Monday, May 30, 2011

Things are Full... Monty that is

Full Monty is going well - at least it was before I left last Friday! Sub for two days, and we had Sunday off. It is a fun show, sort of R&B (according to my hubby) and I'm having a great time playing bari sax (in addition to tenor and oboe with occasional recorder moments).

Playing bells (!) in church Sunday, will also do some oboe stuff since I'll be there. Also volunteering to play EH (and oboe) on the Franck dm with the community college orchestra. Once Monty is over, I don't have any music scheduled for the summer til the end of July. Maybe something will come up.

Oboe still waiting for repair/overhaul - Carlos (the super oboe repair guy) is difficult to pin down! I was told to call back in July. *sigh* so I'm using the Laubin, which just doesn't feel right to me - glad I have it in reserve though!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The crash and burn

Ack! Yesterday was one of the most stressful oboe days I've had! Started with an early morning rehearsal for Full Monty (bari, tenor, oboe, recorders) - but not before I had to drop off my extremely reluctant son at soccer pictures (daddy would be coming for the game later). Happy times!

So I get to rehearsal -it was the sitzprobe (first time w/singers) and LOTS of sound issues - mics and monitors a big nightmare. And I even figured out how to get our lights on (my tiny victory). In all the mayhem, I was getting my big old saxes out, and I put my oboe on the stand...but then I watched it in SLLLLOOOOWWW MOOOOTIONNNNN drop to the ground. This was kinda shocking, cuz all around me people were so busy and life was going on as usual. The other wind player (M) was freaking out with me though, and I picked it up and it looked ok, and it still sealed, so I tried a note. OK!

Great, I thought. Then I tried another note. Nothin. The second key wasn't going down. Huh. Surely I could fix this, just seconds ago it was fine! But after some furious fiddling around I had to give up (I'm in a dark pit remember, and our rehearsal was starting right then. So I put the oboe away and tried to focus on the other stuff. Mostly I play bari in this musical, so there wasn't much to cover.

Since my repair guy doesn't work weekends I called my mentor oboe godling, and he left his son's soccer game (see how soccer has invaded my life?) to help me out. We messed around with the oboe for over an hour, tweeking springs and checking binding keys but finally figuring it must be a bumper pad that fell off. This is the tiniest piece of cork acting as a spacer. So we put a piece of cork in and it seemed ok. G had no contact cement but we had some at home so I left (gratefully!)

J glued the cork and I started adjusting, when another cork fell off! This is a sign, I thought - been meaning to send my oboe off for an overhaul with the fabulous Carlos for a while now. But of course I had the big Scherazade concert last night which I REALLY wanted to play on the Loree. I am fortunate to have another pro oboe (Laubin) but I hadn't been playing it and the keys are situated a bit differently and the pitch is different. So we glued the other cork on and I adjusted - and the Loree seemed ok. But I was bringing my Laubin just in case!

At the concert I warm up both horns, find the reed I like and so on. Everything seem ok - so I play Afternoon of a Faun on Loree. It is fine. We all have to move (which we HATE) for the Haydn Farewell, and since we leave the stage I will have to gracefully try to leave with both oboes and my swab (since I'm having major water in the keys on Mr. Loree). I consider switching to the Laubin just to let Mr Loree dry out a bit before Scheherazade, but I just swab a lot and keep playing.

The Haydn is a huge hit with the audience and we are at intermission. We all go back out and resituate (my third seat of the evening!). We start and in the first solo (of many many) the second key is wonking out again. I decide I must switch right then so I can be ready for the big solo in mvt 2. This is ok, but then my reed up and DIES right then, so I have to hope something in the box works without really trying it (although I had played them at home earlier). Very stressful. Reed a bit stiffer but sounds nice, but my chops are so tired, probably from stress more than effort, although this is a BIG piece with endless playing.

Crazy day, but I don't think the audience had a clue (which is the point I guess). So glad I had the other instrument, there would have been nothing I could have done if I hadn't brought it. Also good experience to relate to those blowhards that don't want us woodwinds to have our "stuff" on stage, I had extra reeds and swabs and papers, without which people certainly would have noticed some wild oboes sounds!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day

Today is the first day in weeks that is has NOT (so far) snowed! Happy May Day!

Giggage has been good - the Beethoven trio concert was fun, and I think I played the EH part well. I thought it was going to be after an intermission though, but the "intermission" was a sermon (this concert was at a church)! So instead of getting a few moments to honk on the EH I started cold (as did the 2nd oboe), we didn't even tune (1st oboist said no). Huh. Ah well, the delights of live performance.

Fiddler was fun - such a great show. This was a HS production and the kids really did a great job. Orchestra has started rehearsals for our season finale - Scherezade is just as scary as expected! But it is coming together and I'm sure it will be great in 2 weeks. The Afternoon of a Faun (NOT Fawn as listed on our stupid website) which I thought would be a breeze is actually really hard to put together - all that rubato I guess. DD is conducting in big beats instead of subdividing and I think that really threw the flutes off, but they were getting it by the end. I am concerned that we may never practice the Haydn farewell symphony - it is straightforward but I'd like to play though it!

Yesterday the ww quartet (our hornist is on leave til summer) played for the symphony wine club tasting - at a really lovely venue called the white house. Hope we get to play there again sometime. We were mainly background music, but it was very nice and I think we played well. Our flutist forgot her stand - she had her music on a chair which was less than optimal, then I offered to share stands - not ideal since we had lots of music and some complicated page turns. We had asked all the symphony volunteers if they had stands in their cars or were close enough to get one from home. The venue owner had a podium but it was too flat and too high (funny how specialized music stands are!). The flute player was making do but you could tell she was frustrated - when 2 minutes before we were to start my husband swoops in with a music stand he had rented from the tiny music store down the street! It had never occured to us to check, I thought he was quite brilliant to just go off by himself and even ask to rent such a thing! Saved the day.

So this week we start rehearsals for Full Monty - I'm playing bari sax (main) tenor, subbing oboe for flute, and alto recorder. Thanks to Grama Ruth for giving me that particular beast years ago, I've never used it til now! I'm interested in how the bari stuff goes - this part is written for a low A bari, and of course my old bari only goes to Bb. I found this great plumbing fixture (at Lowes!) that fits right in the bell to drop my Bb's to As, which means I can't play Bb's then, but we'll see if it works. I've had two offers from people with low A baris if I want to use them, but I'd like to use my own if possible.