"Are You an
Here is the original contest video:
Here is Docjazz's video thanking everyone for participating in the contest and announcing the winners:
Sr. Division (Over 18)
Ubizmo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aNNdos2ocw *1st Prize: Best Overall Performance, Sr. Division.
LordOblivion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAVER2YnRHw *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division.
Natchtschwinge http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX-nvaMVfno *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division.
Jeremy Francis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK48rd-Ib-I *Honorable mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division.
Joe Groves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1TNAmFgiUg *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division.
Okarojo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHcCTBpiFwo *1st Prize: Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division.
TheOcarinaFanatic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyO_0DGbyxM *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division.
CL (Mugcheck; Hoodsmom) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbZU4u6_7Qc *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division.
Cynthia Smith (csocarina) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjcPUHpZ9pQ *Honorable Mention, Most Enertaining Video, Sr. Division.
Pixeloverlord http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3KZgEadBa0 *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division.
Jr. Division (18 and under)
Jalen (Kingocarina) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izBOlz1P4M4 *1st Prize: Most Entertaining Video and Best Overall Performance, Jr. Division.
MikeRules12346 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lssjf2vb0LU&feature=channel_page *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Jr. Division.
Zagled4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gToKrKk4mi0 *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division.
Thomas (wenhaothomas) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rilAko9PchQ *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division.
Anuar Muyale http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1emjkBIftns *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division.
Neil (IHeartMySnes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc8SH9wjR2w *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division.
thepiedpiper12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi6W7OtCqaE *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division.
Peter Fitch (Ceasarontoast) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNcOJkae96o *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division.
Please visit the Mountain Ocarinas fourm and let us know what you thought of the contest: Ocarina Guru Contest Comments
Contest and Video Notes
Karl Ahrens of Mountain Ocarinas
I've enjoyed participating as a judge in docjazz4's "Are You an Ocarina Guru?" contest. Thanks to talented advocates like Docjazz and to many of you, I think we'll be seeing a lot more ocarina virtuosos over the next few years as more and more people embrace the ocarina as a serious musical instrument.
Let's face it. Judging is a tough job. There are so many good entries, but we can only declare a few winners. To reach a consensus, Docjazz and I watched all the videos at least a few times and then consulted together for a couple hours on the phone. In the end, we had chosen not only the 1st prize entries, but also a number of other videos that seemed particularly deserving of honorable mention.
Please realize that although I took my role of judge to heart, many of my rough notes on these videos are more tongue in cheek. Also, please don't think that a longer note about a video means that I liked it better than others or that it received more attention. It simply means that my sleep-deprived brain, for whatever reason, had more to say about that particular video. (By the way, if I unintentionally offend anyone with my comments, please have your people contact my people, and my people will talk to their people about correcting the situation immediately!)
Finally, I want to thank all the
hopeful contestants who sent me cash bribes in used, unmarked bills. While such
"contributions" were greatly appreciated, I want to assure the other
three entrants that cash-filled envelopes had
The following videos appear in the order in which I watched them the first time through.
Prichardsph http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOTiTWD3liQ Prichardsph squeezed in under the wire to bring us a competent entry from the frozen prairies of Canada. (No penguins were employed or harmed in the filming of this video.)
*Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video. With his choice of a classic
gray T-shirt, he managed to
Lucao501 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MagwFoN4n9k Lucao501's ocarina, a turtle, was quite clearly and conclusively the cutest clay critter in the contest. At one point, Lucas hinted that his turtle might not play quite as good as it looks, but he was quick to apologize to his inanimate friend for any unintended slight. As an ocarina maker myself, I can't help but applaud that kind of respect for one's ocarina.
Joe Groves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1TNAmFgiUg *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division. A very fine no-nonsense performance.
Brean Hunt (bboybaggens) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8R1aa6m2g8 A nice performance on his own homemade Sculpey ocarina. One highlight features Brean skipping joyously down the middle of the street while playing his ocarina. (As far as we know, the skipping bit turned out well for Brean, but please don't try this at home unless you look both ways first!)
Jalen (Kingocarina) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izBOlz1P4M4 *1st Prize: Most Entertaining Video and Best Overall Performance, Jr. Division. This enjoyable video, a takeoff on "American Idol," uses actual cutouts of Docjazz4's and Karl's heads. However, if you look really close, you'll note the clever use of body doubles. (I guess Jalen doesn't think that Docjazz and I work out enough.)
Kingocarina puts in an excellent performance of "I Have a Bonnet Trimmed in Blue" on three different ocarinas. (FYI, there seems to be no credible basis to reports that Jalen is actually 27 and should have been excluded from the Jr. Division.)
