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.