Saturday, September 29, 2007

Now I am totally awake - just got home from the opera, and I really need to rest so I can get through it again tomorrow!

It went pretty well, I actually forgot a cut in act 3 (getting a little loopy by then) but I didn't play anything wrong as the clarinet saw I was confused in my counting and got my back on SECONDS before a large and very high solo. Yay. Pitch wasn't all it could have been, but I was so happy I made a reed that played low and high and was good for the soft entrances.

The only big pain was after the breaks everyone didn't sit down in the pit, some people (who shall of course, remain nameless!) were doing whatever and I can't move my chair back into the pit until they are all in. SO frustrating. I have no where to sit during the break, but mostly I don't mind, if everyone would just get back so I could tune. After the 2nd intermission I actually had to tune standing up and the clarinet player brought in my chair from behind while the flute shut the door. NOT ideal. Can't wait to do it again!

Another openin

Today is the big day - opening night of Madama Butterfly! Ugh - I am tired already, but the dress went pretty well overall. I MUST find a better reed, I have one lovely low register one, but it gets wonkky if I play loudly higher (which I have to do a lot) or one that sounds great in the solos but lets me down big time on the low parts (when I should sound like an EH) Stupid reeds.

There were a couple of scary places where we were off from the stage, but it all worked out. David is great at letting you know where we are. And we had a sub for the bassoon part last night (reg bsn was leading her pep band for Homecoming!) and the sub did a great job! Not as much pressure as doing an actual show, but still it is so hard to follow all the changes; and no one bothered to tell her about a cut in act 1! But she was a trooper and got back on. And tonight we'll have our super bassoon goddess back.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


We had regular orchestra rehearsal tonight, nice easy rehearsal compared to the torture of the opera! I love doing the opera, but it is a challenge. And tonight was actually more fun than I had anticipated. We are doing the Haydn Clock Symphony, which actually has some good oboe stuff, glad I'm playing 1st though. The 2nd has to count about 80000 rests. Along with the other winds except the 1st flute who has a great part. Ah well, the flute always has a great part (except in the Bizet Symphony #1 - now THAT is an oboe symphony for sure)

My wrist is a bit sore, I probably should have used a strap tonight. I don't like to use it for concerts but will for rehearsals if I am playing so much I am sore. I'm such a delicate flower! And my lip is hurting too, I seem to have a sharp place on my front tooth. But I found a great reed (which I made myself, thank you!) so all is well in the world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

on stage w/o rant

Yay, soooo much better today! The crew actually took out part of the floor so we had more "pit exposure", which turned out to be a GREAT idea. I was afraid we would be too loud, but I guess it didn't make that much difference in how much our sound came out to the audience, and we could actually HEAR the singers! And they are GREAT!!!! I'm very excited now. Biggest problem is the low ppp spots, I'm pretty sure these were originally EH parts. Has anyone out there done Madama Butterfly with the full parts (we have the reduced score)? I know it is for 2 ob and EH, and no one who could orchestrate worth a bean would write so much for the oboe so low and really soft, it sounds like a foghorn! I have a pretty good reed, but there is one place were it is just so tender and soft I am asking the clarinet to play 2 measures. I feel SLIGHTLY bad, but mostly relieved. There is plenty of other stuff to play.

Even though we got out about the same time tonight (10:30) I feel much perkier - probably because it went so much better. Tomorrow we have orchestra (Brahms Double, Haydn 101, blah) and then opera dress and opening Saturday! Of course closing is Sunday, so not much of a run, but at least it only destroys one weekend this way. Maybe next weekend I'll go to my college homecoming and play tuba in the alumni band (yes, I really played the tuba in marching band!).

on stage...rant

That was awful last night - for some reason they told us to be there early to set up in the pit, and then we weren't allowed in the pit until after 7. grr. Oh well. Then the balance was awful, and no one (including conductor) could hear the singers, and he was not high enough for them to see, etc etc. The good thing was that after the breatk balance was better, and for some reason we weren't as crowded as I had feared (it was still a squish though!). Worst part is that I am directly in front of the door. It seems I'm always last getting my Stuff together, and I like to spread out and make a "nest" in the pit, so this is a drag. And each night there will be TWO intermissions, so I have to move everything three times. ALSO I can't really set up until everyone is in, and Ijust HATE that, especially since I have to tune everyone. GRRR. AND my reeds sucked. So I'm off to try and remedy that at least!

