Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

For My Next Number…

music_JenniferCassSanta Cruz Harp Festival performer Jennifer Cass on the connection between mathematics and music

It’s no secret that many musicians are strongly “right -brained”: Their intuitive and artistic faculties are often much more developed than their powers of reasoning and analysis. One notable exception is local pedal harpist Jennifer Cass, who also happens to be a math teacher at Cabrillo.

“I really like my life, where I have my math side, but I think the way I teach is a little bit more global,” Cass states. The musician claims that while she doesn’t consciously try to combine the disciplines of music and math, they have a way of mixing together naturally. “For me, they’re both about patterns and structure,” she offers. “That’s what I try to get across to my math students: looking for the beauty in mathematics; not just, ‘Factor this polynomial, follow these steps, and you’ll get an answer. It has to be right or wrong.’”

Cass says she’s more interested in the aesthetics of math than in the mathematics of music. “I don’t like to analyze the music as much,” she notes. “Music, for me, is more of an experiential thing, and I try to let it be what it is.” Nonetheless, the harpist’s mathematical pursuits have sharpened her ability to see structures, which in turn enhances her understanding of a given piece of music. “Beyond just a pretty melody or something, I can see why it is what it is,” she explains.

On Sunday, Dec. 20, Cass performs Marcel Samuel-Rousseau’s “Variations Pastorales sur un Vieux Noel” at Community Music School of Santa Cruz’s s 6th Annual Harp Festival. Though Cass’ performance is sure to please, she’s quick to note that the concert’s main attraction is a performance by the Community Music School Harp Orchestra, comprised of harpists of all ages, including lots of kids. Along with Celtic, Middle Eastern, African, Asian and Quebequois harp music, the ensemble will play tunes by Cat Stevens and Kim Robertson. Various soloists and smaller groups will perform as well: While Cass will be representing the classical pedal harp, the event also features Tonie Ogimachi on modern harp, Midyne Spear on electric harp and Jesse Autumn on double-strung harp. The concert is a CD release party for Autumn, who will be playing with folk harpist/Chinese flutist Shelley Phillips and cellist Barry Phillips as well as solo. During the show’s intermission, students from the Harp Orchestra will be leading an instrument “petting zoo” for audience members curious to try out the harps themselves.

Community Music School is helping fill what Cass perceives as a void in today’s education system. The harpist wonders aloud whether the lack of arts instruction in present-day schools is affecting students’ academic success in other areas. “I’m saddened these days—it used to be that I could ask my math students, ‘Who has ever played an instrument?’ and most of the hands would go up,” she remarks. “And I’d say, ‘OK, well, it’s just like learning an instrument: You have to practice your math, just like you practice your scales.’ These days, when I ask that question, hardly anybody puts their hands up anymore.”

Cass will no doubt be uplifted by the sight of all the kids in the orchestra at Sunday’s event, as will audience members. “It’s just very, very cute,” Cass says of the spectacle.

Along with its music classes and concerts, Community Music School of Santa Cruz offers such programs as an annual Kids’ Camp and a service called Music Match, through which the school supplies musical instruments to people and organizations in need. Those interested in volunteering or donating money or instruments can learn more at communitymusicschool.org.
Photo Credit: Bernadette Wilson


The 6th Annual Santa Cruz Harp Festival takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 515 Frederick St, Santa Cruz. Admission is free; donations benefiting the Community Music School of Santa Cruz are gratefully accepted. For more information call 426-9155.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way

 

What's your all-time best Skyview Flea Market score?

Santa Cruz | eBay Business

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.