Sunday, April 29, 2007

end of the season rush

I thought after the Mozart was over I would have time on my hands! Not so. I am playing a lot, got a call last night to play in church today - all EH so that was fun. All sightreading too, went fine. I am somewhat frantically searching for an extra ringer (someone bailed on me) for Mother's Day - only two weeks away and most of my possibles need at least that much time! So far no luck.

Then this afternoon G called and asked me to sub for the big city opera! So exciting to play with the big guns, they are doing Hansel and Gretel (which I don't know at all) but the only rehearsal I could really go to was tonight. So I went mere hours after I heard and sightread next to G all night - kind of intimidating although I think I did pretty well - he gave me the shuffle a couple of times. Anyway I am playing excerpts for him tomorrow and I'm sure I'll hear all about it then.

And tomorrow night I have College orchestra where I play EH (Polivetsian Dances and Procession of Nobles). Dress went well, should be fine, but of course one never knows with reeds involved!

And this is our final concert in my orchestra - we're doing Spring Symphony Schumann, and Beethoven Triple Concerto. We all think there should be some sort of overture or something - this concert is too short. No one asks me though.

Then I'm playing with Other College Wind Symphony (and getting big bucks to do so) - they are playing some really hard stuff - Dahl Symphonetta and Short Ride on a Fast Machine, which is so fast it is ridiculous, I'm not even going to worry about pitches just trying to come in at the right times.

But THEN I think I'll have a night off. I guess that will be when I have the audition for big symphony's sub list!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

baby oboes

I really didn't practice at all today, which is too bad; but maybe I just needed a break. I did teach two lessons (supposed to be three, but my flaky guy canceled again!) They are preparing for their recital on May 6, I'm sharing time with a piano teacher. One is playing Schumann's Lonely Flowers, but she has braces that are really bothering her so I just added a bar for her to rest at the end of each phrase. It works great - the pianist just "fills" for an extra measure, and as any oboist knows a tiny break makes a huge difference. Purists won't like this approach, but this will be her first recital and now she is much more confident she will get through the piece. And isn't it all about making the best music you can?

My other student is playing Handel's Sonata No 2 (mvts 1 and 2); she is doing a great job. She is actually playing for state competition the day before, I am really excited for her. Since she has played this piece for regional competition last month, she is very prepared and hopefully will have no problems for the recital.

I think I will get them both oboe cds for a end of the year gift. I have not done this with students before; but now that I have more money and less students, I really want to give them something that may inspire them to greatness!

We had orchestra tonight also, I am kind of depressed about our final program: Schumann Symphony #1 and Beethoven Triple Concerto. After the fabulous oboe solos of this year it's a letdown. But it will be nice, and after playing the Mozart I need a break anyway! I almost forgot I am playing EH for the college this weekend - they are doing Procession of the Nobles and Polyvetsian Dances.

Bell choir went ok yesterday, but I was missing three people and none of them called me! That is really a pain in bell music, because each person plays certain notes, and if people are missing you can't really cover parts very well. So I have to call and make sure they are planning to come - of course they SAID they would play the service in May, but there are only two more rehearsals. Is this job worth the pain and suffering? I am considering quitting next year, since D will be in school and it would be nice to have more nights free, but we'll see. If I don't have quintet right before it is much more manageable.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Burned out

I am so tired, don't know why...but I did get some good practicing in today. Of course I need to if I'm actually going to do this audition. Hard to motivate myself, so much easier to let other people set the deadlines of my life! Actually made two reeds (wrapped anyway) and played all the excerpts. Monday I have a coaching with G, so I want to be ready!

Went to something called MOPS - this is Mothers of Pre Schoolers, and I wish I had known about it 4 years ago! I really recommend it to other moms out there, it's just so nice to have a morning to be a grownup without having to deal with the kid thing. So I will go back again.


