Setting up a cultural exchange – Skype is my best friend

What did we do before Skype? I’ve resisted this new technology while yearning for it. Now that we are in the midst of setting up a concert and Master Class in Lomme, France (part of Greater Lille area) and working with my Paris-based pianist to fine a venue in Paris, Skype is my best friend.

Albin Suffys, a wonderful bass player in Lille, is producing the concert and Master Class that will be at the Theatre les Tisserands, thanks to the Ville de Lomme and the Ecole Municipale de Musique et de Danse de Lomme. We set up a time to talk, usually afternoon or night in Paris and morning or early afternoon here in San Francisco.

In Paris, John Florencio, with whom I worked when he lived here in San Francisco, is confirming a venue for us in Paris. The French TWIST will be comprised of John on piano, Albin on bass, some members of Albin’s band – Musiconoclast’ Orchestra, as well as a couple of players from Paris.

On Skype we discuss everything from the schedule of the visit in Lille and the performance schedule, to the set list, to the band setup on stage. With my French hardly necessary, because of Albin’s excellent English skills, we are able to discuss pricing, selection of students for the master class, and all the other arrangements for the exchange. We also use Facebook and email. I’m sending digitized charts to Albin for his band to work on, prepared by TWIST’s Music Director, Jason Martineau. When I had to send a large mp3 file of songs, I used YouSendIt.

And of course there has to be a press release. I’m almost done writing it in English; I have a bio in French which can be incorporated, but then the whole press release will have to be translated on Albin’s side into French. Then I have to see it again to make sure that what I intended in English was expressed in French. And there has to be a poster. We are making it here, but I need hi-res images from France to incorporate. We’ll put it together but leave it unflattened as a Photoshop file, (we’ll need YouSendIt again) to send to the French for final touches.

How did people do this in the days before the internet? Well, I guess by writing letters, telexes and phone. Pretty slow.

It is an amazing world, and we are able to make this French Connection happen by reaching out with the big arm of technology, to accomplish something in months which used to take years.

Thus:

Master Class will be from 10am to 1pm on Saturday May 22 at:

ECOLE MUNICIPALE DE MUSIQUE ET DE DANSE DE LOMME

Espace “Les Tisserands”

60 Rue Victor Hugo

59160 LOMME

Tél/ Fax  : 03.20.22.13.98

Our concert will be on Saturday May 22 (same day) at 7:30pm at:

Théâtre les Tisserands

60 rue Victor Hugo

59160 Lomme

Tel : 03.20.22.05.05

Better book those flights, eh?

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