Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last bell gig

What a crazy night - Christmas eve that is. Now that it is over I can reflect calmly on the situation. First of all, we are experiencing an insane amount of snow for this area - over 3 feet at once, and more was falling every day. A huge storm was predicted for Christmas eve into Christmas. So I was concerned about us getting to church (and back!) as well as the ringers. I had 4 subs coming in, 2 of whom hadn't rung in 6 years (college aged) and one who had never rung a bell before - but she was an exceptional musician. And my options were limited. I got there early so I could mark parts for these people since they'd be sightreading - it is way easier to follow your two notes in the score when you highlight left hand in one color and right in another. I was up for anything to make this go easier.

Somehow my early arrival slipped away and we were rushing around setting up tables etc (which the praise band had shoved to the far side of the stage in a clump instead of our usual line - exactly why I had wanted to be in the balcony!) The pastor came in and said I had a phone call (odd). It was B - my only 4in hand ringer (which means it takes 2 people to cover his part) and he couldn't get in due to weather. His wife is the choir director, she was playing violin in the praise band, and he was in charge of all the readings. SO! That was kind of terrifying news.

I went back out to the bell choir and tried rearranging people again to cover Bs parts (which were on top - so big melody notes). Amazingly the 2 who had rung at camp 6 years ago were really fine, the music major had no problems and everyone really stepped up to cover holes in the middle. Maybe not our most memorable performance, but husband J said you couldn't tell anything was wrong! Good enough for me.

My super people will be the worst part to miss about quitting this job. I am sad but so excited about getting more time. Someone from the bell choir found the readings and they distributed them for people to read - another ringer/vocal choir member directed the vocal choir in their two pieces (which I sang in) - fortunately they had just done these pieces in church and the accompanist just pulled us along. But still these wonderful people just rose to the occasion.

B's wife S was supposed to play violin in the praise band, which was this motley assortment of musicians our new DOM did not-well-thought-out arrangements for. I was playing oboe because I felt sorry for her, not realizing I would just be filler - most of the oboe parts doubled the trumpet parts an octave down (so you couldn't even tell I was playing). This annoyed me. But since S couldn't get in, I offered to play the violin parts (also crap, but better than the oboe parts). DOM was amazed to figure out the oboe was in the same key as the violin (Finale, what have you done to us?!!) but I assured her I could play it just fine. The girl playing the 2nd violin part was REALLY out of tune, and she didn't know how to tune her instrument. I had the cellist (who was the music major playing bells for the first time) sneakily tune it for her between services. Lines of sight were another huge problem, even with the bell tables awkwardly shoved out of the way. It was kind of a dreadful experience, at least musically. I am sad for what I consider the death of sacred music (praise bands in general); although I am a huge advocate of well arranged live music with more than 2 chords. I think it is good I'm taking a break now!

Monday, December 22, 2008

one more gig

Still snowing endlessly! I guess I wasn't clear in my last blog that our neighbor's son who helped us clear the driveway came with a shovel (not a plow!). Our driveway is about 1/8 mile, so this was kind of a big chore. I am still very sore, and now it has added at least 8 more inches to what was there!. *sigh*

White Christmas was good - excellent turnout for all 3 shows. I felt that I wasn't too bad on all the sax/clar stuff, and it was fun to play. I think I will try to play in the old people orchestra (it meets in the daytime) just to get my clarinet chops up. M brought her "outdoor" plastic King clarinet to try and it was SOOOO much better than mine - I'm sure I can get something better for a reasonable price. The sax I'm not as sure if I need something better, or if I can just "pimp my ride" with new mouthpiece and some keywork. Also practicing makes it sound amazingly better.

Church is the last thing I have to do before Christmas, I was going to shop today and tomorrow but J has the 4wd and so I'm here. We ordered many things online which probably won't make it through the mail. Supposed to be another big "system" coming though on Christmas eve so who knows if I'll have a whole bell choir. As it is, I'm missing tons of people and have 4 ringers coming in to help (one of whom has never rung a bell but she's a performance major at a good school - should be no problem for what we are playing). More and more I am feeling the lack of support for the bell program, just got an email about people rehearsing Wed before the services and they didn't schedule us in! We are the only performing group playing that hasn't played all our stuff in church service already - and I have 4 subs! Obviously an evil ploy to make me quit - oh wait...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Snow Snow

So White Christmas opened last night - complete with 2.5-3 feet of snow! Holy cow. I spent the morning frantically digging out our truck - our driveway is about 1/8 mile long, which doesn't seem too long unless you have 2.5 feet of snow on it. It was exhausting and J was awesome, but about 10am we realized there was no way we could possibly finish before 12, when I needed to leave for dress rehearsal. Our one other rehearsal was cancelled Thursday night due to...Snow! Ironically, this show is all about how this resort in Vermont has no snow (til the very end) and the annoying stuck-in-my-head song is Snow Snow Snow.

Anyway, called the neighbor's son and paid him handsomely to bail us out, and even with the three of us killing ourselves it was a near thing. I am extremely sore, and could barely lift the cases of my instruments (with lovely HEAVY stands). This doubling thing s@cks. But kinda fun too, in a masocistic kind of way.

Got out driveway, some wonderful neighbor had plowed our main road (one tiny lane, you just hope you don't meet anyone coming up!) but we only go on that about 1/2 mile before the "big" road. This had been plowed about a foot of snow ago. Glad we had the 4wd, but only one vehicle so J dropped me off with M who brought her Suburban - she plays bari/bass clar for this show. Fun to carpool too - although J had to wake up D and come get me at the freeway at 11pm.

Finally we made it to the show - with 10 minutes to spare. Which is great if you're a trumpet player, but I (and M) had 3 horns to get out, get reeds wet, and harness up. Oh, wait. No harness. Crap. This is the harness I got when I nearly killed my back playing tenor 2 weeks ago - and after the 5 hour workout I was really worried about playing tenor anyway. There is NO WAY I could play without some sort of strap, so I asked the conductor (who teaches there at the college where the show was, as do I) if he had access to any of the student horns that might have a strap. No. None of the other saxes had an extra...except M!!!! What a goddess - she had her bass clar strap which I tied knots in until it was short enough. Thank goodness.

Rehearsal went ok; M also loaned me her spare $300 clar mouthpiece which made quite a difference over my $10 stock mouthpiece! If you read a previous blog L (who is Reed 1) had loaned me his $300 tenor mouthpiece - I'm so lucky to know these fabulous players. I actually played a solo on tenor (2 measures) credibly, although it went better in rehearsal. But just wait until tonight. We only have 2 more shows, but hopefully the others will be easier to get to at least! Although our forcast if for another storm tonight....

Monday, December 15, 2008


Bunch of stuff done. whew! My recorder students were darling at their 10 minute Christmas carol presentation; I got them santa hats to wear and they were SO excited.

The Sibelius went great - well, greater than we have ever played it. Ob 2 didn't come in several times *sigh*. There are these back and forth measures where we play and they didn't go back and forth (as she didn't play). Oh well. She is nice and plays fine when she counts right, so I'm ok. Hard to complain too much as our section players still aren't getting paid. The economy is not helping our little orchestra grow, now they are talking about not paying us for the black and white ball, which is a fundraiser. This is difficult because they did pay us last year. The civic theater has fundraisers they don't pay the musicians for; and several of our key players were in that production (people who I think will make a big stink about the orch not paying). We'll see what happens.

Cantatas at church went ok - can't believe I was singing in the middle of everything else! But I think it was good for me to contribute. Since the music program seems to be going down the tubes there. I am really annoyed that it appears the bells are going to be sidelined for Christmas eve, which has in the past been our big feature performance - usually we play several things. I prepared 3 pieces this year but was informed we would be playing once for the early service and 2ce on the later one - but those would be prelude/postlude (NOT featured, as no one is listening at those times and people just talk over the music) Since this is our final performance I was kind of hoping to at least have the offering slot. But there is a new DOM and she is arranging praise tunes (which will be lovely I'm sure). SO. Not only am I POed that the bells aren't having a bigger role; I'm also playing the oboe on FIVE praise tunes and singing two selections from the cantata with the choir! This is NOT how I planned Christmas eve - and I am super annoyed that the DOM practically BEGGED me to play oboe that night and I caved since all my other stuff is over by then - and she is just having me play with a herd of other people on crap music. I should have asked but I Assumed (stupid stupid!) that I would be playing an obbigato part for some hymns or a solo of some sort. I should just bag out but I don't want to appear bitter as I'm leaving the bell job. Even though I am.

FINALLY, rehearsal for Wh*te Chr*stmas was yesterday - first time I've played tenor in public for 20+ years! And the clarinet - both had some issues, mainly because I got there just minutes before we started with 3 big horns to get out. I thought it was at 2:30, but actually started at 2! NOT good, but at least I wasn't late. Crammed oboe together in time for a miraculously in tune A. Was happy to see oboe parts were not too bad - actually featured in a couple places (which is all you would expect of any part); so I feel better about playing this book. When I realized how much sax/clar there was I was wondering if I should step down, but I'm giving two screamin tenor parts (measure or two each) to book 4 guy; and I'm transposing a couple of the harder clarinet songs to oboe. Most of the stuff I can play ok on clarinet though. Hoping M can loan me her MUCH better tenor and she also may have a line on a clarinet I could use. I might consider buying it - her old Selmer Bb, I have my brother's Bundy he played in jr hi band.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

One down

Amahl went quite well last night! So great to play in a big cathedral - although I'm guessing it was hard to understand the diction. The singers all did a good job, esp Amahl and the deaf king.

Now I am really going to start practicing the doubles (t sax and clar) for White Xmas. And I need EH reeds for that too - I'm not worried about the ob/eh parts, just having decent reeds. So odd that I don't worry about good reeds on clar or sax, maybe I should more - but it seems like they just play no matter what reed I use. I probably would notice more if I was a better player! Off to sacrifice to the reed gods.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Tonight is Amahl (take one!) I missed the dress rehearsal because of orchestra, but no one seemed to be worried about that. Looking forward to seeing it, should be fun (please good reeds!!!)

