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PYRO week 1

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This week I had chance to work with Brent Gunter at the Portland Youth Rock Orchestra (PYRO) at their head quarters. Brent Gunter (my mentor) had his office in the main room, and I was in the room next door.

My "office": I put my computer in front of the mixing equipment.

On my first day I was somewhat disappointed to hear that I would not be doing much work with Sandia Crest Entertainment, as the recording was not profitable, and they have a hard time booking acts. So, while I am surrounded by recording equipment, it seems unlikely I will be using any of it.

Instead, Brent has had me focus on working on increasing membership for PYRO. The first two days I helped Brent with his online presence, showing him how to more effectively use the Twitter, the Facebook, and the Youtube page. I have about a month's worth of posts mapped out in advance.

On Tuesday, the conductor, Anna, called in sick. This put us into "panic" mode, as we could not hold rehearsal that night without a conductor. Luckily Brent was able to call in back up, and we had a sub for that night.

In order to make sure that the sub could work, we went to the rehearsal space (West Sylvan Middle School). There I learned about the surprisingly complex world visiting a public school, which required us to check in at the office, get badges, and get stickers.

Once we made our way into the room, Brent set up the mixer board while I did some heavy lifting- moving the drums out of the closet and getting them set up. This included a full kit and the concert toms. Afterwards, I arranged all the chairs into lines, and made sure that each chair had music stand. Practice that night went successfully.

On Wednesday, Brent took me in his truck so that I could learn about canvasing. This involved "cold calling" businesses, by showing up and asking to hang posters. People online call it "guerilla marketing", but Brent made a point of calling it "polite guerilla marketing" as we only hung posters were we were given explicit permission. in some stores, we were lucky enough to find a community board, which would almost always let us hang up our promo materials. Places that didn't have a community board required us to do a "elevator speech" about why they should let us hang things up.

Thursday I made a large list of every Starbucks, Einstein Bros Bagels and Fred Meyer's in Portland, with the aid of the internet. The rest of the day I was sent out on my own to do canvasing at Catlin hotspots. By the end of the day I hit most of my favorite places, and even had a chance to hang up some things on campus.

Friday I spent almost the entire day on my own in Downtown Portland (around NW 21 and 23), hitting shops in the area. While I was generally successful, I encountered more competition for my canvasing here from other cultural groups (bands etc.) and political movements.

Overall, this week I got a solid introduction to the innerworkings of PYRO, and helped with the marketing.

Comments

Thanks for the update Kenny

Sorry to hear there won't be much opportunity for recording on this project, but I was interested to read about the other things you're doing. I'd love to hear more about the kids you're working with: how old they are, what they're playing, what they seem to be getting out of participating in this program. I'll be calling Brent and you soon to set up a site visit.

RE: Tony

During the day I am not working with kids. On Tuesday's I play percussions with the advanced group, but that is not a part of the program.

As for the kids in PYRO, they are age 7-23 guitarists, bassists, percussionists, and orchestral instrumentalists. Brent says that the program offers "the rigor of classical with the excitement"

PYRO week 1

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Week 1

This week I had chance to work with Brent Gunter at the Portland Youth Rock Orchestra (PYRO) at their head quarters. Brent Gunter (my mentor) had his office in the main room, and I was in the room next door.

My "office": I put my computer in front of the mixing equipment.

On my first day I was somewhat disappointed to hear that I would not be doing much work with Sandia Crest Entertainment, as the recording was not profitable, and they have a hard time booking acts. So, while I am surrounded by recording equipment, it seems unlikely I will be using any of it.

Instead, Brent has had me focus on working on increasing membership for PYRO. The first two days I helped Brent with his online presence, showing him how to more effectively use the Twitter, the Facebook, and the Youtube page. I have about a month's worth of posts mapped out in advance.

On Tuesday, the conductor, Anna, called in sick. This put us into "panic" mode, as we could not hold rehearsal that night without a conductor. Luckily Brent was able to call in back up, and we had a sub for that night.

In order to make sure that the sub could work, we went to the rehearsal space (West Sylvan Middle School). There I learned about the surprisingly complex world visiting a public school, which required us to check in at the office, get badges, and get stickers.

Once we made our way into the room, Brent set up the mixer board while I did some heavy lifting- moving the drums out of the closet and getting them set up. This included a full kit and the concert toms. Afterwards, I arranged all the chairs into lines, and made sure that each chair had music stand. Practice that night went successfully.

On Wednesday, Brent took me in his truck so that I could learn about canvasing. This involved "cold calling" businesses, by showing up and asking to hang posters. People online call it "guerilla marketing", but Brent made a point of calling it "polite guerilla marketing" as we only hung posters were we were given explicit permission. in some stores, we were lucky enough to find a community board, which would almost always let us hang up our promo materials. Places that didn't have a community board required us to do a "elevator speech" about why they should let us hang things up.

Thursday I made a large list of every Starbucks, Einstein Bros Bagels and Fred Meyer's in Portland, with the aid of the internet. The rest of the day I was sent out on my own to do canvasing at Catlin hotspots. By the end of the day I hit most of my favorite places, and even had a chance to hang up some things on campus.

Friday I spent almost the entire day on my own in Downtown Portland (around NW 21 and 23), hitting shops in the area. While I was generally successful, I encountered more competition for my canvasing here from other cultural groups (bands etc.) and political movements.

Overall, this week I got a solid introduction to the innerworkings of PYRO, and helped with the marketing.

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Making Sense of Place: A History of Smart Growth, Conservation, and Controversy in Portland

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We recently spent three class periods watching the documentary Making Sense of Place – Portland: Quest for the Livable City. The film detailed Portland’s system of urban planning, the history of the urban growth boundary, and the function of our Metro government. We learned that the urban growth boundary was instituted with the passage of state Senate Bill 100 in 1973, and Metro, a tri-county regional government that now regulates that boundary, was established shortly afterward. We came to appreciate how unique the Portland metro area is in its approach to planning. Few cities pay such close attention to the type of growth they want to see, nor is livability often such a high priority as it is here. The film touted the Portland’s planning as the force that shaped a city that people want to live in, with efficient public transportation, pedestrian-friendly multi-use neighborhoods, abundant green space, and well-preserved nearby farmland. It also described some of the contention around the ballot measures 37 and 49, illustrating the discontent some people have with the urban growth boundary and Metro’s system. Although proponents enjoy the healthy lifestyles and environmental benefits that dense urban planning encourages, others think Portland’s growth is too controlled. Some people feel that what happens to property should be up to owners’ judgment, not to the city. As enlightening as the film was, we did want to see more perspectives from people in lower income brackets who suffer from the high housing prices that have accompanied Portland’s urban planning. Almost no minorities appeared in the documentary, and its message was almost overwhelmingly positive. Overall, Making Sense of Place gave us a better understanding of how Metro and urban planning works, but left it in our hands to dig for a deeper sense of balance.

If you want to learn more, here are some links worth visiting:

http://www.lincolninst.edu/subcenters/making-sense-of-place/portland/ (information about the film)

http://www.metro-region.org/ (Metro's website)