Monday, September 24, 2007


We had the sitzprobe yesterday - LONG rehearsal. Thought I really needed an easier reed to make it through! But mostly it sounded good - we just need to get more familiar with it. I can't believe Patty at oboeinsight was worried about missing one note in the whole opera; but that is the difference between a real professional and, well, me! I will get most of it right. Singers sound great, should be a good show. I can't wait to see costumes/set (only from backstage of course, as I will be stuck in the back of the pit for the actual show).

Speaking of the pit, this is the most people we have tried to cram in. There are 6 vlns, vla, cel, bass (big w/amp), 2 fl, ob, 2cl, bsn, 2 tpt, tbn, LOTS of percussion(3) and David conducting. At least he won't have a keyboard around him this year, that is insane. So 22 people. Only double is picc, and the clarinets have Bb and A. M (clar1) seems to think it won't be a big deal, she played for Kiss Me Kate and they had 13 but lots of doubles (she played 5 horns) and big percussion (just one guy though). I think it will be AWFUL, and they are miking so there will be all that stuff too. Will let you know after tomorrow.


I just made two reeds this morning, and I tried a new thing G suggested. I tend to pull the thread very tight when I'm tieing on, but he said that chokes the vibrations and to tie looser. So I tried it, and so far, it is very good! My reeds still seem tighter than his, but it was MUCH easier to tie, I was pulling so hard the thread sometimes snapped while I was winding. Even my old college buddy P (who is visiting) remembers me (and the rest of the oboe studio from U of Akron) pulling really hard. Anyone care to comment?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bells bells bells

Can't believe I have to go to bells now, D is getting dropped off right at 5 at Jim's work - then I'm rushing over to church to set up. Usually only one person comes early to set up (they are supposed to either come early or stay after) and he is great - he likes to play duety things with me. I'm hoping we can play in church soon, but he has to get more comfortable. Also it would be good if I learned my part! We are set to play on Sunday, AND I think I'm also playing oboe. I guess I should confirm that...

Sadly, we have to tear down the setup because there is a memorial service on Saturday - I love when nothing big is going on and we can just leave our HEAVY tables and junk in the sanctuary until Sunday. At least we don't have to lug them all the way downstairs - just behind the wall. I probably never mentioned that our elevator is "out of use" because some brilliant soul never got it certified (or whatever) and now there are huge fines and it must be brought "up to code"; which basically means no elevator, and me and the little old ladies (LOLs) have to lug 5 cases of bells and 8 heavy tables up the stairs! Rant rant rant.

Time flies

Opera was great last night - our 2nd clarinet wasn't there though, we are kinda worried about her as she has just been diagnosed with parkinsons (sp?). Butterfly is LONG - as all operas seem to be; not that hard, a few spots to deal with but just staying really alert for that long! Even in orchestral stuff it seems like we get more places to regroup - but I feel like I have to be "on" the whole 3 hours for this.

Sunday will be the sitzprobe - someone asked me what that meant so I looked it up - a first, rough rehearsal of an opera or musical stageplay with singers and musicians, but without acting, scenery, or costumes. That's what I thought! But it had an Etymological Note: German for ‘seated test’ or ‘sitting trial.’ My HS German should have told me that, but I couldn't dredge it up from the depths. Anyway, can't wait although I hope everyone gets a chance to listen to the music. The problem with doing opera here is the NO ONE is familiar with it - there are no real companies and exposure is really limited. We have to drive over 300 miles to get to a company with an actual season (there are two feuding companies here that each put on one full opera per year). At least we are helping the situation!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

playing in the morning

Today I am playing for church, just oboe, which should be fun. After the responsibility of directing the bells, just showing up and making music is kind of a treat! Of course, we also make music when I direct (hopefully), but there are so many details I have to pay attention to; like is everyone here, are there enough tables set up, are the right bells out, does everyone know how many times to play through the hymn, WHY did so-and-so wear that orange beaded sweater, etc, etc, etc. But today is all about me (well, not really!)

