Thursday, May 29, 2008

too much stuff

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed these days, good thing I don't actually have a job! If I wasn't playing the serpent (and surprise, probably the oboe too) in church early driving 300 miles would not seem as bad. At least I have 2 days to get there and back, I HAVE done it in one but it is no fun. But it will definately curb my serpent practice time.

And at home staring at me accusingly are the little pumpkin, squash and watermelon plants, not to mention all my other starts (but those are huge and really need outdoor planting). And of course I should practice.

Now they are saying to get mileage for these school gigs (which they assured me I would get) we need to carpool - but I live 40 miles from everyone else! NOT happy about that. That figure your mileage for gigs calculator (see on Oboeinsight and other places) is so depressing, but even more so if I get nothing!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

a serpenting we go

So I actually practiced today - it's been a while! And I found out I am playing the serpent (on which all prior experience has been messing around at the Xmas party for maybe 20 minutes) in church on Sunday. This is complicated by the fact that my mom's party is Friday night 6 hours away. I was PLANNING to stay there, but now I guess I'm coming back Saturday. At least I don't have to think about it.

But I have to play an instrument I can't actually play, in front of people. When did this sound like a good idea? There will be a real serpent-ist (?) also playing, but not the same line as I, hopefully the organ or something will double me. I was sort of surprised I was able to make a vaguely hymn-sounding noise on it. What a nightmare.

Also next week is Beet 6 in the schools (about 90 minutes away), this will be with maybe 10 musicians doing excerpts, and I assume we will talk about our instruments. Will probably be fun, but I only know the horn player (who is totally awesome and really fun to play with)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

church musicians

So if I don't have to play in church, am I bad for not going? I feel kind of bad that I'm not, especially since I won't be there next week either. And HB is leaving in about 6 weeks...and so begins the death of true music at the church. *sigh* Hopefully I am being overly pessimistic.

I have actually thought of looking for other church jobs, but so far these jobs have just come to me at whatever church we were attending. But if this becomes a rah rah praise tunes church, with lots of arm waving and lattes in the foyer (wait, that could be ok...) I don't know how I feel about it. Because there are already things I'm not that enthralled with, will this tip the balance? Speaking of which, have you read "the Balance Point"? Excellent book.

I realized I have to play for money in one week. On the oboe. So I really should get it in gear - a lot happening this week besides that, including a trip to the other side of the state and back (6 hours each way) for fabulous partying. And poor J still doesn't know if he can come or not. I'd feel bad but I think he really likes his job and all its weirdness. And it certainly pays better than mine!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

bell quartet

It has been a while...I am taking a vaca from the oboe for a couple weeks, not really intentional but it has been kinda nice! Of course, I have to get back in the groove now, big happenings coming up. But tonight I had my first quartet rehearsal - one of the ringers was an hour late so I rang her part, very fun! I was attempting to teach everyone how to ring 4 in hand, which is not something I really know how to do! But they did a great job - actually way better than I had expected.

Got my music for La Cage today, looking forward to getting started on that, but not for another month! I can't believe we got the books so early. Also got the contract for Fireworks concert in July, one of my favorite things to do all year!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Last night we had our orchestra party - actually the best one we have had I think. My friend K had it at her house, they just had a new baby last week so I can't believe she did it but they seemed great about the whole thing. I think she was so relieved her in-laws went home anything else was a breeze! I brought J and D - they seemed to like it, especially J holding the baby as he is just silly about tiny babies. Cute.

Sunday (last) the bell choir played in church, perhaps for the last time. I don't know - I guess we are having a discussion meeting just of the music people (3) next week. Seems like the "management" of the church really wants to take the mission of the church a different way, that doesn't include us at all. We are welcome to continue with the old people service until they all die off. Gag.

