Monday, December 21, 2009

Video from Alu Like...

Here are a couple of the videos from our recent Alu Like performance...

The World is New (Save Ferris)

Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper)

You can find more on our YouTube channel:

Also, here's a heads up - we'll be playing again in January for the Lab School homecoming festivities. We'll have special alumni guests joining us and we'll be joined again by Thee Laborettes singing some cool new songs... mark your calendars for Saturday afternoon/evening on the 23rd of January!

See you soon,
The Funk Band

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Big Day...

Pride. Relief. Accomplishment. Excitement. Hunger. Achievement. In addition to wanting to do the whole thing all over again, these were just a few of the feelings we had as we sat down to share our celebratory meal after last Saturday's Alu Like performance. Like all things, after 3 months of anticipation, the big day came and went - and faster than we expected. Our performance included a mixture of nerves and excitement, aloha attire, nice black shoes and polished instruments, all contributing to make it a fun day for everyone.

Our hard work and practice over the course of 3 months helped to create Funk Band history. Not only was it the first time we've ever performed with freshman members, it was also the fastest we've ever compiled a full-length, 45-minute set list (9 songs!). However, as with all accomplishments, we couldn't have done it all on our own. We have to thank our friends and family and all the great folks at Alu Like (especially Auntie Lani and Kalehua) for helping and supporting us. Not only did we get the opportunity to perform for a great cause, but Kalehua even got us on the radio the day before to promote the event, play some of our music and hang out in the radio station - how cool is that? And not to mention Mr. Jeremiah for supporting and believing in us (and making sure we had a place to rehearse!) and the other Lab School faculty members who came to watch us play. And of course, there's always Mr. Agena who was there with his 3 video cameras documenting our show - be sure to check out our YouTube channel for the some new video posts! And of course, we had lots of special guests sharing the stage with us and filling out our sound and even taking over the lead vocals for our hana hou, I'm Yours. Thee Laborettes (we missed you Alexis!) lent us their beautiful voices on most of our songs, as did our ubiquitous and distinguished alumnus, William Pascua, who always seems to be there when we need him. And Marc James Uy (with help from The Laborettes) in addition to helping Melissa on Time After Time, sang a beautiful version of Jason Mraz's superhit, I'm Yours. They all worked hard and our performance would not have been the same without them.

Now that we've got the ball rolling, we're all looking forward to more upcoming performances. Next week, Tuesday and Wednesday, we'll be performing for the ULS Japanese sister schools. It'll be a chance to do a number of mini-performances in a short amount of time and work out more of the kinks in our set list. Farther ahead, the Funk Band will also perform for the Homecoming festivities in the latter part of January and our school's recyclathon in February. Be sure to check back for more details and more performance dates!

Of course for now, after the Thanksgiving holiday, we'll be heading back into the woodshed to continue practicing. We have some new songs we'll be doing with Thee Laborettes, more funk, more world music and more surprise guests in the works. And we promise to try and keep up with our blog posts!

So we're looking forward to seeing you in our audience soon, but in the meantime, keep groovin' green!

The ULS Funk Band

Friday, October 30, 2009

Funky Status...

Greetings Funk Band Fans!

Well, we're only a few weeks away from our first performance and we're really stoked. We've all been practicing hard. We have revamped some old songs from last year with the help of our new players and, even though it's been a challenge to balance school, music and sports, the band and the music are most definitely starting to gel.

From our rocking percussion section to our smooth saxes, we're developing a brand new sound for the band. This new sonic territory includes some surprises that will leave you wanting more. Now, not to worry, even though our blog posts are sporadic, our music practice is not.

We're also continuing to learn about the big picture including relating important messages (like about grooving green!) and positive vibes with our music. We're like a pebble in the big pond, sending out ripples of green funky positive vibes.

Speaking of good causes, we'll be playing for Alu Like's Literacy Fair (see the cool poster above) which supports their Native Hawaiian library. The fair starts at 10 a.m. and goes 'til 3 p.m. and you can catch us on-stage at 1:00 p.m. With the performance just a few weeks away, mark your calendars for November 21st for the funk band's debut in the local community performance circuit. We hope to see you there (458 Keawe Street in Kaka'ako). In addition to hearing us, a bunch of other great local performers will be on hand (check out the poster!), including Natalie Ai Kamauu, Danny Carvalho and the Lab School's own 4th and 5th grade ukulele wizards (catch them at 10 am).

But we've get back into the woodshed and polish our repertoire, so...

...'til next time,

The Funk Band

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meet Shawn...

Dear Funk Band Fans/Readers:

Some of you may not know me yet. My name is Shawn V. - I play drums and I have been playing and taking lessons for 3 years. I am in the 9th grade and playing drums is my passion and my favorite hobby.