I STILL haven't tried my sax harness. I'm kind of afraid to mess up my chops for tonight, but I think 15 minutes will be ok. Also afraid to mess up my back again, it still twinges. The super sax guy L (who coached me a couple times) was at orchestra last night. We are doing the Duke Ellington Nutcracker, which I have to say is not my favorite. I think the audience will love it though. L sounded FABULOUS on his solos - he is just the best saxophone player I have ever heard. So.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I told the bell choir I was leaving (after Christmas) tonight. It was hard and I am sad to leave all my people (would those be my "peeps"?) but I am more and more convinced it is the right thing to do now. I feel bad for the secretary, I think she is very unhappy. I told her I was leaving this afternoon; and brought her a little snowflake candle (I like to bring her little gifts since she makes everything run better!). What a drag.

I didn't practice at all today, but my super sax harness came! Hopefully I will be able to practice tenor without killing myself.


So last night we played Amahl at the big cathedral and OMG we sound so great in there! Not that everything went smoothly but the SOUND was good. And for the most part I felt comfortable - I am way more relaxed about this gig now. Whew!

I will miss the dress on Thursday - so the 2nd oboe is excited to play my part. She will be great (hopefully not better than me, at least not noticably!) During the dance I asked the flute player to cover my part as both parts are so exposed and I thought it would be really confusing to the dancers to not have both. This guy G is the best flutist I have ever heard, certainly the best live. He is really world class - moved up to G*d's Country from the studios of LA and he has some mad skills.

I'm kind of annoyed because the contractor for this gig emailed me (when I specifically asked) that admission was FREE but there would be an offering taken. So I told a bunch of people (mostly my poor friends who never come to concerts unless they are free). Yesterday I got a postcard in the mail about the concert and it said $12 admission! This is not astronomical, but for this area (for a college concert) it is not cheap - I think the orch tix are usually $5. And after telling us it is free. AND for the orch concerts we get at least one comp ticket - no comps are available for this. Grrr. Not that I begrudge them ticket sales, I just have to tell my neighbor with 3 kids and no job they can't afford to go. And the kids are all excited about going. Hate that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It begins...

Argh! The Christmas season is starting! Tonight I am playing with the community concert band as a ringer (oboe ringer, not bell ringer). This is the band J plays in regularly. They are actually doing some stuff I need to look at - nothing scary, but still. Canzona by Perter Mennin, Danza Finale by Ginastera, Whisper to Their Souls by Samuel Hazo and a bunch of marches - oh an the lovely Sleigh Ride of course. Should be fun. I am mostly playing 2nd as they have an oboist, he is just out of HS and does pretty well although his reeds are terrible, and last night he was having trouble coming up to pitch. He said, don't worry, I'll cut off the bottom of the tube and that will fix it right up! I was kinda horrified, and asked him if he'd like me to clip the tip of the reed, which obviously needed to be done for pitch and tonewise too - but he assured me he knew what he was doing. *sigh* Oh well.

Tuesday is the last rehearsal for Amahl - I am excited and nervous about that. What a great oboe piece. I just hope my reeds are good. Wednesday I have to announce to the bells that I quit my church job (after Christmas). This is not going to be a fun announcement - I really like all the people but the more I sit with the decision the more I realize it is the right one. I'm staying to sing with the choir as they are doing a cantata on the 16th and really need more ladies (such as I am).

Thursday is orchestra, concert (with Sibelius 2) next week - then 2 Amahl concerts. Holy cow. I am really wondering what possessed me to take the tenor/clar/ob/eh part for White Christmas (Dec 19-21) - nearly killed myself playing tenor, couldn't move for 2 days. I have ordered one of those fancy harness things so I don't die while playing. Also somehow have to work up clar chops while not sucking on the oboe for Amahl and Sibelius. The ob/eh parts in White Christmas appear to be nothing exposed. Hopefully the sax/clar stuff is buried as well!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


So, I posted last week and I have no idea what happened to that post. It appears to be gone. Huh. Well, nothing stunning happened - we had orchestra and there was some weirdness in the section with the recently removed wind player. We actually sounded kinda bad on the Sibelius, which I thought would be so easy to put together. Ah well, it will be fine in 2 weeks.

I quit my church job. Just this week. I had an appt with the pastor, mostly to talk about how I was unhappy that no one told me I had a new boss; and no one told me the position was open, or asked my opinion about filling it. But between asking for the appt and our actual meeting (about 2 weeks due to scheduling); I decided I was just done. I think our new DOM will actually work out just fine, she is nice and has a great attitude. I wish her well, and I'm soooo relieved.

Here is something the pastor told me that just confirmed my decision: when they brought the future DOM back for her 2nd interview, he thought it would be good to have the music leaders in the church present. So he asked Terrible Praise Tune Guitar Man and Lovely Choir Director Lady to come. LCDL was not available, and so he asked Former Choir Director Lady to come instead. As the pastor was talking during our meeting, he said "I probably should have asked you to that interview too" - well, DUH! So they had this big process and talked about how the music would work during the new service and the old service - and I didn't even know this meeting/interview occurred! I was annoyed but vindicated, as it is obvious they never included me as part of the music staff. Stupid people.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Symphony, sick people, and stupidness

So - yesterday went to see the Big Symphony in their fabulously beautiful new hall, they did a world premier which I hated (Phillip Glass wannabe), Haydn Cello concerto (boring) and Sibelius 2 which was AWESOME!!! OMG they sounded amazing.

But perhaps even MORE amazing was that I saw L at the concert (heart surgery guy!). He was released from the hospital Saturday after they put in 2 or 3 stints. I had heard he was home but I never expected to see him out. His wife (my former boss) was playing, and he should have been but the sub they got did a great job (pretty exposed part for him in this piece). He should be playing by next week (at least practicing). WOW!

And then I suppose I will mention that I went to church before. The new boss was there, she is older than I had feared, which may be good. Not that I'm opposed to a young person, just a stupid young person. Or a stupid old person! Anyway, she played keyboards for the 2 praise tunes they had for the early service, then she left, I guess to go prepare for the 2nd service. She did a fine job, although praise tunes don't really stretch one's abilities! But she didn't screw it up, so that is good. The organist (our new pt lady) actually didn't do a bang-up job, couple of wrong turns and some extremely weird harmonizations for some of the hymns. But I had a revelation.

I realized it doesn't matter if I play praise tunes or the oldest hymns, or classical arrangements or something put together on the spot. I try to make it a special musical moment - something to add to the worship and perhaps open that communication with G*d. When I go in a beautiful cathedral, I feel something special - the glory of that building seems to confirm a presence. It is the same for me to have glorious music - no matter what style it is. I am NOT saying you need to have church in a beautiful building, or you must have fabulous music to connect - but it helps! I feel that this church used to do that but our new minister does not value music for this purpose. Maybe it doesn't work for him. But it seems like ALL he cares about it connecting with youth, NOT connecting with G*d. I am all for playing music the youth can relate to, but it has to be GOOD! And it isn't the way we are doing it now. Which is sad.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Guilt Guilt Guilt

So I was so unhappy about the situation described in the last posts, I called the old DOM (who was WONDERFUL, a seriously talented professional musician) and she was at the HOSPITAL! They are doing tests on her husband who has had brain cancer (I don't know if htis is related) and he was just leaving in an ambulance for the bigger downtown hosp. OMG I feel like such a whiner. Please send good thoughts (or prayers if you do that) this way for stupid job is just that.

UPDATE: L had heart surgery, but he is recovering well. Two stints were put in and they didn't have to "crack him open" so that is excellent news. Puts things into perspective on my job situation. I will most likely quit right after Xmas. Yay!

Now I am really POed

Just got the "resume" of our illustrious leader (my new boss, the DOM). I'm so mad I am shaking as I type. This girl is "working" on a bachelors degree in music. She has attended 4 different community colleges and has no degree or certificates from any of them. Her studies at one were music/gen studies, but the others were architecture, horticulture and gen studies. WTF???!!!

Also, her "resume" (which was hilarious, I would love to post it here but that would just be wrong) had bible quotes on it! She used bible quotes for her objective and goals. I'm sorry, I know this is a church job, and I guess that is why no one wanted me to know about the hiring process - because I would have wanted someone who could actually DO THE JOB, not just blather on about faith in G*d (which is a good and wonderful thing, but a resume is just not the appropriate place to do that). Obviously the minister is not concerned with her musical abilities.

I just have to say under experience she listed Unknown Community College From Distant State Jazz Band II as her "best" ensemble experience. She lists keyboard, a loud wind instrument and vocals as her areas of expertise. Which could be fine, but I am dreading this whole thing. I guess this is good, as I was considering leaving after Xmas anyway. The biggest thing now is I want to have a pt job so I can still deduct my symphony miles from my tax return (you can't deduct for your primary job, which amazingly, this church job was)

Orchestra players committee

Just in case you missed my blog, I will inundate you with news today!
Yesterday was orchestra - lots of Xmas Crap (which I can say in my own blog) we are actually doing a version of the Nutcracker by Duke Ellington - NOT my cuppa, KWIM? It is actually kinda hard, and the whole "sometimes play the 8ths swung, sometimes not and just figure it out by the sound" is confusing. After a couple rehearsals I'm sure it will come together, but we (the strings and oboes) are out of our comfort zone! I just want to play the REAL Nutcracker - sorry, but I just love it. Probably because I haven't had to play it 8million times. Oh well, not to be this year.

Also the same crappy Xmas sing-a-long. We have a fabulous singer coming in from Oregon, she has done the leads for the opera a couple of years, lovely voice. The only Xmas piece I am excited about a little is Xmas at the Movies, which is a medley and one of the parts is "Making Xmas" by Danny Elfman (my hero) from The Nightmare Before Xmas. There is also something from Home Alone and some other modern Xmasy movies. Also kinda hard, but nothing practice can't fix!

