Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
August 2012
vol 8 no 7
I don't like to think of myself as a procrastinator. Just too busy, I say. However it happens, this time I slipped off the back edge. Although I'm sending this newsletter about 20 minutes into September, I'll pretend it's still August (until I get up from my office chair).
Hope this month finds you well. Here is some of what's happening ...

Featured Performance
The Chestertown Jazz Festival revives this year, after being dark since 2006, and I'm delighted to have been invited to perform, in a roster that includes regional and national jazz artists, including Felicia Carter, Giacomo Gates, and Frederic Yonet. After some preliminary activities in the morning, including the locally acclaimed 100 voice choir, the Joe Holt Trio  kicks off the jazz band sets (5 groups in all), at 12:05 (the time has already changed a couple of times, so stay tuned, and stay loose). Looking forward to performing, for the first time, as the Joe Holt Trio with Mike Buccino on bass and Mike McShane on drums. Can't wait!  
Joe's Schedule Highlights
Featured performances and shows:
 SATURDAY 9/15/12: 12:30pm
The Joe Holt Trio performs in the Chestertown Jazz Festival
Mike McShane and Mike Buccino join Joe for the 12:05 slot in this year's festival, which features a solid line up of local, regional and national jazz performers. Plan to make a day of it. More info at:

SUNDAY 10/7/12: 2pm
Joe performs solo piano in concert at the Community Arts Center,
Wallingford, PA
Presented by the Tri State Jazz Society , this is a return performance for Joe, performing classic jazz and stride, including selections from his new CD release "In the Spirit of Dave McKenna"  

Joe also performs with:

SUNDAY 9/2/12: 7:30-10pm 
 Dixieland Direct, at the Zoo Bar , Washington, DC
Another opportunity to fill in with this top flight band.  The Zoo Bar was voted 1st Runner-Up, Washington City Paper's Best Jazz or Blues Venue 2009, right behind Blues Alley. Be there!

FRIDAY 9/7/12: 7-10pm
 Spontaneous Invention at Hooked Seafood/Martini Bar, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Dave, Mike and Joe check out a new spot. Join us! 
FRIDAY 9/21/12: time tba
Shore Jazz at Jerry's Seafood, Lewes, DE
One shot this month. make it count.

From the Mailbag/Comment Box
Only you could make chopsticks a 'Tour de Force'!! Outstanding!!!

Thank you Joe - I value a comment from such an amazing pianist as you
It's gotta be good!!! I am a big fan of Dave McKenna, AND Joe Holt!!


Wow! I really like that. What a song

Enjoying "Moonglow" very nice indeed... keep on keeping on...


Join the Street Team
I recently received this from a performance venue after a show:
"I have heard wonderful reviews and we were even sent an email by someone who loved it so much she had to let us know".
Spreading the word, and getting the message to the right people.
It really can make a difference.
Thank you! 


In and From the Recording Studio
The new CD; "In the Spirit of Dave McKenna" is fully loaded up, and now in the manufacturing process at Disc Makers! Look for a link soon on my CD Ordering Page
Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist
Excerpted from lesson 2A: Being Your Own Editor (available soon):
Remember (if you're old enough) those little spinet home organs (with 2 manuals and an octave or so of pedal sticks) from another time? These were marketed as easy to learn and play, and there was some truth to that. With 2 manuals (rows of keys), and a pedal board, there was a clear division of "responsibilities" between your two hands and your left foot (your right foot worked the "gas" pedal). Restating and applying the 3 functions/utilities above; the melody was played on the top manual with your right hand. A simplified approach to chording was learned and played by your left hand on the lower manual. And a very basic (chord root) bassline was played by your foot. A clean and simple division of responsibilities. Never mind that the approach was totally boxed in, with little room for growth and learning; it was easy, as advertised. Not so easy (or simplified) at the piano, however. One manual (keyboard), 2 hands, 3 responsibilities. But now the best part: unlimited possibilities!


New (and Noteworthy) on You Tube
Posted since the last newsletter:
Full Concert Video (solo piano)

And from the video post archive:
Somewhere Out There (solo piano)
This was my first post (in 2007) on my long and winding YouTube journey. Had a hard time trying to navigate the ripping software at first, and finally settled for a somewhat distorted screen ration that was less than flattering. But the playing is nice ...

Joe's You Tube Channels: 

Performance documentation channels:


and the 
Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist Channel 


In the "News" (blog)


Featured Article
The (not so) secret compartment of the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown (the music office/choir room), and a happy place for me to visit. I had the privilege, again this year, of filling in for Kate Bennett on her vacation Sundays. As some know, traditional church service music is a big part of my background, and in the shaping of who I am. It also has given me the ability to even more deeply connect with seniors (for whom hymns can have profound meaning), as a music therapist. In many churches, the culture has shifted, and music, save the lyrics, has lost much of it's distinction from that which is promoted to be popular in the general culture. Not every one has bought into this (as a necessary move), nor has every church who has honored and maintained it's traditions suffered. PCC has consistently grown in numbers, and in the influence of it's ministry since it's "back porch" inception in the 1970's. When you enter Chesterown from the north side, on route 213, you are met with the obvious physical evidence of it's growth and influence.
To respect and preserve tradition doesn't means that you don't evolve, or grow, or appropriate new things (some may say that, but I doubt many of their ministries are thriving). What, to me, is most vital in all this, is to maintain the thread. Just as we (inevitably) move toward the future, building on the foundations we create in the present; the past has led us to where we are now, and remains imbedded, even if hidden in the composition of the unseen bedrock, in the structures yet to be conceived. Popular culture, beginning in force in the middle of the last century, has lost sight of this, and now multiple generations have lived their lives, with many severed from a sense of connection beyond what is immediately recognizable (or pleasurable). It can easily be argued that this represents the root of many (or all) of society's "evils"; the rejection of convention, the influence of history, and ultimately, higher authority. What can any one person do? In my view, the starting point is simple: plug yourself back in. Stand apart from your (self, and cultural) conditioning, to hear the "voice" of God, see the "hand" of God, feel the "touch" of God, in a continuing thread throughout the timeline of history. This is the "gospel" I seek to "preach", when I sit at the piano (whether to myself if I am alone at home, or to those around me in any performing venue). A wise church ministry recognizes that God is revealed not only from the pulpit, but in all creation, all around. In essence, when I sit at the piano, I allow my personal prayer (connection) to become public, and what is revealed to me in that moment (manifest in created sound) becomes a shared experience. The thread is woven from back to front, and from side to side. We are called to embrace it.  
Welcome home, Kate. I will look forward to your smiling presence (no organist is supposed to be that happy) and artistic contributions as I return to "civilian" life in the pew. Thanks for the opportunity to plug into my own history, and continue the thread.

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