Concerto Competition

I can't believe I neglected to post this. Apologies to Bailey for the delay. But...Bailey played in te Klein Oak HS Concerto Competition earlier this month. Below is his performance (a 6:47 video). 

I guess by now it won't surprise anyone to learn: we thought Bailey did great, we're very proud of his growth this year. He really has developed this skill in an amazing way. 

Anyway, here is the video - the hilarious part is when he introduced himself as "John Needham" which is generally how he is known at school, even though we still call him Bailey here at home:

Uploaded by John Needham on 2018-05-05.

John P. Needham

May 23, 2017

Spring, TX

16

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16

Cody-2003

This young man turns 16 today. 

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Cody has *always* been a happy kid. Now he's a terrific young man. He will always be our youngest son. But we are super-proud of the young man he has become, and the man he is growing into.

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He still has this sly grin.

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Carolyn and I were talking with Cody last night about his old pictures and he mentioned the ones where he was playing t-ball with a full-leg cast, so I'm adding that below.

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Happy Birthday to our 16-year old!

John P. Needham

May 1, 2018

Spring, TX

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Klein Oak Wind Ensemble Performs at Festival Hall

The Klein Oak Wind Ensemble performed at the Round Top Festival Institute on Friday, April 27th. What a fabulous facility, that was literally in the middle of nowhere, about an hour and a half west of Houston, TX, in Round Top (population: 90). This band of super-talented young musicians practiced for hours, and played really well.

The ensemble opened with Santa Fe Saga (10:46 video):

Klein Oak Wind Ensemble at the Round Top Festival Institute. April 27, 2018, under the direction of Todd Clearwater.

Then they played Academic Overture (11:07 video):

Klein Oak Wind Ensemble at the Round Top Festival Institute. April 27, 2018, under the direction of Todd Clearwater.

The ensemble closed with North Wind March (2:33 video):

Klein Oak Wind Ensemble at the Round Top Festival Institute. April 27, 2018, under the direction of Todd Clearwater.

All the parents, obviously, are very proud of these talented and dedicated young musicians. 

John P. Needham

Spring, TX

April 29, 2018

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Klein Oak Wind Ensemble Concert - February 27, 2018

I am a little late getting this out, but back on February 28th, the Klein Oak Wind Ensemble gave a concert at Klein Oak Auditorium. Below are two videos from the performance.

The first song was Northwind March (2:29 video):

Northwind, a march, performed by the Klein Oak Wind Ensemble, directed by Todd Clearwater, February 27, 2018 at Klein Oak High School Auditorium.

Next the ensemble played a much longer piece, Lincolnshire Posey. The video is 16 minutes long. (I did a pretty lousy job on this video, to be honest; quite shakey. Apologies for that.) Look for Cody on marimba around the 15-minute mark.

Lincolnshire Posey, performed by the Klein Oak Wind Ensemble, directed by Todd Clearwater, February 27, 2018 at Klein Oak High School Auditorium.

John P. Needham

March 11, 2018

Spring, TX

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Mariachi Ole!

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Mariachi Ole!

C'mon, you knew this was coming, right? After all the still pictures from this weekend's Texas State Mariachi Festival, you knew there would be some videos of the Klein Oak High School Mariachi Band, right? I didn't take these videos, but another person did, and gave me permission to post them to You Tube. 

KOHS Mariachi Band was the first school from the whole Klein school district to qualify for the state mariachi festival. While a lot of schools were playing new, modern takes on mariachi music, with lots of stagecraft, KOHS Mariachi Band just played traditional mariachi music with little fanfare. It was a really well-received performance, to be sure. Take a look at how the crowd responded. They opened with Guadalajara:

 

Guadalajara, performed by the Klein Oak High School Mariachi Band, February 23, 2018 at the Texas State High School Mariachi Festival in Edinburgh, TX.

The next song they performed was El Rey. This is where the audience really started to respond.

 

El Rey, performed by the Klein Oak High School Mariachi Band, February 23, 2018 at the Texas State High School Mariachi Festival in Edinburgh, TX.

The band closed their set with No Me Se Rajar, which inspired the audience even more.

 

No Me Se Rajar, performed by the Klein Oak High School Mariachi Band, February 23, 2018 at the Texas State High School Mariachi Festival in Edinburgh, TX.