I'm going to start off by talking a bit about practice. Practice is essential! I try to practice everyday, but with school, homework and sports, it is tough. When I practice, I try very hard not to make mistakes, because if you keep playing wrong notes, your body and mind will adapt to that and you will think you are playing it right when you're not. I think that you should always practice on your own when you can, so when you practice with the band, you know what it sound like and you know your part.

On November 21st, we will perform for the first time this school year, so mark your calendars. We have a really good set list and we'll be playing a variety of songs. I can't wait to play, and I'm sure that everyone who shows up to hear us play won't be disappointed.

I am glad that I joined the Funk Band and I have no regrets. The whole band is amazing and everyone sounds really good. If you did not know already, this is the first year of 9th graders and Funk Band is no longer an elective for grades 10-12. I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to be in the Funk Band.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

And We're Back!!

Greetings Funk Fans...

It's great to be back in school and in the funk groove. This year even though things are different, we're feeling the potential to be better than ever, so we're all extremely excited. Although we lost two people from last year, we have gained some amazing new players who will definitely spice things up for us. We're stoked to start playing again, but we know it will take hard work and discipline to get us ready to hit the stage.

As always we have a diverse repertoire that we're developing and guess what? We have horns again! Not only that, for the first time ever, freshman are now in the band and will most certainly bring a few new dishes to the table. For all our devoted fans who've been following us over the years, don't worry - we have a few surprises waiting in the wings.

We're looking at our first performance being on November 21st. Check back soon for all the details and don't forget to Groove Green...

Mahalo for keeping in touch,
The ULS Funk Band

Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Day Playing!!!

Hey Funkband Fans!

Today was our first day playing instruments together as a group. It was a lot of fun, but we still have a long way to go before we can starting performing. We are working on a really fast upbeat ska song with awesome horn solos and a very classic ballad which I'm sure most of you have heard before. I'm not going to say the names of the songs just yet. You'll just have to come and see our performances in order to find out. :)

This year, we moved all our equipment from the band room over to the orchestra portable. At first, we were all a little worried it would sound terrible in there, but it actually wasn't bad. We didn't get a single bit of feedback :)...yet. I hope it stays that way.

As far as how we did on our first actual rehearsal day, I think we did okay. I was happy that most everyone sort of knew their parts - the new funk band members are getting off to a good start. I am proud of them.

I hope we can all keep up the hard work and that our rehearsals will continue to get better and better. Come visit the funk band website soon for new updates. We'll be posting more information about our upcoming performance on November 21st. (Mark your calendars!)

Much love,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ala Moana CenterStage

Friday was our performance at Ala Moana CenterStage. It was amazing! I had so much fun and everything went so well. Setting up the stage took a while. It is really hard transporting all our equipment from school to Ala Moana and I really want to thank the parents who helped and the siblings and friends who helped as well.

After the stage was all set up and we were back stage, I felt so jittery and nervous. I don't remember being as nervous last year as I was this year. The whole week before Friday I kept trying to imagine the performance and it went better than I could have hoped for.

Iris was so good! The one song I was so extremely nervous about went as best as it could. I actually got compliments on my singing and it felt so good because I was afraid my voice would sound bad. And I also want to thank the orchestra for not sounding too bad either!

Once the performance was over I couldn't stop smiling. I just couldn't believe it was over - all our hard work for the year was done. When I think about it, it's pretty amazing how we went from the horrible performance on Friday Funk on the Lawn to an amazing performance at Ala Moana. I couldn't be happier.

Though this year is over for Funk Band, it certainly has been a year of ups and downs. And we'll be back next year, so don't forget about us - the Funk Band.

Have a good summer,

Performance '09

This year's Ala Moana performance was a TRIP. I literally felt like I was onstage for a total of 5 minutes. All our preparation and stress was over in what felt like a matter of minutes.

I don't know about anyone else, but I was extremely nervous. Again, right as we were about to go onstage, I started getting the shakes and the sweats. Trust me on this one, it wasn't my best look. Anyway, we went onstage and everyone who loves us was out in the audience smiling and excited. That was what made me feel at least a tad bit better, and as soon as we started playing I felt like we were back in the band room, only with a lot of people watching us.

I know I didn't play everything perfectly, and even though that is what I was striving for I still feel that I did the best that I could and I am happy with it. I know it wasn't a perfect performance, but afterward everyone said they loved it, which made me feel good. I was part of something that made others happy and I did it through music. Which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

All in all, I would say this year's performance was a success in that we made others happy through our music. Not to mention we were able to come together as a band and as friends.



P.P.S. I still have t-shirts (a limited amount) if anyone is interested.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


The performance was amazing! I had so much fun! I had a voice problem but I think I pulled through. I had a fever the day before and I ate well and drank a lot of water and I got it down for the performance. The only problem was I had a bad cough. While I was performing I lost my voice mid-singing, but I made it sound like part of the song (I tried) and I tried to keep my voice steady but it faltered only sometimes. I think my over all performance was good.

