Far from home, Nigerian-born prep star pursues academic and basketball dreams in Michigan - MLive.com

When Peter Nwoke remembers the last hug he shared with his mother, a smile spreads across his face. It was a hug 10 months in the making and it remains one of his favorite memories. “It was the best feeling ever,” Nwoke said. The hug happened back in 2018 when Nwoke was just 15 years old. He had just completed the long 14-hour flight home from Detroit Metro Airport to his home Lagos, Nigeria, where his sister, Roselyne, was waiting to pick him up and take him home for a three-week stay. When Nwoke’s mother, Adamma, laid eyes on her son, she rushed to him before he made it to the front door. “My mom hugged me for five-straight minutes,” Nwoke said. “I wasn’t even in the house yet.” It was the first time he had returned to his hometown since moving to the United States in 2017 to fulfill an academic scholarship he obtained at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Preparatory, a Catholic boarding school in southeast Michigan. Up until that point, it was the longest Nwoke had ever been away from ho

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Online Music Channel Will Cease Streaming Next Week - Willamette Week

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Online Music Channel Will Cease Streaming Next Week - Willamette Week

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Online Music Channel Will Cease Streaming Next Week - Willamette Week

Posted: 05 Dec 2020 02:13 AM PST

Since 2007, the 24/7 online channel has focused on Portland's music scene, premiering works by local artists and recording live sessions around the city. Now, the program's manager and founder is retiring, and OPB Music will transition its resources to focus more on reporting.

According to program manager David Christensen, the decision was a result of internal changes at the station, as well as the difficulty of streaming while OPB's office are locked down due to the pandemic. Along with Christensen's retirement, the station is restructuring its culture coverage by adding a new executive arts editor position.

"I think those [factors] all kind of came together to raise the question about what platforms were most aligned with OPB's journalism mission going forward," says Christensen. "Where was the most opportunity?"

Though the stream is ending for good, OPB will eventually bring back its studio sessions, which are recorded in-house and at venues around the city. Just before COVID-19 hit, OPB completed a year-and-a-half remodel of its building on Southwest Macadam Avenue, including a new music studio.

"We were testing lighting, trying to get audio controls to work," says Christensen. "And then the pandemic hit and we never got to have the grand opening event that we imagined. 2020 would have been a year for all kinds of music events in the studio."

Christensen says the decision to leave behind OPB Music is bittersweet.

"I understand this and I think there's sound reasons for doing this and that all kind of amazing things will come out of this along the road," he says. "But at the same time, the music channel was the first part of OPB Music. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to grow it over the years, so it's hard to see it come to an end."

Champion of new melodic music reflects on career - Marin Independent Journal

Posted: 05 Dec 2020 12:03 PM PST

When Lee McClure heard a jazz flutist playing aboard an ocean liner to Europe, it was love at first sight. Not long after the then 11-year-old and his family landed in Basel, Switzerland, during his late father and former San Francisco Theological Seminary president, the Rev. Arnold B. Come's sabbatical, he started taking flute lessons.

It was the beginning of the composer and musician's adoration for music, which flourished growing up in Marin, frequenting jazz shows at Sausalito's the Trident and North Beach, and rock shows at the storied Fillmore Auditorium.

Throughout the years, the Drake High School graduate has been a champion for new melodic music, both in his own work and through the Eclectix Chamber Orchestra, which he founded in 1985 and has presented classical and jazz music of more than 130 living composers, noted as "eclectic" and having "bite" by the New York Times.

He created the Eclectix Dance Company in 2007, and produced all its music on electric flute as well as led the group's artistic direction.

The San Anselmo native moved to New York City in 1971 but still spends most summers in Marin.

When he wasn't writing, performing or releasing albums, the 73-year-old drove a New York City taxicab for 45 years.

Q Did you always dream of being a composer?

A I had always dabbled in it from the beginning but very amateurly. When I moved to New York, I got a scholarship to a small music school for private lessons and I was taught about (influential composer) Arnold Schoenberg. For three years, I was studying harmony and I just grew fascinated with it. Finally, I decided to go for a degree in music composition at Brooklyn College.

Q Last year, you put out your major works online for free. What was that like?

A It was neat to see it all in one place. I have done a lot more than I remembered. I ran a concert series for 15 to 20 years,  for new music.  I always had six composers on each concert, me being one of them, and that was pretty impressive. I got four New York Times reviews over the years for the music.

Courtesy of Lee McClure

Lee McClure founded the Eclectix Chamber Orchestra in 1985.

Q You've performed with a self-designed electric flute. How did that come to be?

A It was 1990. There used to be clubs on Bleecker Street, and there was a Latin jazz group playing and the flutist was the leader. He played some famous tune and all I hear are bass notes coming out of the flute. I think, how does it do that, and during the break, he told me, "I use guitar pedals, go up on stage and write down their names, go to music store and buy them." I went out and bought six, and over the years, it turned into seven, eight and got up to 12 pedals. If you go to Bandcamp, there're two albums of electric flute music.

Q What have been some memorable shows featuring your compositions?

A One was the Gregg Smith Singers, a 16-member chorus. They just did the best performance. I walked into the rehearsal and I started crying — it was already perfect. The other group was the Accidentals, an eight-member a cappella group — they were more jazz-pop singers — and they definitely did one of my best performances.

Q What about shows you've played?

A At my mother's funeral, I played a solo flute piece and it was the best I've ever done.

Q Where do you find inspiration?

A I have been inspired by Ravel, Gershwin and others. I'll have this melody, I would say, it's kind of like one of their melodies and I would imitate the gesture. It's my melody, but I would try to do the same gesture in descending scales. But, the melodies just come to me. My teacher at Brooklyn College, who was a fairly well-established composer, said, "Oh, you're one of those." And I asked, "What do you mean?" He said, "Oh, you can come up with a melody anytime you want." I asked, "Some people can't?" I didn't know that.


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