The past few days a violist has been blogging about his experience auditioning for Seattle Symphony - it is really interesting and he writes beautifully. His audition lasted three days and it was just depressing for me to think how far from that ideal *I* am as a player. I know that wasn't the point of his blog (just to depress me!) and I really am happy with where I'm at (for the most part); but as I prepare for the sub list audition I can't help but feel kinda inadequate. I think this piece should be required reading for any music majors out there - especially around here where we are so removed from the realities of competition.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Just spent some of my hard earned cash at Forrests. Way too much fun to buy things; we just bought fake hardwood floor stuff for the kitchen (part of our 10 year remodeling plan) and a table at the Goodwill. It actually looks like a really spendy table, but needs sanding on the top, which Jim can do. But when will we actually put in the hardwood floor? And how do you put that stuff in anyway - we didn't spring for the video directions, surely we can figure it out!(?) Keep you posted...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wild weekend

I was really excited to practice yesterday - thinking I would really hit it hard for the auditions; when I got a phone call from my friend K; she was in the hospital and had had a mini-stroke!!!! So I left and went down to see her (2 hour drive); seems she is doing very well, but scary stuff.

J bought a trailer (extremely used) this weekend - and managed to slide it into a ditch on the way home. It was full of junk concrete (as is) and he had forgotten on the old truck you have to lock the hubs to go into 4wd. Fortunatley they were fine, and the trailer was fine and they were able to get the truck out (this ditch was actually the side of a mountain) with the Unimog (see J's site if interested)

So today I have a lesson with G (hopefully to focus me a bit) and I'd like to go to the gym and give blood (kind of a hobby of mine O-) and we have band tonight. How did all that happen? Guess I should go mess with my reeds. Kind of depressing to read some of the blogs of more worthy musicians - makes me realize I am a real hack! But mostly I'm pretty happy in hackdom; however I'd still like to get on the sub list for big symphony. That would open a whole different can of worms though, as I think I mentioned every one of our symphony concerts (little symphony) conflicts with a big symphony concert. Oh well! Maybe if I also had conflicts the powers that be would get serious about scheduling. Seems like this must come up a lot in more metropolitan areas - like the Cleveland Orchestra doesn't go around worrying about Akron Symphony's schedule...but I bet Akron at least trys to work around Cleveland. Or am I completely wrong?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

the end and the beginning

Today I played a funeral, and does anyone else have this happen in church? I was playing GREAT! Not to be blasphemous or anything, but it was like God was playing right though me. Such a great experience. I love when that happens.

And best of all, the personnel manager of Big Symphony was also playing (unbeknownst to me) and she said I should audition for the sub list again after she heard me play! I was thinking of doing that anyway - last time I auditioned I had two days to prepare (yes two) and the list was the same as they use for the first oboe auditions (so all our favs - La Scala, Tombeau and *13* others!!!). So maybe I'll try again, they are playing something with five oboe players (two eh doubles) so maybe I have a chance.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Tonight I was playing for a friend's composition recital - one of those where I was going to show up and play stuff I'd never seen before (we did have about an hour to go through music right before). I played ok, although my reed was not as stellar as it could have been, low notes not responding too well. AND this silly man had made two of the pieces START on low Cs (worse than Bbs in my world). But it went pretty well, and he had some nice things. And he paid me!!! Not expecting that, but so nice.

One of the pieces was sort of a mini requiem for choir that he'd written for 9/11, so weird that it was being performed now with the VT massacre. It was a very emotional piece. It morphed into an orchestral piece called Prayer for Peace, pretty oboe stuff.

He had hired mostly people from Big Symphony. Not all of them are that fab. Nuff said.

I am excited because he asked me to come Saturday to play for a funeral (sad occasion, but at least this was an old woman with full life) - and he pays very well. I have done quite a bit with him over the past year, always fun to play with his church. They do kind of newish music, but all the arrangements are by my friend. He does a great job and I always have fun harmony parts to play and lots of gratifying solos. Yay! I love having gigs.