The big piece is Sibelius 2, which by weird coincidence, the Big Symphony is doing this weekend. So we're going on Sunday, hopefully to be inspired and not crushed by our incompetence. Last night was not my best rehearsal ever. I need to hit the reed table. And I HOPE people actually listen to this piece, they did pass out CDs yesterday (of that and the Ellington) so IF we use them that should help. I just hate when people obviously have NO IDEA how a hugely popular piece like this goes. And then I make some stupid mistake and I am humbled in my arrogance. We all make mistakes! The bassoonist sounded great on her huge thing in the 2nd mvt though, I think things are really better now the loud complaining person is not there.

After rehearsal the players committee met briefly, mostly to pick a time for our big repertoire meeting, which we did (tentatively)! Getting 8 schedules to match for a several hour block is hard. Also found out we will have to have 1-2 concerts in a different venue next year, they are reaming us on the price. It is a fabulous place to play - and if we leave those weekends are gone forever. So if you have pieces that would be great to play make a suggestion! Of course oboe intense pieces are best. And we are trying to stay away from rentals and piece that require lots of extra staff, but make any suggestion you like - I'd love to hear what you think!


Apprently, they have hired a new DOM (director of music) at church. Which I find extremely interesting, since this is my new boss, and I found out from my neighbor (who goes to the church). Would it kill someone (who?) to give me a call? I didn't even know they had any resumes! Actually, except for gossip, I didn't even know the job was open! No one asked me about doing it (gee, master's degree, 10 years of church experience, good with people, can conduct and organize'd think I'd at least get some consideration since this job doens't require keyboard skills)

Grrrr. I am super annoyed about all this. Can ya tell?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oboe Royalty!

Hey the new DR journal is out and guess who is on the cover!!! Well, me and 50 other people. I'm third one in, and you can see the mysterious G (prinicpal oboe spot, although we kind of just sit wherever) and the serpent player - the one who loaned me his "spare" serpent last spring for our duet. There is a great article by my friend Michael who comes every year with his bassoon/piccolo playing wife; it mentions the number of years everyone has played. These are really messed up, LOTS of the women are listed under their married names and separately under maiden names (I am under Jill Cathy which is spelled wrong, and Jill Hooper). Also, I have shirts for the past 14 years, although they list me as only coming a total of 9 years. Whatever!

This is such a fun gig, you can read about it in last July's posts if you care to under Fireworks or something like that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Yay! I just got called to play Amahl and the Night Visitors at the college, and they are paying me!! This is the college that I had been playing EH for the concerts (one rehearsal) for free for several years, and this fall I finally got the guts to tell the conductor I really needed to be paid (he pays other ringers). I was afraid that would be the end of our beautiful relationship. And this is actually the chorus, hiring a bunch of musicians, but still a good sign. The mysterious G (who teaches oboe there) recommended me - thanks G!

I am really excited because I have heard there is a wonderful oboe part for this piece, which I have never heard. Must go find a recording.

In bell news, the church is going to the new 2 service format this week (groan). The more traditional service will be earlier (double groan) and I have been informed that the bells will not be needed at the 2nd service. Ever. Ok then. I'm kind of saddened and annoyed by that, but I will look on the bright side of less time spent there (actually the same time as before, I feel sorry for the people who are doing twice the work for no extra pay!) And I am so relieved, I found a sub who is a professional percussionist (and thus can come in and read the part) - she has played with us before but had a baby and got too busy. I feel like a giant weight is off me. Now if I would only make a bunch of reeds!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Long time no post

Wow, it has been a busy time! Last week orchestra was pretty emotional for some, due to the "relieving" of position. It was for the best. But still sad - and no one was filling the seat, although I understand someone is coming in a few weeks. There is speculation that we may be paying the new person, which is currently not usually done for the second chairs (sadly, they are working on it). Of course this adds to the resentment, but it is just a rumor.

The other great thing was DD talked to a key low brass player who was really not cutting it, and he offered to step down. Classy. It was really time, we had to rewrite the part for the last concert because he just couldn't play it (Enigma Variations). The new guy is great - and I hope the "old" guy will still play elsewhere, he is a really nice person. This is such hard stuff.

We have got contracts, but the volunteer ones are pretty loose (section players). And of course if someone is consistently not playing the part that is grounds for dismissal (after various alerts and warnings). So I think it is good - I guess if I was just not cutting it I would want someone to be straight with me before everyone in the orchestra was groaning inside every time I played.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Last night we did something new - a couple of the pit musicians from Traviata obtained a recording of our performance and we all got together and watched it (with food and merriment of course). It actually sounded pretty great! My one big solo was not embarrassing! Yay. Other than that one place you really couldn't hear me at all. We as a group could have even been louder in places - but overall I thought it was really good.

We did make fun of the staging which was really horrid (the chorus just stood around). Also the director had this weird idea about having Violetta be dreaming in the first act - so she wore a voluminous nightgown (with makeup and jewelry) and was barefoot for the party scene. I mentioned this before but I just couldn't believe it when I saw it! And instead of having her be in a dream for the whole thing, she suddenly ISN'T dreaming in act II. So if you follow the story, she dreams about meeting Alfredo, and then she lives with him. Weird. Also, it was pointed out that if you are dreaming of a party, you would probably be dressed for the party...I just thought it was distracting and not useful for forwarding the plot. The singer was great, though, jammies or not!

About 1/2 of the players came, which I thought was excellent with so many HS band directors in the mix (HS football being on Friday nights and all). I was the only wind player, M was going to come (clarinet) but she forgot! Silly girl. We talked afterward about various things, the main complaint being timely release after rehearsal. Lots of people are annoyed when he keeps us past the official time. But it was very fun and I got to know some of the string players better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

blah blah blah

So nice to not have rehearsal last night! The orchestra is trying a new thing - strings only on the first rehearsal. I think it will be great (and of course this saves them $$) I worked on a cd cover instead. For actual pay and everything.

Wed I had my bells, and the one lady who mysteriously came in and played last week didn't show. Oh well. I still had 8, which is enough (oddly). So we read through a couple pieces and everyone seemed to like them, still have to decide what to play when. And Xmas eve has to be magical! Hmmm. I was hoping to have 4 non-choir members to play WITH the vocal choir on a piece Nov 2, but 3 works if I play too. It actually went really well and kind of bonded those ladies. Fortunately it isn't a hard piece. I really hope I can play that day, but if not I'll drag in a sub. Maybe H will come play! Hahahaha - that would be great.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I coached the youth orchestra winds last night! I haven't done that for a long time (since 1990) and it was fun. This was a really different experience - there was a younger orchestra and the more experienced group - I teach (or will be teaching) all the oboes. I must say they were kinda the weak link! Not their faults - the oboe is 8th grader playing principal had just pulled out a new reed and it was her ONLY reed and it was AWFUL. I mean gross. So I gave her one of my reeds because I was just going to kill me, I didn't have time to adjust it or anything but it was way better.

The clarinets sounded much improved after I got them to put air through the horn (in both groups) and there was a saxophone-switcher playing bassoon, she'd had it a couple of weeks but she was pretty good. They also put the piano with me - I'm sure they just wanted to have him with some group - but he is this 9-year-old genius playing the Grieg concerto - amazing. I heard the winds warming up and told his mom they could just go find a practice room because this would be stupid for him to be with us. She agreed.

In the more experienced group I had all girls so there was a big giggle factor. Also we were in the teacher's lounge which was HOT. And I had no music for this group - although it was stuff I had played before. The oboe (only one) had been trying to schedule a lesson but we can't meet for a couple more weeks, and her reed was dead dead dead. It was so old she wouldn't tell me and again, it was her only one. (I of the 43 reeds that I carry around do NOT understand) They were playing Sparticus which has the huge oboe solo. I think she'll be fine once she gets a vibrating reed, but you couldn't even here her with just the wws. Although her rhythms were pretty good. Glarinets were giggly and principal had forgotten her music, so there were 3 of them reading the second part. Whatever. One good flute and one crazy loud girl who is extremely enthusiastic. I wondered if she was on something. Probably not, just big personality.

Fighting for position

We got our programs the other night (dress rehearsal) - for our symphony we get one program for the year and use inserts for any changes. The problem (aside from the whole awful design which annoys my ex-graphic-designer brain) was the personnel page. For many of the players this is all the recognition they get, no pay, no bios, just their name on a list. I don't have a problem with alphabetical listing, but they didn't do that except for the strings (also no problem with that). But in the winds, they had one section (not the oboes) with 5 players listed. First was the sitting principal. Second was some person who joined the group this year and was playing violin (although she plays the ww inst). Third was our sitting second, who had just gotten married and will be moving to New Zealand. Fourth was a student who sits in for rehearsals but doesn't play the concerts (this is normal for our group to have a couple of these students), and fifth was our sitting third/aux player, who also plays piano for us (but ww instrument is her major instrument).

So! This is a horrible problem, because violin-girl just graduated from mid-west-college-I'd-never-heard-of in WW Instrument. She is quite good. Could give principal a run for her money although that is not in question. Since 2nd is leaving, DD apparently asked violin-girl to sub for the rest of the year. This seemed a bit weird to me since we have an excellent 3rd player, but of course he wants her to play piano (usually crap parts on jazzy arrangements - which she HATES, and she can't do improv). So 3rd player feels terrible because she is listed dead last, after several people not even officially in the group, AND they didn't ask her to sub (which would be normal in this group unless she was awful). I understand there will be an audition in June but that is a long time from now. Violin-girl probably would take the audition if it is just her and 3rd player, but there are several other better players in the area, who could take the chair if they auditioned.

Anyway, it just makes me sad to see these people pour their hearts into playing, for no pay-back, and then get treated shabbily. I hate that.


Well the rude guy has been relieved of his chair in the orchestra. It is the appropriate thing to do (I think) but kind of sad. His wife (the principal) called me and talked for a long time about how he *used* to be - he has Parkinson's and she says it is so hard to just watch him deteriorate. I guess he hung up on DD when he got the news, but his wife said he cried after that. I really hope I know before my "time" comes in the orchestra - so many people play past their sell-by date. Just so depressing all around.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One down

Well, after that crazy rehearsal the concert was completely least as far as dramatic interplay goes. The Elgar went really well, although the strings misfired on Dorabella, the one where I have the solo-y 16ths on beat 2 every measure -- I just went with DD and it worked itself out, but slightly terrifying. One of the fast mvts I had solo 16s for a bar that didn't all speak, but I think it was not too noticeable.

