The magical musical experience that is Jam Cruise will be setting sails next January, when Jam Cruise 16 takes over the Norwegian Jade from January 17th through 22nd. After it embarks from Miami, Florida, the cruise will round through Roatan, Honduras, and Grand Cayman during its weeklong circuit. One of the benefits of Jam Cruise and what makes it such a highly anticipated event each year is the intimacy provided by being trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean with your favorite musicians—the event is chockful of awesome collaborations that are unlikely to go down elsewhere due to the fact that such huge name musicians rarely gather together will open schedules specifically for hanging out and making music.Watch Nikki Glaspie Crush Vocals On “Killing In The Name” With Galactic On Jam Cruise [Pro-Shot]One huge moment from this year’s Jam Cruise was The Nth Power’s Nikki Glaspie’s supergroup dubbed the Nikki Glaspie Super Jam. Today, Jam Cruise released new footage of the super jam getting down on The Gap Band’s “Humpin’.” This sweet collaboration went down on the last day of Jam Cruise on January 24th of this year on the Pool Deck. In the pro-shot video, you can see DJ Williams of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff of Lettuce holding down guitar duties with Tony Hall on bass. Ivan Neville takes on the vocal duties for the number, with Joey Porter taking over toward the end of the video on talkbox. In addition to Neville and Porter, Nigel Hall also accompanies the duo on keys. You can check out the video for yourself below to get stoked for next year’s Jam Cruise, which is bound to have similarly all-star collaborations across its trip. You can check out this year’s massive Jam Cruise lineup here, and get more information about the event on its website here.
On a recent spring evening, a group of Harvard musicians gathered near a faraway hotel pool. Their violas and violins echoed in the warm night air, alive with the sounds of salsa.“We got our instruments out, and the Cubans ended up improvising some salsa music, and they taught us how to dance,” said Diana Tsen ’11, a violinist with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO) who helped to organize a seven-day trip to Cuba that concluded earlier this month.The impromptu performance followed a formal concert earlier in the evening in Santa Clara, where members of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Santa Clara joined the HRO to perform composer George Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture,” a piece inspired by his trip to Havana in 1932, and filled with Caribbean themes.The HRO tours every four years. But this trip was more than just a relaxing getaway interspersed with musical interludes. It was an important cultural exchange, and statement.“One thing we all felt very strongly about was that this tour be musically and culturally significant,” said Tsen, adding that the group wanted to visit a challenging locale that was also “musically and intellectually stimulating.”Its director, Federico Cortese, agreed.“I thought that there are places in the world where … it is meaningful to go with an exceptional group of young people representing an exceptional institution. [In a place like Cuba] I really think you can be an excellent ambassador for the United States.”For decades, travel to Cuba from the United States has been strictly controlled. But in 2009 President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions on family members wishing to visit and send remittances to the country. Earlier this year, the Obama administration further relaxed travel rules, allowing religious, academic, and cultural groups to travel to the communist-ruled island nation.Music’s universality is helping to thaw icy relations between the two countries.Problems with timing and trouble finding a big enough plane forced the New York Philharmonic to cancel earlier plans to visit Cuba. But last year jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra made the trip for a series of concerts and performances.The visit by the Harvard students, the first U.S. university orchestra to play in Cuba since the embargo began, continued in that vein. Crowds filled the theaters to capacity, eager to hear the students perform both on their own and alongside Cuban musicians. Cortese was mobbed with well-wishers after each show, and flooded with requests for interviews by local media outlets.In the streets, said Tsen, the Cubans were warm and welcoming, saying, ‘The American people and the Cuban people, we like each other and we get along. People aren’t politics, so we are friends even though our governments don’t get along.”Rehearsals were a multicultural mix of Cubans and Americans directed by an Italian (Cortese) who addressed them in English and Spanish, and occasionally in German. Proud of their musical roots, the Cuban musicians weren’t shy about putting their own spin on Gershwin. During one rehearsal, they politely insisted that the rhythm of the piece be changed to reflect their musical heritage more accurately.“They were saying that Gershwin got the rhythm wrong,” said Cortese, who happily obliged and altered the beat.Tsen said the orchestra was drawn to Cuba’s own rich musical traditions, its classical music roots, and its complicated history. For decades, the Soviet Union’s alliance with Cuba meant access to strong classical music resources. But the collapse of the USSR in 1991 severed many of those rich musical ties.“You are left with these people who are very excited and very spirited about this genre of music but they have no access to these resources. and so we thought it would be really interesting for both parties to engage in this cultural exchange.”In Cuba, where music supplies are limited, even basic instrument repairs can prove challenging. Fortunately, the HRO arrived with a luthier in tow, tasked with keeping the group’s 12 rented cellos and seven double basses in working order. In addition to attending to the HRO students, she spent much of her time fixing the Cubans’ instruments.“They lack even the simplest things,” said Tsen, adding, “It was really cool to see they could achieve such a high level despite not having those resources that we take for granted.”Led by Cortese, the HRO performed free, sold-out concerts in Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, and Havana. The repertoire included Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1,” featuring soloist Damon Meng ’13, and Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9,” or “From the New World.”The trip culminated with a concert in the Gran Teatro of Havana, where the group collaborated with the National Chorus of Cuba, the National Opera de la Calle, and soloists from Havana’s Superior Institute of the Arts on Ludwig van Beethoven’s iconic “Ninth Symphony.” Performing Beethoven’s masterwork, with its theme of universal brotherhood, conveyed a vital message, said Cortese.“It’s the perfect piece when you have some kind of statement about peace and friendship of peoples. … I think that an American orchestra that goes there and plays Beethoven’s ‘Ninth’ has particular meaning.”The HRO also held music workshops with young musicians in Cienfuegos and Havana. At the Escuela de Arte Benny Moré in Cienfuegos, HRO members gave master classes to elementary-level students. At the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán in Havana, they rehearsed Beethoven’s “Ninth” with a secondary-level orchestra.Cortese said he hopes to schedule similar tours in the future.“We can break barriers through music.”
By Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaDead trees lining the roads after Christmas are usually the last lonely reminders of the holiday season. This year, don’t ditch that tree. Reuse it, says a University of Georgia expert Christmas tree saver. “When Christmastime is over, Christmas tree buyers everywhere are reminded that wrapping paper can be forced into a trash can, but a tree can’t,” says Matthew Chappell, a horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Some people use their dried up tree to make a bonfire, but if done improperly this can be a huge fire hazard. Others chunk trees over the back fence (into the woods, not their neighbor’s yard). Chappell gets a little more creative.Chappell’s “Top 10 Things to do With a Christmas Tree After Christmas” are:No. 1 – Whittle a walking stick. Christmas trees are generally tree species unique in Georgia. Make a special walking stick. “It takes a lot of whittling. You can give it as a gift next Christmas.” This is Chappell’s favorite use.No. 2 – Create a coat rack. Cut all the branches off except for a few at the top, which should be trimmed 3 inches to 4 inches from the trunk. “It will turn out very good if you strip the bark. The wood is very pretty.”No. 3 – Build a bottle tree. Cut all the branches about a foot from the trunk and put wine bottles on them. “My friend in Charleston, S.C., started that trend in his yard at Folly Beach. It’s definitely better with different colored bottles.”No. 4 – Fashion a fish habitat. Drop three or four trees together in a pond or lake. Small fish will use the trees as a protective habitat to hide from larger fish.No. 5 – Craft a longbow. “My brother-in-law made a longbow out of last year’s Christmas tree. A lot of bow hunters are going back to the old style, the old world way of hunting.”No. 6 – Carve a bird pole. “My parents have used trees as birdhouse poles.” They can also be used to hold bird feeders, but make sure to cut the branches to the trunk or the birdseed will become a squirrel feast.No. 7 – Shape a vine pole. Trim the branches off, but leave some for vine support. Sink the trunk in the ground. Plant a climbing plant like a morning glory or clematis next to it.No. 8 – Make some mulch. “Some people, if they have a chipper or shredder, make mulch out of their trees.”No. 9 – Split wood. Chop up the tree. The smaller branches make excellent kindling.No. 10 – Plant a landscape addition. “If you get a live tree, just plant it.” If you plan to plant your Christmas tree, pick a variety that can take Georgia’s heat. Pines, cedars and cypresses typically do well in Georgia. Spruce and fir will wither when summer hits.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Loughlin and Giannulli are among 15 parents of the 36 named in the admissions case to decline a plea deal and stand trial in federal court. Unless the couple reverse their plea, the federal government may ask their daughters, Isabella and Olivia Jade, to testify. The sisters attended USC before news of the scandal broke in March but are no longer enrolled, the University confirmed in October. According to court documents, the defendants have requested evidence from the federal government regarding information admissions scheme organizer William “Rick” Singer gave to the parents about the objective behind the payments they made for their children’s admission. The parents alleged Singer had told them the money that would fund a legitimate nonprofit organization, a claim that may challenge the bribery charges, according to the defense in court documents. Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly made payments to USC to secure admission for their two daughters. (Vincent Leo | Daily Trojan) In the filing, Loughlin’s defense waived her court appearance scheduled for Jan. 27 and entered into a not guilty plea in response to a fourth superseding indictment filed Jan. 14. Actress Lori Loughlin pleaded not guilty again Monday in Boston federal court to the three charges she faces in the admissions scandal after allegedly gaining her daughters’ admission to USC as false athletic recruits. In a separate motion also filed Monday, defense representing admissions case parents Loughlin, Giannulli, investor William McGlashan Jr. and businessman John Wilson requested a three-day extension to its Friday deadline by which they are required to submit court documents. The documents will support the defenses’ Jan. 14 request for the federal government to release further evidence relevant to Loughlin’s case, in which the defendants accused the prosecution of misrepresenting the money they paid for their children’s admission. Both have maintained not-guilty pleas since their first indictment in March, and the couple allege the prosecution is withholding information relevant to the defendants’ case, a claim the government has refuted. The indictment charges Loughlin, her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, and 17 other parents involved in the case with 13 counts. Among them, Loughlin and Giannulli face charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering for paying $500,000 to gain their daughters admission through crew. “Defendant and her counsel affirm that Ms. Loughlin has received a copy of the Fourth Superseding Indictment and that Ms. Loughlin pleads not guilty to each of the counts against her,” the court arraignment waiver read. The motion, which asks the court to extend the deadline until Friday, stated that the additional time would allow the defense to review motion and report documents the government released Monday. It also asked that the government respond to the defendants’ filing by Feb. 7. The case’s next status hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27 in Boston federal court.