Dan Racer teaches bass, music theory, composition and directs the Chamber Orchestra at Friends University. He is an active musician in the Wichita area performing as principal bassist for the Wichita Grand Opera and as a jazz bassist with many groups in the Wichita area. He also is an active composer with works in a variety of genres from classical to jazz and beyond. Many of his works have been premiered by Friends University ensembles as well as musicians in Wichita and around the world.
Arleigh Aldrich has been a cellist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra for five years. She grew up in the Wichita area and was cultivated by the thriving music community. She graduated from Wichita State University with her degree in marketing, and works for the orchestra as a marketing and public relations manager.
John Cage, one of the most influential and revolutionary composers of the 20th Century, was born almost exactly 100 years ago. He was very well schooled as a composer, but it seems as though his mission was to reject nearly every compositional technique he was taught, and instead push the boundaries, even the very definition of music. His results were, to say the least, interesting.
As jazz continues to evolve, what becomes a standard in the jazz repertoire has also changed.
One of the most remarkable things about jazz in '40s and '50s was how musicians could appropriate a popular song and turn it into a jazz composition. It was a beautiful artistic juxtaposition - someone could hear a song sung in a film or on a Broadway stage, and then the same night hear that song turned into a bebop tour-de-force in an after-hours jazz club.
Wichita's James Paul is a solo musician but he can claim deep support from some fellow performing artists--his family.
It's easy to hear some musical influences in Wichita singer-songwriter James Paul's music. Gospel and soul are clear touchstones. But there are also touches of folk and country music, elements, he says, that came from two of his biggest direct influences, his mother and father.
For the past decade, vinyl records have been making a comeback. Today, LPs are the fastest-growing medium for recorded music. One estimate of sales for last year is four million—impressive in an industry that has been shrinking since the early 1980s.