This was a genuinely extraordinary experience for these talented and hard-working young musicians. They walked off the stage with their feet barely touching the ground. 

And we parents were all profoundly proud of these kids.

John P. Needham

February 27, 2018

Spring, TX

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"Hey Porter" and other songs...

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"Hey Porter" and other songs...

Starting with the original source, here, which indicates that the material posted below is public domain available.

In the 1950s, Johnny Cash appeared on radio programs in the south, and some of the recordings from these shows are now available in "bootleg" form.

I am uploading a zip file of the radio programs at that link. The file is a .rar file which opens via WinZip. The embeded radio programs are .flac files, which you can open with many standard audio players like VLC. I used Groove Music to play them on my laptop computer. 

I'd recommend downloading and listening on a computer and not your phone - the file to be downloaded is roughly 190MB, and unzipping and playing on a computer is easier than on a phone. For me, at least.

If you like Johnny Cash as much as I do, these historical recordings will make you smile. Some of the coolest things are that, in the 1950s, when artists were hosted on radio programs like Country Style USA, the artists and the host were the ones who read the radio commercials, so you'll hear Johnny Cash, here, promoting savings bonds, and U.S. Army recruitment programs. These radio programs are a lot of fun to listen to, and they have some historical significance to Johnny Cash fans. 

Here is what is included in the programs: Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two (Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant) on Country Style USA, from November, 1956 (includes Hey Porter and I Walk the Line); another episode of the Country Style USA radio program from 1956 (date unknown, includes Folsom Prison and Get Rhythm), and an episode of the Guest Star radio program from June, 1959 (includes Don't Take Your Guns to Town).

Again: if you're a Johnny Cash fan like I am, you should give these radio programs a listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

John P. Needham

January 4, 2018

Spring, TX

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Marching Season Wrap-Up, 2017

Just a couple of images from the final football game of the 2017 season. With marching season winding down, and contests all in the rear-view mirror, and the final game the day after Thanksgiving in College Station, the number of band kids who showed up to play was pretty small. Bailey and Cody were both there. I got this image of them in the stands, Cody in the foreground on bass drum, Bailey behind him on trumpet.

 Cody in front on bass drum, Bailey behind on trumpet

Cody in front on bass drum, Bailey behind on trumpet

Cody had wrapped his drum sticks up in red tape so they looked like candy canes, and he also had our Elf on the Shelf, Bob, mounted on the top of his drum:

 Cody on bass drum, accompanied by Bob The Elf.

Cody on bass drum, accompanied by Bob The Elf.

 Bob The Elf and Cody's drum sticks

Bob The Elf and Cody's drum sticks

One last picture of Bailey:

 Bailey on trumpet

Bailey on trumpet

That's all for now.

John P. Needham

November 28, 2017

Spring, TX

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Bangarang!

Please allow me this "proud band dad" moment.

Since the beginning of August, Bailey and Cody and the rest of Klein Oak High School's marching band have been practicing, working really hard, on the 2017 competition show. They practiced in heat, they practiced many mornings, may late nights, weekends, after school, at football games, in competitions. 

Cody is on bass-4 bass drum; Bailey plays trumpet.

This weekend, all their hard work paid off. The band participated in Bands of America super-regional competition in San Antonio. It was far and away their best show of the season. 

The competition at the super-regional is very steep; some 75 bands competed in prelims over two days, and only 114 made the finals Saturday night. Klein  Oak Band did not make the finals, unfortunately. But that doesn't not take away from their achievement. This year's show, called Bangarang, was terrific, and the kids performed spectacularly in the prelims.

Another of the band parents was able to record the show, and uploaded it to You Tubs. I am embedding the video below. Take a look at let me know what you think!

 

We are very proud of our kids and all the band members; other parents I spoke with feel exactly the same way. These kids all worked so hard, for so many hours, over months, and for the show to come together this well, at this competition, was really special to see.

John P. Needham

November 5, 2017

Spring, TX

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Homecoming, 2017 (Cody)

I've been away from this blog for far, far, too long. Apologies for that little hiatus!

Last weekend Cody went to Homecoming at his high-school. Here are a few images.

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If you want, you can find the full set here in Flickr.

John P. Needham

November 5, 2017

Spring, TX

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Arriba!!

