Music Monday

One of my most rewarding things to do through photography and music is to meet new people. Sometimes those people are 18 and some are 81. Each and every person has something interesting about themselves even if they think it's just a quirk. Musicians are great to photograph too! Sometimes we make faces that become part of the music. I personally watch musicians' expressions just as much as I listen to them! It is one of the joys of experiencing live music! Each Monday I'd like to feature a musician that I've had the chance to photograph.

Today's feature is Clem Rolin. I have known Clem longer than I've been a music teacher. I started playing with West Hills Symphonic Band back in 1990. Although I didn't know Clem well, I heard his name frequently and how great his symphonic bands were performing. The first time I had an extensive talk with him was on the sidelines of a football game. He was the Director of South Fayette's "Little Green Machine and I was filling a sabbatical as band director at Chartiers Houston. He has been at times a mentor, teacher, performer and conductor. But mostly a musician. I've had the pleasure of performing under him as the conductor of West Hill Symphonic Band for almost ten years now and can say that I'm a better musician because of him and the incredible musicianship of its members.

West Hills Symphonic Band

How Did You Get Into Music?

"Music was an important part of our family life for as long as I can remember. Our house was always filled with music. The radio played all day and night ( until we were able to buy a TV). I heard the great artists of the late 40’s and pre rock and roll 50’s, accompanied by fabulous studio orchestras, and arranged by masters. The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts were heard regularly on Saturday afternoons. Live NBC Symphony concert broadcasts were family events. When we bought our first TV, both Grandma’s, as well as our aunt would gather in our living room to watch the long running Voice of Firestone broadcasts. This is a precious memory. Seeing how music united our family was a HUGE influence on me."

"Seeing how music united our family was a HUGE influence on me."

Who Inspired You to Make Music?

My brother Paul is 10 years my senior. He was an excellent trumpet player as a youth, receiving many honors for his abilities.He practiced constantly. When we attended his performances, I saw the pride in my parent’s eyes. He brought many “cool” musicians home. The precursor to “Jazz” or “Stage” band was “Dance” band. My brother’s “Dance band” rehearsed in our living room!!

What is Your Creative Process? The First...

Creativity takes several paths here. The first is arranging. I transcribe classical pieces that were previously unavailable for winds. I feel that these works have tons of value, both in musical content and programming value. 

The Second...

The second is in creating arrangements of individual tunes or medleys of American Songbook favorites. I write all of these specifically for the musicians of the WHSB. Publishing any of these is a non starter. I am obsessed with the ASB, and admire the composers so very much. I want to share these treasures with those who haven’t had the pleasure of performing them.

The Third

The third is playing jazz. I do my best to improvise in a lyrical style. I still memorize tunes, study and memorize chord changes and only accept work with quality players. Creating with other experienced, skilled players is still a great thrill, even after almost 60 years!!

"Creating with other experienced, skilled players is still a great thrill, even after almost 60 years!!"

Want to be the next musician on "Music Monday?"

One of my passions is to capture each and every person's true personality that I photograph. If you'd love a session that is fun AND produces some excellent photos of you, set up a consultation session right now and let's make it happen!

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