Artunian was a bit slower than I think the soloist would have liked, at least the first time we play the theme. The WORST part was the very first note there is a big low chord in the orchestra and the annoying 2nd player from yesterday hit a big old minor 2nd off - ouch! And hugely loud too, although everyone else was playing loud as well. He resolved it after a beat or so, but it made the beginning unsettling. Oh well, my husband said he didn't even notice.

The Beethoven was pretty good although I wish it had been just a little more polished. The strings really did an excellent job on the whole concert. It is exciting to think that a couple years ago the couldn't have played this stuff. At least not sounding good. My big solo in the 3rd mvt was great although the whole first time through (it repeats) the tempo was slow, DDs fault there. He took it faster the second time around which was kinda fun. Overall it was pretty good, although J said he thought I wasn't loud enough. You just can't win playing the oboe - either sticking out like a piercing nasal thumb, or too soft. I'll have to listen to the CD.

Now for some bell action! Yay - early service means I'm there at 8am. Hopefully it will go ok - I have two brand new ringers (thank Gd) who've never played in the sanctuary before. I am not pleased that the youth group has basically taken away our "dress" rehearsals, but I'm not going to win that battle with H (x-music minister) gone. I'm so sad. This will be our first service playing bells without her. I've heard there is simply no money to hire a new person, so I guess they just absorbed her salary. I'm guessing they would like mine too, but it is so tiny it won't make much of a difference. But it would make some - after Christmas I will rethink my position there.

Friday, October 10, 2008


This was the most bizarre rehearsal - I guess the music was all ok - things are coming together as they should. But drama! OMG one of the second players (who feels he should be playing first) had a complete cow (including swearing and yelling, with our guest artist on stage - nice touch). The principle usually never says anything to him because he is volatile, but tonight she asked him to put more space after some notes, in a place where the conductor has repeatedly asked them to put space, but the second player is hard of hearing and inattentive, so he never got that direction. Anyway, he yelled at the principle, and she tried to defuse the situation, but after he escalated she said "THIS is why I never make any comments to you, or offer feedback! Because of this!" She actually left the stage (which I don't blame her for at all) and he just kept loudly proclaiming his innocence, and how he should just quit because he obviously was ALWAYS wrong, blah blah blah. This went on for a good 3-4 minutes. While DD is still trying to talk to the strings. This is so terrible - and I'm afraid no one is going to talk to him still.

One of the issues is that he is married to one of the principles, and she obviously takes his side. I think people are worried to make waves, because they don't want her to quit - but actually for the health of the orchestra it might be better if they both left! I hope he can come to terms with this and accept that he is playing second in this group, and if the principle has some comments he should do his best to work with her. He is an older guy and I think the younger woman over him is hard, and I think he used to be a much better player than he is now, not that he is bad now, but you can tell he thinks he is better than he is. I really hope DD points out that this is unacceptable behavior, the longer this goes on - people see this and think it is ok. Kind of like dealing with children. SOMEbody has to have the guts to do something!

Should be an interesting concert!


Tonight is dress rehearsal for the Beethoven. I feel like it is not getting the time it deserves in rehearsal - of course we had the soloist come in for the Artunian last night so that needed a bit of extra time. He sounds great, would be nice if we don't screw up the accompaniment!

And the Elgar (Enigma Variations) is ok, some of the transitions are rough since we usually stop and start each mvt but last night he tried to go straight through. I couldn't believe how many people didn't know what meter things were in (like the 6/8 was in 6, not in 2 which a bunch of people did) so frustrating. Hopefully they wrote it down since the concert is TOMORROW! grrr. Also lots of missed entrances - I think people will settle down tonight but it is worrying. I missed some stuff too, but not much...there is one big solo in the Elga (Dorabella) and it has this 4 16th note passage over and over again, always on beat 2. (rest, da,da,da,da, rest,/,rest, da,da,da,da, rest/ etc) Somehow in the MIDDLE of a million of these, I played on the and of 1. So bizarre. But I got right back on. I hate when I loose concentration like that, I feel like I should be an example since I'm one of the principles and all. What a dork.

But the Beethoven (6, Pastorale) we have only played once! And there is a lot of stuff for the strings - the winds have a few place where we just need to get the ensemble down, no technical things. But you can't *really* practice ensemble unless you play the piece! I do wish more people would get familiar with the music - they give us practice cds and of course there are a million recordings out there. At least most of the principles do, and it is hard to ask as much from the section players (especially since they don't get paid). Hopefully that will change, but unless they actually market this orchestra I doubt it will happen soon. I can't believe we aren't even on the NPR list of events (which is FREE, and goes directly to an audience that likes classical music - doh!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Monday again??!!

How did it get to be Monday again? I am shocked I tell you. This means I have to teach my recorder students again. I decided (being such an expert) that the books they were using last year sucked (which they did) and I could do much better just teaching them the notes and giving them music I wrote out. So far is has worked out pretty well, but not having a book does make it harder for me! I ordered 4 books from Amazon this week, hopefully they will be here by *next* Monday. They are just songbooks, no real instruction. Which I think will be fine.

I also got this great theory teaching book, which you buy the rights to copy as much as you want. My friend uses it for his band program, and I thought I could use it for my private students as well as the recorder class. It is kind of amazing that my little 3rd graders know as much as some of my HS students.

Didn't touch the oboe this weekend. Didn't make reeds. Did listen to Vivaldi Gloria - not the normal one in D - there is another one I'm doing in November. Sounds straightforward- two oboes and trumpet plus strings (and choir of course). I have several duet-y mvts and one obbligato, short and sweet. Other than that we finished some things in the laundry room - starting to look like pretty nice in there.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Beethoven and stuff

We had a great rehearsal last night - not that it is ready to go or anything - but hey, we have a week! So the Artunian will be fine but I need to look at a few spots (this is a recurring theme) - Elgar is actually better than I thought, the only part I really need to deal with are the trilly things. It actually sounded ok but I'd like it to be smoother. And the Beethoven (6). Wow. We really haven't spent any time with that - I'm kinda terrified. There are many in this group (including myself) who haven't played it before, although I did a cut down version earlier this year for 14 children's concerts. So those parts I know really well!

In other news, my glasses were great! Only a couple of weird warpiness, but I think I'm adjusting really quickly. Also I need to catch up on my music bookkeeping - I write all my mileage for gigs and expenses and pay down, but I haven't done this for a couple months. Nightmare compounding daily...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

new glasses

I debated about where to post this, but since it does affect my musical sensibilities (whatever that means) I'll put it here! Yesterday my bifocals FINALLY came, my poor scratched up lenses from before were happily tossed in the bottom of my oboe bag. I think I will get new lenses for those frames but I wanted to adjust to these first. They are "progressive" lenses - so there are no lines where the bifocal part begins. And so far they are great! Only a few weird things, the bell tables looked like someone had their arm underneath moving when I turned my head the right way, gave me a start! And tonight will be my first orchestra experience with them, I don't expect any problems but who knows. It is so frustrating to have my body actually failing, and it is just "part of getting older". I suppose the alternative is worse, but getting older sucks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Oboeinsight has tagged me - which means I have to blog about six things about me, personally, that my readers might not know. Then, ‘tag’ six other twitter/blogger friends and make them ‘it’. Hmmm.

1. I am secretly thrilled to be tagged. I love to be one of the chosen - must have been from all those horrifying PE experiences where the captains are choosing team and the numbers get smaller and smaller as the smug chosen watch the uncomfortable few, who are trying valiantly to look cool and like we don't care that no one wants us on their team, and the coach is impatient because by that time all the actual "players who count" have been picked, and they just want to get the game going.

2. After being thrilled, I am overcome with dread, thinking "what the heck can I write about, and who wants to know anything about me?? And why do I have a blog anyway?" Must be all that insecurity nurtured from years of playing the oboe - one of the most self-esteem-boosting instruments around (NOT)

3. I actually wanted to play the french horn. Possibly even more treacherous than the oboe, but what a sound. I am in awe of great horn players.

4. I was married before, for a year when I was 26. Mr Mistake was kind of a jerk, one thing he said to me was "You can't be a real musician, real musicians are always self-confident. I know because I watched a tv biography on Pavarotti." What a dork.

5. I paid my way through college (mostly) driving a combine. A green pea combine, althought they were red colored, here is one but that is not me (or anyone I know). This was not a difficult job, although there were several times I got really close to God because I was afraid the huge machine was going to topple down a steep hill (with me on it). The best thing (besides the money) was that we got great tans - I suppose I will be regretting that someday...

6. There is actually a fake name on my HS diploma. When we moved to a new town my sophomore year, I decided my name was the reason I was not cool - Jill is so short and boring; surely I could do better (sorry mom!) Anyway, I just wrote the fabulous new name on all the "class cards" (these were the days before computers) and everyone thought I was Gillian. Not a huge departure, but it made all the difference to me - I had an instant cool nickname (was I ever this silly?) Gilligan, who for the younger crowd was actually a slow shipwrecked skipper on a sitcom played by Bob Denver - I was delighted. *sigh*

Now for the tagging bit, this is terrible. I don't think I even know 6 bloggers (besides the people Patty tagged, and it hardly seems fair to tag them again) So -
1. Claire? A lovely oboe college student from back East who has just survived a horrible car crash
2. Jenn, a superstar violist from Idaho

3. Ren and Moy from Obohemia (oboe comics - awesome)

4. Bret Pimentel - the wonderful guy who has compiled a list of all the ww doubles in every show imaginable

5. Jessica a cellist

6. and Suzanne, a flutist

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I made two somewhat working reeds today! Tomorrow I have a session with the mysterious G - who will hopefully turn them into works of art. I don't even have any gigs until the 11th, and after that a kind of hiatus until November. Weird. I must remember to enjoy it and possibly even PRACTICE! Seems like most of the time I'm just running around trying to keep up, so it is great to have some reflective time (let's see how reflective it actually turns out to be)

Monday, September 29, 2008


I haven't posted for a while and now the opera is OVER! I was just tired for this whole thing, although I think this is the best the orchestra has sounded for an opera with this company. Even though there were some interesting things going on with counting a couple times...It is such a drag to only do two performances, but the market just won't bear any more than that. We did have good crowds though, and I had a fan yesterday! My friend K drove 100 miles to come see it - what a gal. Now I have my excellent check to take care of, and turning my focus to Beethoven and Elgar. I've decided it is really easy to underestimate Beethoven.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nonpartisan funniness

Ok, this is supposedly for Obama, but it really doesn't matter - this is hilarious! It is Les Mis "One Day More" performed (?) by office workers; they have McCain coming out as Javert and Palin is Lady Trenardie - I was totally cracking up when I watched this.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

back to work

Today I'm playing in church again; since we are between DOMs the choir director is getting special music. And the "act" for this week blew her off! So I offered, since these may be my last times of playing in church (dramtic sigh...)