Thomas (wenhaothomas) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rilAko9PchQ *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division. Thomas' performance is very good.
Note: The lighting in this video is curiously dark, which made me curious. Was the lighting just an accident or is "Thomas" enrolled in some type of federal witness protection program? If so, we certainly don't want to blow his cover, do we? I suggest that you all forget all about what I have written here. Act like it never happened. Don't give it another thought!
Anuar Muyale http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1emjkBIftns *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division. From the island of Aruba, Anuar played clearly and cleanly with a solid sense of rhythm... and he has only been playing the ocarina since January of this year!
Zeldasuperfan1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BqGVrW_KU8&feature=channel_page A nice performance in a cheery outdoor playground setting.
CL (Mugcheck; Hoodsmom) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbZU4u6_7Qc *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division. This California taxpayer wielded her mighty ocarina to take a creative swipe at partisan politics in her state. Alas, her video failed to win because powerful unnamed lobbyists from both sides of the aisle pressured us into downgrading her entry. It was feared that if she won, it would focus too much attention on her views. (On the bright side, this "unwelcome" political pressure has allowed certain guru contest judges to pay off a loan or two and to take loved ones out to classy restaurants.) Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are solely the views of someone else and do not express the views of anyone who anyone else might wish to sue for anything.
Zach (dragonfire2407) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnZ7kpE9OU0 Zach tore at our heart strings when he showed us a lamentable chip on his ocarina, underscoring his NEED to win the contest, if only to get a new ocarina. And his performance was quite good. Unfortunately, his levels were not set properly, or he was too close to the mic, so he wound up taking the prize for the most ear-splitting distortion. (The prize is a set of recently blown computer speakers, to be delivered C.O.D.)
Mathew Hathaway (apassionateplayer) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn8jXjT77ms&feature=channel_page Matthew plays an interesting improvisation on his own homemade ocarina.
MikeRules12346 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lssjf2vb0LU&feature=channel_page *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Jr. Division. This video is a good one to watch! Four friends team up to provide good entertainment and a fun ocarina performance.
In terms of judging, we had to take off points for a couple reasons. First, the sponsors worried that if these guys were to win, they'd all be expecting a full set of prizes. Since that was not going to happen anytime soon, we became concerned about any liability that might stem from granting the prize only to MikeRules12346. What if a fight were to break out over the prizes, resulting in physical or emotional trauma to either their shared friendship or their individual noses? The final nail in the coffin came in the way of an anonymous tip. It seems that the so-called "bonnet" used in their video is not of official size and weight according to international bonnet standards. On closer inspection, the "bonnet" appears to be a cleverly adapted form of some other type of headwear (a tricorn hat?).
Cynthia Smith (csocarina) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjcPUHpZ9pQ *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division. A very cool performance on a double ocarina.
TaurnilsOcarina http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MC1wrgURtk This video is fun and creative: TaurnilsOcarina manages to play his ocarina under water, with a well-known celebrity mentor, upside down, etc.
Now, perhaps I'm too sensitive, but I felt like Jimmy the Fish might have been glaring at me. At any rate, Jimmy's unblinking stare was a bit disconcerting to me personally. There seemed to be a subliminal message in that stare: "Pick dis guy's video or you gonna be sleepin' wid duh fishes." Maybe I do need some sleep, but not with the fishes.
Conner (iCallitMusic) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmG1TTEy0Y8 Nice job. Conner documents his 72-hour ocarina odyssey, which he underwent without even the benefit of a change of clothes. Personally, I prefer shorter practice sessions spread out over several days or weeks. Still, with Conner's unrelenting focus, we expect great things from him in the future.
Getaro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIRgQDDBzpE&feature=channel_page A fun video by another recent ocarina enthusiast. Getaro did win points for the most varied headgear and the best tiger choreography. Possible legal and ethical issues have come to our attention, however. For example, does Getaro or anyone else in his family possess a valid exotic pet license for either the tiger or the large snake clearly visible in his video? Are these alleged animals treated humanely? Finally, did Getaro's use of a non-paid non-union caterer (referred to only as "Mommy") grant him an unfair economic advantage over law abiding entrants? Rated PG for brief language, potentially frightening reptile silhouettes, and thematic elements*. (*Sorry! I don't know what thematic elements are either.)
1dAndy1288 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbhRqB3sN3c Andy puts in a clear, lively performance as he boldly champions the pendant ocarina.
TheOcarinaFanatic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyO_0DGbyxM *Honorable Mention, Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division. This video documents one young man's inspirational journey toward excellence.
