There are some people we try to avoid (sometimes unsuccesfully) and other people we are very happy NOT to avoid, who keep catching up with us wherever we happen to be. Thankfully, this is the case with my old buddy, Glen Velez, who’s group, Trio Globo will be performing and giving workshops this Thursday & Friday at Meramec College, and in collaboration with the Meramec Orchestra and Choir are sure to produce two really amazing days of music. (See info. below)
To make a very long story not too long, in the early ‘70s, Glen and I both happened to be assigned to the same Army band, touring various beer festivals in Germany. (Here’s where you DON’T need all the details) – only to know that it was usually Glen, myself, and sometimes a few other guys who would leave the group to visit the Cathedral at Ulm or the Kunst Museum in Munich while the others stayed back and had that second or third really thick, German beer.
Before that, we were both at Ft Hood, Texas, he in the 1st AD, I in the 2nd, and one thing does stand out in my memory: Since there were not a whole lot of cathedrals and museums around, Glen could usually be found hanging back in the bus, before and after the gig, practicing alone with sticks or a frame drum, not to waste a minute of valuable time, and when we were stuck on the post in Germany, Glen could usually be heard off in the corner of the band hall practicing arpeggios incessantly on a marimba or vibraphone. In other words, if you can project this image of his work habits and enthusiasm from way back then to the present, you do NOT want to miss the workshops and concerts coming up at Meramec College!
So to continue (I’ll be quick), just a few years after our stint in Germany we both wound up together in New York (That’s not quite as coincidental. You know how the saying goes, “If you just stand on the corner of Broadway & 48th St., you’ll run into everybody you’ve ever known”). I was recording my pieces with Elvin Jones, Rick Cutler and Billy Mintz (and occassionally borrowing one of Glen’s very special cymbals), and Glen was just starting out with Steve Reich and Musicians. What a thrill it was to hear that group premiering all those early minimalist works in lower Manhattan lofts! The spaces may have seated only 50 – 75 people, but many more would be crouched tightly on the floor and pressed up against the walls, Steve Reich playing Djembé (or some other drum); Glen, fronting a row of mallet players; Jay Clayton blending in with a trio of singers; and after a while you just thought you might float away to a very special place….. and maybe even forget about that cramp in your right knee!
So be sure to come out (There’ll be seats, I promise.) and hear this latest incarnation of his long and varied musical career. Here’s a link to his website to keep you entertained until Thursday: http://www.glenvelez.com/ It has a great video of Glen playing a frame drum; also, Google in his other videos with longtime duo percussionist, Layne Redmond.
Thursday, April 23
Noon Trio Globo Opening Concert in the Meramec Theatre
1:30 Choir rehearsal, Eugene Friesen, HW102
2:30 Overtone singing, Glen Velez, HW102
3:30 Harmonica Workshop, Howard Levy, HW102
3:30 Improvisation/spoken word- Eugene Friesen, Theatre
7:30 Dress Rehearsal, Trio Globo with the Meramec Orchestra and
Friday, April 24
10 a.m.-noon String Workshop, Eugene Friesen, HW102
10 a.m.- noon Improv and Movement, Glen Velez and Howard Levy HE131
1:30 p.m. History of Harmonica, Howard Levy, HW102
2:30 p.m. Percussion workshop, Glen Velez, HW102
3:30 p.m. The New Cello, Eugene Friesen, HW102
7:30p.m. Trio Globo Concert with Meramec Orchestra, Concert
Choir, Arts students, Theatre
Residency at Meramec Community College next week
For information on the following workshops and concerts please call the
Community Relations Office at 314.984.7529 or the Meramec Music
Department at 314.984.7639.