Beth Custer Ensemble

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Ah, my favorite weather, cool and sunny.

The reviews are coming in for my new release, For the Grace of Any Man, and they are great! Thank you Jesse Hamlin (SF Chron): “you sound great,” RAR Jungle creator of the power ukulele at Leleukeleles said “some of the best music I’ve heard in a long time.” and Jean Huffman (my mom) “WHO is that trumpet player?!”

The stunning CD artwork created by designer Alexander Bailey (DJ of Nerd Nite SF king of Radio Khartoum) is worth the price of the release. People as far away as Israel, Hawaii, and Amsterdam have ordered theirs, I’m selling out of copies quickly, get yours while they last!

Fallen bird

Dear Lovely Ones,

Being a full time musician is a grace, it’s lovely to do what you love for a living. People often ask me ‘why do you play in so many bands?’ I’ve pondered this often and run the gamut of reasons but the one that shines through is my desire to play music in as many situations as possible, I love the challenge that each musical endeavor presents.

Whether it’s playing in my first ever Sondheim musical at the Drew School (Into the Woods, what a lovely score, thanks for hiring me James Garrison!), to scoring a film (don’t miss Plastic Man this summer!), to performing a live original score to Bee Film by Cathy Lee Crane, to recording The Beth Custer Ensemble‘s upcoming release in Jeff Cressman‘s cozy studio (almost done!), to teaching private music lessons, to performing with my ensembles, I have a lot of work to do every day and it’s fascinatingly challenging. Anyway… I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do, so there you have it.

One of my very favorite ensembles to play with is Trance Mission. After years of being somewhat dormant as a group we’ll be blossoming out big time this month on June 12th at Cousin Jack’s Mariposa Evenings music festival, on June 13th Russian Center in SF, and at Chapel of Chimes Garden of Memory on June 21st. Come out and hear our new material that we recently recorded and are priming to release soon (hopefully in the fall) and chestnuts from our four seminal releases. Big congrats to Sir Stephen Kent for being honored by Berkeley City Council as Artist of the Month, well done!

You too can commission a composer as the Bernal Hill Players so generously did with me thanks to a grant from SFFCM. I created Four Hidden Stairways of San Francisco for them and the premiere is at the Presidio Officer’s Club on June 19, 6pm and it’s free!

All the Very Best,

Beth

Hey there,
I’m thrilled to announce that The Beth Custer Ensemble and special guests will be performing in New York on November 22nd as part of the Pacific Film Archive’s Georgian Film Retrospective. I’ve launched a Hatchfund crowdfunding campaign to get us there. Please check out the prizes, there’s lots to choose from including having me play on your composition, receiving a stack of my CDs including my latest re-release of ‘Respect as a Religion’ and future release of ‘Aguaplano.’ Or you can come hear a concert with a couple of your friends in my studio! Every donation helps and none are too large!!

I attended Harvey Wainapel’s concert last Friday at the California Jazz Conservatory for his wonderful Amigos Brasileros Vol. 2 CD release party. It was a great evening of music. As most of you know, Harvey joined Clarinet Thing a few years ago and he’s contributed a few Brazilian compositions to the group. Clarinet Thing will be at our favorite venue, The Berkeley Hillside Club on October 17th. Our last Hillside concert sold out so get there early for an evening of completely acoustic clarinet heaven! We are poised to record another CD, our third after the critically acclaimed Cry, Want, and the earlier Agony Pipes and Misery Sticks.

More good news~ the poignant William Farley documentary film Plastic Man: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish that I’ve been scoring for the past six months premieres at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Mill Valley on Sunday, October 5th at 2:30 and in San Rafael on Wednesday, October 8th at 5:30. I’m really proud of this project and hope you can make one of the screenings. I’ll be at both and I think there will be Q & A’s after each screening so you can harass me with compositional queries!

Thanks for reading this far and please consider donating to my Hatchfund. Think of all the Beth Custer releases you can give as gifts for the whole millennia!

Yours,
Beth

Lots to report, folks, thanks for checking in…hope you’re having a lovely summer.
I’m heading out soon to an annual yoga retreat in the Sierras, much needed respite from city life.

The Beth Custer Ensemble is working on a new CD, as yet untitled (‘Pants I Rode In On’?), for fall release. The fabulous Jeff Cressman is at the helm recording. We’re lucky to catch him home from the road, he’s often touring with Santana. Jeff is a dream to work with. He’s easy going, has a great sense of humor, and big ears, as musicians say to compliment other musicians!

Looking forward to our upcoming Freight show, August 9th, 8pm. This is a Respect as a Religion CD re-release party (as opposed to a ‘re-pressed’ party!). Long out of print, BC Records is re-issuing this fab CD with it’s underground hit ‘Empire of the United States’
composed in response to all the lies surrounding the 2003 invasion of Iraq and against imperialism in general. I figure it’s a good time to re-press….since nothing seems to change in that realm of things!

Looking further ahead into the future…my wonderful clarinet quartet, Clarinet Thing will be making a rare appearance October 17th at our favorite venue, the Berkeley Hillside Club. Mark your calendars and more deets on that soon.

Also working on a new CD with Trance Mission Trio. We’re hoping to get some fall dates so stay in touch about that. You can sign up on our FB page, like us, send us gifts even!

I’m winding up my latest freelance composing job for a documentary by a great filmmaker, Bill Farley. Watch here for details mid August as to it’s release date/place.

Ciao for now, lovely summer one and all,
Beth

Happy fall,
If you missed The Beth Custer Ensemble at the beautiful Freight & Salvage or just want to come and hear more you’ve another chance on Sunday, November 17th at the burgeoning downtown Oakland hotspot DUENDE. I sat in with The Tiptons a few weeks ago and loved the vibe and food. It’s a lovely intimate venue where people actually listen! And we’ve some new material including a Paolo Conte song–would love to see you there!

I’ve signed up for another round of acting classes, I’m extremely excited to be back with my fellow actors at Bay Area Acting Studios. These classes are in preparation for my next big project The Custer Project. To be premiered in 2015, I’m creating an oratorio that traces my paternal ancestry in song back to The General. Watch for more news on this project as it develops.

Later my darlings,
Beth

Hey there,
I hope you’re enjoying this incredible weather we’re having. And what a great day for the country with the passing of two historic supreme court decisions. To all my lovely gay friends, MWWAA! big fat congrats! The world is always a better place when equality is installed.

If you haven’t already purchased my new download only release, please check out the clips of Peter, I’m getting alot of critical praise for this score I did for ROCO Dance. I think you’d dig the music!

I’ve got a busy summer and hope you’ll make it out to several of my performances.
This Friday, 6pm I’ll be playing solo at the Mercury Cafe in a benefit for the wonderful KPOO radio, 89.5 on your FM dial. Blowing through some clarinets and singin a couple songs. There’s many musicians on the bill, come out and support true community radio.

In July I’m psyched to be performing at on of my all time favorite Bay Area venues the acoustically phenomenal Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley.
Hey! they have wine in the lobby now so you can sip and hum along with my new and old songs, some creations by guitarist David James and our rockin’ Joni Mitchell cover of ‘Carey’ that was one of the hits of the Blue show last year.

Come hear Club Foot Orchestra with Gamelon Sekar Jaya perform Richard Marriott’s score to Legong: Dance of the Virgins. Banned in Bali this film is really something to see. It’s part of the SF Silent Film Festival and we’ve got a Kickstarter going to pay the musicians, pony up if you can! Every little bit helps.

Check my site for other opportunities to hear my various groups live, come out and shake your stuff, and have a lovely, lush summer!

xoB

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