Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Aug 21st
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

 

Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

 

Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.