Victoria Lynn Schultz
OB: Taking steps as a musician is critical, with your experience earning a Bachelor of Music Degree from UMKC do you feel more confident as a writer?
Victoria Lynn Schultz: I have been writing music since I was 7 years old, performing my songs for classmates. Friends from the neighborhood still remember coming over to my home for the ‘porch concerts’ to listen to my latest song. Along with piano studies, I studied Theory and Composition throughout Junior and High School years.
My training at the Conservatory of Music at UMKC has been vital in my musicianship, performance and composition. The teachers were inspiring and it was a wonderful experience I will never forget. I had courses in Theory, Form and Analysis, Counterpoint, Orchestration, and Composition.
At Drake University in Des Moines Iowa, I continued with private lessons in Composition. Dr. Kaderavek taught orchestration using standards like “As Time Goes By” which gave me a great background for what I do now in popular music. Although I composed classical works in college, I use the same techniques of counterpoint and orchestration in my Celtic and popular works, such as those on the Celtic Crossings CD.
OB: You have toured with some impressive musicians including “The Chieftains”, Clay Aiken, and Peabo Bryson. Please share a memorable experience you had on tour with us.
Victoria Lynn Schultz: Touring with the Chieftains was a thrill of a lifetime. I remember watching them on PBS many years ago and thinking, what a fun group! It was certainly a dream come true to perform with them. When I first received the call from their Canadian agency I thought, this must be a joke, but sure enough Paddy Maloney called a few days later to interview me. He had listened to the sound clips on the website and knew from the resume that I had studied and performed with Irish musicians, so I knew the authentic style
All the guys in the band were wonderful to work with, very jolly. Irish music is more than a musical experience with them, it is a cultural awakening, and you just cannot be sad listening to those dance tunes. Since my heritage is Scottish the Celtic flavor of the music really spoke to me.
During the tour, Paddy Maloney would sit with me at the dinner break and tell Derek Bell stories. Derek had been the harpist for the Chieftains and the tour I played was a tribute to him after he died. Derek was quite a feisty character and it was great hearing the stories about the artist.
For the show I was given the titles of the pieces, the key, and a CD of their performance. I memorized the tunes, which were harp solos by the ancient Irish harper O’Carolan, including his Concerto. For the finale they used different tunes each night, not even announcing them, and we would just join in by ear. This was quite different from the classical concert experience!
I have had many memorable moments on tour, and another great experience was performing with Josh Groban. He is as gracious in person as the performer you see on stage, and he practiced with us in jeans, looking like one of the band guys. It was totally cool.
Another great experience was meeting Roger Williams, the pianist who recorded ‘Autumn Leaves’ and the music for the movie “The Sting.” I was performing on piano in the lobby of the Hyatt Grand Cypress, when he walked by and listened to several pieces. He sent his agent to meet me and arranged for me to attend his concert and attend the private party afterwards. He still writes me to this day and we have a nice friendship.
Clay Aiken surprised me with his utterly flawless vocal technique. He was totally in control of each note and his voice was so beautiful!
Peabo Bryson was another sweetheart backstage. He was gracious to everyone he came in contact with and always had a winning smile.
Performing with the Rock Band Kansas was an awesome experience, to play rock on the harp! A big fan of “The Highlander” TV series, I had always loved the theme song “Dust in the Wind,” so to perform with the group was a thrill! Another great rocking harp experience was performing with the concert “Video Games Live” at Universal’s Hard Rock Stage this past February.
OB: Reaching #1 with “Harp Dreams” and “Harp Meditation” on MP3.com must have been an exciting experience. Where else is you music featured?
My solo harp album “The Soothing Harp” which featured four of my originals was distributed through the Avon Catalogue, and then through Target and other stores. It has been released in Europe and Japan, and in South America under the name “Arpa”. I have four solo harp CD’s, a guided mediation CD with hypnotist Diane Ross, and I have performed and/or arranged music for the CD’s of several New Age and Celtic artists. You can also hear my harp on a series of CD’s entitled “Television’s Greatest Hits” distributed through Best Buy.
My original music was used in the Indie movie “Omission,” a science fiction movie with a love story involving an angel and a mortal. The harp fits the story line well. I have also been involved with a few independent documentaries and commercial work. Current projects include a documentary for an artist to promote his art and follow the creative process behind his paintings, and a solo CD of my originals in the New Age genre.
OB: Having the opportunity to perform on National Television, what would you say is the trick to keeping your nerves at bay when it comes to such a experience?
