Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chillin out

After my rant last week I am feeling much calmer. Still annoyed, but calmer. This week will be pretty insane with rehearsals/concerts, but I suppose I will live through it!

Tonight we have bells, and I am always a wreck trying to figure out who to put where. I was all excited because we had enough people to cover parts for our big piece (Wizards of Winter); but now one girl has basketball practice and my neighbor who plays father died last week, so she is in Arizona. Of course things come up, but none of them are good enough to sub for each other. It is just very concerning. Also, I have another 2 people showing up tonight who weren't here last week. I *could* put them on the two missing parts, but then they don't get to play for the concert (or whatever you call it when we play in church). That is a big problem. So I have to write out parts for people, and give them something to do! argh.

I have been very bad about playing the oboe. AND I must get the EH out, since I have huge moments in the Russian Xmas Music. But things have been crazy and I just haven't practiced.

On a funner note, the Mysterious G (my sometimes coach and reed supplier) has been growing his own oboe cane in the front yard - and this week he made his first reed! Apparently it looks greenish, because he didn't "sun" it for a year, but he said it plays great. So maybe aging the cane isn't all that important, what do I know? I guess if it plays...Now I need to get some cane and start growing!

Monday, November 19, 2007


A few days ago I realized I had written down the 1st dress rehearsal time wrong for College Orchestra (yes, there are two). Usually it is Saturday morning at 10, but this time it is at 2. The only thing they will rehearse is the Beet Pno Conc #5 (not exactly an oboe show-stopper). The problem is MY orchestra (the Little Orchestra, which I do actually get paid something for) has our concert that evening. I have a LOT to play. Since CO is having another dress on Sunday, AND we are rehearsing the Concerto again, as well as the other pieces, AND since I am totally volunteering to play, I wanted to miss the 1st dress.

Maestro K hires lots of ringers and has never offered to pay me, even though I come in to play EH for 2-3 concerts (just one rehearsal and the gig) each year. I must say I sound pretty great, and certainly am on par with the other paid people. So I am kind of annoyed that he actually argued with me about how HE has to play a BIG symphony gig (for which he gets full scale) that morning, and has other stuff after - AND he's a cellist for God's sake! He could doze off and no one would know because 10 other people are playing his exact part! Not that I'm dissing cellists - but honestly it is kind of a big difference from playing principal oboe. And I have at least 7 big solos (more than 10 bars) on oboe AND the huge solos on EH in the Russian Xmas Music. I just want time to focus, not be worried about the silly stuff we are doing for the college orch. Of course on Sunday I will give it my all for them, but seems like he could cut me some slack - especially since my baby (6) is going to bed an hour late every Monday just so I can do these dumb rehearsals.

That's the other thing - I could totally do this concert with one rehearsal, but I'm going to all the rehearsals because MK pleaded with me, that he needed an oboe for the group there every time...blah blah blah. I suggested some other people, but he wanted a strong player (I am such a sucker!) so I said I would do this one concert. Who knows what he will end up with next semester, as "new-mommy" oboist won't be back until fall. I was actually going to offer to come in and play the dress and concert if he paid me, (not every rehearsal!) but now I think I'm really done with this group. No real animosity, they are all nice people but the group plays at least a quarter step sharp - and I'm just tired of pulling the section along. Not that the Little Orchestra is fabulous, but they are MUCH better and I even get paid for my trouble! Rant rant rant. Sorry!

Friday, November 16, 2007

music in the night

Orchestra rehearsal last night was rather unorganized, it is too bad maestro K (with the college orchestra) isn't in charge of timing. Maestro D is a wonderful conductor, but his personality doesn't let him stay on schedule. *sigh*

Several interesting things happened though. We worked quite a bit on the jazz concerto, and it is really fun. Of course, there are lovely oboe solos (big) in 4 of the 6 movements. I hope people take it seriously as B (composer/pianist) wants to go faster in several places and we have just one more regular rehearsal and the dress, then the concert (3 days in a row). B actually went to school with Maestro D, M the clarinet and myself (a few years ago, like, 20). His wife was there too, a flute major, and she came last night! Haven't seen her since school. Fun fun fun.

