Monday, December 25, 2006

Il est ne, le divine enfant

Tim and Paul played this duet to open the Christmas Eve service at Parkminster Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY, on Sunday, December 24, 2006.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tim Craig Soloing with the Grammy Jazz Band

This clip is taken from a concert by the Grammy Jazz Band at The Vic in Santa Monica California.

Merry Christmas Everyone

Dear Friends and Family,

This year we're going to try sending out Christmas letter out as a blog. We've had quite a bit of excitement this year and are grateful as we look back at 2006.

Family News

We took a couple of family vacations this past summer and they revolved around fishing and camping. In July we went to Long Island Sound, where Paul was working on a research project (for the curious - it's about scientific visualization - you can find out more at On the way to Long Island, we stopped on the Connecticutt side of Long Island Sound and took the whole family fishing for striped bass on Kingfisher Charters. Everyone caught some fish and we then spent a week together on the grounds of Brookhaven National Lab. There were some terrific trips to the beaches on the southern shore of Long Island.

Later in the summer we went camping at the Thousand Islands, where we did some fishing, Tim and Will did some running and we played a game called Nertz.

Elsa and Paul celebrated their 20th anniversary on November 22. In those 20 years we have had 4 terrific kids and have lived in 6 different houses. We had quite a dramatic celebration - we spent time repainting our family room and replacing our couches. We did take a big trip earlier in the year when we went to see Tim perform with the Grammy Band - more about that below. Here is a picture of Elsa at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. We also visited the Santa Monica pier and watched the dolphins playing in the water.

Tim had quite an eventful year that included a trip to California in February to play with the Grammy Jazz Band. You can read about the program at Grammy in the Schools. He returned to our home in Rochester, NY, in time to go through the audition process for music school and is now enrolled at the Eastman School of Music, where he is studying jazz trombone and music education.

Will spent the year growing and running. He is now the tallest in our household and enjoys driving his remote control car. Earlier this fall, he found out about a place with hills and curves and a racecourse for remote control cars. We went to a park and followed the directions he had for wandering through the woods and we found it. Here is a shot of him from the Cross Country Sectionals at Mendon Ponds Park just east of Rochester. Will cut 1'45" off his average time from last year and was given the Coach's Trophy as the outstanding member of this year's team. He will be a captain next year and his goal is to make the New York State races. He thinks he needs to cut about 45" off his time to get there.

Michael loves to fish and play his drums. He plays in the band and jazz band at Gates Chili Middle School and he also plays drums for the praise band at our church, Parkminster Presbyterian Church. In addition to our family fishing trip to Long Island Sound, Michael did a lot of fishing in a neighborhood pond, where he caught a 2.5' pike one afternoon. Paul and Michael also went fishing in a stream that runs through an old lock of the Erie Canal one Sunday. Michael caught a fish with just about every cast (about 10 small mouth bass). Paul caught one, but had a lot of fun watching a master at work.

Emily loves to read and work all kind of handcrafts. Our home is decorated with much of her work, including some stars and a latchhook rug of a tiger. I've also added a picture from her birthday party. One of her gifts was a french horn soloist playing Mozart.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Flowers in our Garden

Elsa has a perenniel garden by our deck and the flowers are coming up beautifully this year. The first picture on the left shows the entire garden. We have 3 poppie plants, an iris and several others that I can't identify.

This is a closeup view of one of the poppies.

Monday, May 22, 2006

It's been almost a year...

It's been almost a year since my father died (June 8, 2005) and I'm still not used to it. I was talking about this with my cousin Todd shortly after Dad's and he shared his experience of losing someone very close to him. He said something like "The pain does not go away, it just becomes part of who you are." That has certainly been my experience as well. I'm not angry about it and I don't mope around, but I certainly miss him. Here is a letter that I wrote to him the night after he died.

A Letter to My Father

Dear Dad,

It’s late and it’s hard to say goodbye. I wonder what I will miss most about you.

A Saturday phone call to find out how to fix the fan
…or the sink
…or the toilet
…or the lawnmower
Can you fix the ache in my heart right now?

I will miss… working together on Adelman’s lawn,
painting houses together,
putting in a driveway,
shingling someone’s roof

I loved to work with you. I love to work because I learned that from you.

I will miss… playing sports with you and talking about the Red Sox
the fact that you really wanted to know about the weather
fishing with you (or at least talking about it)
the way you always looked for a bargain

I will miss… the sure sound of your trombone
your love of music
playing songs with you

It is an honor and a privilege to follow in your footsteps.

I will miss… your daily display of courage in facing hardship
your deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ
your tender heart that was so easily bruised
your example of faithful care and provision
for Mom
for your parents,
for your children,
for your extended family,
for your tenants (your own personal welfare system),
for your neighbors – in other words for everyone you met.