Decided to do the Christmas Lullaby by Chip Davis (Fresh Aire) - we just left off Christmas in the bulletin. Totally different from last week (Marcello). Then tonight I have opera; but not onstage - this is weird. They were supposed to have it on stage, it is in our contracts, but DD thinks there is another show in there or something. Hmmm. So we will only have 2 run-throughs before opening. More importantly to me, we are really going to be crammed in the pit, which means if they don't get it right the first time we only have one night to fix it.

Recorder lessons are going along ok, I need to think of a song they can play for the class. It was so exciting last week to have them all playing by ear, and then I make them notate it. At this age it seems way more fun (and more like learning language) I believe the Suzuki method is somewhat like this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Endless rehearsals...

Actually tomorrow I have a night off, but right at this moment I'm feeling sick of rehearsals. And the opera is in one week! How did that come up so fast?

We rehearsed the Artunian Trumpet Concerto tonight - our principle played the solo just for kicks. It is harder than I thought, nothing terrible but a couple places I should have looked at! Also Beethoven 6. I thought I had played it so many times this summer it was no problem, but we cut big parts of it; and there are some places to look at there too. *sigh*

I have a reed session with the mysterious G tomorrow (yay!) hopefully he will magically make everything work. J has an appt in the morning so I have to take D to school. This is messing up my usual morning routine (which includes sleeping in) and treading with Buffy, then painting the cabinets for the laundry room. Things are slowly shaping up in there, I decided not to sponge paint because I thought it would look stupid. I want to put some blue and green sea glass things on the shelves and I think that will look best with white walls.

The Biggest Loser started its new season this week - I love that show. Wish it would inspire me to loose weight, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Ah well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Monday my recorder students had all practiced! I was really excited, and they actually sounded pretty good! I'm sure it is my superior teaching skills.

Tonight I had a new oboe student too. She is going to be fun I think - 8th grade. Her oboe is a nasty plastic Selmer, totally basic keywork. They are renting, and would consider renting a better horn, but of course the local businesses don't carry anything better...I wonder if Forrest's would be just ridiculous to try and rent from long-term. I guess I can find out!

After we had opera rehearsal with the singers! The leads are excellent (Violetta and Alfredo) and the papa is ok (although I think younger than Alfredo!) I love the Dr. Didn't really notice the chorus much, we are still just struggling with the horrible parts - still finding tons of wrong notes! These are the reduced orchestra scores from Kalmus, I guess when I played it before we used the full orchestra version, but didn't have all the parts? It is weird because the instrumentation was the same (1,1,2,1/2,1,1) although we have more strings (which don't count because their parts are the same)

But overall a decent rehearsal. We actually have 3 more, so the orchestra should be well rehearsed but only 2ce through with singers on stage! That seems a bit scanty to me, but I just play the oboe. I have a few nice solos in this, nothing like Les Mis! And I had to turn down the part in Sweeney Todd - so depressing. Would love to do it sometime.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Near Death Experience

Yesterday we had opera rehearsal - these parts are really the WORST I have ever seen, wrong notes everywhere, missing measures (many) and wrong transpositions...DD is very frustrated with things. So then the principle violist lost her keys (turned out they were locked in her car - which the concertmaster broke into with a hanger - fun)

So I'm headed home on the interstate (I drive about 30 minutes on that road every time). Since I'm driving my snazzy little convertible, it is very unpleasant going faster than 70 even with the back wind-shield, so I was moving from the left lane to the right because someone was coming up behind me. No problem - I checked the right lane and moved over (and I have GREAT visibility) when suddenly something blares their horn and sweeps by me at 80-90 mpi in the right lane.

Later J said this was probably someone coming on the on-ramp, which is sort of at the top of a hill so I may not have seen him when I checked back. Don't you just HATE people who don't check when they are merging onto the freeway???! So I jerk back to the left, apparently too hard and loose traction. Then I have no control of the steering and the car is sort of weaving back and forth (terrifying), but still in the left lane. Then I catch some of the dirt from the median and go into a spin. The people who stopped to see if I was ok (henceforth known as "the People") said I spun around 2-3 times, I have no idea. There was TONS of dust because it is so dry here.

I ended up in the oncoming traffic, facing the traffic, but on the right side of the yellow line (thank God) and totally unhurt. I didn't hit anything, and the People said we should roll the car into the median. I shifted into neutral and the car just rolled right into the middle, fortunately pretty flat and grassy (and really dusty) with no guard rails here. Again, I'm completely ok, but shaky. I tried to start the car and it started right up, but one of the People said there was gas coming out the back! So we stopped and I got out of the car.

They had called 911, and after 10 min a really nice woman came. I had called AAA and J. J was bringing the car trailer and we thought we would have the car towed to the mall parking lot (less than 5 miles, for which AAA is free) and then we'd load it onto our trailer where it was safer. But the officer was on her communication thing and they said the tow would be another 40 minutes so we decided it was flat enough for J to load it on the median.

J starts looking at the car (after he was very happy to see ME), and decides what was coming out the back was not gas, it was water! Later we figured out I had a gallon of water in the trunk from when I had radiator problems, and the spinning broke it. So actually the only damage to the car was that everything in the trunk was wet. Pretty fabulous considering! Anyway, J started the car and it seemed perfectly fine, so he gave me the choice of driving the car or the truck with the trailer. Yeah right. I had been standing around for about an hour, so I was feeling fine to drive, and we decided to meet at the next off-ramp gas station to regroup (about 2 mi).

Everything was fine, and aside from ingesting 3-4 pounds of dirt, I was in great shape! I did loose my hat. Think I'll get over that. Truly a miracle - just a few more inches into the oncoming traffic lanes and not only I but many others could have been in horrible shape. Just another crazy Freeway Philharmonic incident.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What a week!

So playing in church was pretty good, and my new shirt was highly complimented! Opera rehearsals went ok - TONS of mistakes in the parts, like 50+measures left out of various parts (in different places). These are Kalmus scores, and I don't remember every having this problem the last two times I played Traviata; anyone know if there is another edition? I sure hope so.

My new student is in 8th grade and she has played 3 years. Not bad, but her oboe is an Olds (?) and it only has the basic keys. It also is VERY leaky, I sent her to the local repair guy who I like. We'll see if she goes (sigh). I have another 8th grader starting Tuesday, and my senior had her first lesson since summer yesterday. She is trying out for All Northwest, which is a highly competitive honor orchestra//band. A lot of the stuff is over her ability now, but she is a real trooper for giving it a shot! I guess they make you audition on the web now - you get one shot to play the material (instead of making a recording and sending it in). Eeek.

Bells started up on Wed, I only had 5 ringers. Bad! But I convinced my new ringer's driver (who sadly, lives in a different state) to give it a try - they both did great! Hopefully I will have at least a couple more from last year. The whole mess at church with adding a new service (no bells needed, they want guitars and tambourines)has kind of messed things up. Maybe it is time to throw in the towel...

Orchestra started the new season Thurs, Beet 5, Artunian Tpt Conc, and Elgar Enigma Variations on the first concert. Nothing big for me, really. But there were big crises when the 2nd bsn shot off at the mouth again, now 4 people have told me they are ready to leave if he doesn't shape up. What a nightmare.

Grampa's visit was really fun. He and his friend L went on Ds field trip to the dairy farm! Lots of eating and visiting was done by all, and I really like L, she is a great person. We went on several long walks with the dog and one fabulous day to the Barnes and Noble...friends for life now!

Finally today nothing but picking up D from school! Tomorrow I am going with friend M to the big symphony in their fancy new hall - they are doing Strauss' Alpine Symphony. Should be great!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Add it to the pile...

Just in case I didn't complain enough in the last post; here are a couple more things I forgot! Sunday (after playing for church) we are going to the fair - possibly fun but an organizational nightmare, since going home after church is not really feasible. And that evening Js dad is coming (yay!) for a few days. NOT that I'm not excited for him to come, but the house is kind of a mess. Oh well, at least he is bringing his camper.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


The painting is done, at least the white part. Now I am thinking I might do some sponge painting to bring in a bit of color on one wall...

I am realizing I have a lot coming up - next week I start recorder classes, which I haven't ever done before. I am sure I can do it, but I decided the book they were using last year was awful, and I was just going to do my own thing. But the nice think about a book is that it give structure to your class! Maybe I will find something I like better, but for now I will just teach hand placement and basic scale (with no reading), give them all fingering charts and hope for the best. They all read music and have had lessons on piano or flute.

Also bells start next week. I haven't done anything. What to play is hard to decide when I don't know how many ringers I will have. *sigh*

AND the regular orchestra season starts next week! As well as private students. And the opera (La Traviata). And I got an email about doing Sweeney Todd - which may have been a mistake but I'd love to do it - Sondheim is one of the best.

And THIS Sunday (2days) I am playing in church, decided to go with the Marcello (short and sweet!)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Two delightful days of breathing paint fumes - J is making me use the oil based paint. Yuck. But better than listening to him rant about the evils of lesser paints. Of course, his knowledge of paint was gained about 30 years ago, but not to get into that.

