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Becky's picture

Meet the Official MCFC Composer!


T
hose of you who have visited the MCFC Music Hall might already know the name of Christopher Staknys (the official MCFC composer). Well, Ryan and I finally had the pleasure of meeting Christopher, along with his mom Audrey, in person! Within minutes of meeting them, we watched Christopher give a perfect performance of two very difficult pieces on the piano and then we got to hear a string orchestra perform a piece he had written. It was amazing!

 

So how is an 11-year-old able to compose so many great pieces of music and play them so well? Well, he might be young in age, but he has an impressive resume. Here is part of the brief overview he gave us of his life in music so far.

A "Photo" with Christopher & Audrey
This is a "photo" we asked someone to take of us when we met Christopher and his mom Audrey. Click on it to see what happened. (L-R: Audrey, Becky, Christopher, Ryan)

 

"I learned to play violin at age 4. Began to write music at age 6. Sang solo part in Lithuanian song at Boy Singers of Maine Holiday Concert age 8. Played flute in school band - (helped to appreciate flucorder!) – also played recorder. Wrote a symphony when I was 9. Won Laureate Prizes (2nd and 3rd place for solo performance and piano concerto) at International Piano Competition, "Music Without Limits" in Lithuania Aug 2007, 10 years old."

 

Christopher was a little reluctant to list all that he’s done because he didn’t want to sound self-centered or braggy (which he in no way is). But we don’t think it’s bragging, it’s being proud of your accomplishments.

 

Christopher doesn't just hide away at home and play music all the time though. He says his favorite activity after music is reading (his favorite author is Homer who wrote the Odyssey and the Iliad) and he plays sports (tennis, baseball and skiing are his favorite).

 

Christopher also loves animals. In fact his pets have even been inspiration for his music. He's dedicated a symphony to his cat Tiger, and he had a pet rat Bartleby that "wrote" his own music. (Christopher said Bartleby just ran up and down the keyboard, but it was very musical.) He now has a chinchilla named Nutmeg who helps inspire Christopher, and is a big Moo-Cow fan too! (Nutmeg is obviously very intelligent.)

Christopher also likes to help music lovers young and old. He plays for resident at a nursing home, and volunteers at the local YMCA preschool program.

 

It was really great that we could get together with Christopher and Audrey. As a special treat for other MCFC fans he let us videotape him playing some of the Moo-Cow songs he's written! (You can see video of two of his performances below.) We are planning on releasing a CD of Christopher’s music as well as book of piano sheet music, so keep your eyes out for both of those in the future!

 

Still from video of Christopher Staknys Playing MCFC Theme Adorable the Oracle theme by Christopher Staknys
Christopher playing the MCFC Theme song.
Christopher playing Adorable the Oracle Theme.

 

Becky's picture

MCFC's Top Model!

When I was a kid, I dreamed of the many things I wanted to be when I grew up…an airplane pilot, Olympic gymnast and movie star to name a few. But last week I got the chance to be something I never thought I would ever be. I was a model.

 

No, I didn't dress in fancy designer clothes, and no I didn't fly to New York for the shoot. The wardrobe was my winter coat, and the location was our front yard. Okay, in the pictures to be honest you really can't even see my face. But I DID stand around while things in my pockets got photographed. And that's basically all models do, right? Stand around and get photographed? See, I was a model.

 

I was modeling our new MCFC Felties! We have these new craft kits where you can create your own Moo-Cow stuffed animal. We supply directions, patterns, felt, stuffing and string. All you need is scissors, a needle and some glue and the desire to make something cute! They really are cute (maybe I'm a little biased) and easy enough for even sewing novices (like me).

 

So, how does this relate to modeling? Well, we needed some pictures of the finished Felties for the packaging. My coat just happened to have exactly four pockets, which is the same number of Felties we have to show off (We have kits for Moo-Cow, Ramses, F.W. and Kiweenie right now with
more to come later). We took our little felt friends outside and photographed them all over the grounds of MCFC Headquarters.

 

Here are some of the behind the scenes pictures....

 

Felties in my pocket

 

Here's a picture of me with the Felties in my pocket. (I didn't know my face was going to be in it!)

 

 

Here's Ryan setting the Felties up on a cool tree stump that is behind MCFC Headquarters.

 

We took the pictures just in time, because here is the same tree stump the next day!

 

Snowy Stump
 
Here are some of the final pics we ended up using for each feltie kit.
Moo-Cow Feltie
Feltie F.W.
Ramses Feltie
Feltie Kiweenie

 

You can learn more about MCFC Felties here!

Becky's picture

Free Books and Germs

avatar-with-kiweenie.jpg

 

 

*Cough* *Cough*

Sorry, I have a wicked bad cold. Stuffy nose, sore throat, the works. It was probably because this past week, we went down to New York City for the fabulous Book Expo America. We go to different conferences and publishing events through the year, and I gotta say Book Expo is quickly becoming my favorite. I went by myself last year, and had so much fun, that this year Ryan came along with me. Our friend Erick Chase, a fifth grade teacher, MCFC teacher advisor and writer, came too. Also Ramses and F.W. invited themselves along, but pretty much did their own thing the whole time.

 

The best part of the expo is the books. The books, the books, the books, the books! Hundreds and hundreds of books all for free. The only thing it can be compared to is trick-or-treating in a really good neighborhood where everyone gives out full sized candy bars.

 

Along with the books come many of the authors who have written them. I love meeting and talking to authors. One part of conference was dedicated entirely to book signings. Most of the authors had a long line, and I couldn't spend too much time talking to them, but I still had some interesting encounters.

 

One author, a Chinese healer, signed my book and then he put his hand to his chest and was quite for a moment. When he opened his eyes he said he put healing energy into my book. Do you think it would help me get rid of my cold? I should find that book!

 

Another author told me she got into New York City at 3 a.m.! I was talking to her only 5 hours later. I think I would be exhausted, but she was very awake and happy and I saw her running throughout the expo the whole day.

Some of the authors seemed a little cranky. I can't blame them, some of them were signing books for hours, but still...

 

With so many people at the expo (in the thousands) Ryan and I were bound to know a few, but we ended up running into a lot of friends. It was such a surprise. If the publishing world was a 100-pound bag of rice, we are basically a flake of dust at the bottom of the bag. That is, we are very, very, very small. And yet, we knew a lot of people. Some comic artists, some authors, some publishers. I even ran into a friend from another kids magazine, and a cow that blogs about comics named Bully. I told Moo-Cow about him.

 

ACCHOOOO!!! Now, if you'll excuse me I think I'll go lie down again.

 

at-book-expo.jpg

Ramses & F.W. came to Book Expo with us, but went off and did their own thing. From the looks of the pictures on the camera, they didn't spend their time getting books (most pictures were like the one above, which they took out front of a fantasy book booth). Ramses did say that they sat at some tables and signed books. When I pointed out to him that only authors are supposed to sign the books he just gave me a mischievous smile and I didn't ask any more questions. All in all I think they had a good time.

 

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