I will miss you. You have always been my hero. I learned to be a man from you – not from Rudyard Kipling, not from a thousand sermons or from ten thousand books. I learned it from you.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This is a picture of the band at The Vic, a jazz nightclub in Santa Monica. Elsa and I were joined by my brother Gary, who came clubbing with us for one night on a break from a conference in northern LA. Posted by Picasa

The American Idol folks were also on the USC campus for the Music in the Schools day. Please notice Randy standing right in front of the Mercedes SUV. Posted by Picasa

This is a Bentley that was parked (in two spaced as you can see) at USC. I posted this because Will and Michael really like nice cars and this is as close as I'll ever get to a Bentley. Posted by Picasa

This is the Jazz Ensemble getting ready to play at the Music in the Schools day at USC on Monday afternoon, February 13. Posted by Picasa

This is the recording booth at Capitol Records. It was quite impressive. There was room for about 5 spectators, so we had to leave after about 25 minutes when our turn was up (there were lots of parents who wanted to see what was going on). Posted by Picasa

Here is my lovely bride waiting to be discovered at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Posted by Picasa

This picture was taken at Spaghettini's - a wonderful restaurant that had a remarkable brunch. The Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY jazz ensemble, combo and jazz choir all played there on Sunday February 12. Their performances were broadcast live over a local jazz station. I highly recommend the Jazz Brunch if you're in Seal Beach, CA, on a Sunday. I have a wonderful movie of Tim playing a solo with the band. I'm still trying to figure out how to post it to this blog. Posted by Picasa

Here is a picture of Clint Eastwood's signature at Graumann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Elsa and I went there on Saturday, February 11, after visting Capitol Records to see Tim's band recording. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 05, 2006

This is Tim on a break at Captiol Records. When the band was playing he was in the shadows and all I could get was the back of his head. Posted by Picasa

On Saturday, February 4, Tim's band recorded 4 tunes at Capitol Records. This is a picture of Elsa at Capitol Records. Posted by Picasa

Paul was there too. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 04, 2006

This is a picture of Oscar Peterson leaving the Music Box in Hollywood. The highlight of the evening was a jazz exchange between Oscar and the pianist from the Jazz Ensemble. There is Tim in the background. Posted by Picasa

The three pianists are in the front of this image taken at the Music Box Theatre. This one is kind of dark, but if you look real hard (you'll have to click on the image to enlarge it), you can see Tim smiling in the next to the back row of the band. Posted by Picasa

This is an image from inside the Music Box Theatre. The Edison style phonograph is the symbol of the GRAMMYS. Posted by Picasa

On Friday night, the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble, Combo and Jazz Choir performed at the GRAMMY Salute to Jazz at the Music Box in Hollywood. They played backup to three jazz pianists who were honored: Barry Harris, Hank Jones and Oscar Peterson. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Will running the 2-mile

This is a little video clip of William running the 2 mile race for Gates-Chile Indoor Track. His time was 11:10, which was a personal best. He needs to cut 3 more seconds off his time to make it to regionals. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006

More News on Tim

This article appeared on pages 1 and 3 of the Gates Chili Central School District January/February 2006 newsletter. Just click on the images to enlarge and read them.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Article from the Local Newspaper

This article about Tim is part of the "Day in the Life" series that the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle runs every Sunday about the towns and villages surrounding Rochester.

Trombonist slides into success

Teen will play at Grammy Awards

(January 22, 2006) — There's something cool about a kid who loves the swing of jazz so much that he will practice it day and night until his parents tell him to quit because his sister is trying to sleep.

And there is something reassuring about a teenager who picks a trombone — not the iest ax in the band — above other instruments and enjoys making it sing and sway to a bluesy tempo or bounce to a John Philip Sousa march.

But cool or not, swing or march makes no difference to 17-year-old Tim Craig. He just loves the sound of a trombone, especially when he's at the mouthpiece of the family trombone and playing jazz.

"My grandfather had it and my dad had it, and now I have it," says Craig, a senior at Gates Chili High School.

"That trombone has more meaningful history to me that any other horn."

Next month, Craig will add a chapter to the family trombone's history when he performs with a youth jazz ensemble at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

He was picked to play lead trombone with 29 high school jazz musicians from across the country.

They're scheduled to perform as a prelude to the televised Grammy ceremonies Feb. 8 and at several events during the week.

For Craig, this is where the countless hours of practice and his love of music pay off.

He will play with some of the most talented young musicians in the country in front of an audience packed with the biggest names in the music business.

He will record a CD with the ensemble at Capitol Recording Studios, and might meet Tony Bennett and Sting while doing it.

And if that were not enough, he will get a seat at the Grammys and perhaps an opportunity to wonder whether he will ever be back up on stage to collect a statue.

"I can't think that far in the future," Craig says.

"I don't see that happening, but I also didn't see this in my future."

But when he thinks of the years to come, he does see a future in music.

Craig sees a career in teaching music, playing his trombone on the side.

Or maybe it will be the other way around.

He wants to attend the Eastman School of Music in the fall, and is auditioning for the school.

The teenager already has choice kindling for a successful music career.

He plays in several bands at the high school and is a member of the Eastman Youth Jazz Ensemble and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Gates Chili High School band teacher Paul Maginn says Craig has been selected to all-county and all-state concert and jazz bands since middle school. Selection to the Grammy Jazz Ensemble places Craig in a national light, he says.

"This selection shows that he is one of the top trombone players in the country," Maginn says.

"There is no doubt about it."

Craig exemplifies how it takes more than raw talent to be a successful musician.

He practices between two and four hours a day.

That's in addition to the time he spends at school and doing homework.

He also is a student of music, especially jazz.

A conversation with him about jazz starts with his influences; they include J.J. Johnson, Robin Eubanks, Chris Potter, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. He refers to them as "cats."

There's also his father, Paul Craig, who plays in a local Dixieland band, and his grandfather, Harley Craig, who died in June. They were his first influences.

Craig's parents are very proud of their son's dedication to music.

"It is his passion," says his mother, Elsa Craig. "I think he lives to play trombone."

When it comes down to it, Craig says it's the sound of the horn that he has grown to love.

"You can do the most with it," Craig says.

"It's the closest thing to the human voice because of the slide and its ability to bend pitches, swooping in and going down."