I also got called to play with a local college - they need a principal oboe for their spring concert. I thought they would just have me come in, and I was kind of reluctant, but they are paying union scale!

I have never actually joined the union (for more than one gig at a time) since there are so few jobs in the area, but its always great to make scale. I have friends who won't play unless they get paid, but I feel that is too limiting in this area. So I pretty much play when people ask, and usually I get paid. More and more, I get paid quite well. Of course, these are just occasional gigs, the symphony jobs are all taken (2 oboes plus one utility guy) and my little symphony just started paying the principals a small amount. Better than nothing, and it is great to get to play in the group! And we get better every year; maybe they will be paying everyone soon.

Monday, April 16, 2007

on to bigger things..

It seems weird to not have the concerto looming over me; even though the performance was a positive experience, I am NOT cut out to be a soloist!!!

But my break is over now, we have band tonight and I'm going to college orchestra to play EH on Prince Igor and some other little ditty. I would like to hit the gym but that might be too ambitious for me today! I did finish our taxes and the bills for the moment (always more where those came from) so I will stop at the bank and the po; but the gym...we'll see. Feeling really mellow after all that stress!

Next I'm thinking I will really focus on making reeds for the rest of the season; would be nice to make some I could actually play on.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It is finished!

Yay! The Mozart concert is history, and I can even think back without wincing. Mostly it went pretty well, I believe, and someone videorecorded so I guess at some distant point I can watch. But Gs reed was amazing, I didn't have any memory lapses, and the dress looked good. My hair was ok, the gay guy made it sleek and straight...not really what I like, but it was a fun change. I love to have someone else do my hair and K and I got our nails done to, supposed to be fun girl time; but since Jim had to work today (and tomorrow, poor guy) we had to take D with us. He was really good, and then he had to go to the concert and be more good! Sweet little guy - and at the end he came up with flowers for me. I got lots of flowers which is always really nice. Now ready to decompress for a few months.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

big day

My stomach hurts...I am wondering if I am sick because I don't really feel nervous. And usually before recitals I haven't had nervousness until I get closer to "the time". Oh well. I think I'm more nervous about what I'm wearing than actually playing the piece! Also, I just remembered I have to bow after - bowing is so awkward. Well, one more thing to fret about.

K is here, the Carmina Burana concert went well last night - 270 (odd) singers in the choir! They were packed like sardines, but at least they all got chairs. Jim thought the orchestra sounded more prepared on the Mendelssohn (5), but I enjoyed the Orff just fine. The tpt had one boffed entrance, but the On the Green fanfare was perfect - and I guess the bassoon missed something in the swan solo, but if you're going to miss something I would say that is a good movement to fake it. The flute was amazing (both pieces) and the oboes were just fine - no huge solos but some nice chord things w/flute, and the EEDD (or is is FFEE?) part at the beginning of O Fortuna is pretty exposed.

I have been thinking about auditioning for the sub list in the big orchestra - they are doing Rite of Spring next year (5 oboe spots!) but they keep hiring people from big metropolis 300 miles away to play 4th oboe, makes me feel pretty unworthy. Although at their request my last audition was on 2 days notice, AND they didn't tell me what was on the rep list! I only did it so they could notice how I would be great to have on the sub list as I would play any gig at the last minute - apparently not impressive! Oh well.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

I hit the Mozart pretty hard yesterday - it seemed to go ok. (tomorrow being the big day and all) Students did fine, although we are revving up for their recital (May 6) my flaky one just remembered he's getting wisdom teeth out on the 4th, so he won't be playing.

My biggest thrill today was that I actually made the doublereed forum - Delmar Williams posted my concert!!!

I played one of my own reeds last night - it is a bit stuffy but pretty good. I was kinda excited, but mostly I'm glad to be going to Gs house to pick up two new reeds this morning. I'm addicted to his reeds, they are so great and I don't have to do anything!

