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Watch Music Videos from Summer Performance of Music Faculty and Alum

John Shirley
Music Professor John Shirley performs at online music convention

By John Shirley

UMass Lowell Music Professor John Shirley was a featured performer on the opening night of the annual convention of the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica this August. For the second year in a row this international convention was held virtually, so Professor Shirley decided to take full advantage of that format and produced six stylized music videos to fill out the 33-minute set. These videos included music from multiple genres, including funk, alt-rock, jazz, blues and classical musics, and offer varied visual characters. In addition, all of the pieces demonstrated the use of expanded performance technologies for the harmonica.

The show opened with a solo harmonica arrangement of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” a piece which has taken on special meaning over the course of the pandemic. The full harmonies of the Fanfare were realized though live pitch-shifting and MIDI control. Though the show began with a couple solo pieces, Shirley was then joined by UML faculty members Chuck Gabriel (bass) and Andy Fordyce (drums) as well as alumnus Miguel Landestoy (keyboard) and guitarist Mike Giordano.

You can check out the music videos from the show, as well as other past performances, on the YouTube playlist.