Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions-Concertmistress Interview

Karen Lowry-Tucker
I recently talked to Karen Lowry-Tucker, concertmistress (first chair first violin) of the Washington D.C. performances of “Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions” about her history as a musician and her experience playing the music of the Pokémon games.

Where are you from originally, and how did you get into playing music for a living?
I am from Louisville, KY and I started playing the piano at age 5. I was introduced to the violin in elementary school, so I pursued both instruments.

How familiar were you with the Pokémon franchise before you started practicing for this concert?
I remember when Pokémon first debuted, but had not followed it.

What did you think of the music for this concert overall?
The music was phenomenal. There were some passages that were difficult but fun, and there were some very beautiful lyrical passages. It was well written and well-arranged and felt at times to me like a Hollywood action movie score.

As concertmistress, did you have any specific responsibilities in regards to the music? 
I spent a lot of time marking the bowings for my section so they would be uniform. This is one  of the duties of the concertmaster, or concertmistress in my case. We had two days to learn the music and I spent the better part of both of those days learning the notes and marking my part. The concertmaster’s markings are usually copied into the other parts in advance by a music librarian. Since a librarian is not usually hired for this type of job, it was my responsibility to arrive early to the first rehearsal and lend my part to my fellow violinists so they could copy my markings.

How many times did you get to rehearse with the rest of the orchestra?
We had two rehearsals before the performance and this great freelance orchestra nailed it in my opinion.

What was it like actually performing the music in front of an audience? What did you think of the way the crowd reacted to the music?
Since I am a member (not the concertmistress, however) of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, I love opportunities to be out of the pit or “above ground” as I call it, and actually see the audience. The crowd was “electric”. It was a force that reminded me of a rock concert. To these fans it must have been phenomenal to hear the digital tunes they all knew played by a live orchestra. I definitely felt the energy in the concert.

Is there a particular piece from the concert that was your favorite? 
My favorite piece was “Songs of the Tower”. I loved the writing and I loved putting my spin on the solos.

What else have you had the opportunity to play during your orchestral career? 
I am a classically trained musician and symphonic and opera music are a part of my soul. However I have enjoyed different genres as well. I have had the chance to perform excerpts from Hollywood movie scores such as “Wall-E”, “Star Wars”, etc.

I have played with R&B stars and rock stars, symphonic “Pops” concerts and musicals like “The Producers”, “Phantom of the Opera”, etc. My fondest memory was playing in a backup orchestra on “Saturday Night Live” for Vanessa Williams!

My latest passion is chamber music and I especially enjoy playing in a string trio. We like to take time to go in the schools and give children’s concerts. It’s personally my way of “giving back”. We have fun programs that introduce young audiences to classi¬¬cal music and hopefully inspire them to pursue the arts. That’s how I began. A woman came to my school and did a string demonstration and I was hooked!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Preview: Geek.Kon 2014

I recently got a chance to interview Adam Pulver, public relations representative for Madison-area convention Geek.Kon, to get some info on this year's event:

How did Geek.Kon get started?
Once upon a time, a bunch of students at the University of Wisconsin got together and said, "Conventions are fun. We should start one." They had no idea what they were doing, but they figured it out and ran two very successful free conventions on campus. After that, we moved to a hotel and we've been growing and getting bigger and better ever since.

Who are some of this year's guests?
We have some great guests this year. One of the most anticipated is Martin "LittleKuriboh" Billany of Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged fame. This year's voice actor roster includes Chris Cason, Tia Ballard and Marianne Miller. We also have a very funny geek-oriented comedian Joseph Scrimshaw, game designer and artist John Kovalic, and comic artists Christopher Jones and Mark Stegbauer.

There's a Pokemon video game tournament at this year's event. When will that be?
The XY tournament is noon on Sunday.

There are also tournaments for Super Smash Bros. Melee, Brawl, and Mario Kart 8. When are those?
Melee is 7:00 pm on Friday, Brawl is 7:00 pm on Saturday. Mario Kart 8 is 3:00 pm on Saturday.

Where can people find more information about the convention?
Our website is geekkon.net. We're also on Facebook and Twitter @Geekkon. Our online schedule at geekkon2014.sched.org/ is a great tool for getting information on events up to and at the con.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pokemon World Championships 2014-Opening Ceremony

What's the latest on Mega Slowbro? Find out in the 2014 Pokemon World Championships opening ceremony:


Pokemon World Championships 2014-Site Tour

Here's a tour of the Pokemon World Championships 2014 event site:


In the tour, we visit:

-Registration
-Information desk
-Pokemon TCG Online
-Creative Corner
-Main stage

And more!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New music for the week of 8/11/2014

There are another three tracks from Pokemon Movie 17 on the station:

-To Xerneas Again
-Everyone Loves Diamonds
-Mega Diancie

Happy listening!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Pokemon TCG Furious Fists interview debuts following today's Top 25 Countdown

Last weekend, I conducted an interview at a Pokemon TCG Furious Fists prerelease. That interview will debut following today's Top 25 Countdown. In the interview, we go over:

-Eevee
-Sylveon
-Mega Lucario EX

We also discuss how he moved from collecting cards to playing the game. The countdown starts at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central, so be sure to tune in!

Missed it?


Monday, August 04, 2014

New music for the week of 8/4/2014

Three new tracks this week, all from Pokemon movie 17:

-Indulge in the Sea of Diamonds
-Fashion Show
-The Thieves Attack

Happy listening!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

*NSYNC's "Somewhere, Someday" on iTunes & Amazon MP3 + Pokemon TCG for Game Boy Part 37

Update: The album is now also available on Amazon MP3.

Two videos this week. First, "Somewhere, Someday", *NSYNC's song from the soundtrack to Pokemon: The First Movie is now available for individual purchase on iTunes as part of the recently released "The Essential *NSYNC". You can find more information in this video:


As it turns out, members of the band weren't actually aware of the album until it got released.

Additionally, here's the latest part of my playthrough of the Pokemon TCG for Game Boy:

Monday, July 28, 2014

PokePress in Japan-Part 5-The Pokemon Center

Our tour of Japan concludes with a stop at the Tokyo Pokemon Center. What did I get? You'll have to watch to find out:



If you'd like to check out the entire series, it's available as a playlist.