Thursday, September 01, 2005
Katrina and the Waves
One of my ealriest memories is of Hurricane Frederick in 1979. I was standing on my front steps watching the tall pines sway in the first winds of the storm. A gust of wind came up and knocked me off of the steps and gave me a cut on the forehead; I was only two and a half at the time, and I still have the scar.
Monday I saw a category 5 hurricane. It was the most devastating thing I have ever seen in my life. I saw gigantic pine trees fall around me like dominoes, cars getting smashed with debris and power lines whipping in the 150 m.p.h. winds.
My family and I are fine. There are still people that I do not know where or how they are. Communication in southern Mississippi is so bad right now. Radio and cell phone towers are demolished. If landline phones are working people can usually only call locally and some are lucky enough to call out of state but not in state.
The heat is still unbearable. Temperatures are in the upper 90s and the heat index is higher. The electricity and water went out in Hattiesburg, MS on Monday morning. Water is not expected to be back in order in Hattiesburg until Labor Day. Electricity will not be back online for another 4 to 6 weeks. Most roads are still impassable. Many buildings are twisted like Frank Gehry designs.
Last night my wife and I evacuated to Arkansas with fellow blogger Al Theisen and his fiancee and composer Marc Ballard. We may return after water is back online.
As of last night we still have not seen anyone working on power lines and FEMA still has not shown up with water.
It is going to get really bad. It has not gotten there yet, but people are not getting water or ice. People on the Mississippi coast and in Louisiana are worse off than we are in Hattiesburg but it is like hell.
Please encourage people to donate money and goods to help the millions of victims of Hurricane Katrina. Because there are literally several million people whose lives have been completely turned upside down by this storm.
Please help these people if you can.
Composer and Hurricane Evacuee
Composer Everette Minchew (born 1977) is consistently active in the creation, performance, and promotion of contemporary music. Moderately prolific, his catalogue includes small chamber pieces for violin, piano, various wind instruments, harpsichord and electronic music. Current commissions include a string trio and an opera based on an 11th-century crusades tale.
His earliest musical training came at the age of eleven when he began playing alto saxophone; it wasn’t long until he began his first attempts in composition.
He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music History from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he studied saxophone under world-renowned soloist, Lawrence Gwozdz.
Fearing that traditional university training would hinder his development as a progressive composer, he abandoned the idea of formal lessons in favor of an intense private study of modern masterworks.
Minchew's works are characterized by their intense timbral explorations and brutal dissonance. That is not to say, however, that the compositions are devoid of beauty. In the first of the Two Brief Pieces, for example, the harpsichord chimes stringent yet haunting chords evoking a sense of loss.
Other pieces, like the Figment No. 2 "Juggler's Fancy" play upon the kaleidoscopic interaction between timbres and tones. The rapid alternation of pizzicato, arco bowing, and extreme glissandi remind the listener of Xenakis coupled with a Berio Sequenza. Minchew's Invention "Two-Part Contraption" for piano owes much to Ligeti's etudes and boogie-woogie jazz.
His music has been performed around the United States, and he was the featured composer at the 2005 Intégrales New Music Festival in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
He currently resides in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with his wife, Cheryl.