What can we say about 2015? Was it real, did it really happen, who am I, what is Beat Drop? So many questions, impossible to answer them all. Allow me to alleviate your concerns, quite your trepidation and guide you through BEAT DROP 2015: YEAR IN REVIEW.
Twenty fifteen was in many ways a year of transition. Things happened and left us changed. Some of these things will never be shared in public but one thing I can share is the sad departure of the always-finely-dressed-in-black Calgary Bass Music and Techno Don, Sandro Petrillo. As many fine creative minds before him, Dro left Calgary to pursue a career in the big city of Toronto. Sandro was (and remains) an integral part of the Beat Drop Community. Sandro was fundamental to the development of the Ableton Core I and Ableton Quick Start curriculums and is currently working with our Director and Certified Ableton Trainer, Mitch Lee on a new course, Push Core I Online. In the absence of Sandro young Donald Dinsmore was welcomed aboard to guide the Ableton Core I and Quick Start ships. Although a competent replacement Donald lacks a sense of humour and can be a know-it-allie. Donald also writes the Beat Drop Blog.
We are also sad to see our musical mad-scientist and instructor, Chris Maric take a break from Beat Drop in 2016. Chris has added a new addition to his family and as a new father he plans to pour his energy into being a Dad and working on some personal projects. Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! Everyone at Beat Drop is happy for you and Lynn. You will be missed. Chris also runs a unique curated jam called, The Jam. Part cultural experiment, part spontaneous musical explosion. I would highly recommend checking it out.
Replacing Chris will be tough to do but Enoque Carrancho is the man for the job. Producer and musician Enoque has releases on Dansant Records in Sweden and Substation Records here in Calgary. Often you can find him at Habitat Living Sound dancing or DJing, where he is involved with Studio Social, a monthly initiative to promote and share information with Calgary producers. In addition he has hosted several DJ nights at Habitat. Enoque will be taking over for Chris by teaching the popular Music Fundamentals starting Winter 2016.
Gone are the days of our instructors languishing in the baking sun at summer music festivals. We've opened our doors to the youth for (ages 12-16). Camps were run by Brynn (DJ Heebz) and Donald (Jnana) who both have tremendous experience working with young people. Dropping on the ones, making beats and producing radio stingers at CJSW 90.9 FM were only a taste of what campers engaged in over the course of their one week camps.
Summer also brought Beat Drop to Calgary's favourite cowboy party, The Calgary Stampede. Everyday The Beat Drop Band performed on the Coke Stage and even curated the entertainment on the Coke Stage in the evening for 'sneak-a-peek.' We had a blast and are so grateful the Stampede invited us to be involved. You can check out one of their remixes performed live here.
Feedback Friday and Calgary Ableton User Group continued to be hosted at Beat Drop. This year was marked by more guest speakers, more attendance and a really sick Beat Battle with the legend J Ricky taking home the title and $1000. Big up to everyone who competed in Beat Battle Vol. 2. Check out TRUNKS who won 2nd place and a scholarship at Beat Drop. Beat Drop also began hosting another free community DJ event called Skratcher. A monthly meet-up for turntable enthusiasts to unite as a community in order to develop talent, showcase talent, and to progress the art of Turntablism. Seasoned veterans and novice DJs need to check this one out.
A couple of new courses were announced this year. Keyboard Fundamentals taught by Brandon Smith will be your one stop course for learning the skills you need to become a proficient keyboard player. We are also very excited to announce the introduction of Resolume Quick Start. Resolume Quick Start will be taught by the exceedingly skilled and accomplished Paul Magnuson of PK Sound. If you're interested in stage design, projection mapping or VJing this one-day course will give you a solid understanding of how to use Resolume Arena 5 to take your stages to the next level.
In the fall Ableton Certified Trainer, course developer and Beat Drop Director Mitch Lee was invited to Berlin to see what Ableton was working for their fall release. Mitch was shown the new Push 2, Link and the new Live 9.5 update. Mitch was blown away with the beautiful city of Berlin, and getting to meet some of Ableton's core team along including its CEO and co-founder Gerhard Behles. "The culture there and the team they have was pretty impressive. Ableton's vision for the community and the way they are enabling a movement is inspiring." said Mitch. Mitch came home and got straight to work on a new curriculum for our Push Core I course and created one of YouTube's most popular Push 2 Feature videos (see below).
Some pictures from Mitch Lee's Instagram feed while he was in Berlin.
We also got more virtual in 2015 and got "Googlified" and made a virtual tour of our school. Click around and see if you can find one of our favourite interns.
Beat Drop also witnessed an expansion of our Internship and Teacher Assistant programs. These oh-so-glamorous positions are integral to daily operations at Beat Drop and without them we would surely descend into a state of slovenly anarchy. A big thank you to our Interns/TA past and present who volunteer their time, you make Beat Drop a great place to be.
Here's to the year that was and the year that will be. Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for your support through out the past year. All the best in your next lap around the sun.