The first coat is on! Looks very white (in a splotchy sort of way). I think I will sponge to top part, haven't decided if I will stay with my blue/green palette or not. Apparently reds and beiges are in now. But I don't want red or beige. Too bad for me.

I have actually done other things with my day, J and I read the scriptures in church this morning, which allowed me to be strongarmed into playing offering next week (I'm actually kinda glad - was wondering if I'd ever get to play again now that H is gone). I get to pick, was considering the Albinoni Adagio (dm) as I haven't done that for a while, and I don't want to learn anything new right now.

This is the first week of school, and bells are starting next week (I got a new ringer today!) and I'm teaching recorder at Ds school this year. I have never done this (except subbing for the lady who did it last year) but I hear the three in my "class" have all had music before - yay. Could have students at the college, but I'm not betting on it. Tomorrow is our Labor Day concert, my biggest part is probably Beet 6 scherzo, which is the only mvt we are doing on this concert. Weather should be fabulous, not too hot or cold but we'll see.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

School picnicky

Ds school had their annual back to school picnic (he's 1st grade this year), where you meet the other parents. There are only 20 kids in 4 grades, so it is quite intimate...was lovely to see everyone.

I had to leave early for rehearsal - was actually kinda glad I missed part of it since it appeared we did the boring stuff first! We are playing the scherzo from Beet 6, which has this great oboe solo. It is sort of "off-center" sounding, but I have done it for all those children's concerts last spring so I know it cold. Several people who don't usually say anything were very complimentary. That was nice. And my reed from the last show is sounding decent - wish the pitch in the group would stay a bit lower (I DO play an in tune A, but maybe I should try playing it a bit low since it appears they all tune high!)

Other thrilling highlights will be the Superman march and the Moldau, as well as several baritone showpieces and a trumpet thing called the Virgin of the Macarena or something - JP sounds great! I was really impressed that the board wants to have hamburgers for us (and families) after the concert. We usually bring picnic stuff, but what a nice thing for them to do (also saves me having to pack a bunch of stuff!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

labor day...

Much has happened since I last posted - my folks have come seen the show and left - Les Mis closed, and I am a year older! Spent the last few days reveling in my non schedule; I have been treading and prepping the laundry room for painting though. I always forget how much prep work is involved when you paint a room.

Tonight is rehearsal for our Labor day concert - they had one last week but I was off being Miserable...I guess we are doing the scherzo from Beethoven 6 (which I have done before), sort of a preview of our first concert. Also the usual sort of parks stuff.

Friday, August 22, 2008

best review

Les Mis is getting great reviews, and although they have only mentioned the orchestra in passing, it is exciting to see such positive buzz about the show. But yesterday I got what I thought was the best review ever - our sound tech/lighting mastermind guy (who runs all the other tech crew - don't know his official title - but he does the orchestra and all events in this hall) G said I was sounding amazing! I have known him for 7 years and he has never said anything like that to anyone I have that really made my night.

Sadly my reeds were not as fabulous last night as Wednesday, I was feeling invincible on Wed. But just so one doesn't get too cocky, reeds will put you in your place. I think the show is solid enough now, I'm really able to be calm even before the sewers! Seems like we just didn't get enough rehearsal for a show of this magnitude. There are people in the pit who played for years in LA and they said to open they had way more than two rehearsals. Oh well, and tomorrow is closing - seems like we are just getting going! I will be glad to have slightly less on the schedule though, and nothing nearly so arduous.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Opera and Les Mis

Tuesday we had our first rehearsal of La Traviata...I wonder if there is a different edition I have played. This Kalmus version is terrible - tons of wrong notes and I swear it is dumbed down from what I have played before. Anyway, reharsal was ok but slow. And delightfully over at 9:40. After finishing Les Mis at around 11 every night that was a nice change.

Wed was a great show - huge crowd that was very vocal. The house has been pretty full every night, but some audiences are better than others. I felt pretty good about the solo tonight, but I think my reed has bit the dust. It is too bad because it responds great - but it is starting to chirp and lack resonance.

In other news, the futon is in! It is really big! But it does look great, and we can always move it to the living room if we hate it in the utility room. Of course, that will take much manuvering. It is really comfortable - one of those inner spring mattresses.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Insanity Sunday

I have survived the crazy Sunday - seems like everything went ok! Les Mis was great, I think it was sold out (the matinees always do well here) and my solo (since it is really all about me) went really well. I am feeling good about it but trying not to get "relaxed" since there are 4 more shows to go! Keeping my oboe warm seems to be doing the trick with the water - instead of picking up the EH when I have a change, I wait until just a few bars before and as soon as I'm done I pick up the oboe again. During the break I've been wrapping all the instruments in the shearling case cover (since intermission is the ONLY time we get blasts of air conditioning down in the pit - I think when the door is open it makes the air come down). So far the EH has been H2O free, and reeds for that have been great.

The concert at the country club started about 1/2 hour before Les Mis finished, M said it was 106 degrees in the tent when they began!!! This is when we need to have a temperature clause in our contract - that is ridiculous. No one wanted to listen in that heat either, I think a few CC members who happened to be reletives were there and no one else. Yuck. Anyway, E (the violinist in Les Mis) and I carpooled up to the CC and made it in 25 minutes, just as the intermission was underway! It was only 98 in the tent for the 2nd half; highlights were the Moldau and Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets - both went fine.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday night

Tonight was the best so far! Which was nice because I had 4 people I knew in the audience - my sewer solo went great. Hopefully it will be that good or better every night, but this was the first night I have felt like I was playing the way I should (in that spot anyway). But I can tell we are all getting tired, such a drag to keep doing this night after night, have no idea how career musicians can do it 8 shows a week!

I think my favorite thing to play (besides the sewer bit when it goes well) is At The End Of The Day - just such a fun piece and it is near the beginning so we are all fresh, no hard parts, and the winds do the counter melody and it is just so fun! Then, the show goes on for two and a half more hours...

Friday, August 15, 2008

more stuff

Another update from the pit...things went pretty well tonight although BOTH of my oboes were full of water. *sigh* What a nightmare. Hopefully it was just humid or something.
The reviews are out - they are very good. They say nothing about the orchestra except how fabulous it is that there is a full pit. Yay.

Interesting pit story - tonight there were probably 5 different stage hand trying to fix something with the trap door - don't know what was wrong with it. But they had power drills and at one point they brought in a 8' board! Kinda distracting.

I bought a futon today! Now just have to make the place for it - no painting has actually occured yet - I figure that *can* happen later if I run out of time. Still trying to get through the piles of stuff in there. It was pretty heaped up - but already so much better.

Monday, August 11, 2008

blessed relief

Ahhh, Monday -no rehearsals or shows! Until tomorrow I can do anything! So I'm painting the utility room. fun.

Sunday the show was actually way better all around I think - we were all more relaxed. This is really like an opera in the amount of concentration it takes, there is no down time once the stick drops! My solo went well, and although I'm sure people were acknowloging the stunning viniette of the baricade with the bodies and the flag etc (which is slowly revolving during my big moment) they actually applauded when I finished - so I'll take that as kudos! I remember it being a very powerful moment, but I didn't give the oboist enough credit when I saw it - what a big bunch of long tones.

Anyway, tomorrow is rehearsal for another summer symphony concert - which I am somehow supposed to get to the second half of (the concert) which is right after Les Mis on Sunday. The show is 3.5 hours long (LOOOOONNNNGGG) and then I have to pack up, get the car out of the traffic, up to the country club in the next town (I think about 15 minutes with no traffic) and unpack before they start the second half of the concert. Stupid. Since that gig starts at 5, and Les Mis won't be over til 5:30. Stupid stupid stupid. But DD really wanted me to play - the sub I was hoping for couldn't do it, and no other subs seem to be able to come to both rehearsals. Whatever. I don't even care right now - I'm sure our 2nd oboist will do fine even if I don't show up at all!

Looking forward to my aunt and uncle coming up for the show Friday, they will be staying with us (and possibly painting the utility room!). And my good friend JB is coming from Disneyland (he actually works there) this week. He is going to the show Friday too, with another friend who directs a lot of shows here in the big city. J used to do a lot of musical directing and kind of set me up when I first moved back here. Should be fun to see them again. I remember he arranged a lot of stuff from Les Mis for our show choir to do, and I came to play oboe for Bring Him Home. Very nice.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

And we're off!

Actually that title makes it sound worse than it was - we were mostly "on" tonight; what I meant was we're open! And another show in 12 hours. Yay.

Tonight was actually much better than the night before, it is just so difficult getting everything coordinated. I imagine the touring productions go together much easier because many people already know the show, just the pit people (and not all of them) tend to be local hires (I think). Anyway, my rather critical friend said he really enjoyed it; and I don't think he would just say that.

There are still some places where we need clarity - the robbery attempt I think, and some places where the singers can jump ahead and some people haven't written in where the voice comes in - also since we don't have a vocal monitor in the pit it is pretty hard to hear sometimes.

My big solo actually was pretty good! I used the Laubin (instead of my usual Loree) because of water issues, it has been really bad this week. It also has this lovely dark sound and the pitch is totally solid.

I didn't realize that although the title of my big moment is "the sewers", it is actually the time when the barricade is rotating around so you can see all the dead people...really it is an awesome scene because when it turns to the back you see Enjorlas (sp?) with the flag and it is always so heartrending - our Enjorlas is really good too. He was Georges for La Cage, and really a nice guy.

Anyway, the oboe is playing this lovely melody that is mostly incredibly slow whole notes, usually I can just emote away on something like that, but for some reason I was getting terrible anxiety about it, and having a physical response - my arms would get weak and my heart would flutter and I couldn't breathe right - totally unusual for me, but tonight was much better. I spent most of the day finding decent reeds, it was great the boys are gone camping. I should send them away for every opening! But hopefully they are having a great time (except I accidentally sent the Ds toy tent instead of the real grownup tent for our neighbor who is 6'4", I think about 3' of him stuck out the end!)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Less Miserables

Tonight was less bad! Actually it was mostly fine - there were still a few spots that we are off, my carpool buddy thinks it is all the conductor. But I think the conductor is (mostly!) fine, sometimes in shows singers just start at unexpected times, and we aren't very familiar with this show so it is hard to adjust. Fortunately I know the show pretty well (just from the soundtrack) so it is a bit easier for me.

