Sunday, March 30, 2008

Doc at the Fox

We are excited to go see Doc Severenson with the symphony this afternoon - and we got comps!! Yay. Our neighbors will go too, and best of all their 15 year old boy will watch D while we're out. Then we will all come back and have spaghetti. Such a day.
Heard the show is fabulous - someone told me Doc is at least 82 years old?! Can that be right? If so (and even if it's not) he sounds amazing. I also got the scoop that they are playing (eeek) Gabriel's Oboe. *sigh* But I'm sure it will be fun, and it is in the great new (old refurbished) hall, first time the neighbors have been there. Will report later.

We had orchestra Thursday - not a bad rehearsal, Firebird is coming along and the premeir promises to be better than expected; the story behind the music is the Sunshine Mine disaster where 91 miners died about 40 years ago. I had no idea he was doing a programmatic work, this is by far the most powerful thing this composer has done since I have been aware of him. (usually he arranges stuff for us and leaves out the oboes and bassoons. I may have to re-evaluate though, he has several lovely oboe solos in this)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


We had another PDQ rehearsal last night - the guy is so clever! I am really excited for this concert although it worries me that next week is spring break (so no rehearsals), and the following week is the concert! Most of this stuff is very playable, but we are suffering from "lack of rehearsal participation". I HATE when they get people to play that can only come to one rehearsal (when there are 5, for example). We are still getting over the desperation to just have enough bodies - and they take the principle players no matter what. Grrrr. It wastes my time, and everyone else's when people don't show up.

On that same line, they never gave me a rehearsal schedule either (just vague Tuesdays and concert date). I can come all the Tuesdays, but there is a Wednesday rehearsal I will have to miss, and a Friday rehearsal I just found out about! That is just stupid and unprofessional. Apparently they are trying to do the right thing, and SOME people got a printed rehearsal schedule, but none of the winds did.

Nuff said.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Yay, Easter is here! I will be DONE with this round of "stuff"! After this morning's activities - get to church with both boyz by 8AM (insert manaical laughter here), situate D (will there be sitters there that early?), rehearse (gently) til around 8:45, 1st service at 9, brunch (oh yeah, I had to make a breakfast casserole), 2nd service at 11. Dead lips.

Then fun afternoon with our neighbors, who are FAR to kind to be hosting said event...thank god because our house is like a tornado hit it. S came by yesterday and brought me flowers - what a great thing. I am mostly recovered from Friday's crash and burn, I didn't even finish the ice cream (but it's there waiting!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sour notes

Well, happy birthday to Mr. Bach...we had Good Friday service (which is usually my favorite service of the year), and we were going to play Bach! So you'd think all the stars were aligned to goodness - I was there on time, we had the lights and I remembered the dimmer control thingy (it gets progressively dark during the service, so we dim the lights throughout)

The first piece (I played) was really cool - just an organ hymn we played on tuba, accordian and oboe (way up high on chorale). I can't believe how great it sounded, and we literally just threw it together. Cool. Then I sang something with the choir - they were short of girls and I try to help out when I can (not that my voice is delightful, but it is better than nothing!) That went very well too, H played the cello (her main instrument, sounded awesome - actually she was awesome starting on the organ, then accordian, and cello, what a woman)

Then we did the Bach aria. This is the one *I* wanted to do, I had an arrangement for just oboe and organ - but H thought it would be so cool to get the new soprano to sing and have the choir director play keyboard (they both did GREAT). It was kind of a pain to organize our schedules and get music and stuff, but we played through it beforehand last night, and it was fine. Lovely in fact. I wasn't worried at all. But then, we had to wait. In the dark. Perhaps I soaked my reed too much? Not enough? Who knows...but I start the whole shebang off, and basically nothing came out. No worries, I just gave a little more air and it seems to get things vibrating, but the reed never really "got off the ground", dropping all the little appogiatura resolutions, stopping during long notes....argh! My worst moment in at least ages (probably not ever, let's be reasonable here). But I felt terrible, I know playing in church is supposed to be about more than how great I sound, but it was a hard thing to feel so badly about how I performed. There were moments of "gee, that part was ok", but mostly it sucked.

