers to me as “Mr. Ellzey”. Since my own son started calling me Steve when he was 12 years old, having a young person refer to me as “Mr. Ellzey” really sets them apart from the crowd.
So if you’d like to hear some great music, dance a little, and make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, come to the Carmel Youth Center today, May 5th from 2:30p to 5p. Please bring clothes or food as a donation. And get ready to experience some talented, passionate, young musicians, who will make you realize the USA’s going to be in good hands when we pass on the baton. And I include my own son in that group. He completed his Eagle Scout project last year and is one of the talented young musicians donating his time today for the cause. For this I say, the USA will be okay, despite the gnarly headlines and if-it-bleeds-it-leads stories on our local news. Maybe it’s time to create PNN….Positive News Network, where we hear all about the Aaron Dally’s of the world…..what do you think….are we ready for that?
The Alliance for Community Media (ACM) announced recently that amp2‘s Your Sanctuary TV is this year’s National Conference Title Sponsor. The ACM Conference will take place May 29th through 31st in San Francisco, CA at the stately Westin St. Francis on Union Square. Appropriately enough, San Francisco Bay is on the edge of or adjacent to 3 separate National Marine Sanctuaries, namely The Gulf of the Farallones NMS, Cordell Bank NMS, and Monterey Bay NMS. The Gulf of the Farallones operates a Visitors Center at Historic Crissy Field very close to the Golden Gate Bridge and next to another landmark, Fort Mason. “With all the maritime heritage and history, Your Sanctuary TV seems an ideal Title Sponsor for this year’s conference”, remarked amp Executive Director Paul Congo. “And part of our welcome gift to attendees is a special visit to the Aquarium of the Bay,” added amp’s Outreach Coordinator Lindsey Bishop. “Your Sanctuary TV is a repository of quality Ocean and Earth Conservation video content that will be offered free of charge to members of the Alliance and all other community television stations across the country and throughout the world,” noted YSTV Executive Producer Stephen Ellzey. Among the dozens of quality programs available is a documentary by acclaimed Ocean filmmaker Robert Talbot on the Great White Sharks that favor both the Farallones and the outer edges of Monterey Bay as hunting grounds. Additional programming includes the popular Thank You Ocean PSA and Podcast series and a collection of animated Ocean shorts by Cartoonist/Environmentalist Jim Toomey, who regularly pens “Shermans Lagoon”. “It”s hard to believe,” recalled amp Production Manager Michael Maritnes,”that 2 years ago we were sitting around the office dreaming about an Ocean Series called “Your Sanctuary” and now we’re launching an entire library of Ocean and Earth conservation content…it’s a real dream come true” The Your Sanctuary TV site yoursanctuarytv.org will go live on June 8th, which is World Oceans Day.
Logo for World Oceans Day when Your Sanctuary TV will be launched, June 8, 2013.
” For more than 15 years, “Waterways” has been educating viewers on the wonders of the world’s third largest coral reef, the diverse and colorful marine life that call it home, and centuries of cultural and maritime heritage. Experience cutting edge research and conservation from the comfort of your home! Learn how scientists are combating invasive species, protecting endangered animals, and promoting sustainable use of America’s great natural treasures. Get up close and personal with lionfish, alligators and panthers, or discover the secrets of historic forts and shipwrecks.”
“We are so grateful and so excited to welcome Waterways into the Your Sanctuary TV family”, said Executive Producer Steve Ellzey. “Having a program with such high production values and informative stories is absolutely fabulous!”
The 2013 Next Generation Jazz Festival presented by Monterey Jazz Festival gave amp Community Television a larger role in this year’s event: Record, broadcast, and stream every performance from Friday night through Sunday at 5pm. The little station that could stepped up to the task logging over 162 hours of staff and volunteer time operating 2 High Definition switchers and 6 High Definition cameras, in the Serra Ballroom and Steinbeck Forum.
The end result was pretty big for an Access Community Television station in market 126. While cable numbers are not audited by the Nielsen Company, internet streams are very accountable and amp’s numbers were nothing less than stellar. Jazz fans in 64 countries gobbled up over 760 Gigabytes of bandwidth with 8300+ total streams. In total, the amp crew recorded 56 performances which will be separated and edited in post production. The performances will be uploaded to ampmediatv YouTube and broadcast on amp2 (Comcast 27 and AT&T 99) and simultaneously streamed at ampmedia.org throughout the coming year. “We’re very excited about the numbers,” remarked amp Executive Director Paul Congo, “we doubled last year’s streams and tripled the number of countries participating.”
“The Next Generation Jazz Festival is truly an amazing event,” added Executive Producer, Stephen Ellzey, “Friday night featured an Adjudicators and Educators performance by so many Jazz greats, there wasn’t enough room on stage”. That particular performance is an event favorite and this year was awe-inspiring: A rousing set by Berklee College of Music’sEdmar Colon Quartet was followed by 90 minutes of pure jazz heaven with Jazz Artist Ray Drummond on Bass, Joel Frahm on tenor sax, Jeff Hamilton on drums, Antonio Hart on alto saxophone, Russell Malone on guitar, pianist Patrice Rushen, trumpet master Bobby Shew, bari saxophonist Gary Smulyan, vocalist extraordinaire, Kenny Washington, and the Monterey Jazz Festival’s own Paul Contos on flute. This awesome ensemble brought the crowd to their feet on multiple occasions and would easily have been worth a $1000 ticket to experience . However, like the rest of the Festival, it was Free. That says a lot about the Next Generation Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and Monterey. There are very few festivals that could assemble a group of jazz masters like the aforementioned, no other that would offer free seats, and no other City in the world where one could walk in off the street in shorts and flip flops and grab a seat for what was a jazz experience to remember for all time. No wonder it’s so easy to walk around here with a big smile!