I also learned how my nerves work. I don't get nervous until 30 seconds before we go on. But it goes away during the first song. I feel that the more I perform, the easier it gets, and the more fun it gets!

I also learned that honey helps a hurt throat so much! I was so surprised when I ate raw honey, my throat was all better, but then halfway through, my voice gave out and I had to recover quickly but the honey was amazing.

Well, thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the show!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Ala Moana Concert...

Dear Readers,

We just finished our Ala Moana Concert and it was awesome. The whole day was crazy. The whole day I was freaking out and getting nervous as the performance came closer. We packed up at 3:30 and went to Ala Moana to perform. We had 6 cars carrying musical instruments and gear for the concert. It felt like we were a real rock band.

When we got there, I felt like the adrenalin came to me. We set up and sound checked and headed back stage to get ready for the big show. When we started to play, the concert went by so fast. It felt like as soon as we played Tighten Up (our first song) we played Breakdown (which was our last song).

My favorite songs that we played were Sweet Darlin' and Iris. Our harmony in Sweet Darlin' was so tight. Also, I loved how the accompaniment of the orchestra filled the song Iris.

I want to perform again. Readers, if you are wondering if I am coming back next year, I am proud to say I am going to be in Funk Band next year (if we have one). So this will be my last blog. I will catch you next year. Don't worry, Mr. Zorn, I will practice during the summer OK?

Catch you later,
Micah G

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Final 2 Weeks...

Dear Readers,

The final two week are coming by fast and I am pressuring out. I have two weeks to be confident and ready for the big day when we play at Ala Moana Center Stage. I am more pumped to play than nervous. Well, that will probably change as the performance comes closer and closer.

I hope we will kill it in all the songs. I hope Claire starts it up with a kickin' groove on Tighten Up! I also hope our harmony in Kouman Sa Ta Ye is spotless. I hope Spirits in the Material World will have a great upbeat tempo for the crowd to love. I hope Max makes everyone have a beautiful day when sings Beautiful Day. I hope I don't screw up in Sweet Darlin'. I believe that Melissa is going to make Iris great with the accompaniment of the orchestra.

Hopefully we will rock it and see you there at Center Stage!

Catch you Ala Moana,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nervous Nelly...

I don't know when it happened, but someone definitely pressed the fast forward button on time. All of a sudden it is only a couple of days before our first Friday Funk on the Lawn, which will take place this upcoming Friday, (April 17th) right after school around 2:50 p.m. I have been practicing, but I am still very nervous. My palms definitely sweat whenever I think about it.

I don't exactly know where my nervous anxiety is coming from, but I think it could be a number of things. It could be from the fact that I might have to emcee again this year. Talking to a crowd and trying to motivate them is definitely not as easy as it looks. Especially for me, because when I get nervous I start talking faster and faster, and then words start coming out before I've even thought of them yet. A can of paint becomes a pan of caint. Great will become grood because I started off saying great and ended up saying good. Almost... Hopefully, this year those things won't happen. I just need to remember to breathe. Breathing is good. :)

I could also be nervous from the lack of a long productive practice this past weekend. During school days we only have about 30 minutes together, tops and that really isn't enough to put some changes in effect, or do anything other than run through songs or perfect sections we already know. Maybe I could talk to the principal and ask to have a day when funk band is excused from classes, so we can prepare for this Friday. I think he would say yes...don't you think? Perhaps not then, but I know that if we can just practice really productively at home, and put forth a lot of positive energy on Friday, we can do it. I know we can, I just hope my mouth does us justice.

That's all for now -

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ala Moana Rescheduled...

So recently we have found out that we have to cancel our big funk band performance on the last day of school. The reason is because we have to go to the Senior Aloha to help out. But don't worry everyone, because we have rescheduled. May 8th is now the big day. It is the Friday before school is over. So please, all of you, come to our Ala Moana performance.

We currently have a lot of work to do in one month. I really want to be able to play the new songs we are working on - they are all so awesome, but we all really need to get all of our parts down. It's a lot of work getting a single song down - I really hope we get all of them together for you guys.

Oh, and don't forget that this Friday is our first Friday Funk on the Lawn. We will be playing a lot of songs for you guys. So after school, just come out and dance and have fun listening to us.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Recycling, Chilla and T's...

Hey what's up guys!

We just finished sorting the recycling. It's hard work! We were given boxes upon boxes of cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles. We had to sort them into different plastic garbage bags. I must admit, the work is tedious, but it is a lot of fun to be with my fellow band mates. If anyone ever said recycling is easy they are crazy! It's a vast amount of effort to put in in order to save the planet, but it is so worth it!

Not long ago we had an amazing chilla! For two straight days we camped out, read books (books called "Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things" and "Zen Guitar") and played music. The first book was about how much is put into products like coffee and newspaper. It truly amazed me how immoral these companies are and how they use child labor to create their products. The "Zen Guitar" book was about how the mind set of music practice is one of the most important parts of practicing. You can "practice" all you want but if you do not put your mind into it, it can be worthless.