So I got chocolate ice cream and raspberries (yeah, I self medicate) went home and we all had sundaes. Jim was all depressed too because he is doing our taxes. So now we are all bloated and depressed - I suppose that is how the disciples felt after the Last Supper? Bah.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I almost forgot (in my PDQ bliss) we are starting Firebird tonight! This is some sort of suite but not the normal one with the Berceuse and Finale at the end - we were supposed to do the whole ballet but this is plenty! There are tons of oboe solos, and the one in the Berceusse wasn't that great anyway (really a bassoon moment). The saddest part is missing the glorious horn solo at the beginning of the finale, but oh well. The Firebird's Entreaty is a huge oboe thing, and I love the princesses dance. Of course, I could have totally different opinions about the whole thing after tonight...

tuba Easter

It has been a long time since I've played the tuba for anything real - but they needed a middle voice for the braas ensemble at church. I'm actually going to play the euphonium, the DOMs husband plays tuba in the big symphony, so he is amazing; but even more amazing is that he loaned me his lovely Miraphone euphonium!It is by far the best brass instrument I have ever played, too bad I have no chops right now. We are playing 4 hymns on Sunday, it should be great.

Sadly, Good Friday is before Easter - I am trying to praactice euphonium every day, but it is a much tighter embouchure than tuba so it effects my oboe chops - and I am playing big Bach stuff on the GF service! Always a million things. I'm not that worried about it, but one must be careful playing Bach (chop killer). I think I will try playing the Laubin since it seems to have a darker tone than the Loree. Kinda fun to have two. '

Speaking of Bach, we just had our first PDQ Bach rehearsal, this is going to be a blast! We are playing Oedipus Tex, (almost opera), Schleptet, and various other things I can't remember names of - I think I play everything except Fanfare for the Common Cold. Here are flyers - I can't wait for this one!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Solo and Ensemble

My lone student had her first experience at solo contest on Saturday. I was somewhat dismayed to find she actually requested an 8am time, but it worked out great! We got to warm up in the room she would be judged in, parking was abundant, and I was all done by 8:20! She was doing the Schumann Romance #1, quite a test of endurance for her, so for a warmup we "sang" the part while the accompanist played. I think that worked very well, since it helped her get "in the mood" (and rhythm) without blowing her chops. She played the best she has ever done, and the judge was very nice, although I haven't seen the comment sheets yet. His verbal comments were things I had been working on with her, pitch and "setting" the beat, I'm not sure what to call that but where you move so the accompanist knows where you are (conducting in a way). I was very proud of how well she did.

After that I went into town as my friend was up from Pullman to sing in the chorale with the symphony (Daphnis and Chloe). It was a miracle of timing, I met them at their hotel and we walked to the dress rehearsal in the fabulous Fox Theater, then I got to hear the Ravel, didn't stay for the rest but that was wonderful! After my chorus friends and I went to "girl lunch" and shopping - I got the best jacket to conduct in which I wore Palm Sunday to direct the bells. We also had lovely coffee and lots of visiting. After the bells played (Sunday) I rehearsed the Bach aria we will play on Good Friday, it will be great - very morose (#21 if you care).

another movie...

I almost forgot we saw "Cheaper by the Dozen" with Steve Martin. I have heard the original is better, but I enjoyed this movie. It wasn't great, but it was a sweet story, ok for a rental.

movies - nothing to do with oboes!

Ok, now that I survived another week of insanity we watched a bunch of movies. This is Jim's favorite activity (espcially on the giant screen). I THOUGHT 300 was something highly recommended, and we had seen "300 Spartans" which was ok - kind of an epic story. But I thought this was the new and improved version. SO NOT TRUE. This is THE WORST MOVIE EVER. I can't believe I actually paid money for it; at the end it says "based on the graphic novel", which might have clued me in (not that ALL graphic novels are terrible). Anyway, blood, gore, no plot (or rather, they ruined the plot), stupid acting, more blood, slow blood spatter on camera lens, then fake bloody head hits camera, you get the gist. yuk

Then we watched "The Holiday", which was totally different, and we both liked it. Good date kind of movie. Also, Jack Black raves about the music from "the Mission" - we all know he means Gabriel's Oboe! Love Jude Law and rest of cast. Very nice, I'd recommend it.