Last night the Klein Oak High School Mariachi Band had their first-ever concert and fundraiser at the Klein Oak Auditorium. This Mariachi Band is a student-run band seeking to qualify for the Texas UIL competition in the coming school year. 

I am amazed by how good these student musicians sound! I think you might be, too. The played eight songs, the videos are below.

First: Relampago:

De Colores:

Las Chiapanecas:

La Bamba:

Marieta:

Cielito Lindo:

El Caballito:

Finally, Guadalajara:

It was very cool to see this band, and our son playing with his band mates last night. 

John P. Needham

June 1, 2017

6:45AM

Spring, TX

Klein Oak Masterworks Concert - May 22, 2017

Earlier this month, the top performers from Klein Oak's band, choir and orchestra performed their annual Masterworks performance. I recorded the whole concert, but many of the pieces are covered by copyright protections so I'm not posting those here (or to You Tube). 

Here are two pieces that I can post. First, the Klein Oak Wind Ensemble opened the concert with this piece, a stunning 14-minute piece that I know these young musicians worked so hard on. This is a 14-minute video and Bailey is performing on trumpet.

Next is the Klein Oak Choir. This is a four-minute+ video.

That's all I'm going to share from this night, since I am pretty sure the next five pieces that were performed, jointly, by the Wind Ensemble, the Choir and the Orchestra, are all covered by copyright protection held by the composer. 

The concert was genuinely amazing, these young performers worked for months to perfect these pieces and they all did a fabulous job.

John P. Needham

May 29, 2017

1:25PM

Spring, TX

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Piano Recital - Bailey, May 2017

This one made Carolyn cry. I unfortunately had to miss it, traveling for business, but Carolyn recorded it for me, and here is the video (six minute video).

John Needham

Spring, TX

May 29, 2017

10:20AM

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Cody Needham: Rock Star

Our son Cody has been taking guitar lessons at School or Rock in Champions Forest this year. He is getting the best guitar instruction there that he's ever gotten since he started playing guitar years ago.

Yesterday he played in School of Rock's teen band at a local bar/restaurant, District 249 up in Tomball. The band is called Grunge. Carolyn and I attended, as did Bailey, and also our great friends the Linmans. Grunge has been working so hard, practicing hours on end, together and on their own, for months, and they played seven songs yesterday. They were really terrific. 

Below are the videos of the band's performance. Stick around to the end, or scroll down there, because Cody had a solo on Zombie by The Cranberries. 

 

John P. Needham

May 14, 2017

10:43AM

Spring, TX

Klein Oak Mariachi Band

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Klein Oak Mariachi Band

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The Klein Oak HS Mariachi Band - a student run organization, mind you - played in a concert with the KO Jazz Band last night, and I was fortunate enough to attend both, since Bailey plays with the Mariachi Band.

The concert was outstanding. The Jazz Band played a half-dozen terrific pieces, I was amazed at the talent and the obvious hard work of these student musicians.

Since Bailey plays with the Mariachi Band, on a lark I videoed the two pieces with my new phone, and uploaded those to my You Tube channel. Those two videos are below.

First the Mariachi Band played La Bamba:

Klein Oak Mariachi Band, La Bamba, May 8, 2017

The second piece they played was Guadalajara:

Klein Oak Mariachi Band, Guadalajara, May 8, 2017

I think they were terrific. It was a lot of fun watching them play.

John P. Needham

May 9, 2017

8AM

Spring, TX

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Fifteen

This young man turns 15 today. 

Next up will be drivers ed, a driving permit, and eventually, driving all on his own. He is super excited for that.

And Carolyn, Bailey and I could not be more proud of this young man, and the man he is growing into. 

John P. Needham

May 1, 2017

Spring, TX

Sixteen

Sixteen

Wow. John Bailey Needham turned sixteen yesterday. Naturally, that means it is time to post some new images.

Here he is at sixteen. 

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I stiched a few images together to post to FB so here are those now too.

 

And this one...

 

Finally, this last image - Carolyn made her chocolate chip cheesecake with caramel topping. This was at the request of the birthday boy.

 

Bay had a good day. But us, his parents, wow. We could not be more proud of the young man that Bailey has become, and continues to grow into. 

John P. Needham

Spring, TX

January 13, 2017

Region Band Concert - December 10, 2016

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Region Band Concert - December 10, 2016

As many already know from my excessive social media sharing, our 15YO high-school sophomore, Bailey, was awarded a chair in the wind ensemble in the Region 9 (Texas) band. (This was following two rounds of Region Band auditions.)