Then we did the HORRIBLE Messiah (Prout version). If you aren't familiar, this is a baroque piece (old) written for baroque orchestra (in this case, 2 ob, bsn, 2 tpts, small string sections). The Prout version adds clarinets (didn't exsist then), flutes, a 2nd bassoon, horns, trumpets (which only play in 3 mvts of the original, etc, and M.D. has 10 cello/bass stands playing (instead of one). Then he wonders why it is bottom heavy!!!! Argh. We are only playing "But Who May Abide" (baritone solo) and "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion". If you know that one, this version would kill you because the obbligato is in the flute and the oboes are tacet! And our wonderful flutist, sadly, has no idea how to play baroque music. Not that I'm an expert, but that was my teacher's specialty in grad school, so I at least know the style and how to play it without sucking.

Anyway, it was so awful M.D. told the flute not to play! And he said (we'll see) he would get a better version by next rehearsal. Whatever.

Then we played Lt. Kije - I HATE those arpeggios! I have played them a million times, but I guess I kind of freeze up in rehearsal and they come out jerkily (big solo Eb minor arpeggios up). I have no problem hitting the high Eb, and I have played them in front of people who make me nervous, guess I just have to play them more!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bells n recorders

Last night's bell rehearsal was actually WAY better than expected! Yay. We are playing "Wizards of Winter" by the TransSiberian Orchestra, although in the bulletin we put something ambiguous like "Winter Piece". Some people at church get offended by wizards, I don't really get it. But whatever.

I had plenty of ringers (what a joy) and I asked one to play keyboard and she surpassed my wildest dreams. I feel much better about the whole thing now. We are also doing "In the Bleak Midwinter" and "Away in a Manger" but those are just 1 page chord arrangements, no fancy stuff. Should be great - we have until Dec 9 (coming all too soon!)

Then today my horn playing friend, whose son goes to the same school as D called. I thought she wanted to carpool to orchestra tonight, but she is sick and she wanted me to sub for her as recorder teacher for the 3rd graders (4 students). Kinda fun although I could have gone for an hour (instead of 1/2), I always have so much knowledge to impart! Made me want to play my recorders - I never have learned the alto in the right key (it is down a 5th, but soprano is basically just like the oboe). Would be fun to do a consort for church or something. Like I have time to organize that~ we'll see! Orchestra tonight, doing Lt. Kije and our world premier jazz piano concerto, fun fun fun!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

rehearsal time

Last night I went to College Orchestra, which I'm subbing in for a pregnant friend. In fact, she may no longer be pregnant, as her horn playing husband was not at rehearsal last night! Hopefully I will hear soon.

Anyway, this orchestra is not made up of stellar players, it is mostly college students supplemented with locals. There is no pay. But the conductor (who is a professional cellist) does a MARVELOUS job of organizing rehearsals. I wish every rehearsal I had was set up by him. He stays focused on what he wants to accomplish in the amount of time and actually gets it done! Most rehearsals (including ones I run) tend to run by the seat of one's pants, and you just hope to get to everything.

The rehearsal itself was not that great, principle flute was missing; and pitch (as always) was very ambiguous. My reed was kinda sucky, it started out ok but became more honky (not horrible, but not impressive) as the evening went on. The really annoying thing was on the drive home my husband called and said, where are you??? Of course I tell him I was at rehearsal, and why wasn't he at band? Turns out we had both forgotten it was Veteran's Day and there was no band. So he drove all the way out (about 40 minutes each way) and found a dark hall. I could have left our son with him at home instead of dragging him to 1/2 an orchestra rehearsal! Argh. And it was written on the calendar too. We are both just too busy.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Yesterday I had a couple reeds that were really "whimpy" that I was going to break and then I thought I would give them to my student. Which I did, except one which I thought was too hard, so I worked on it a bit and suddenly it wasn't too I used it for orchestra. It doesn't quite vibrate enough, but other than that it was great. Hmm.

Orchestra was fun last night - again we played Russian Xmas and this time my reed wasn't leaking. Maybe because it has been raining for 2 days - but great news as of course I didn't get around to making new EH reeds.

The only really annoying thing was the Messiah. We are doing 2 solo mvts on the Xmas concert but we are using the Prout edition, which is a whole boatload of instruments that didn't even exsist when Handel wrote it. So I am tacet during Daughter of Zion, and the flute plays all the solo stuff. Which wouldn't bother me except she so obviously has no idea how to play baroque music! And she is a wonderful player, but there is a skill to that - I'm sure the jazzers in the orchestra are thinking the same thing when I play the solos in the world premier jazz piano concerto we're playing. Ah well. I have offered to buy the parts for a "real" orchestration but I don't think we can have them by this year - espcially since I'm not sure which version to buy. I want one (which I have played) that has only oboes, bsn, and tpts; and with the oboes on two parts (I have played versions where the 2nd doubles the first a LOT). Anyone have recommendations?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Music quiz!