Then I watched "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" I had read the book years ago and it was great. I had always meant to get the movie but never did - DiCaprio is AMAZING in his role as the mentally retarded brother, and Johnny Depp (always wonderful) is just that. The cast was great and they stayed very true to the flavor of the book (I guess the author wrote the screenplay, always nice) This was the best movie I have seen in years. Highly recommended, but not good for casual dating (too much kleenex, watch this one at home)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Romanian Rhapsody!

Last night was our Young Artist's concert - I am always amazed at the people who win these contests....really GREAT talent, coming to CDA from all over the US! And I think our "prize" is only $500, what a deal for us. Anyway, all the soloists (6!) were fab, I especially liked the high school pianist who played Rach 1 and the violinist who did Tchaik. The tenor was also amazing, I guess he goes down to Santa Barbara in the summers, so I won't be seeing him as Marius this summer (too bad!). And the flutist (no flauts here) was amazing although the orchestra didn't do as well on the Nielson (my part was easy), and the sopranos were both great too!

The Enesco was the best we had done it, Phil (asst. conductor) did a great job of conducting. It was finally at tempos I thought were exciting all the way through, but I'll have to listen to the CD. Andy stepped up to concertmaster for that one (since Phil is usually CM), he also did a fine job.
The beginning with all the solo winds was super, although I felt bad for oboe 2 as her reed was just not working. I wish she would get some new ones from G (the mysterious G), I know she is not making them herself but the ones she is playing on are more than a year old. Sort of weird, but I'm not sure if I should say anything. Definately not a money problem. But the best reed motivation I EVER had was after a dress rehearsal in Tacoma Symphony when Dan Williams (1st oboe) told me I had better come up with a good reed, after I'd been complaining about how bad my reeds were, and why I couldn't come in softly and in tune blah blah blah. I stayed up making reeds til the wee hours, and then next day he gave me some of my most treasured praise when he said my reed sounded better than his! (he was my oboe idol) So maybe I should say something. argh.

After the concert, there is always a meet and greet thing; and it turns out the soprano from Olympia's mother and father are both oboists! It was so fun to talk to them (especially since the mom was very complimentary!) and I had no idea Oly had an actual symphony now. A group had just started (Olympia Chamber Orchestra) about 15 years ago, I was a charter member - same time I was in Tac Symph. They knew a lot of the people I knew from that time in my life, fun to reminisce.

This morning my student has her solo and ensemble time at 8AM (!) so I'm meeting her at 7:40. The pianist played flute in the orchestra last night too, so we are both going to be tired, but at least I don't have to play. She is doing the Schumann #1, and I'm so proud of her progress from a beginner just last year. I just love how teaching brings back musical moments for me, this is her first real performance, although of course there will probably just be me, the pianist, the judge (maybe 2), and her parents. But it is a big deal. I am (now) grateful to my mom and teacher for "forcing" me to play every year for contest, and at church and recitals and all that.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

concert week

Tonight we have orchestra, which is weird (usually Thursdays) but this week is our Friday concert (also weird, but apparently this Saturday in March is always booked in our hall). So! I thought about cancelling bell choir, but I got a sub instead (kinda worried about it) since we are playing this Sunday! I will go over and set up ahead of time, I can't believe I do all this stuff - no one else would. grump grump grump

D wants to go to the concert Friday, could be interesting. He has ice skating that afternoon so maybe I can convince him to take a nap? hahaha.

I am so excited because the contractor for Summer Theater called and asked me to play all three shows!!!! I think I will try to do 2 of them, it would be fun in some ways to do all three, but that is kind of a ridiculous amount of time, and we couldn't leave at all during the summer then (10 weeks). But I'm so happy to be asked. And for sure I am doing Les Miserables. AND our pay went up this year!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Well, thank God that is over! Sunday was a very long day...first we lost an hour with daylight savings, so delightful. I got to church without being too late - and Gabriel's Oboe actually got a command second performance from the pulpit (my first requested encore, I'm so proud). It actually sounded pretty good I think, although I wish I had had a bit stronger reed. But I won't complain as my pink jobbie got me through the whole day without major mishap! The trio was great, my low Cs both came out respectably, and I think we were in tune. It was decided that we should be known as the Paid Musical Staff (or PMS, for reasons you can ponder), it was great to play with my cohorts (cello and violin).