Part 1 We watch as his first glimmer of interest in docjazz4's guru competition blossoms into an all-consuming drive to enter--and win! His determination grows ever more palpable, even patriotic (there's an American flag in the background), as the soundtrack rises to a crescendo. We look on in awe and admiration as our hero weathers one unimaginable obstacle after another. For example, in his bare feet, he has to practically claw himself up a long, steep, and really, really tiring set of carpeted stairs. As if that were not enough, he then has to face a last gasping, desperate dash down a really, really long hallway. (I don't think that those of us with normal staircases and short hallways can even begin to appreciate this level of sacrifice!) When at last he reaches "the summit" and straps on his trusty ocarina, you just know that this guy is going to kick some buttocks with that thing--uh, figuratively speaking, of course.
Part 2 After the high drama of the introduction, the energy level gets dialed down several notches in part two. It only makes sense. I mean, nobody could maintain that kind of energy output indefinitely. Even an ocarina fanatic has to pace himself, right? Especially after that killer stairway!
All kidding aside, TheOcarinaFanatic finished out with a nice, spirited version of "I Have a Bonnet Trimmed in Blue." And his ocarina was even color coordinated to match his blue bonnet! (Somehow I had failed to notice this important fact until my wife pointed it out to me.)
Lynn (lsdeamer255) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgRcMNHjfrk Excellent video quality and an enjoyable performance.
Fusionsax10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzGt23Mjcvs A very good performance on a more challenging ocarina.
Ian (demonfoxnetwork) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyRxYgTY-zw A lively and very solid performance.
3ejays http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thLL0v4164Q A nice job on a pendant ocarina. 3ejays seems to be one of those people who can make you laugh or smile just by their good-natured manner.
Neil (IHeartMySnes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc8SH9wjR2w *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division. Lively and quite good, especially for someone who has only been playing for a short time.
vwb467 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZwrKbYloe0 Vwb467 played three different ocarinas and added interesting video effects. I especially liked how vwb467's silhouette bobbed its head to the music as vwb467 played the ocarina. In a moment of apparent doubt, vwb467 abandoned his quest to achieve ocarina guru status and tried his hand at the recorder. (I'll have to check, but I don't think we offer a prize for best overall recorder performance. If it turns out that we do, he will definitely have an edge since he was the only entry in that category.)
Zagled4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gToKrKk4mi0 *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division. This video is nicely shot and features beautiful pastoral scenes and an old water wheel. Peter's excellent performance is fast, clean, and lively. As someone who loves to play my ocarina outdoors, I can relate to this one.
Okarojo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHcCTBpiFwo *1st Prize: Most Entertaining Video, Sr. Division. Don't miss this one! My notes after watching this video for the first time consisted only of "Wow!" Okarojo's talents are many, as you will soon see, if you haven't already.
PikePiper http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXJYMYcuvNI Nice performance and most perfect set of teeth. (I usually don't notice people's teeth, but in this case, PikePiper gritted hers at the camera after one unsuccessful take.)
Stephen (Soc2596) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltvYK7XhxMQ Stephen projects a relaxed, likeable, enthusiastic tone as he explains how he first learned about and then started playing ocarinas. He plays "I Have a Bonnet Trimmed in Blue" very nicely.
Pauzle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=833utA1ldx0 Pauzle (aka, the bird whisperer) gained notice for the having the best behaved live animal in the contest. (A certain tiger in another video seemed a bit unruly.) People sometimes ask how their pets will respond to an ocarina. Of course, it varies, but most animals adapt pretty quickly. My dog likes to rest on one of my feet while I play. The cockatiel in this video seemed pretty content up there on Pauzle's shoulder while he (Pauzle) played his wooden tenor ocarina.
666LordOblivion666 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAVER2YnRHw *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division. Unfortunately, the sound level on this video is very low. There's a story that goes along with this video. Lord Oblivion originally recorded "I Have a Bonnet Trimmed in Blue" a few months ago when he had only been playing the ocarina for a short time. After the start of the docjazz4 ocarina guru competition, folks began to mistake his earlier effort for a contest entry, so he decided to make a "proper entry." His abundant talent is obvious, and it is also clear that he is growing conversant in some of the traditional ornaments used in the video that inspired this contest.
Bagoms http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgrbIZWa0Cg Although he has a piano background, Bagoms had only been playing the ocarina for a few days when he recorded this song. Impressive!
thepiedpiper12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi6W7OtCqaE *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division. An excellent performance, with nice tone and a pleasing, energetic style.
