Year in Review/Looking to 2018

Hey, folks! As we move into 2018 I wanted to take a minute to do what we're all called on to do at this point of the year and reflect on all of the goings ons of the last 12 months. I'll go ahead and break things up according to the three main facets of my musical life: Composing, Arranging, and Performing.

Composing / [Score.]

I'll be the first to admit that since my 2013 sabbatical, my music composition goals have mainly taken a backseat to other endeavours. In 2014 I was getting acclimated to full-time employment; in fall 2015 I composed original music for Seattle-based puzzle experience company Locurio's first escape room, The Vanishing Act; and in 2016 I spent my available time on dreaming up The Hard Modes and getting back into gigging.

In the summer of 2017 I had the fortune of being hired to compose for Locurio's second escape room, which is set to open in January. I'm actually putting the finishing touches on the music now, so I'm looking forward to sharing it with you in detail within the next few weeks.

2018 Goals
+ Compose some new originals.
+ Start compiling a new demo. 
+ Refine skills, especially on the production side of things.

Arranging / The Hard Modes


At the beginning of the year I took 3 weeks of unpaid leave from work to finish all of the arrangements that I had started in years prior for my video game music jazz group, The Hard Modes. During my time off I completed 6 out of 7 tunes, and then a few months later I arranged an 8th track on a whim.

After getting a high off of meeting my goal for the break, I faced my biggest challenge of the year. In the months between completing the arrangements and the band's first practice session at the end of July, I struggled to find five other players in my network that could commit to being a part of this project, mostly due to scheduling and availability.

In the end, though, things worked out great. We got the music down, debuted it to a crowd of about 40 people, and got a lot of positive feedback.

In the months since the show - after getting married and going on a honeymoon - I tried to spread the word about the band a bit via the OCRemix forums. I didn't gain as much traction as I had hoped (though part of that, I think, is due to me being pretty bad at committing to being an active member of online forum communities).

Our next gig is set for February 16th in Charlottesville, and I've already begun work on my next arrangement. Also, to make scheduling easier, I've started to get another one of my bassist friends up to speed on the music.

2018 Goals
+ Finish the elusive "7th tune" and add at least 4 other tunes to the group's repertoire.
+ Gain more notoriety locally, in nearby cities, and on the internets.
+ Get more gigs in Charlottesville, perform in Richmond, and gun for MAGFest 2019.
+ Continue my secret recording ambitions.

Performing / CJC


My traditional jazz group, the C'ville Jazz Congregation, had a great year overall. While we did lose the weekly gig we had done for about a year and a half, we did establish relationships with a number of other playing locations in the area. One of the best notes about this year was that we played more quartet and quintet gigs this year, which I hope to continue doing as regularly as possible.

On a more personal note, I fulfilled a life goal (seriously) of buying a soprano sax with cash. I'm so thrilled to finally own a soprano and play it along my tenor on every gig.

2018 Goals
+ Expand our repertoire to include members' original tunes/arrangements.
+ Establish working relationships with more venues to fill out our calendar.
+ Push for more quartet/quintet hits.

What are your ambitions for the new year? Looking forward to 2018 being fruitful for us all!