Then we had a rehearsal with a new member who joined the bell choir about a month ago, turns out she has a degree from SanFran Conservatory in Voice. She agreed to do a Bach Cantata (#21, it's the one about sighing, weeping, wailing dying or whatever, I can never remember all the words!) which I wanted to do for Good Friday (very depressing, perfect oboe stuff). She was amazing, and had her part down cold. I think it will be great, although I'm sure the pastor and most of the congregation will love Gabriel's Oboe much more...oh well.

Then off to Whitworth for the college orchestra, they were short an oboe so I was playing second on this concert. Nothing huge for me, their young artist winners were performing (1st of Tchaik Vln, and 3rd of Mozart Pno #?, can't remember) Also a piece by a student composer (not bad, I played EH), and the Egmont Overture. That was fun, I actually don't think I've ever played it!

Then back to church where I drove in just as the touring bell choir pulled up! Such timing. My bell choir ladies (of course it was all the girls) were all busy setting up dinner, which I thought was great although as always there was a ton of food. The church sound guy actually came and volunteered his time to set up some mics and stuff for the vocal quartet, which turned out to have piano accompaniment! Argh. I thought they were acapella, and unfortunately the piano was way too loud, but there wasn't really much to be done at such a late date. It was still ok, but I felt bad they boys had to sing under weird circumstances. I guess that is what touring is all about! But the sad thing was we really didn't get a very good response from the area ringers - our church came out in pretty good numbers, but I realized I hadn't put the concert info up on the radio stations or web calendars, I think I did that last time and I guess that was the difference. Of course, that was a professional group, and this was a HS tour, but they did a pretty impressive job and I was sad more people didn't come.

This morning I had a session with the mysterious G - he fixed two reeds up for me and we played Daphnis and Chloe - I had no idea the wind parts were such a technical nightmare! When you listen to it they really don't stand out, and I've never played it, but holy cow!!!! I will get out my Orch Excerpts CD and print those parts, not that I'm likely to play it anytime soon. It has all the winds playing these 12-tuplets which are weird descending 3rds, 4ths, 5ths (no real pattern) and then a weird up arpeggio; fortunately repeated for many bars (instead of all different weird stuff!). But then you turn the page and it's a different key, goes on for pages like that. And the second part plays alone much of the time, would really love to hear them play this as the two oboes are so well matched I'm sure no one will be able to tell it's not one person. But this is also our concert week, so cramming in one more thing may be impossible. At least this weekend is over!

Friday, March 7, 2008


hahahaha. Need human qualudes, think soothing thoughts...

How does my life get so complicated? This Sunday I have invited a bell choir to play at our church (they are on tour), and this morning they informed me that the men's quartet needs 4 mics. Apparently this is a big deal - we don't have that kind of set up, not that I have any clue about sound systems. AND, our sound guy wasn't even planning to come to the concert - I never thought it would be an issue! There is a no-brainer kind of sound system but you can't mix the sound if you use it, and if you want mixed sound you need one of the sound guys ($$$). This shouldn't really be my problem, but somehow I feel that it is.

Also I'm playing two concerts, before that concert Sunday night, I have a rehearsal Sat morning, I'm playing in church (fun soloy stuff - Gabriels oboe and a trio with strings) AND I have to take 5 elementary school kids skating on the field trip today. My cousin-in-law is coming and I have a lesson for which I need to make at least two reeds on Monday, and our big orchestra concert is Friday and I have no reeds (although hopefully the Monday thing will fix that). I'm sure there is more, but that is my rant for the moment. I feel better, you?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Boston Flowers! English horns take over...

This hilarious spoof on Austin Powers was put together by my friends a couple years ago, Boston Powers must stop Grad Ad Evil from changing all the stringed instruments in the world into English horns! Who knew EHs were a the root of such power?!

The Evil Grad Assistant is perfectly captured on film by my bass clarinet/doucine player Aage, who invited me to Boise last week! And Jenessa is vampily portrayed (is that a word?) by none other than "adventures of an Idaho violist" Jen; whom I had not met before this weekend but is a driving force (with Aage) of my old group Darkwood.
There are two parts.