I tell you, Thepiedpiper12 (May I call you Pied?), this one broke my heart. We were thinking about sending you a spontaneous gift of $5,000 in cash, for no other reason than our overly generous nature, when a terrible thing happened! Someone pointed out to me that you didn't quite follow the rules of this contest. They (the rules) read as follows: All entries must be made specifically for this contest and contestants must appear in their video, introduce themselves (using your real name or Youtube user name) and make a reference to the "Docjazz4 'Are You an Ocarina Guru' Contest" at the beginning of their video.
If only you had said Docjazz4 at the beginning of your video! I know this seems like a small infraction, but if we don't nip these things in the bud, pretty soon we'll have people entering tuba recordings in the ocarina guru contest, whining that you broke the rules, so why can't they? (By the way, I was just kidding about the $5,000 in cash. I've never actually seen $5,000 in cash, though I've read that sums like that do exist.)
Cassandra (fireflysenshi6) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yY6jUGLomU We liked her infectious enthusiasm and her very capable performance. After all, this is the first actual song that she has learned on the ocarina. May it be only the first of countless others!
Jeremy Francis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK48rd-Ib-I *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division, for his fine playing on a double ocarina. Also, his video links to what sounds like a very talented heavy metal band. Imagine how those guys would sound backed by pounding ocarina accompaniment!
David Stanton (Armisis) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK5N7HtE9no In this video, computer guru and recent ocarina collector Dave Stanton provides a nice sampling of four (I think) different ocarinas.
Ubizmo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aNNdos2ocw *1st Prize: Best Overall Performance, Sr. Division. Granted, his jazzy interpretation strayed pretty far a field from the original melody, but he did it so musically, so compellingly, so "guru-ishly," that it would have been a travesty not to crown him guru of this particular contest. Actually, I read somewhere that he'd rather be an ocarina swami than a guru, but I'm afraid that any appellation other than guru is outside the parameters of this contest. Of course, there were several other great performances (see honorable mentions), but somebody has to win, right? Ubi, we're looking forward to great things from you, young man!
By the way, did anyone besides me notice that two of the winners introduced their videos by speaking Esperanto? This is probably a total coincidence, but, just to be safe, it wouldn't hurt if we all brushed up on our Esperanto before the next ocarina contest.
Peter Fitch (Ceasarontoast) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNcOJkae96o *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Jr. Division. Perhaps there was a tad too much ringing reverb, which can make fast notes sound a little muddy, but a very good performance.
Daniel Hauck (lovemonkey2k5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB4XF930BD0 A very nice job. Of course, by his own admission, he had the benefit of approximately twenty thousand takes. Even if he was only exaggerating --let's say he only did eighteen or nineteen thousand takes-- that would still give him a big edge over weaker-willed entrants who gave into fatigue after only a few hundred takes.
Now, I admit that I was more than a little sleep deprived when I first watched this video, but his performance raised a few red flags at the time. For instance, why was he so evasive about the origins of his YouTube account name? What is he trying to hide? And what were all those medals hanging in the background? Are they prizes from other ocarina competitions? Is this guy some kind of ocarina professional who goes around entering amateur ocarina contests under false pretenses? And what does "lovemonkey2k5" spell backwards?
Jessie (jsatter13) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx-c_c8Ly70 Jessie is an ocarina newbie who "patiently" labored through many takes, occasionally spurred on by Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. Alas, his video also documents a terrible irony. For some mysterious reason, after hours of hard work, his one potentially contest-winning take did not get recorded. (Don't you hate when that happens?!) Rated PG for mild violence: I counted seven vicious self-inflicted slaps to his forehead, one slap upside his bed, and another crippling kick to the bed's ribs.
Natchtschwinge http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX-nvaMVfno *Honorable Mention, Best Performance, Sr. Division. A very fine entry from a young woman in Germany. By the way, I cringed in sympathy when I read that one or two viewers originally questioned whether she had tampered with her video to make her playing seem faster. (She did not!) Rather, ocarina playing is like so many things in life. With enough practice, one can make music that will seem almost miraculous to many people. Keys to success are focusing our efforts, practicing regularly, and never quitting.
Rapidninja95 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK1dEC429pw Rapidninja95 certainly lives up to the rapid part of his name. He mentions in his video notes that he learned the song the very same day he filmed it. Imagine what a guy like that could do with TWO days of practice under his belt!
Azurekiteman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdHHBY4Ihps The video image is a bit hazy, but the sound is very nice. His first video!
Pestpaladin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DQNXVTS578 David plays two ocarinas (only one at a time), and both his performances stand out for their good, clear, strong tone. (It was also a nice touch putting a baby picture of one of the judges in the background... although it's a little hard to tell with baby pictures... Maybe that's not me after all.)