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Monica Ashton Productions: Blog

Yes...I'm still Alive! :)

Posted on June 29, 2016 with 0 comments

Dear DieHard Fans,

Well..I know it's been a really long time since I wrote a blog about my musical career (!). I started this in the 90's with email when it first came out, then transferred over to WordPress for a while. I find myself in yet another phase of my career, and realized that I needed to update my web presence anyway, so I'm using the Blog feature that's here on my website. Trying to keep it simple, I guess.

A lot has changed even since the last blog I sent out...over 2 years ago, I think! 

I'm now living in Northern Arizona, but I still have a lot of ties to LA, SF and NY. So, I'm able to continue my music production co. (Monica Ashton Productions) online remotely. It's amazing today how easy it is to write music using tracks from all over the world (!). The only weird thing is making sure I'm not waking someone up at 3 a.m. on the other side of the world if I have a question!!! 

Another thing that's nice about not being in a big city is the physical beauty I'm surrounded by daily (just now, I looked out the window and there's a beautiful rainbow!) And the high standard of living I have compared to where I have lived anywhere else. The down side? Small-town mentality sometimes, and not enough culture for this musical snob, I guess...can't help it. I've been exposed to such incredible stuff all these years...

So..you take the good with the bad, i guess. :) I now own a beautiful house I never would have been able to afford in California or New York, and I have land I have to take care of! It's quite a responsibility, but so far, I'm really enjoying it!

Musically, since moving here, I've been doing a lot of piano playing, since apparently they are in demand around here. I've gotten very involved with the local Theatre, the Prescott Center for the Arts, doing a lot of musicals. I've also sung with several different choirs, large and small, have accompanied a lot of singers. There is a local 2-year college where they have some music classes. I accompanied a few of those classes for a while, but it wasn't the right fit for this classical-turned-jazzer who didn't particularly like getting up at the crack of dawn. :)

I have also performed with some groups around town, like the Prescott Gospel Big Band, which is fun, and I've sat in a few times for some jazz groups. But as you all know, my own stuff is kind of different. My stuff is not typical jazz standard stuff. So, I haven't had much luck finding folks to play my own stuff here, and there is definitely not a market for it anyway. So, I'm playing with other groups when it feels like it's something I can do. And I hope to be able to perform my own music in venues where it's more appropriate, like Festivals over in Europe and such. That's really more where we fit.

I've been teaching piano to a few students on and off using the Pace Method. I also taught young children a general Music Class at the local theatre for a while, then I formed one on my own called The Master Class. Each week I brought in local musicians who would perform and be interviewed, like they did on The Actor's Studio for the children. It was a nice format. But a lot of work, and most of the kids who were in it have all gone on to higher levels, so I'd have to market it for a whole new bunch, which I don't want to put my energy into doing, at least not at the moment. This past year, I taught at a local Charter School 2-8th Grade Band, guitar and I formed 2 choirs there. It was challenging, to say the least. I think I reached a few of them, but after a year of that, I knew I was done!!! I'm just too old to be doing stuff like that anymore!

I have been playing the organ on and off at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Phoenix, which has become my church family. And locally I've become a substitute organist when needed at some churches for weddings, funerals, etc.. And this Fall, I'll be a part-time church musician for the Unity Church in Prescott, which I'm looking forward to. The Music Director there is also a fellow New Yorker. He even knew Dr. Pace at Teachers' College years ago (!), so I think it's gonna be a lot of fun.

I've also had some arranging jobs. Some local, some not. So, with all of that, I guess I don't have much time to complain (!). I also don't have as much time as I'd like to compose my own music though. Working on that...and trying not to beat myself up for not having the time to do more. I'm hoping to get more "settled" here work-wise so I can devote more time to my own music. That's the goal, anyway.

In the meantime, I did get a "bite" for a gig in New York for the Fall for the Jazz Band, so I will keep you posted on that. If it materializes, I'm hoping we can get a few more dates in New York. And eventually, I really do want to get the Band over to Europe. I haven't given up on that dream, and CD and download sales are coming from Europe, so I'm hoping that dream becomes a reality some day. 

To that end, I finally got up all the videos from the London SoHo gig I did in July 2012 (can't believe it's been 4 years since that happened!!!) on my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxMFi_uuP5gPHam7nBgTpDA. Take a look if you get a chance. The audio quality is not very good, since it was in a bar and it was very loud (!), but it's something, and I am very glad I had the opportunity to go to London and play like that. Things like that don't come along every day, so believe me, I'm grateful! And I want to go back!!!

I've also updated my website a little. I'm looking for more exposure and hopefully work as either a jazz piano player, or film composer worldwide, so I'm updating my online presence. Hope you don't get too bombarded by stuff from me from various sites!

Much love to everyone, and thank you all for your support over the years with my transitioning from being an amateur musician to a professional one. I have been able to be a musician full-time since 2002, so I'm grateful for all the support over the years!!! I'm not rich, but I'm a lot happier than I was when I was doing law. So, I'm glad to have made the switch. Can't believe it's 14 years ago since that happened!

Hope all of you are well who read this, and feel free to drop me a line. I no longer have the email address that was originally connected with this website. They were supposed to transfer everything over to my gmail account. Hope they did. But in case they didn't, my email is monicaashton@gmail.com. (Please don't send it to the monicaashton.com email address. I don't get them anymore.)

Happy Fourth of July (coming up). I have a gig in Phoenix that weekend, and will be busy with Little Shop of Horrors at the Theatre all through July, so I'll probably be taking a nap on the 4th myself!! :)

All good things,

Monica