I made it through the sewers again- better shape this time, but still not glorious (as it should be!!!) I am really annoyed because I can actually FEEL the adreniline rushing through my arms and hands about 20 bars before this solo. Weird. I am really psyching myself out, and the rest of the show there are lots of solo-y bits that I'm not worried at all about. Huh.

I also had TONS of water again. Of course, it did rain during the show so maybe that contributed. But the sound guy yelled at me for blowing out my oboe, he said it was coming through the mics and he couldn't turn me off. Then he figured out I played the oboe not the clarinet, and he was turning the wrong mic down. Huh.

We got done at 11:05 tonight, better (but still ridiculously long). Came home to empty house as the boys are camping - kinda nice to have the run of the house! They'll be home Sunday.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Really "Miserables"

Holy cow, what a nightmare rehearsal!!!! First one in the pit (tomorrow is dress), and it was pretty horrible. Mostly I played ok, except one glaring exception - of course the big solo...I had this complete panic attack about 20 bars before, and then I couldn't play anything! It was awful. But other than that, my reed was fine (I'll blame my reed in true oboe diva style).

The conductor was really having trouble, and I think the coordination required to do this show is huge; but he was conducting a lot of stuff in 8 that really could have been fine in slow 4 (his pattern was really confusing, and a lot of people were thinking his 4th beat was a downbeat). Too bad, hopefully tomorrow will be more clear. Usually he is very easy to follow. Also the singers were sometimes late to their mark due to the circle thing being slower than they expected; and I guess the barricade was having some "issues". I am still totally pumped up on adrenaline, and we didn't get done until 11:20 - I got home about 12:15. Good grief.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

car trouble

So I've been driving this nasty old car because supposedly it should get 45 mpg, but it is actually getting about 35...but the a/c is conking out. I realize these old cars have troubles, and J is really good at fixing them, but unfortunately like most mechanics, he is fully booked! And I know 95 isn't that bad, but it really isn't pleasant weather in a black interior car. So we're driving around, and some poor woman rear ends us in the Walmart parking lot! Her van was in much worse shape than our car, but the rear fender is mashed and the light needs a new lens (new being a relative term). Hopefully we can just get it fixed cheap and have her pay, she seemed very nice about it all, but NOT the diversion I was hoping for today!

J and D are leaving tomorrow for camping with js family - I can't go because of Les Mis! At least we have the convertible to drive (a/c works great in that, terrible mileage though).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

silly stuff

So during the run of Les mis the little orchestra is having an outdoor concert. Our show is at 2pm (sunday matinee) and the concert is in a nearby city at 5pm. This is LES MIS we're talking about here - I am betting we push 3 hours very hard (although we haven't actually run the show yet). But DD (conductor) thinks it will be great for me to come just for the 2nd half, I guess he is begging one of the violinists to do the same. But here is the kicker: he is moving the biggest solo I have (Adagio from Sparticus) to the first half. The things he is worried about are the Moldau and Harry Potter!

This all started because the sub I wanted said she could do it, then changed her mind. No one else is really "good" enough, and the 2nd is a good player but she doesn't ever practice. I don't want her to feel like I'm passing her over, but if she is going to play Sparticus anyway...THIS is why we really need a personel manager!!! I shouldn't be doing this! grrr.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Les mis

Orchestra rehearsal and sitzprobe: OMG this was so fun! I was thinking it would be kind of mundane since I know the show well and gosh it is really long and all, but it was AMAZING. We have a fabulous cast and the orchestra did great mostly (being our first run through and all).

The orch rehearsal went well, then we had a dinner break and the cast came (a sitzprobe is when we rehearse with the cast without them on stage, we just all sit around and perform, kind of like a concert version of the show. Usually the first rehearsal with singers is a sitzprobe at this theater) So when we started with the big chords at the beginning, the whole cast cheered because it was so exciting to hear the whole orchestra (I suppose) after the rehearsal piano - we have about 20 people.

I actually thought I sounded pretty good in the orch rehearsal, but during the first 1/2 of the sitzprobe I had TERRIBLE water in my keys (common oboe malady). It was probably the worst it has ever been - kind of nightmarish because nothing really sounds right. It was in ALL the keys of my upper joint, and I kept swabbing and blowing and it just flooded! So discouraging because you want to sound good (first impression for many of the people) and I had many little solo-y things. Finally during the break I was able to get things dried out a bit, because in the second half is this oboe concerto (HUGE solo) - apparently during the "sewer scene" where Jean valjean drags Marius through the sewers. Lovely. Actually it is a glorious solo - hopefully I will do it justice. It was terribly gratifying that the cast clapped for me when it was over.

I am really excited to do the show now, even more than before. And it is really great that we are among the first community groups to do it - it has just been released so if you have seen this show before it was probably a tour of the Broadway production (or the high school version they released a few years ago). Well, come see it if you're in the area!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wow, it's August

Seems like a lot is going on, we had the fabulous Fireworks concert - I guess this year they are REALLY going to feature it in the IDRS magazine, but after last year I am not holding my breath. Anyway, it was fun and I think the best we have sounded since I started doing it (14 years?!) This was the concert's 30th anniversary, I suggested getting Baskin-Robbins to sponsor us next year (31-derful years!)

So that was a frenzy of rehearsal/playing, then we had our 2nd summer concert for CSO, which turned out to be a dance at the fancy resort. I ended up getting a 2nd oboe sub, since the usual person broke her tooth! I think she need a root canal, eek. Anyway, it was a nice gig, private party, hope they liked it. It always seems so weird to do orchestra stuff for a dance, seems like they really want a big band, but what do I know. We did do the Blue Danube, which is nice, but everything else was just arrangements of big band stuff (and jr high pops tunes!)

Tomorrow we start Les Mis (6 hr rehearsal)! Really looking forward to it, although my reed situation is kinda desperate. My folks are coming to closing night, so that should be fun. Unfortunately I will miss Jims family get-together because it is over the weekend, and they don't allow subs for the show. I suppose I should have turned it down, but I REALLY wanted to play. So Jim and D will go, and our neighbor (15yo boy- to hang with my 16yo nephew). It is in a field in the middle of nowhere, just property the family owns, so everyone brings tents and RVs and mostly they visit and cook; very fun and relaxing (and cheap!). This is the 2nd year I can't go, they may disown me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

vacation hell - no music

Well, hell is a bit strong...most of the vacation was great! But the last day there was this Ridiculous Misunderstanding. When we arrived (a week ago) there were a couple trees blocking the path to the dock. We called the local manager about this and offered to bring our chainsaw and fix it if we could take the wood from the tree. She was thrilled, and we were able to get the path cleared as soon as we came back from getting the saw. Jim cut up the tree for 2 days I think, this was fir and very sappy so my dad, brother and myself all wrecked clothes we had on while hauling wood down the steep trail and steps to the truck. In all, we probably got about 3/4 cord, not much, but it gave the guys a project.

THEN, the neighbors called the owner (in California) and he apparently had a COW. I guess he wanted the wood and he was going to cut it up himself. At that point we had already taken the wood we cut home, and we had gotten permission from the manager (his legal representative). He would have had to pay to have the path cleared anyway, so I said if he paid us $150 (the low end cost for having a tree service come clear the path) he could come to our house and take the wood back. Apparently he told the manager if we paid $75 for the wood (that she had told us to take) we could keep the wood. The managing agency decided to pay him the $75 (since it was really their fault) - so other than someone in California hating my guts, I guess it all worked out. We'll see how much of my deposit I get back.

I just hate conflict like this - I felt terrible that we took the guy's wood but on the other hand, we had probably spent 15 or more man hours cutting and hauling wood on our vacation. Since he had the fireplace capped (unusable) in the rental, and since three were several rotting trees that had obviously been down for years that he hadn't ever cut up, I doubt he really would have used the wood, but still, it was his. What a drag.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Symphony on the Sand

Saturday was our concert on the beach - it was just dumb luck that it was in the same town as my family reunion so they all came with the babies and everything. The sun shines directly into our "balloon shell" which is incredibly hot, but after about an hour it was very nice. Overall we played very well, especially since we have a reduced orchestra and a lot of ringers for the summer gigs. The second oboe (ringer) did a good job although she didn't play all the time, I think she was just hot and decided to take a break every once in a while. Oh well, she sounded great on EH in Harry Potter.

My biggest moment was probably the Adagio from Sparticus by Khachaturian (sp??!) which is really romantic, long solo. Fun stuff. Reeds were amazingly good considering the heat, and all my As were right on. Yay.

family vaca

Greetings from the lake! Things have been pretty busy here with my parents and my brothers with their respective families; lots of little boys (and one small girl). The weather was great - we went to a big water/amusement park - probably the biggest hit for us was the wave pool. No lines and even Jim had a great time.

On a sad note, our boat was doing great until Friday evening, it just suddenly stopped working (the motor). Jim spent most of Saturday working on it while the rest of us played at the lake, but to no avail. Hopefully he can get it going now that it is out of the water and home with all our tools. Everyone has left the house except us, we will stay one more night (the free one) and that will be that!

Mostly this has been a good stay, but when we got here the steep path down to the lake was blocked by two downed trees. We called the manager and offered to chainsaw our way through if we could just load up the wood, and she thought that was great. Then yesterday the neighbor came by and apparently the owner (California absentee of course!) was really mad and blah blah blah. I think he should have given us a huge deal because it was a big pain moving this wood (just fir, nothing special around here) and it was on a steep hillside with lots of other growth so it was hard to get to...he would have paid a LOT to have it dealt with.Dad said we should offer to give him his wood back minus our labor. It is just too bad, I really hope this all comes to nothing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

La Cage - the end

And I must mention closing of La Cage - what a great show! I highly recommend this one to anyone, just to go see it or play in it, wind parts are very fun. I really loved the music, not as "deep" as Les Mis I suppose, but such a feel good show and while a lot of it is silly and slapstick, it does have a poinient message and therefore the ballads have lovely oboe parts. Yay.