Will actually see him tonight playing Carmina Burana. Jim and I are actually going on a date! So K is coming up to sing, and she will spend the night (probably two) and come to my concert tomorrow (after our much more important hair/nail appointment at the place my quintet played last week). So I will try to get through it a couple more times, but I guess it's basically find a reed time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Isn't this all about me?

Last night's rehearsal went pretty well - it was great to have D conducting! Dr. P is great and such a nice guy, but it's like D reads my mind and pulls the orchestra along with him! Hopefully that rehearsal will make the orchestra know what to do on Saturday (when Dr. P conducts).

I also found a stand shelf the horn player is letting me borrow. I was all happy and then I ran into her car backing out - really a tiny bump but I checked and couldn't see a thing. Left her a message so I hope I don't hear from her. I am having a hard time concentrating on other things - kinda like when you get married. EVERYTHING seems to revolve around the wedding! I am trying to keep this in perspective - but it is kind of terrifying to think about playing in front of the group. I guess it has been too long since I've done a recital. And three people are doing solos after all, it's not like I'm the star.

OH,and that is another thing - D gave me this handwritten part he wants the three soloists (stooges? amigas? bears?) to do together at the end. I am so not into this, it is exactly something from the three tenors - Quando mia uo soletta??? Of course I am mostly thinking that I outweigh the other two girls each by 50 lbs depressing. And as I said before, it's all about me!!!! Also I am taller by at least 6 inches and I'm wearing 3 inch heels - not really my choice but the only navy shoes I could find! At least they are really comfy (besides that whole teetering around part).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


It is hard to keep concentrating on the Mozart when it is getting all nice outside...but last night our band rehearsal was actually inspiring - the conductor announced my solo, nice of him; but our 19 year old clarinet player (who is the only one in the section that can play at all) is doing the Rondo mvt of the Mozart Clarinet concerto. This was his first time with the band, and he did pretty well but he is scared (of course) and the clarinets were wretched. Sadly, they have the violin parts in this transcription, so they are playing all the countermelody and lead parts where the soloist rests. It might get better if they practice, but they really just don't hear how behind they are (chronic problem in every piece).

Maybe I should play clarinet on that one, or at least play the part on oboe? We'll see how it goes. No one would have a clue if I just played it on oboe - I played the Oklahoma clarinet part (transposing) last night because the oboe parts are so boring. Kinda fun to practice transposing in a non-threatening environment!

Monday, April 9, 2007

new cds

I am having a guilty pleasures morning - along with my cool new recording of the Mozart I also got the new Josh Groben cd. I just love to listen to men singing, especially in Italian. Although he sounds good in english too! This is my kind of embarrassing admission - I love that over the top kinda music (like in Titanic when they are in the front of the ship) Also have several Andrea Bochelli cds. Who knew opera was all hot men singing to me in Italian! Wish we had more going on in the boondocks, but there are 2 staged operas per year in a 300 mile radius around here (Aida did come through on the Broadway circuit this year, the Elton John version - I had Carousel through the whole run).

We did a concert last year that was all "new age" stuff with composer Brian Crain - there was smoke and lights and lots of miking - the music was mostly very simple but I totally LOVED the part where I got to be the "lead singer" (on oboe, of course - don't be ridiculous!) I think I would hate to do the string parts as they mostly just played whole notes. But the experience was fun anyway. Of course, I love almost any piece where I get to be the star (at least for a bit - the Mozart oboe concerto is a little too much stardom for me!)

the last monday

I have entered the final week before "C-day" (concerto day). After the Easter marathon yesterday I am just not inspired to do anything! Hopefully if I lay around for a few hours...