The recording part of our chilla was just awesome. Since I am a vocalist, I got to use a killer microphone and learn how to use the recording software vaguely. It is really interesting. I really like being up there singing and laying down my vocals. It was a really fun and interesting experience and it opened up my eyes to see how it would be to be a working musician. It really appeals to me to become a performer and to record music. There is something about recording - it is fun to think that your recording could be around for all time - even when we are dead and gone, our recording will live on. It is almost difficult to comprehend. I love recording. I hope to get another opportunity like that again.

Guess what?!! If you have not heard, we have t-shirts! What? I awesome! They are made from 100% pure organic cotton or cotton bamboo mix. The shirts are amazingly soft and are a great bargain. They are great for the environment for all you Earth lovers - there were no poisons like pesticides or other harmful dyes used to make our shirts, keeping our rivers and streams and oceans clean from horrible chemicals. But you must hurry - the t-shirts are going fast. Limited on bamboo, we are mainly taking orders for organic cotton so hurry and buy your very own funk band t-shirt. I promise you will love them!

Thanks for checking in!
Until next time, Groove Green!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Recycling Heaven

Who doesn't love the smell of old recycling stench on a Saturday morning?! I certainly do. The smell of crusty soda cans and slimy beer bottles not only smells like support for the Funk Band, it smells like we are helping the environment.

Instead of sleeping in and being lazy while basically creating more trash and wasting more electricity by sitting on the couch watching TV and eating potato chips, I got up early and went to support my band members by loading my car with recyclables. I even solicited some donations from my Girl Scout leader Maggie.

At first when I asked her on the phone, I thought she was exaggerating or making a joke. But when I walked up the stairs and finally saw the walkway to her corner apartment, I realized I didn't need my empty Volvo station wagon, I needed a semi. She told me to bring some help with me, so I brought my father along. I was able to fill my car completely, drop it off at the school, go back for another completely full car load and she still had about a third of what she had in the beginning crowding her front door.

So I definitely want to take time out of this blog to give a shout out to Maggie and say THANK YOU from the Funk Band!

As soon as I got back with the second load, we all got down and dirty and were able to bag up 40 full garbage bags ready for pickup in about an hour. I was very proud of our work. Especially considering how far we've come since our first recycling Saturday. We were all here today and all prepared to work hard.

I hope we can put this money toward getting more of our super-cool t-shirts. We have started selling our Funk Band t-shirts for 15 dollars and I think we are doing really well. People like them so much they are even starting to take sizes that they didn't ask for. Also, the bamboo-t-shirts are a huge hit. I think we have sold out of most of them.

I would definitely want more t-shirts because seeing everyone wearing them around the school makes me smile. We have accomplished many great things with these t-shirts. We have started a wave of school pride, we have promoted the funk band and we have done all this in a completely environmentally friendly way by raising the money with recyclables and using eco-friendly materials for the t-shirts. Which I think is very cool. So contact any funk band member if you want one!

I'm off,

Recycling & Upcoming Events...

Hey viewers!

Today, we were so lucky that the school let us recycle their HI-5 recyclables to gain some money to support our funk band. We started to recycle at nine o'clock and we had many many cans and bottles to clean and sort. It was a very dirty job, but it was fun.

We were also lucky that Claire's girl scout leader was generous enough to donate her cans and bottles to the ULS Funk Band. Her husband used to collect cans and he used to sort all of the cans stacked up in their house - Claire said it was hard just to walk through their house. They had so many that we only took half of their bottles and that was plenty. Just that amount took 2 carloads to bring over to our recycling center. It was incredible how they organized the cans back into their original cases. We were grateful for all of the can donations today.

It looked like we had more cans and bottles recycled this week than the last time we recycled at our school. Hopefully that is true because we can use that money to buy more Funk Band t-shirts to distribute to our friends and family. Also, we might use this money to create a music video for one of our songs. That would be a fun project for our Funk Band to take on. Also, we can use this money to go on our dream band tour around the island or even to the neighbor islands to perform at public events.

Tomorrow, we have a funk band practice. It is going to be fun to brush up on old and new songs again. So this week-end is full of funk band events.

Coming up, we are having our 1st Funk on the Lawn of the year on Friday, April 17th. It is going to be fun to start playing in front our classmates again. I remember that last year's funk on the lawn was fun. So I am expecting it to be awesome. The only thing missing from last year was that we don't have our awesome saxophone player Gavin Vestal back from last year. Man, I miss his jokes and his great playing.