I had several fans this weekend (love having fans) - K and L came up about 90 miles Friday, and K brought me these great oboe earrings! They can be my gig earrings now, very cute. And Sat auntie A and L (friend from theater) came, we went out to the Wine Cellar (lovely restaurant) before; I never have trouble eating ahead as long as I don't pig out. And after we went to the resort for snazzy dessert. Ugh! so yummy but we all nearly died of overeating! Oh well. The show was probably more energetic on Sat, closing usually is - but I thought it was really great every night. Seemed like the audience was really into it - we could hear the cheering (so cool); but A and L said they were between 2 complete dead stick in pants people who never cracked a smile. What a waste, if you're not going to give it a chance why bother going? L said his guy inadvertantly laughed during the monologue and it nearly killed him as he stifled himself. But at least L and A were having a grand time, and I guess the majority of others there too!

stress and relief

I've been meaning to post pics of the parade, but that will have to wait as I have a tramatic event to relay~! At least to me. This was closing week for La Cage, so things were pretty busy, and if you check the other blog you know we had lots of company this week and stuff. Sat I had a wedding (to play at) and then meeting friends for dinner and the show. So I hustle off to the wedding, a bit early so I can get all organized and warmed up. There is a rehearsal at 1 and the ceremony starts at 2, one assumes there will be prelude type music for a while before that. It is 12:45 when I pull into the parking lot, and no one was there.

This is a bad sign. I checked the doors and they were locked, and then I called MS, the music director of the church who had hired me. No answer on his cell. Panic rising. Leave message on cell. Call him at home. No answer. Remember cellist from La Cage is playing this wedding too, but I don't have her #. Call contractor for La Cage. No answer. Call Jim in case they call me at home. They haven't called but he is near the phone so that is good.

At this point I was kinda freaking out, since I had no idea what to do. I decided to try this church across town where I had played a wedding with MS several years ago (although every other time I've played for him was at the church I drove to first). I call my best friend who is kayaking in the Tetons. She offers sympathy. I call my buddy who plays clarinet in La Cage and ask her to look up the cellist's #, hoping her cell # is on her message machine. I call the cellist (who of course isn't home) and there is no cell # on the message.

Intermittantly calling MS, and after about 30 minutes I get through. Apparently he had tried to call and couldn't get through - I *thought* my cell beeped or something when there was an incoming call, maybe I inadvertantly turned that feature off somehow? Anyway, they were at the big church at the college, which wasn't too far. I zoom off and arrive at St. Als by 1:25. Of course they are doing Gabriels Oboe for the bridesmaids, but is a weird version that has been "straightened out", no triplets or 5tuplets so they can walk down the aisle better I guess. And then there was some insane version of Pachelbel's Canon (my fav version here: ) and I had the lead for most of it - I did get to run those two before the prelude music started. Crazy.

Anyway, it went fine and I had a decent reed, and no one seemed too put out that I was so late...hopefully they will still call me. Lovely wedding, and even though there was no A/C, it was cooler and St. Als is one of those big cathedral type churches so it was very pleasant inside. So all that freaking out for nothing. Yay.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New guard

Well, HB has officially retired. She is my boss at church, and I am very sad. I am very concerned about the next person, because I don't forsee a like-minded boss. But who knows! Maybe it will be some oboe loving old school organist.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Last night Jim and I went to our first (and only) rehearsal for the PerfectionNots - a motley crew of musicians (?) who get together and sightread one piece just to march in the 4th of July parade. The costumes are ANYTHING GOES. Last time we did it there were some very elaborate people - including darth vader and Janet Reno (both men, I think). The biggest thing for me is that I play the sousaphone in marching band...actually remembered fingerings pretty well (must have been my Easter baritone experience)
But this year I find that I can't see the music, I need longer arms!!! argh. Stupid oldness.

I actually practiced the oboe yesterday too, so I was reletively guilt free about the whole blowing my chops playing the tuba. La Cage is so fast and high I doubt I will ever get the whole thing. But we got a good review, no mention of the fabulous band. I am excited that several people I know are coming, love to have fans! Did look at Les Mis and I think it will be a breeze, I have a LOT of changes but nothing technically difficult (although sometimes you don't know until that first rehearsal!). I do have some pretty solo type stuff, which *if* I have good reeds will be great.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I am so tired! What an exhausting show (La Cage aux Folles) - and of course we have nothing on the dancers. Apparently they are amazing; we are trying to rig a mirror or something but as it is I can't see a thing. Not that we have time to look, the books are all really note-intensive! Even the trombones were

But overall things went great last night, I just hope we don't have let-down tonight. People get so worked up to get through opening and then don't have that same intensity. They did invite us to the bar last night so I went briefly - apparently there was supposed to be food but they ended up ordering pizza in, can't wait to hear the story on that. But I was starving after, and it was fun to see people. And so nice to be invited as they usually forget the orchestra. But I'm a social girl - always try to get to know some of the cast, and of course the crew is the same as for our orchestra concerts so I know all the permanent people. Dying for rest now, and tomorrow will be worse, apparently I have been drafted to speak in church about Hs retirement gift. Not delighted to speak, but I guess better me than the pastor (since they really don't get along). She is gone this week so it is perfect for plotting, and next week is her last week!!! How did it come so soon? Anyway, if you want to check out the beautiful stands we are getting here is the site, just be aware this guy is booked 7 months in advance!

Monday, June 23, 2008

La Cage

Finally! I have had a long break, but I couldn't log on in Wyoming for some reason, and I decided it wasn't a big enough deal to find another computer. I actually practiced every day of my vacation, and I'm really glad I did because Sunday was a killer rehearsal (6 hours).

Lots a great musicians, I was worried about being the "dud", but I must say I think I fit in fine. Not perfect, but the book 1 guy was out of his element playing mostly flute and picc (and also alto flute, clarinet and alto sax!). He used to play as a studio musician down in LA, so I guess this is no big deal for him, but I felt like I held my own. M is having a great time on bari and bass clarinet - she just loves honkin it out back there. She is sitting behind me (at least for the rehearsal which wasn't in the pit so who knows).

This is the biggest pit I think I have seen at this theater. 5 winds (all doubling at least 2), 5 horns with various doubles, 3 percussionists with a TON of stuff including timps and xylophones (big), keyboard, 2 vlns, cello, 2 guitars, upright bass and harp! I think that's all. NOT looking forward to cramming that all into the pit. My favorite conductor is playing keyboards for this, he will conduct Les Mis in August. Guess he is also doing Once Upon a Mattress, I am wondering who they got to play oboe for that. The conductor for this show is a great singer.

Got my folder for our parks concerts with the symphony. Looks ok, am kind of excited that my family will get to go to one in July! Not that I have anything impressive, but most of them will like this sort of concert (loud and fast).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

spoke too soon...

I thought I would have this nice hiatus (read: no practicing) before La Cage, actually I was kind of worried that I wouldn't play at all due to vacation and lack of gigs (only 2 weeks, but still!). So now that worry is over - our DOM who is retiring in a month, made the frantic call to beg me to play. Must admit it is kind of flattering, but I had said I didn't want to play on Father's Day, since we are leaving that day anyway and I wanted to spend as much time with J as possible. Oh well, he can come to church. Or not, as it is "his" day!

But DOM asked me to play this piece by her ex, who was an oboe player in the SS years ago, and he wrote some lovely stuff. She really wanted to do it before she left, and things are going to get crazy until she leaves. Then the giant dearth of music will begin *sigh*. And then there will only be a week until the 6 hour rehearsal with big time musicians I don't want to embarrass myself in front of. Perhaps I should also make some reeds!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Well, thank god that is over! Actually they did mostly ok, and very impressive that they were all 4ih, but unfortunately we got off in the middle (weird place) - but fabulously got back on near the end! Yay. I was hissing out measure numbers but I think they were so freaked they couldn't really respond well, but with random dinging for a few bars it was ok. And the beginning and end were really good.

Now I just have to inspire myself to make some reeds and keep playing so I don't die when we start La Cage in a few weeks. In one week we will drive to Seattle, then on to Wyoming for my fun girls-only visit with C. Poor J will be home alone, but I'm betting he will have a nice time anyway, sometimes it is nice to have the place to yourself!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

the endless playing...

Argh! I am so out of shape - but the end is near. Only 2 more concerts tomorrow then off until La Cage aux Folles starts June 22. That seems far but we have the last week of school for D, and then he goes to gramas and I go to Wyoming!!! for almost a week. But the school concerts are going well, just so much driving. The flutist is great, hopefully she will play with us in CDA sometime. They try to use the local people first, then fill in with "others", I feel good knowing they got me even though there were oboes that auditioned. The strings are mostly from the Youth Orchestra, and my friend C is playing clarinet - he is amazing in that he plays EVERYTHING. And I feel so old - they are all just around 20! It is odd that I don't feel older than them until I look down (hahaha). More there than there used to be.

So far my reeds have been pretty good, but must do something drastic before I play EH for La Cage. Beethoven (VW, conductor for these school concerts) and R are both playing horn for La Cage too. I love playing in the pit at CST, they always have great people. And of course it pays well!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

school concerts

In the middle of 12 school concerts - all of them are at least 90 minutes away so we are carpooling. Today I had the lovely experience of driving past my rider without seeing her 4 times. 3 cell phone calls and 30 minutes after our scheduled time, we finally hooked up! But fortunately we had planned extra time and ended up arriving at the school in time.

The "show" is excerpts from Beethoven 6, although we play the exposition of Beet 5, then pieces of all 5 mvts of Beet 6. We have someone playing Beethoven and his landlady, and they pretend to take a walk in the country while he composes - then we play each mvt. It is rather clever - MUCH easier to play for 2-3 minutes with breaks between each mvt! I think I played ok - biggest thing is the scherzo mvt solo, thank goodness I know that one cold (since I've never played the actual symphony). Some of the players are not fabulous, but mostly it is pretty good.