The bells did ok yesterday - the rehearsal started off in a scary way (at 8am how could it be otherwise??!!) several of my ringers went to sunrise service and were late. It was really annoying as they had assured me they would be there on time, but another ringer told me they had planned to be late! Of course there were millions of things to rehearse - the youth band was playing and had sound checks, they vocal choir had a piece without us, and the tpt (my husband!) had to go through two hymns also - all before church at 9. So I was annoyed, but they kinda held it together on our big piece. The vocal choir did a really easy fun piece with the youth band and the congregation all clapped along - I guess our piece was the contrast (big hymn arrangement of Jesus Shall Reign).

Next week our new pastor comes to take over - I think everyone is holding their breath to find out what he will do with music. The past year and a half has been very hard on the music program at our church - seems like a small group REALLY wants to split the church so they can have a "modern" service and "traditional" service. This seems to me to be a sure way to ruin a church - every church I've gone to with this setup has no real connection between the people in each service. If our church were bigger that might be ok but there aren't enough people to support two services. Also, I enjoy the mixed service, with some old hymns and even some praise songs (mostly I'm not a huge fan, but some are actually good music); and we have participants ranging from oboe and trumpet to cembalo and accordian - quite a few professional musicians attend. So hopefully the new guy (who plays the guitar) will be an advocate of our great music director/organist and will just let her do what she needs to do without any grief.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


So our last gig (ww5) was pretty good - actually we played in a hair salon downtown. The city has a "First Friday" thing; I guess this one was not too well attended probably because of the holiday. But we played well and the owners seemed happy - three hours went by quickly and they gave us each a bottle of champaign (and $50). Not bad for hicksville. Also - the guy who hooked us up is a budding oboist (fulltime doctor) and he was raving about me playing the Mozart next week. So then he decided I needed to have the owner do my hair for the concert...this could be fun or really bad. But he only had time at 11am so I have time to fix it if he makes me look too weird. And I decided to get manicures for me and K since she is spending the night. It will be our girl time. With all the gay guys.

Hook up man was just raving about my reed and my sound - have to say that was great to hear! Much needed ego boost, also fun to play in a "ringy" place since where I practice is just dead. Of course, where ever else I play sounds way better!

Today we attempted to go to an egg hunt. I went to the gym and church to set up for bells tomorrow, then called J to let him know to be ready when I got home (as I thought I was running a bit late). I pull up at home and he is all greasy and in his "car fixing clothes"; all happy because he fixed the automatic locks on the convertible. I said we have to go NOW because egg hunts are over about a minute after they start - but of course he runs in to take a shower (at least he was quicker than usual) and we finally leave about 15 minutes before egg hunt time. Of course we live 15 minutes away, and we're getting all blown around (no top) as he speeds to the place (which we aren't really sure where it is). We pull up and there are millions of cars, so we park and start walking. It is way over by the time we get there, but fortunately D has never been to an egg hunt before so he didn't know what he missed. We found some friends and they shared their eggs with him, and he got a balloon so it was all good. And the weather was beautiful! Perfect day (except for stupid lateness). I have informed J that I'm leaving tomorrow at 7:15 and if he isn't in the car he can just come later by himself. He has to play tpt, so he needs to be there early too, we'll see what happens!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

running around

Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I didn't play the Mozart at all. Didn't intend for that to happen, but hopefully it won't be a big problem! I think I just got burnt out. So instead I drove all over getting clarinet music (for ww5) and (unsuccessfully) attempting to find an actual clarinet sub. We still had a decent rehearsal w/o clarinet - and the gig tomorrow is just *supposed* to be background music (but you know how that can be). It's for First Friday - apparently all the shops downtown have special stuff on the first Friday of each month. Of course it is also Good Friday, and I'll miss the Tenebrae (sp?) service which was really cool last year - I played eh on that Dido's Lament w/organ - very moving. Apparently if you sing that piece it's a great joke to stop before you get to "to Rest" - just "When I am Laid". I don't think anyone at this church made that connection.

Anyway, the ww5 will play at a hair salon (???) and we get paid, so I'll be happy to play there! The room is supposed to be very live, so the bassoon is bringing me some carpet to tone down the piercing nasal tone effect. We'll see how it goes.