Victoria Lynn Schultz: I would say the training at the Conservatory really helped me with this. When you have worked with such demanding teachers who push you to your limits of endurance you reach great heights in your musical experience, and that gives you confidence to achieve even more. Preparation is the key to controlling nerves. I practice until I have total control of the technique of the piece and can concentrate just on the musicality and enjoying the performance. I have performed so much that I can immediately go into the ‘Zone,” which is almost a meditative state for me. I am very analytical about what I need to do to prepare a piece for performance level and then on stage I just enjoy the experience. I am so into the moment there is no place for jitters. I am having too much fun!
OB: How difficult is it to tune a harp and do you get tired of carrying around such a large instrument?!
Victoria Lynn Schultz: The harp requires frequent tunings.. I tune it before every performance and every time I move it. Changes of temperature and humidity, moving the harp, going in and out of air conditioning, all affect the tuning. During the night’s performance I tune a couple of strings between songs, because playing the harp stretches the strings, so you have to constantly touch up the tuning.
Moving the harp is another challenge, as the concert grand is about 90 pounds and very awkward to handle. Every time someone sees me move a harp they ask, ‘don’t you wish you played the flute?’
I developed a board system in my van where I can lever the harp in and out of the car myself. Then I have a specially made harp cart to roll it around on site. You have to be careful moving it because it can tip over so easily. Add to that the challenge of Florida weather and sometimes the flute looks like a great alternative.
Speaking of Florida weather, I played for the ‘Hurricane party of all time’ at one of the hotels in 2004. I thought I would be safer in a huge hotel built to withstand 200 mile winds rather than my home. Where did they put me? Right in the lobby in front of a three story glass wall where I could see every palm tree blowing away and hear the wind like I was in the middle of Kansas.
OB: You also step foot in the corporate environment. How do your performances different from playing a convention or scheduled type gig to an original performance where you can play your own set?
Victoria Lynn Schultz: Convention performing is totally different from the concert experience. Most of my convention work involves background dinner music. I play everything from standards to musical theater and current tunes, since they want repertoire they will recognize. I also perform themed events with singers and other musicians, such as “Phantom of the Opera”. When I play for festivals and concerts I perform original music, traditional Irish or modern Celtic music, but I vary the repertoire according to the audience. This Spring I performed shows at Cypress Gardens, where the crowd enjoyed older songs including “Over the Rainbow” and “Wind Beneath My Wings”. I recently performed a show with the group at the Villages for their St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, and we performed Irish Jigs and Reels, “Carrickfergus” from the Celtic Women and RiverDance shows, and my compositions from the “Celtic Crossings” CD.
OB: It’s your turn at karaoke, what do you sing?
Dear God, just shoot me now. . . . . .
OB: Tryskelon, your formed band has a new album, “Celtic Crossings”. How has this album been influencing your impact on listeners and where can we find it?
Victoria Lynn Schultz: “Celtic Crossings” has gotten rave reviews, including a five star review in the “Renaissance Magazine.” . The editor was so excited she called me personally. It has gotten some airplay locally and in Tampa, and I will pursue promoting the album more this summer. It has also been well received in all of our concerts. “Travelers’ Journey” and “Breath of Angels” are popular on all the shows I do, no matter what age group, and that is very satisfying artisticly.
The album is available through my websites (www.victoriaschultz.com and www.myspace.com/victorialynnschultz) and through CDBaby. All the tracks are available for digital downloads on ITunes and other sources.
OB: Where do you find most of your creative inspiration drawn from?
Victoria Lynn Schultz: As with most artists, my inspiration comes from life experiences and the people I meet. If someone describes a scene or emotion they want to portray, I can hear music that will fit the scene very easily. When I am performing I always add some improvisation to the sets. It is a great way to develop a new theme and try it out on a crowd before putting the new tune in a concert.
OB: For newcomers in the Orlando area of the same taste of music, where would you suggest scouting for shows? Any favorite rooms to play locally?
Victoria Lynn Schultz: I love the musicians at Raglan Road. I have performed for some private events there and the musicians from Ireland are terrific. I also like the intimate settings of folk music places, like Infusion Tea.
At Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian I perform on the harp in Victoria and Albert’s dining room and on piano in the lobby. I perform for special events in all the major hotels and convention areas in the Orlando area, including the Gaylord Palms Resort Hotel & Convention Center, the Grande Lakes, Orlando Resort Hotel JW Marriott & the Ritz Carlton., and the Grand Bohemian Hotel. For the past three years, I have been performing at SeaWorld for the Christmas season, and that has been one of a most enjoyable experience.