Also, if anyone wants to buy an official funk band t-shirt, you can come to Claire, Tem, Max, Melissa, Kule'a or myself or even Mr. Zorn to purchase it, or if you just have questions about the t-shirts. I hope you can purchase these t-shirts. What makes these t-shirts to special is that they are world-friendly. One style is made out of bamboo, so it is a renewable resource and therefore it is friendly to our Earth. Another style we have is organic cotton, which doesn't use any chemicals that will run off into streams. So both types of t-shirts are friendly to the Earth, cheap and very stylish. They are only 15 dollars. What a deal!

Well, I go to go, so I will catch you later!


Recycling and Rehearsals...

Hey funk band fans!

Today we are recycling at school to make money for the funk band. Pretty much what happens is we get all the recycling trash cans from the whole school and we dump out all the bottles and cans into a big pile. Besides all the bottles and cans from around the school, we bring all of our own cans and bottles that we've saved up at home. And all together that is a lot of cans and bottles. So after everything is in one big pile we separate the aluminum cans, the plastic bottles and glass bottles. Sometimes it is really gross because people throw some pretty reandom and disgusting things into the recycling cans. Ewww! There were orange peels, pancake on a stick and lots of bugs. Thank goodness we had plastic gloves - it would really suck if we had to pick up everything without them. Anyway, at least for everything we recycle today we will get cash in return!

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are coming in to start rehearsing again. We have six more weeks 'til the end of school, which means five more weeks until our big performance at Ala Moana Center Stage! (Friday, May 8th) I'm scared but excited. Last year, it went really well. I just hope it's at least as good as last year. Maybe, hopefully even better. Besides preparing ourselves for our big Ala Moana performance, we are rehearsing for our Friday Funk on the Lab School Lawn, which is the same thing we did last year where we play five or six songs outside the MPB for all you guys.

We are working on a few new songs besides the ones we played for Homecoming. We have Sweet Darling by Fiji, Molde Canticle (jazz/funk by Jan Garbarek), and Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. They are all really good songs. I hope that you all come out and support us at our Friday Funk on the Lawn and just have fun. We might even be selling our CDs of recordings by then.

Oh, and don't forget about our funk band t-shirts for sale! They are going fast and they might be gone soon, so make sure you talk to one of the funk band members to get one. So be here or be square on April 17th (our first Friday performance)!


A Day of Recycling

Today we recycled to raise money for our t-shirts that we ordered. We made a nice design out of our rock etude #9 and it is really cool. It is a black t-shirt with the rock etude written in white and the shirts are made out of either organic cotton or organic cotton and bamboo. It is so soft compared to a regular t-shirt. Mr. Zorn surprised us with them the night we finished our studio recordings. We each got a shirt - everybody took the bamboo because they were 2 times softer than the all-cotton ones. The thing that is really cool is that when you wash it won't fade like regular t-shirts. And we are selling them for only $15 compared to $45.

Today we made 36 something bags of plastics, cans and bottles. It took us about an hour and a half. I wish that people wouldn't be so lazy. They put all of the breakfast foods and trash in the recycling bins, even when the trash can is 2 or 3 steps away. We found a hot dog on a stick (that they serve for breakfast) in the recycling bin. Disgusting! And people waste so much water, soda and juice - we found a bunch of water bottles, soda bottles and a gatorade bottle all still full!

We were so good - we got through the recycling really fast. There was a lot more compared to last month's load and we finished in about the same amount of time. We all knew what we had to do and how to do it. For example, I would go get all of the recycle bins throughout the campus and dump them all into the main pile with everything else. Claire, Tem, Melissa and Max would start sorting the recyclables into all of the trash bags and Micah would wash out all of the bins that I would bring to him. He would spray it all down with the hose in the back of the cafeteria and it is disgusting what comes out of those bins. Once Micah and I are done with our part we go help everyone else with bagging everything. We put the bags in three bins - one for cans, one for plastic and one for bottles. We keep throwing everything from the big pile into the bins and when they get full, we change the bags. That is just basically what we do and the faster we do it the more time we have to chill and relax - and just wait for the truck to show up and take all the bags.

So that's what we did today!
C ya later.

Friday, March 20, 2009

2009 Funk Band T's

Hey guys!

Recently after a long week-end of hard work recording we received our 2009 funk band t-shirts! But these t-shirts aren't just any old t-shirt, they're special. These t-shirts are made of either a hundred percent organic cotton or seventy percent bamboo and thirty percent organic cotton. They are seriously the softest, most comfortable shirts I have ever worn.

These environmentally friendly t-shirts support the funk band and our idea of Groove Green, which means to help save our environment from getting worse. Regular t-shirts are often made from polyester, which is made from oil. So pretty much at this moment, you are most likely wearing oil! So please, help us support the idea of Groove Green by purchasing one of our awesome t-shirts.

Look for any funk band member and ask us for more information about the t-shirt itself or buying one (or two!). Also, look for a notice to be posted in the school bulletin soon. Please, plan on spending some cash for a good cause!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Chilla...