English: Computer simulation of the heating of a space shuttle orbiter upon reentry. Temperatures on the exterior of the shuttle can reach during this phase of flight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Okay…before I launch into an intra-cranial adventure starring Slim Pickens in cowboy regalia spinning a rope astride a mini-Space Shuttle (ala Dr. Stranglove), “lasso” was just a headline term from NPR. The real word is capture…but the rest of the headline is true: as part of its $17.7 Billion dollar budget, NASA has a line item to “capture” an asteroid. How do they plan to do it? Well the stratospheric thinkers of the Space Administration are going to put a collapsible rubber cone on the front of some sort of space vehicle then send it careening towards a previously identified asteroid. Once the asteroid hits the cone, the cone collapses around the asteroid like”instant shrink wrap” (that is a real NASA quote). Our scientists theorize that by snatching this rock out of the sky, and guiding it to the moon for future research, we’ll be gathering valuable information for future deep space flights. Like what sort of information? Well, they’re not really saying….and there’s the rub. See this whole cowboy drama about grabbing a hurtling mass and guiding it to the lunar surface is real….$2.2 Billion Dollars real. But the purpose is very flimsy, if it even exists. Perhaps they’ll be looking for petroglyphs from Dr. Smith of “Lost in Space” fame. Or maybe encapsulated hip-hop from the Big Boom Box Theory…or was that the Big Bang Theory…or is that a sitcom? Anyway, before I confuse myself any futher, I’m thinking this is more of a “climb Mt. Everest” reason for doing something daring: “Because it’s there!”. Whatever, the reason….whatever the outcome…it’s comforting to know that the greatest minds in our government are spending their time on cogent, meaningful projects…like lassoing a rock in space, and leaving the trivial projects, like feeding the world, to less imaginative thinkers.
I was so enamored with the character played by Jesse Eisenbergin the movie The Social Network, I was rooting for him to get the girl during that lonely empty board room scene when she informs the Entrepeneur Extraordinairre, in his hoodie, “you don’t have to act like an ass%$#@.” Yes, Mark Zuckerberg caught my eye and my envy the very first time I heard/read/Googled him. Saw the movie the first week it was out…and yes, bought Ekaterina’s book the first week it was offered. After all, Social Media is a big part of business these days and if I’m going to excel, I’d better be able to “Think Like Zuck”.
Ever since my first book report, I realized that writing about what I’d read allowed me a deeper understanding of the words that passed before my eyes, so here come’s Part 1 of my Mark Zuckerberg inspired book report. News Flash Number One: this kid can draw quite well! At least if he did indeed draw the illustration that signifies the introduction to “Zuckness”. It’s a really cool illustration of an eye, surrounded by, according to Ms. Walter the 5 precepts of Zuckthink, which are: Passion, Purpose, Product, People and Partnerships.
Passion is the first ingredient Ekaterina Walter adds to the entrepreneurial cake mix. For some reason, I felt a little ripped off….wasn’t it Deepak Chopra…or maybe Joseph Campbell…or was it Napoleon Hill who first introduced the idea that a passion for one’s work was a key ingredient if one wants to Think and Grow Rich. I’m pretty sure it was one of these guys, and I’m lead to believe the concept may be as old as Plato. So, the first step to Zuckness is one I’ve learned, which means I’m already 20% of the way there….if only I was at 20% of his Zucknet worth…maybe that will come in Part 2.
Forget about your legacy…whether it’s a billion dollar fortune that will power industry and fund foundations or a starlit piece art that will entrance millions, the true legacy we leave behind is the generation that follows us. If this year’s Next Generation Jazz Festival is any indication, Jazz will reach new heights in the coming decades. The caliber of musicians that took the stage over the past two days is extraordinary….and they’re just starting out! What is it about Jazz that captures the hearts of all these teens? Whatever the magic, it sure seems powerful. These young women and men are not just accomplished musicians, they’re polite, motivated, individuals who will be a credit to our society. Hanging out around them all weekend has dissipated my doubts about the future of our country. If this is the stock that will be producing our leaders, woe be to those who obstruct us. The beauty of this situation is the cause: Music…and more specifically….music education for our youth. Time and time again studies have revealed that the introduction of music education in a curriculum produces a better student, both academically and socially. So here’s where the doubt comes in…who has children in a public school that actually has a music program? The answer is fewer and fewer every year. Why? How is it that after so many positive results from studies of the effects of music education on students that we aren’t overloaded with music in our schools? Is it simply this elixir that produces such well-rounded individuals is not affordable? Bah Humbug!!! There’s no excuse…we must succeed in instilling music curriculum in all our schools from elementary through high school. How are we going to do it? What exactly are our elected officials for? Time to start the letter writing, emailing and faxing. And what of that bloated bureaucratic beast called the county office of education? Perhaps it’s time to have fewer administrators and more music. Whatever the method, success will bring bountiful benefits to our country and our society. It would be a legacy that ensures we don’t follow in the footsteps of Rome or one of the other world powers that faded away. In the end, let me simply say, Hooray for Monterey Jazz Festival Education Programs, Huzzah for the Next Generation Jazz Festival, and thank you to all who have contributed to these efforts that produce such great future members of our society.