Corky Siegel’s Traveling Chamber Blues Show
For Teacher Classroom Use
School Performances: November 21, 2008
Public Performance: November 22, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
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Intimate ● Independent ● Contemporary Year-Round
Located in historic, downtown Crystal Lake, Illinois.
26 N. Williams Street ● Box Office: 815.356.9212
Buy tickets online at www.rauecenter.org.
About the Show
Is it blues? Is it classical? These Chicago-based artists are known globally for their fresh, innovative blues style. Corky Siegel’s
Traveling Chamber Blues Show walks the line between Beethoven and B.B. King. Described by critics internationally as
remarkable, astonishing, extraordinary, hot, mesmerizing, joyous and outrageous fun. Their music and concerts have delighted
diverse audiences throughout the world.
Coky Siegel has earned an international reputation as one of the world’s great blues harmonica masters. He is a composer, blues
pianist, singer/songwriter and recent winner of the Lila Wallace, Reader’s Digest, Meet the Composer’s national award for
chamber music composition and the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award for Music Composition.
Siegel’s newest project, Chamber Blues, with the West End String Quartet and Frank Donaldson on world percussion, blends
classical and blues styles in a chamber music setting. This ground breaking innovative sound has earned tremendous acclaim
throughout the country and continues to open new doors for classical and blues/jazz listeners alike.
About the Artists
Corky Siegel (harmonica) began his career with a fortunate break when he formed the legendary Siegel-
Schwall Band that toured the major rock palaces and clubs in the 60’s and 70’s. He was introduced to
the blues through his very first steady engagement at Peppers, the internationally renowned blues club,
where his job included performances with blues masters themselves, such as Willie Dixon, Little Walter,
Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Siegel’s partnership in the renowned Siegel-Schwall Band, his
performances as a soloist with orchestras world-wide, and his collaborations with conductor Sieji Ozawa
in bringing a ground-breaking blues-classical sound to national attention are all a reflection of Siegel’s prodigious talent.
Frank Donaldson (percussion) is a leading exponent of funk, fusion and jazz drumming, as well as an accomplished
bandleader. Donaldson began studying piano at age seven and switched to drums at age nine. He turned professional
at age 15. Throughout the 70’s, Donaldson continued to expand his playing talents and musical options. He enrolled
at the American Conservatory of Music in 1971, where he studied under James Dutton. He was the drummer with the
Ramsey Lewis trio for eleven years and toured world-wide at auditoriums, festivals and symphony orchestras. He is
currently on the faculty of Columbia College and tours with his own jazz ensemble as well as the Chicago Jazz
Jeff Yang (violin) began studying violin at the age of five and gave his first major solo performance with the
Northwest Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19 performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. He caught the attention of
Steven Staryk, one of the leading violinists in the world, who became his mentor at the University of
Washington, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Music and Industrial Engineering. He continued
his education at Northwestern University where he earned his masters degree and DePaul University where he
received his Performance Certificate. Yang has served as concertmaster and soloist for many leading orchestras
and chamber groups. He has been with Chamber Blues for six years and his other interests include playing
rock music on electric bass guitar and electric violin.
Chihsuan Yang (violin) is from Taiwan and started playing violin and piano at an early age. She holds a bachelors
degree in violin performance from DePaul University and along with being a member of the New Millennium
Orchestra, she is an active freelance musician/teacher—tackling every musical style from classical to rock to traditional
Chinese music. As a multi-instrumentalist specializing in Western violin, electric violin, Chinese erhu (fiddle) and
piano, she has played in a diverse array of ensembles and styles of music. Aside from her rock and classical
ensembles, she can currently be found teaching piano and violin, and working with the Chicago Children’s Choir.
Jill Kaeding (cello) began studying piano at age seven and cello at age ten. She earned her degree at DePaul University
and has appeared as a guest soloist with many Midwestern orchestras in addition to her numerous solo recitals. Known
for her versatility in all mediums of chamber music, Kaeding has performed with contemporary multi-media ensembles
as well as jazz standard deconstruction and rock with Lyle Lovett, Ray Charles, the Revolution Ensemble and with her
husband Jim Gailloreto’s Jazz String Quintent. She has been with Chamber Blues for 14 years and can be heard on all
three Chamber Blues recordings.