Recently, Mr. Zorn told us about this thing called a chilla, which is an Indian tradition where a musician goes off to an isolated place to play music for 40 days straight without stopping. Then he had an idea that we should do a little mini chilla for one weekend. And during that chilla we would record all of the songs that are ready to be recorded. So we did Waiting on the World to Change, Play That Funky Music, Beautiful Day, All Along the Watchtower (Live!) and some kid's songs for Mr. Zorn's 2nd and 3rd graders. It was a really good experience. It was fun watching everyone play their parts and watch it all being put together like the pieces of a puzzle. We had our own little sections where we would practice our own parts, like up in the classroom. I was in the cafeteria and I set the drums up on the stage. It was so loud because the acoustics were really good - I had people on the other side of the street by the bus stop staring at the school!

When it was my turn to record, I kind of flew through it all at once 'cause it was just the same beat over and over again. I didn't get to put in that many fills because the vocals weren't recorded yet and my fills gotta follow the vocals. It was a good experience that I think every musician should try. I'm glad I got that experience.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recording & Performing

Hey Everyone...

We had a very productive week-end. We got pretty much everything recorded. My favorite song we recorded was Watchtower, but I also loved our versions of Beautiful Day and Waiting on the World to Change. I can't wait to hear the final mixes because at the moment we only have rough mixes. Hopefully we get to do another one of these sessions so we can record all of the new songs we are learning. I got a lot of practice done during the weekend. I think that the best part of our mini-chilla was watching everybody nail their parts for the recordings. I loved hearing the numerous solos we recorded.

Well, from here on out all we have to work toward is our Friday Funk on the Lawn shows and our Ala Moana performance. I hope that we can get enough practice in so our live versions are as good as the recordings we did. Getting the right tone for our instruments live will be another huge challenge for us. I worked out a lot of my settings during the chilla. I got the tones all set but the sound will be very different at Ala Moana. I am super excited for our performance. The chilla gave us a good idea of how we are capable of sounding. I think we definitely are going to learn a lot from our Friday Funk on the Lawn performances. There is really no way to simulate playing live so we are going to have to make some adjustments when we get down there.

The guitar sound running through the computer sounded so awesome through the recording headphones. I think that Micah deserves the biggest high five ever for his Watchtower solo. It's my favorite one. We did such a good job on that weekend and got our stuff, but you have to remember that the classical musicians (in India) do what we did at a higher level and for 40 DAYS. I don't think anyone that I know could handle something like that. I hope we get to have another recording date because we got so much done during this one.

I want to nail all my parts at our performance. Our Ala Moana performance will be the culmination of everything we have done during the year. With a lot more practice we could put on an amazing show. We have worked so hard toward this so there is no way we are going to be unprepared at the time. The Ala Moana performance last year was awesome and I was a spectator because I wasn't in the funk band yet. I think we have even more potential this year because we have a huge set list. I am really excited for the final mix of our recordings. Gotta go practice!

Groove Green,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2 Day Chilla

For those of you who may not know, a chilla is a musical retreat that musicians in India go on - they play music for 40 straight days and nights. They travel to a secluded place with basic necessities and start playing. Eventually, through lack of sleep and constant focus, they start to see visions as they play and since music and spirituality are very closely tied in Indian culture, those visions are very important.

So, inspired by the Indian chilla, the funk band decided to have a mini-chilla of our own. For 2 days, 12 hours each, we came to school with the intention of only focusing on our musicianship. We had our recording studio set up in the band room and practice spaces set up in Mr. Zorn's classroom. We even had some very interesting reading about listening, practicing and a book on the environment.

We had planned to record 7 songs from our repertoire and 5 or 6 songs for the elementary school's music program. I have to admit I had my doubts that we would get everything done. Last year during our 1 day of recording in 12 hours, we only recorded 3 songs with the whole band and 1 song with a couple of people.

However, I was pleasantly surprised on Sunday night when I realized that even through all our interruption and unexpected complications, we managed to get nearly everything we wanted to record.

I was also proud of my fellow band members. Each one has improved so much and they deserve recognition. Melissa's voice was beautiful and her guitar solo in All Along the Watchtower was amazing. Tem's solos get faster and more intricate by the day and yet they always fit into our songs. Max was able to sing on pitch and with volume and emotion, even though he had a sore throat and congestion. Micah was able to record most of his parts perfectly just one time through and he was able to focus and get most of his parts done in a couple of hours. However, Kule'a was the one who made me the most proud. He has come so far since the beginning of the year and played his parts so well. It was obvious he knew the forms and he even added fills we hadn't heard before.

So while we may not have had a perfect chilla, I came home on Sunday night feeling proud and excited to be a part of this year's funk band.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Chilla Sessions

Hey Funk Band Friends,

So... it is 5:25 Sunday afternoon and I'm sitting in the Lab School band room. Today, as well as yesterday, we are recording our songs. We have a total of seven songs that we are in the process of putting together and I'm praying that we get all of them done before 9 tonight. It's a stressful process, recording. Each one of us must play our parts for each song separately and it must be perfect! That's scary, because it seems like a second before your part is being recorded either your mind goes through panic or, if you're confident, you just jam through your part. It's quite complicated and that's not including all the singing to the songs - Max's lead and Micah's and my background/harmony singing.

