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L.A. Newsbriefs

 
  Carol Welsman '80

It should come as no surprise that technology continues to have a profound impact on the recording industry. It has changed the landscape of film and television scoring and sustainable career success is dependent on the ability to adapt.

The recent experience of session singer Randy Crenshaw '83 is an example of the importance of technology in music. He was one of eight Los Angeles-area artists chosen to form the "Sound Effects Choir," an ensemble that was featured on the Academy Awards two years ago. The choir performed a two-and-a-half minute cue of sound effects for a medley of short clips from Oscar-winning movies. This niche has grown, and Crenshaw's vocal sound effects and hybrid human/animal sounds have since been featured in the movies Happy Feet and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. His other recent vocal credits include You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Horton Hears a Who!, CSI: Miami, and Two and a Half Men. It's an unconventional path for a musician who arrived at Berklee as a classically trained trumpet player and who majored in arranging.

Songwriter Emily Shackelton '07, wrote "Dream Big," which was one of the top-ten winners of the American Idol song contest. The song was performed during the American Idol finale by this season's winner, David Cook, and immediately became among the top most-downloaded songs on iTunes.

Carol Welsman '80 recently won the Canadian Smooth Jazz Album of the Year award. Other winners include Michael Bubl?, Diana Krall, and Lee Ritenour. For more details, visit www.carolwelsman.com.

Composer Lennie Moore '80 is at work on an episodic Web series of The Watchmen (featuring two hours of live orchestra music) and a video game for game publisher Wizards of the Coast and has contributed additional music for the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian video game, which is in stores now. He also teaches composing techniques for video games at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music and at the UCLA extension school program.

ASCAP and BMI recently honored their most successful film and television composers, and once again, Berklee alumni were prominent. ASCAP Awards went to Alan Silvestri '70 for Beowulf, Geoff Zanelli '96 for Disturbia, and Michael Levine '76 for Cold Case. BMI Awards were presented to Bill Brown '91 for CSI: NY, David Schwartz '74 for Rules of Engagement, Danny Pelfrey '75 for Guiding Light, Jan Stevens '81 for Samantha Who?, David Torkanowsky '76 for State of Mind, and Matt Koskenmaki '99 for The Ultimate Fighter and Hell's Kitchen.

In other film- and TV-music news, Joey Newman '98 will soon begin his fourth season scoring Little People, Big World for the Learning Channel. He has also added Surviving the Filthy Rich, which will air on the CW Network in the fall, and another cable network reality show scheduled for the fall season. Joel Goodman '84 scored the critically acclaimed indie documentary Constantine's Sword. He also continues to compose original music for selected episodes of the PBS series The American Experience.

Berklee also has a strong contingent of Los Angeles-based alumni on the touring circuit. Steve Fekete '96, Steve Ferlazzo '87, and Jim McGorman '95 continue to tour the world with Avril Lavigne. Dave Wood '95 just completed a world tour as the music director for Hilary Duff. His other recent credits include playing lead guitar for Taylor Hicks and Norah Jones.

Drummer Joshua Zeigler '03 has been selected to tour with '80s synth-pop band Naked Eyes for a 20-date tour this summer in North and South America. Naked Eyes is known for such hits as "Always Something There to Remind Me" and "Promises, Promises." The group will support Belinda Carlisle, A Flock of Seagulls, Dead or Alive, and the Human League. For more details, visit http://regenerationtour.com.

If straight-ahead jazz is your thing, check out Almost Real, featuring pianist Cengiz Yaltkaya '76 and guitarist Joe Gaeta '75, with a cameo appearance by vocalist Cathy Segal-Garcia '74. Visit http://www.rhombusrecords.com/ artists17.htm#207.

That's all for now. Stay in touch.

-Peter Gordon '78

Director, Berklee Center in Los Angeles

pgordon@berklee.edu