Doyle Armbrust (viola) began studying viola at age five at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He has participated
in several chamber and symphony orchestras in the Midwest. Armbrust received his undergraduate degree at
Northwestern University and masters at the University of Southern California. He has been featured on NPR’s
“Weekend Edition” and Mozart’s “Sundays Live from the LA County Museum of Art” in Los Angeles. An avid
proponent of both contemporary music and genres outside the realm of classical, Armbrust has promoted and
performed many chamber works by both living and newly-discovered composers. He is the newest member of
All Corky Siegel information gathered from www.chamberblues.com.
Definitions and Terminology
(definitions gathered from Wickipedia.com)
Blues- a vocal and instrumental form of music based on the use of the blue notes (notes sung or played at a lower pitch than those
of the major scale for expressive purposes) and a repetitive pattern that most often follows a twelve-bar structure. It emerged in
African-American communities of the United States from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants and rhymed
English and Scots-Irish narrative ballads.
Chamber Music- a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments, which traditionally could be accommodated in
a palace chamber. It includes any “art music” that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part.
Rhythm- the variation of the length and accentuation of a series of sounds or other events. It is patterns of duration of notes found
Beat- a pulse on the metric level at which pulses are heard as the basic unit. Thus a beat is the basic time unit of a piece.
Drums- a musical instrument in the percussion group that consist of one membrane (drumhead or drum skin) that is stretched
over a shell and struck, either directly with parts of a player’s body, or with some sort of implement, such as a drumstick, to
Viola- a bowed string instrument that is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello. The viola is lower
than the violin and has a rich, dark-toned sonority to its timbre, which is how one can distinguish it from the violin.
Violin- a bowed string instrument with four strings that is the highest-pitched member of the violin family of stringed instruments,
also including viola and cello. Is also sometimes called a fiddle.
Cello- a bowed string instrument that is tuned lower than both the violin and the viola, it is also the largest of the three instruments.
Harmonica- a free reed, musical wind instrument. The player selects the notes by placing the mouth over and blowing into the
1. Have a class discussion on what to expect at Corky Siegel’s performance. Has anyone ever heard this type of music on a CD
or in concert? How will it differ from other types of music?
2. Discuss blues and chamber music at length and make sure the class understands the culture and people completely because
these cultures greatly affect Siegel’s music.
3. Practice reading comprehension: have students summarize or paraphrase the information found in different sections of this
4. Have students write a short story on what they predict will happen at the show. Have them include valid information that
they have found in their research.
5. Make a percussive instrument. The internet has instructions on how to make various instruments, such as drums, shakers
and others. Look one up and have the students make that instrument. Once they make them, play a song and have the
students play their new instruments either as a group or as a solo.
6. Put the song in your hands! Sing a song that all the children know or play a song on CD/tape, have the children clap the
beat. Then have them clap the rhythm of the song with the words. Take away the words and clap the rhythm. Then (maybe
another day) split the group into two—have one clap the beat and one the rhythm. Put them together. Switch! Ask the
children if they can think of another place to put the beat? Try these activities with different songs.
During the Show
1. Ask the students to pay attention closely to all the aspects of the performance: dancing, movements, costumes, music,
interaction, etc. and describe how they fit together and how they differ from other things they have seen on television, in
movies or in other live performances.
1. Have a class discussion about the performance. Ask the students to share any personal stories or thoughts that they had
while watching Corky Siegel. What did the enjoy about the show and why? Do any shows or bands compare to the one they
have just seen and heard?
2. Has everything the class researched on blues and chamber music proved to be true through what was performed? Did the
class seem to have a better understanding of the performance having done research before the show? How did Siegel
intertwine the two types of music to create what they saw today?
3. Have the students write a journal entry about their experience at the show. What did they learn from the performance? Did
they enjoy the performance, why or why not? What were they expecting to see that they didn’t? What, if anything, were they
surprised to see?
4. Have the students pretend to be newspaper reporters. Write a short description of the show. What did they see and hear?
How did the music make them feel? Would they recommend this performance to a friend?
5. Draw an interpretation of the performance. You could also try to split up the class into groups, giving each group a different
aspect of the show and have them compare and contrast how their pictures turned out in comparison to each other.
All Corky Siegel information gathered from www.chamberblues.com.
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Contact Kate Wilford at 815.356.9010 to schedule your school show today!