The bells sounded great by the end of rehearsal last night - hope they keep it together for Sunday, and no one gets sick. Can't wait until it's all over.

Chamber orchestra decided to have an extra rehearsal on Saturday - since we'll be around anyway that should be an excellent thing. I just hope I have a good reed. G has said he will have some ready this week, and I have a couple I'm working on too so hopefully one of them will be magic. Hard to believe by *next* Saturday this will all be over.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

pretty ok stuff

I have survived playing for my collegues once again - actually went much better this time (and it didnt totally suck the first time!). I do feel like I'm dragging the whole orchestra along - part because they are dragging like crazy (probably no one has even looked at this part) and part because I'm nervous and rushing. But I think it actually will be ok if I have a decent reed. (knock on wood)


Ok. I have to play tonight with the chamber orchestra - WISH I had known more than 3 hours ago; but oh well. J should be home by then to take care of D.

I LOVE my new cd with Randall Wolfgang - can't believe I didn't have the Deutche Grammaphone version of Mozart. Usually I get that first. But it is so cool that he is on it - I tried to find contact info for him, just so I could tell him I was playing but couldn't find anything. It has been over 10 years now, though and I only studied with him for a couple months (Aspen).

One of the bass players is trying to drum up musicians to play for a Bachfest near here (about 200 miles away). I guess they put you up and give a SMALL honorarium, but it is like a vacation with playing Bach! I'd love to do that if J could get time off. I sent an email, but it looked like they already have oboe players that have been there forever (although the bass player said they needed oboes).

Summer plans are WAY in the air, I suppose I should start organizing things, but with Easter (bells!!!) and the Mozart coming up fast; I can only hope to get my taxes done! Argh.

Monday, April 2, 2007


It's snowing. NOT an April Fools joke, but actual snow. *sigh* I also found the first daffodil in the garden today, suppose it will freeze it's little petals off. I doubt the snow will stick, but it is really coming down right now. My uncle is here from Hawaii, and he said he hadn't seen snow falling for 40 years (he grew up here in Washington). Makes me want to sit in front of the fire and read. Instead of practice, which is what I NEED to do.

Mom and Dad are here, really great to leave D with them a couple hours for FREE! And they LOVE it! Of course, I think they love it when we come take him away too. He's a bundle of energy. Went to the Barnes and Noble with mom (our favorite place - a Starbucks, Thomas the train setup, AND books galore!); she bought tons of books and I got three cds, including another Mozart oboe concerto (Randall Wolfgang, my teacher at Apsen!) and the new Josh Groben and a Michael W Smith. I just love men's voices, and I had a gift certificate so I spent it all. Fun.

Band tonight for the first time in a while, would just bag it but it's kind of like a date since my parents will watch Daniel. Wish they would take him all night so we could go out, but they don't seem to be up for that (not that I blame them!). J gets really unhappy when I complain about band, so I will try to keep a positive attitude - and happily the G Orchestra needs me to play eh for their concert this month so I will miss a few band rehearsals for that (same night).

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Day of Fools

Didn't do any pranks today - first day in ages I haven't had to play the oboe for something! I did manage to practice about 1.5 hours, meant to do the long tone thing with the reed, but too tired. I get to coast today because parents are here (and I've been playing 8 hours/day for the last week). But tomorrow I'll do better.

J played in church today - they always want trumpets. He plays next week too, piccolo tpt for Easter. Of course the bells will play then too, so it should be nerve wracking. But it will be ok, just want it to be over.

Friday is our last quintet gig- flutist is leaving and I think it will die an natural death then (he was the instigator).The bassoon is jobless and I think he'd really like us to continue, I just don't want to get together for "social" playing, which is what he likes to do. Clarinet is having baby #2 so she is questioning whether to keep playing too. I guess I'll just see what happens, I don't want to end up being in charge!