P should be in the air right now, he is coming first to the east coast and working his way to the west! So exciting to see him, I think it has been two years. And to not even be in cell phone range just stinks.

Must go wake the child, we may actually make it to Sunday School this morning!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I totally forgot that we went to TWO fairs this weekend - on Saturday D and I went 90 miles to a little county fair that my friend K was playing marimbas at with her band, which has some unpronouncable ethnic name. They are pretty fun, and I was feeling really badly that I hadn't heard her play for 2 years! Of course, while I'm there (and sick) they mentioned that they are coming to my city in November (thanks guys!). Oh well, it was a long drive home though.

Sunday we went to the big interstate fair. What a racket, there is more stuff but nothing really better - as far as rides for kiddies and "here's a goat" kind of looking at stuff. I'm sure the quality is higher, but the cost is too, and we had to park about a mile away (part of our fabulous exercise program!). I did get my favorite ice creme dipped in hot fudge and rolled in nuts thing, total ambrosia. Ds favorite thing Sat was a fun-house that he would never have made it through had I not carried him half of the way; and Sunday he liked the army display for their proposed museum because they had a great big model plane. We probably dropped over $100 on everything, certainly more if you count the gas! So we'll be staying home for a while now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


So I have been sick sick sick, Monday I thought it was just a little coldy thing, but after my coaching session (hahaha) I basically came home and did nothing for 3 days. I am soooo glad D is in school all day! But I had great plans for this week- oh well, tomorrow I plan to rehearse SOMETHING (who knows what) for church. And tonight I actually showed up for bell choir (more than I can say for some of the ringers). And the DOM was so great, she had put copies of the music we will play on the 23rd in my box!!! This is a week earlier than I usually get it, and we really need at least two weeks even to play chords. It is hard for them to get it in their ears without endless repetition. So I survived, and I'm feeling pretty good right now - hopefully the afliction has passed!

Monday, September 10, 2007


I have reached a point in my "career" when it seems weird to talk about taking lessons - so I like to call them coaching sessions. But they really are lessons. Anyway, I haven't been doing it regularly, but now that D is in school I hope to practice more and maybe even make my own reeds all the time! G is my "coach" and also makes AWESOME reeds, which I have used since D was born. He isn't taking new clients or I would totally recommend these reeds. Lucky for me I can afford to just buy them, I think he charges $20 unless I get snazzy staples. But sometime I do reed-making lessons, sometimes I play for him, and usually it is very rewarding.

Today we played through the Bach double - he played the vln part and it was so fun! There is nothing like playing with another oboe to tell if you are really in tune - there is no hiding and there are several unison parts in the Bach. But this is excellent prep work for playing with P (our concertmaster) later. Having lessons seems to focus my attention on what exactly I'm working toward in my playing.

And the DOM asked me to play something in church this week, so I'm kicking around ideas - have already done Gabriel's Oboe (perfect for many things and easy), Abinoni, Bach Arioso and several solo arias, and a bunch of other stuff; was considering slow mvts from Saint Saens or Nielsen or one of the French Recital Pieces...if anyone has any thoughts please let me know!

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Thursday was our first official rehearsal of the season. I am kind of disappointed by the music, but I was prepared to have not much (and I was right!) We are playing the Haydn 101 (clock) and Brahms Double (vln & cello). Both kind of a snore for the oboe, although I'm sure the Brahms will be lovely when the soloists come. No Brahms Vln Conc kinda solo for me though! Which is many ways is a relief. Also doing the Rimsky-Korsakov Procession of the Nobles, which is fun but we won't rehearse that til Oct probably - our first concert is Oct 13th. This is a drag because we will play this boring music for SIX more rehearsals *sigh*.