Last Friday night they had a three hour practice, followed by 8+ hours on Saturday. Aftter just that practice, the band had a concert last Saturday night. I'm not sure I can adequately express how proud we were of Bailey - and of his bandmates here. They learned these five songs in just a few hours of practice, then played a concert at Klein Forest High School. 

The band performed under the direction of Richard Floyd, in his 53rd year of music direction, and who is currently the director of the Austin Symphonic Band.

The first piece they played was This Broad Earth by Steven Bryant (4:47 video):

The 2016 Region Band (Region 9) Wind Ensemble, conducted by Richard Floyd. "This Broad Earth" by Steven Bryant. Performed December 10, 2016 at Klein Forest High School.

Then Mr. Floyd spoke for a few minutes (2:58):

The 2016 Region Band (Region 9) Wind Ensemble, conducted by Richard Floyd. This is comments by the conductor Richard Floyd. Performed December 10, 2016 at Klein Forest High School.

The next piece was Sleep, by Eric Whitacre (4:51):

The 2016 Region Band (Region 9) Wind Ensemble, conducted by Richard Floyd. "Sleep" by Eric Whitacre. Performed December 10, 2016 at Klein Forest High School.

Then the band played Dancing on Water, by Frank Ticheli (8:57). This was a piece Bailey really enjoyed learning and playing.

The 2016 Region Band (Region 9) Wind Ensemble, conducted by Richard Floyd. "Dancing on Water" by Frank Ticheli. Performed December 10, 2016 at Klein Forest High School.

Then the band played a set from Leonard Bernstein (and other composers, 4:27):

The 2016 Region Band (Region 9) Wind Ensemble, conducted by Richard Floyd. "The Bernstein Set" Bernstein/Krance & Bernstein/Sweeney. Performed December 10, 2016 at Klein Forest High School.

They closed with a song called Zing by Scott McAllister (6:06):

The 2016 Region Band (Region 9) Wind Ensemble, conducted by Richard Floyd. "Zing" by Scott McAllister. Performed December 10, 2016 at Klein Forest High School.

John P. Needham

Spring, TX

December 13, 2016

6:06AM

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Klein Oak Band - Winter Concerts, December 6, 2016

Cody (freshman) is in Concert Band this year. Here is one of the pieces that the Concert Band played at the winter concert. (This is the only piece Cody played in.) Cody on percussion.

Hypnotic Fireflies, performed by Klein Oak Concert Band, December 6, 2016.

Bailey (sophomore) is in Klein Oak's Wind Ensemble. Here is their set from the winter concert. The set includes two songs - A Holiday Rhapsody, and Sleigh Ride - and between the song is the band director Mr. Clearwater's comments, and the student recognition. (Students were recognized for Region Band auditions, for getting a chair in Region Band, and for qualifying for the Area Band auditions.)

Both pieces, A Holiday Rhapsody and Sleigh Ride, along with Mr. Clearwater's comments and the student recognition.

John P. Needham

December 8, 2016

6:20AM

Spring, TX

 

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Etudes - December 2016

I shared this over the weekend, but for the sake of posterity: Bailey played trumpet in the Texas Region 9 band auditions on Saturday. He advanced. Definitely worth noting that the top-two trumpeters in Region 9 are from the same school as Bailey. We've said all along that the kids here are getting an exceptional education, especially a fine arts education, at Klein Oak. This is further evidence of that. Mr. Clearwater and his team? Really outstanding.

 Region Band Audition Results

Region Band Audition Results

For Klein Oak (HS) band, Bailey had to record the three etudes that were used to judge the auditions. Since he had to do that anyway, I figured it would be worth it to preserve them on You Tube. So, below, here are the three etudes, as performed by Bailey. He did great. 

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Thanksgiving, 2016

Salute 2016

We hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving. We certainly did. We are very fortunate, and we know that. We're grateful for everything we have. 

We had two turkeys yesterday, had some great friends over, and ate more than anyone really should. 

Now, with Thanksgiving behind us, we look forward to the rest of 2016, and we look forward to whatever 2017 will bring us.

John P. Needham

November 25, 2016

9:42AM

Spring, TX