What musical instrument are you most like?
You scored as a unique
You are a double reed player. YOu are a breed of your own.
unique 89%
Trumpet 89%
Snare 67%
Clarinet /Flute 67%
Trombone 67%
Saxaphone 56%
Timpani 44%

Heres the link

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

hells bells bells bells

I am really frustrated right now about the bell choir. We have a room in the basement where we can leave tables set up during the week (although we have to tear down the room) which is nice because the tables are very heavy. But we play in the sanctuary once a month, so I have the rehearsal before we play in the sanctuary (like a dress rehearsal!). This is complicated by the fact that the elevator is not operational, so we have to haul everything upstairs, but once we have it up there we can leave it until Sunday (unless there is a wedding or something). But there is storage upstairs, so at least we don't have to go up and down.

SO! This week I found out "they" decided to put the kid's group in the sanctuary, forever! Why, because there is a projector in there. The place they were before was near the adult group and I guess the kids made too much noise. I know this isn't a big thing but this week we have only one rehearsal and we have to play in church! That is a stretch for my group, and it would be nice to actually practice in the space we will play. Also, next month is Advent season, and we are doing a big thing with guitars and keyboard and drums (my favorite), and I just really can't do that in the tiny room they are shunting us off into. *sigh* I feel like the music program is really getting the shaft here, and I just want to quit. Hopefully I will be more positive after rehearsal tonight!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Today I took my Laubin back in because the C# was being sticky. The repairman was great - no charge and he spent a fair amount of time on it - works great now. I decided I need to be more proactive in my "lessons/coaching", today I really didn't have enough ready to go. I think I'd like to work on a solo, maybe I could play it for church or something.

I spent a ton of time at church today getting ready for bells. We only have one rehearsal and we play on Sunday, so I'm trying to make everything very easy and smooth. So I whited out the extra notes my bass bells can't cover, and added extra notes in the chords where possible because the arrangements are really lame. And I got the folders ready, and got things set up for the next week, when we are starting "Wizards of Winter" by the Transiberian Orchestra - you probably saw someone set their Xmas lights to this music and you can find it on YouTube.

Tonight I went to band for the first time this semester. I decided to "quit" so D could be in bed by 8; J still plays trumpet though. I did tell them I would play for the concert, and they are doing some pretty things, nothing remarkable. This is the only rehearsal I will be able to go to until the concert, because I'm subbing in the College Orchestra on Mondays. That was not part of my original plan, but D seems to be holding up ok, we just leave at the break (8:15). Kids really change things for musicians!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Orchestra was kind of a bust this week - we did do Russian Xmas, but then we did a lot on the Lt. Kije that winds don't play. I mean, more than an hour. I have no problem with them rehearsing stuff that needs it, but I wish they would just schedule sectionals (strings only!). They did end up letting us go 1/2 hour early, but it was kind of anticlimatic after sitting for 90 minutes and playing only 5 notes. I guess I would have been more excited about getting out if my carpool person had ALSO been dismissed. But I had a nice conversation with the 2nd oboist in the hall as we waited for our respective carpools to get out.

I NEED to make reeds. Or at least practice. I am really in a slump right now. I have a lesson with G on Monday, at least I can bring in the Laubin for him to see. Also my EH reed ALL leak! I have this thing about not using wire - hate it, but NEVER have my reeds leaked and now they all are. Weird. And I can't play on them like that. Especially not the big hurkin solo in RCM. I don't have much in College Orchestra - but since they are having string rehearsal this Monday I will go to band with J instead. INSANE. This is the ONLY rehearsal I can go to for the Dec Band concert, which is the day after College Orchestra's concert, which is the day after Little Orchestra's concert. Then I have nothing!

WHY do people keep moving December concerts earlier and earlier? The week after THanksgiving is awful for me, and then I have nothing to play except bells for Xmas Eve. This year I DO have a lovely Messiah gig - so weird I haven't gotten to play Messiah since I moved back to the west coast! In Ohio I