I think our group is really ready for some serious management. Like these rehearsals - this concert could be put together in 3 rehearsals easily. And we could be looking at other music instead of twiddling our thumbs now.

My personal pet peeve - not telling people who only play in one or two things (like the EH player!) when they will be needed at rehearsal. Thursday our picc player came and she didn't even need to be at the rehearsal at all! Fortunately she was up for reading the 2nd oboe part on flute, so that was kinda fun.

We are still looking for someone to play oboe for this concert, but I'm staying out of it after the fiasco last January. I gave them a list of all the oboists around and I hope they get someone, it makes such a difference to have a good second. After this concert, K, who played the pops concert, has agreed to play the rest of the season. I don't know why they just don't have auditions for all the empty spots!!! They seem to think no one will audition, but honestly, what harm will it do to advertise? And then, they can always turn people down if they show up and aren't good enough - and then we would be no worse off than we are now (scrambling to fill the spot for EVERY concert!) I think the 2nd oboe is the only solo spot not filled, but we always have auditions for strings of every sort. *sigh*


Well, now that the first week of school is over (!) I thought I'd get a pic from the first day...also shows all the important things in Jim's life (except me, but I'm taking the picture!). His old boat which his family got when he was young, his old car which is actually our newest acquisition, and his sweet son who is being quite a pain in this pic. He calmed down a lot after school had actually happened, just like Dad he doesn't like change!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

why why why????

Why do I always put things off until the last minute??? I am scrambling to get music ready for bells tonight, but I just got the hymns for Sunday yesterday, so that part I couldn't have done ahead. I think I have some stuff to read for Sept 23 (coming right up) - we play about once a month.

I really must get a new version of Finale/Sibelius, don't laugh but I have Finale 1.0 - I don't know how many iterations it has gone through, but my copy is on floppy disks! I know we DO have computers (yes, plural) that could run that program, but I just don't want to deal with getting them running, and figuring out how to hook them to the printer/internet etc. Jim saves EVERYTHING, but the fact is I would rather buy new software than deal with the old!

The reason I need an engraving program is just to print quickie parts for accompaning praise songs (retch) and if hymns are too hard to simplify them - for instance this week we will just play chords on beats one and three - so much easier especially since it is our first week back. And of course I have no idea how many people will be there (rather important for bells! Most of my ringers are 2-bell people, so they would ring two consecutive notes on the scale (like D and E on the bottom of the treble clef) along with any accidentals on those notes. When ringers get more advanced, they can cover more notes depending on the music. Really great ringers (like Campanile) don't ring consecutive notes, they figure out what works best and just split up the parts. WAY beyond my choir (and me!) Although I did ring a duet last year and it would be fun to do a solo (easy!) sometime, now that I am loaded with free time. hahaha


Middle of the week, how did this happen?! D survived his first day of school. We went out for ice cream after, messy but fun. Then I had opera rehearsal - did I mention that this is rather long? I guess not as far as operas go...but we are guessing it will run about 3 hours and 20 minutes. GAHHHH. My chops tremble at the thought. That is longer than our rehearsals, and by the end I am barely coherant. So I guess it is back to the chop exercises, at least on the nights I don't have rehearsal.

We sound good though, at least I think so. We have one more rehearsal before the sitzprobe (with singers), and usually I would be unhappy that we are wasting time. But this opera I know *I* need the rehearsal, so I won't complain!

I am really hoping to get some good practicing in today, but of course I have procratinated about bell choir, and we start TONIGHT! Argh. I just got an email from the DOM about which hymns we are doing Sunday, and I hope I can figure something out before tonight.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

war is a science...

Hahaha, this was created by the son of an IDRS member - I had to put it up for all my bassoony friends.