I think recording the singing is the most fun. We turn off all the lights (because the lights make noise on the recordings) and we sing into the microphone. The room is almost completely dark and it's the trippiest thing ever.

After all that, we gotta edit and put all the songs together. It's a long and tedious process, so wish us luck! And don't worry, our awesome CD will be available very soon. So stay on top of it for future news!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Well-Rehearsed is VERY Important

To be well-rehearsed means that you have practiced so much that you know everything about what you are performing. It means you have formed good habits, and you don't have to think about what you're playing anymore. When you are well-rehearsed enough that you don't have to think about your part you can start to listen to the rest of the band and hear how each part fits together. Being able to play and listen to the rest of the band can help show you your proper purpose in the song.

If the whole band is well-rehearsed, then the performance comes off sounding professional and groovy - if the band doesn't have to worry about their own parts, they can just groove! And then the audience will feed off that energy and it will exponentially grow into a fantastic performance.

That's my theory anyway...


What the Funk Band Means to Me...

Hey guys...

I am just putting up another blog to say what's up and tell you my opinion about how great it is to be in the funk band. Actually, Mr. Zorn doesn't like to call it a class - rather, it is time for life and to express our feelings through music. This is the only class that I can jam and learn how to play different styles of music and also learn the theory of music. I get to play with friends who have the same passion for music as I have.

Students at UH Lab should take this option of joining our group because other high schools don't get the chance to have a course for just jamming to contemporary music. I really love this class and I know my other band mates love this band too.

I gotta go, so I'll talk to you later!

Your band mate,

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our Sound System...

Now, I don't consider myself a particularly technologically advanced person; however, I do mostly understand our sound system. And for that I am proud.

But I think my knowledge of our sound board stems more from my observation skills rather than my knowledge of technology. I can memorize which buttons to press and the order of things to turn on. I can also easily remember which places to plug things into. The differently colored (and shaped) cords only help me in remembering.

That was my train of thought when I first started out. The more I use our PA the more I learn vocabulary. I learn why to use certain knobs or buttons or why not to. For example, I've learned how to turn up someone's volume in 3 different places. First, we have the pre-amp which is right below the mic inputs; then you have the "mix" levels, and finally there is the master volume level. Since I've started, I've learned that the mix levels are used to balance the singers' volumes because we all know that not everyone sings at the same decibels.

Last year during our recording session, I learned not only to record parts, but also many other important things. I learned how to cycle sections of music, to recognize a clip in volume, and that good food can a long way (wink wink, nudge nudge). Hopefully I will be able to remember all the buttons and choices on the recording program by our next session on March 7th and 8th.

Wish me luck,

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Energy of Music Performance...

Why do we perform?

An age old question that brews in the back of our mind. Through my life at least, I have been asking myself that question. Taking funk band as my elective class has given me the opportunity to slowly find the answer to my life long question.

What knowledge I have gained is that people are attracted to energy. Whether it be positive or negative energy people are drawn to it and, what's more, there are many forms of getting energy from outside sources. Music, no matter what kind, will give off a certain energy. The reason people are attracted to music is that they enjoy feeling the energy of the music running through their bodies. My theory on why people love live music and why it makes thousands of people flock to one certain area is that there are two exchanges of energy. With recorded music, there is only one flow of energy, which is to you from the source of the music. With the live music, the energy is exchanged between both the audience and the performers. The emotion and feeling of the music is given to the audience by the performers and the audience gives the energy back to the performers. That is why live music is loved by everyone - there is an exchange between everyone and everyone feels it.

Thanks for reading!

Music Practice...

Hi Everyone!

I've decided to write a little about my practice routine. My practice is essential if I want to build strong technique. I used to rarely ever work with a metronome, but now I realize that timing when playing fast is essential. I usually just use tremolo picking when playing fast but it makes your solos start to sound the same so it's best to make sure your picking stays in time.

I also think a good practice technique is to play the few bars you are working on, walk around the room for 5 minutes and then go back to what you were playing. That is a practice technique that I think helps me and I just wanted to share it with everyone. I have also learned to practice everything very slowly and later attempt to play it fast.

Just a few practice tips there. We need to practice more than ever now because we've applied to play at Ala Moana!

See you in and out of class,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Being in a Band...

Being in the funk band is an amazing experience. I have been playing in the funk band for a year and a half and I've learned so much. I walked into funk band my sophomore year only knowing how to play power chords and not a clue how to read music. Though I still have a lot to learn about music, my skills have tremendously improved.

