Renowned cellist/trombonist/composer Dana Leong came to Harker in early March to hold a workshop with upper school music students. Leong is known for hi hip-hop-jazz-electronics fusion and has received much critical acclaim and draws enthusiastic audiences worldwide.
Leong was accompanied by an MC named iLLspokiNN (sic), a member of Leon’s group Milk and Jade. “The master class involved Dana on trombone, cello and vocals (beat boxing) and his MC,” said Dave Hart, middle school music teacher, who arranged for the visit.
About 30 students participated in the master class, held in Nichols Hall. The pair started with one of Leong’s compositions. “It was impressive because the two of them made it sound like a large ensemble,” Hart said. “Dana played his trombone into a microphone that went through several sound modification devices to create different effects. He also used an electronic cello to produce another array of sound effects while iLLspokiNN rapped over the thematic melodies. They were both accompanied by drum beats that Dana created on his computer.
“What makes Dana unique as a musician is that he performs on both the cello and trombone in a wide selection of musical styles,” Hart continued. “Milk and Jade represents Dana playing a more main stream hip hop sound. He also is trained as a classical and jazz musician with a double major from Manhattan School of Music in classical cello and jazz trombone. We were very lucky to have Dana share his musicianship with the Harker students. I actually knew him throughout high school and we used to play together all the time. He has become such a great musician. He also discussed the music business with the students and shared how he manages to be a full-time musician.”