Friday, November 19, 2010

Another openin'

White Christmas, full steam ahead! This show has been a challenge for me (which I wasn't expecting) since I had done it before - but with full winds. This time we are covering with just 3 winds. Very different, LOT more "solo" stuff and all of it on clar/sax - not my comfort instrument!

The poor mc is trying, we can tell she is, but her inability to cue us is really problematic. Of course, as the show goes on we will know what is coming and how to respond, but I've written in voice cues on every song. I wish she could just sit in a pit with an experienced conductor one night to see how it works.

Last night we asked (again) about a slower rit on a measure in the overture. No singers - nothing on stage - so if we could just stretch the measure (which is printed with a rit) just a bit more to make the changes. We weren't coming in on the upbeat (which she commented on) and we kept saying we just needed one more second...Finally (this has been going on for 3 nights now) last night she said "you mean, you actually change HORNS there?! DURING the number?!"

Uhhh, yeah. I realize she is busy trying to play the keyboard and she is 4 feet above us, but you'd think she would notice that during the overture there is sax line stuff, oboe solos, flute stuff (and picc), and clarinet trios. All with 3 people - but I guess she is distracted. She didn't realize changes could occur DURING a number. OMG.

But, show is coming together! Should be a good opening. So glad I don't have any other music to worry about until after t-day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Are you ready for a White Christmas?

So! Ritzy Private College gig (Charpentier Te Deum) went well, Joint Chamber Group Benefit for the Little Orchestra went ok too, now all I have to focus on (this week) is White Christmas! Blah. It's a little worrisome that the mc has never directed from a pit before - but she's getting the hang of it. The whole directing with your head as you play is complicated!

Mostly I'm worried about my own playing - stupid F# major on clarinet! And many switches back and forth. I decided to bag the EH playing, sadly cuz I never get to play anymore, but it seems stupid to drag out another horn for 16 bars that are not even exposed. Seemed like there was more the last time I played this, maybe it's a different scoring? I also seem to remember a big tenor solo in How Deep is the Ocean that went up to D, but it only goes up to C in this score. Huh. Oh well.

Opening Thursday. And my BFF from WaDC is coming for Thanksgiving!!! Poor guy - he will be overly exposed to White Christmas, but whaddya do?

Monday, November 8, 2010


Bunch of musical stuff this weekend, although rather LESS practicing than I had hoped! Sat we had our first and only orch rehearsal for WHite Christmas, the very nice, I think quite good, pianist they hired to take the place of the Fired Musical Director has never directed from a pit before. This is a bit terrifying, as she had never even heard of the concept of the "head nod", which is generally how you conduct from the piano - at least when you are changing tempos. They way our pit is constructed, there is no one in front of her, two groups out to the sides (we can't really see each other) and she is up on a 4 foot platform. She seems willing and interested, but it is hard to imagine it being a whole lot better before next week. Oh well!

I also had forgotten (from 2 years ago) a lot of the clar/sax stuff in there - much of it is fine but with 3 winds instead of 5 my part is much more exposed. And there are a couple of places I pawned off a hard part, and now I can play it (yay!)

Sunday I went to a masterclass on the Lindemann/Sobel method of wind playing - OMG this was a wonderful class. Those are saxophone players, and the teacher (email me if you're interested in his name) is also a sax player (and doubler of everything) - but the class had trombones, flutes, couple of saxes including me, and a euphonium player. I regret not bringing my oboe, but I wasn't sure what the class was about. This was high end stuff for sure, connecting the air with your fingers and body movement - subtle and amazing. Some of the participants were from the Big Symphony, and while they did play beautifully, he had great points to make for them as well as even me, the lamest of saxophone players.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is this normal?

Back to "normal" after WSS, I guess! I thought things would be all calm and serene, but so far that is not the case. Partly due to White Christmas horning in already - first rehearsal this Sat! And there is a LOT of sax, I really should look at it. I guess I am happy I have this monster (6week) run to keep me occupied, I am very sad about orchestra right now.

We have a local arranger (he does a lot of stuff for B movies and cruise ships) who offered to arrange our whole Xmas concert for free! This is wonderful news since we have no money, and it is tough to put on a fun xmas concert with the same old stuff every year. So. He is very late getting arrangements to us - and as they are coming (via email) piece after piece has NO OBOE. And there are no bassoons in the whole concert. And only 2 horns. Etc.

This is so disappointing - we have worked with this guy before and I was afraid this would happen. The arrangements - which I haven't heard, only seen a few wind parts - look awfully jr high, if you know what I mean. The flutes (doubled), clarinets (doubled) and oboe (thank god just me) are all exact unison parts for 2 arrangements. That is at least 5 people playing unison for the entire piece. Not what I'd orchestrate if I had access to a full orchestra. *sigh*