Sunday evening I had the college orchestra concert where I was a ringer for 2nd oboe - very nice to be so relaxed! The film clips we accompanied on the 2nd half didn't work in the dress rehearsal right before - quite tense for a few minutes as they realized there was no backup disk. But I guess it was just smudged or something, because then it worked fine. My friend DH played the clarinet solo - hadn't realized she was still in town but she is a great player. Don't know why we don't use her for stuff, maybe because she is "too" good? Complicated. Hadn't seen her for maybe 10 years! Fun.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It was amazing!

Ok, usually I never think I did very well in concerts, but tonight I was, not perfect, but really happy with ALL the solos. And there were lots - three biggies in the world premier (John Williams-like), and sort of continual solos in the Firebird - especially the slow mvts. We didn't do the usual suite, this is the 1910 version which is pulled directly from the ballet. Anyway, the whole orchestra sounded really good! I was very excited. The double pno conc we were better in tune than ever before, not that it was great, but better. That piece was much harder to tune than the Stravinsky.

After the concert we went out and it was very fun, several of us from the orchestra were there so we could dissect the performance. It is a real drag that there are so few places to go after a concert - most places close by 10 (some even 9, and on weekends!!!!) I was feeling great. Too bad J wasn't there, but his friends B and P came. They have been many times but apparently this is the first time they noticed I was principal. Not because I played the solos or got a bow; but it was printed in the program. hehehe. We think we are so important and the audience has no clue who is playing what. Or at least most of the people.

Tomorrow morning I am kinda dreading church - last full bell choir performance (maybe ever?) and I'm playing an obbligato part with the choir (which I got today). That will all be fun, but it is so sad that H may be leaving and maybe us too. I really find the music is an important part of the whole church thing for me. But I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Firebird day

Yay - tonight is the concert! And I think it will go quite well (hope I don't jinx it) is so exciting to have all the other winds/brass come in. I think mostly the 3 harps is overkill, Igor just did it for his own kicks. They do have some of those runs where one starts then the next takes over and then the third, but I think you could do that with just two. But it is cool to see all three of them like big masts over by the basses.

I am worried about pitch in the Mendelssohn (double pno conc) mostly with the other oboe. We have some stuff in thirds and octaves and it just isn't jelling, but she did get a new reed yesterday so maybe it will be better tonight. I don't want to be a pain, but I do want us to sound good together! Although she hasn't played much for many years, she does have a masters from a far better school than I. I guess I'm kind of intimidated about telling her she is playing out of tune, cuz it seems like surely she knows that - but then one would expect she would do something about it, wouldn't one? *sigh* And it's not like I am always perfect or anything. She is really nice and fun to sit next to, and the 3rd oboe and EH players are great!

Today is also dress for the college concert, that should be fun. I think D and Jim will go, it is all fluffy pieces, including movie music with slides (oh boy!) I guess I'm getting a little jaded about the whole visual extras for concerts - but the audience purportedly loves it. I wonder how they decide that, are there exit polls?

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Argument

Is it old vs. new? Not really. Good vs. bad? Not always. Written vs. improvised? I don't know - but many churches are facing a split congregation with different musical values on each side (I like to think I have good musical values)

My church where I am the bell choir director is in the process of adding a service. This new service will be Sunday morning every week, and the format will be different than the existing service. The format we currently follow is an eclectic one, with organ and guitars, praise songs and hymns every week. I actually have liked doing a little of everything, but the minister just told me "you can't please everyone all the time". He said the existing service would remain the same (which it can't, for many reasons) and the new service wouldn't just be for young people, but when I asked, that is the demographic he is reaching out to with his mission.

Is that bad? I feel sad - like what we have now is not valued. "They" keep talking about having a youth band, and younger faces singing...but no one is stopping the youth from having a band, in fact there was one a few years ago but it ended because the kids were all too busy. Although the minister said bells could be part of the new service, I definately got the idea we wouldn't be an integral part of things. Right now I feel like this is going to be the end of good music at the church. By good I mean that people practiced it and care was taken to make it sound good, no matter what instruments they use.