To me, being in the funk band is about dedication, loyalty to the music and your band mates and believing in yourself. If I didn't have those things, I would have never gotten as far as I have in the last year and a half. Most kids think being in the funk band is just about playing your favorite songs in a band and looking cool because you can play a musical instrument. I'm not going to lie, that was on my mind when I was thinking about joining in the tenth grade. But I've come to realize it is so much more than that. And I'm here to tell all the kids who want to be funk band members in the future, you have to be serious about music, passionate about music and overall just love music.

Oh, and did I mention we're going into the recording studio soon?


Friday, February 20, 2009

Music Practice... difficult? or easy as cake?

Maybe for people like Joe Satriani and Elvis Costello, practicing music was as easy as saying "yes" to a piece of chocolate cake. Most days it's the same for me as well; however, there are those times that a little voice or feeling pops into my head that asks why should I practice bass, when I could just chill out and do something that doesn't require thought?

Those are the days I have to try so hard to push those thoughts out of my head and try to focus my thoughts into a productive practice. Which makes me think about how much harder it is to practice music and how much more skill it takes. It is not like a team practice for sports or a class where you are forced to focus because of a coach or teammate pressure. No, practicing music involves only you and your own motivation.

For very talented musicians like Costello and Satriani, their focused practices became habit. The better ingrained the practice habit is, the easier it is to practice. The easier it is to practice the more progress, the easier it is to learn new material and ultimately perform. Only good things come from this kind of music practice. (Below, Elvis Costello performs with the Liverpool Philharmonic.)

So even though it may be hard to focus yourself and find the time to practice, I think in the end it is so worth it. I know I've improved and created good habits for myself. It wasn't easy and some days are still a struggle for me, but I really think that as difficult as it may seem to motivate yourself to focus and practice efficiently, it comes with serious benefits.

These are my thoughts for now,
Claire (an eager, but sometimes struggling, good habit practitioner)

Performing in a Band...

Being in a band is a lot harder than people think.

Most people think that you have to practice a lot and rehearse, but that's not all there is to it. You have to focus while you practice. This is my first experience in a band. We have performed for the visiting Japanese students and also for the Homecoming concert after the games. Both times I was very nervous and my foot on the high hat kept shaking. And that made it hard to keep the high hat down.

It is different on stage compared to being in the audience. It feels really different because everyone is watching what you do, so you don't want to do anything stupid or mess up your part.

But it is all worth it in the end. To be able to be in a band - that is a good experience.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recycling Drives...

Hello Funk Fans!

Now that we have just had our Homecoming performance, we are gearing up for the next two big events. We are hosting 2 more recycling drives so please come down with your HI-5 bottles and cans and support! Bring your recyclables to the UH Lab School on March 6th or 7th and on April 4th.

Coincidentally, we are also doing some studio time that week-end of March 7th and 8th. Hopefully, we can record all our new songs and some extras for our special friends. Stay tuned for more updates on that - I'm off to practice bass!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

I want to tell you a secret...

Hey you... Yah you!

I want to tell you a secret. You think you can handle it? Well, I am going to tell you anyway.

The UH Lab School Funk Band is playing new songs. I didn't believe it at first either, because this is some big news - one of the new songs we are playing is Sweet Darlin' by Fiji! It is such a fun and cool song to play. Another new song we are playing is by Archie Bell and the Drells called Tighten Up. It is also a fun song to play - we even have a dance for it. Maybe you'll see our dance moves at a performance. These songs will go great with our already unique repertoire.

I'm hoping we'll get to rock out and jam to these songs at a performance soon. But don't tell anyone I told you this. Say it was Max who told you. He is the man.

I'll catch you later! Bye!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our Recent Show...

Hello all you funk band fans!

Recently, we did a performance for all of you at our Homecoming concert and, in case you missed it, we played some of our most recent songs like Beautiful Day, One World (Not Three) and Spirits in the Material World. But don't worry, we have more coming.

We are working on a popular local song (by Fiji) called Sweet Darling, which will be sung by Micah - it's a sweet, laid back song (with a light touch of funk). Also, we are working on an improvisational groove called Tighten Up, which allows all of us to stay groovy and tighten up on our instruments as well as hear Max, our lead singer, go crazy and improvise a little. Did I mention our killer dance moves that go with it?

Stay alert for more updates here and on our web site.

Take care,

Happy St. Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all our funk band friends!

We're sending our own little valentine post of appreciation to you by launching our new official weblog, which we hope will enable you to more easily keep up with all the comings and goings of the Lab School Funk Band.

From us to you - thank you for all your support and encouragement! We actually have quite a bit going on right now as we develop new material and prepare to go into the recording studio. We're also doing some green fund raising to cover the costs of our soon-to-be-released, not-so-secret-anymore, organic t-shirts.

So be sure to sign up to follow our blog and stay up to date - we'll be sharing our world on a regular basis for the remainder of the semester and we hope to see you at one of our performances soon.