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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Upcoming Concert - snowbound edition

I am snowed in.  I came up this week to Muskegon to play with the West Michigan Symphony for the first time, and after last night’s rehearsal the blowing blizzard was just too much for me. 

I am used to commuting in the Midwest.  I’ve been through my share of white-knuckled drives, and I do not fear them.  I can slow down and take my time, and I can creep patiently from mile marker to mile marker with my hazard lights on, and I have been in a few ditches and waited for help to arrive. I don’t fear this kind of drive, but nor do I welcome it.  On Monday, after my two hour commute to work turned into three and a half, and after the snow continued to fall and blow in throughout our rehearsal, and after I confirmed that Steve was safely at home with Zoe, I chose to spend the night in the local Holiday Inn.

I didn’t have a change of clothes with me, or pajamas. I didn’t have workout gear for the lovely indoor fitness center.  Had I planned to stay over I might have packed more food to keep from having to eat out, or cane to wind up more reeds - but in fact I had only the gear I had, and I made the most of my time by practicing all morning, finishing the in-progress reeds in my case, and eating lunch in the most delicious restaurant, Mia and Grace Bistro

What a nice orchestra this West Michigan Symphony is!  It’s two hours from home - on a good day - and there are a surprisingly large number of people here I didn’t know. Surprising because all of the Chicagoland orchestras draw from the same pool of players, so I see the same folks all the time and mistakenly perceive that I know ALL THE MUSICIANS that there are.  But this gig is another couple of hours away from Chicago, and employs a whole different group of people.  And they sound just great.  The conductor, Scott Speck, has a really pleasant way of working with the chorus and the orchestra, and truly knows his stuff.  It’s nice to be educated and satisfying to be asked to play well. 

We are playing Carmina Burana - it’s a wonderful piece, and I have performed it many times and NEVER had as much fun as I’m having now.  The tempos are quick and the group is responsive and the playing is stylish.  What a treat!  The concert is Friday night - if you are in the area at all then DO check this one out. Details HERE

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Practice Plus Update

This isn't a real post - sorry it's been such a crazy month and I haven't written enough at all. 
Remember a couple of months ago when I raved about Practice Plus?  Well, I still like the app, and still use it regularly on my phone. 

I've just been informed that the app is now updated for all iOS devices, and that it is on sale - for FREE - for the next three days.  The sale runs from Sunday Nov 16- Tuesday Nov 18th, and after this the price will return to $3.99.

You can find it at this link:  Practice+ Tuner, Metronome, Recorder and More... - Dynamic App Design

Happy Oboe-ing, everyone - I'll get my act together blogwise real soon now...



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Upcoming Concert: Peruvian Oboe Concerto!

Here’s a concert I’m looking forward to.  The Vesper Chorale, a South Bend institution, is presenting several works by a contemporary Peruvian composer, Jaime Diaz Orihuela.  Mr. Orihuela is here in town for the event. The large work on the concert is a concerto for quena (a kind of Andean folk flute) and orchestra, which is quite a neat piece, but I also get to be featured. 

Orihuela’s Adagio Para una Danzante is a lovely and evocative work for oboe and orchestra, and I’m honored to get to play it, and to present it in front of the composer. 

The event is Sunday at 4pm, at St Adalbert’s in South Bend.  Details HERE.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Upcoming Concerts: Variety Pack Edition

I’ve had an amazing time playing Don Giovanni this month - and the schedule has been busy enough that the opera is all I’ve had time for.  Two or three operas a week plus teaching feels fantastic in my schedule! I’ve even had time to give some attention to Musicians for Michiana and the fundraising we are trying to do for that

But the opera performances are becoming more sparse as we approach the end of the run, and I have some real orchestra work starting up again, and it feels great to be preparing new material!

This Sunday the SBSO has a chamber concert, and I’m excited to be back with my colleagues at the beautiful DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.  We’re doing a program of female composers, to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that’s the most relevant I’ve ever seen this orchestra get, and I’m delighted for that reason alone!  The highlight will be a world premiere: a work by a local composer which expresses the emotions of her own personal journey through cancer.  Should be uplifting? I hope?  She’s a living composer, so that’s a good sign…

Next week the Northwest Indiana Symphony is performing Holst’s The Planets, and we’re partnering with the Adler Planetarium to present some visuals along with the music.  I have a lot of rests in some movements so I hope to be wowed myself, at least in the rehearsals when I dare to look around. 

And the following weekend we have a pops concert here in South Bend - featuring the music of QUEEN.  Because, you know, we are the champions. 

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been playing the same five pages of music over and over for the past three weeks, but I’m absolutely looking forward to this variety pack- fifteen services in ten days, five different programs (including a quintet gig and another opera or two).  What a treat to be a musician in the fall!