15. August 2007 · Comments Off on Facebook & More · Categories: Ramble

I don’t really use facebook, but you can find me there. (Just search on Patty Mitchell and you’ll probably see me.) I had an oboe student who wanted me to see her photos and I signed on back then. But as far as putting it to use in any other way? Naw. I don’t really get it. I don’t even know how to see certain people … I just wait until the contact me and then I’m allowed “in” to their stuff.

But I can tell you that I’m absolutely astounded by what students write at both facebook and myspace. Are students so naive they don’t realize that what they write is read by instructors and parents, or is it just that they don’t care? I really puzzle over this.

But then I tend to puzzle over things. Maybe I’m just slow!

I spent time today on one of the two compositions I have to have ready for a September 12 recording session. (I sure wish the second composition would be delivered!) It is taking a lot of time, and then I know that once all the musicians get together I’ll find out that certain parts aren’t as difficult as I thought while others that look simple are terribly difficult in context. Time will tell, eh?

WORK!! Opera San José begins two weeks from today. I really am looking forward to getting back to playing, and seeing my friends! The paycheck will be quite welcome too.

15. August 2007 · Comments Off on John Minsker · Categories: Losses

This is a good article about John Minsker who played English horn and oboe with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy. He died just over a week ago, on August 5.

And isn’t this the way all oboe sections should operate:

Mr. Minsker wangled an introduction to Tabuteau and moved to Philadelphia in the early 1930s to be his assistant and whittle reeds for him.

Yes, indeed, let’s have that assistant make reeds. (Of course first Opera San José and Symphony Silicon Valley would have to create the position!)

15. August 2007 · Comments Off on Oboe Quotes from Random Blogs · Categories: Ramble

Just because …

Here’s my observation from yesterday: it was a marvelous summer day so I spent the majority of my time outside. I saw a couple at the park. They were in their mid-thirties. They didn’t match each other but they were typical of unmatched couples I often see. Oh you know the pair. He’s too thin, sports a beard, and looks like he just threw a pot on a wheel. She’s meatier, pleasant yet plain, and looks like she played the oboe in the high school band.

Earl Woods pretty much groomed Tiger to play professional golf from the womb. I guess it’s a good thing the guy actually had the gifts and desire to play, because if he had been born with a talent for the oboe or pottery rather than golf, his father would not have taken it well and he would be one emotionally scarred dude today.

In one compartment of my life I play the oboe.

Despite the fact that I should be making oboe reeds, I have yet to accomplish that goal because, you see, I’m waaaay to tired to handel a knife.

(Too tired to spell, too.)

In 5th Grade, when everyone chose their instruments the first day of Band, I chose the Oboe. The other kids said it sounded like a dying goose (especially playing on plastic reeds until you play well enough for wood reeds).

(NO NO NO … never play a plastic reed. Even as a beginner. Please?!)

I’ll continue to add to this as more silly quotes are found. Again, just because.

15. August 2007 · Comments Off on Smoke Gets In Your Lungs · Categories: Ramble

All of the musicians enjoy the special outdoor summer performance, Lande said, and the musical selection – a cross section of pop, rock, Broadway and classical pieces – was a great way to kick things off.

The only down side of the evening was the ash and smoke, he said. The ash was landing on instruments and streaking the musicians’ white shirts, and the smoke was compromising his wind capacity.

“It kind of hurts the lungs,” Lande said. “It makes it a little harder to take the deep breathes, especially for the big pieces. But it’s still fun to get to play outside to a crowd of people who don’t normally attend out concerts.”

I can’t even imagine having to play in these conditions. The article has nary a negative word from the musicians, aside from what the horn player says above, but I’ll bet some were pretty darn unhappy. (Don’t believe you are reading exactly how we feel when we are quoted! Many of us know better than to speak our minds!)

15. August 2007 · Comments Off on Camilla · Categories: Quotes, Ramble

“Ma’am, state your business.”


This is a line from the 1994 movie, Camilla, in which Jessica Tandy plays a violinist. I can state for a fact that Jessica Tandy couldn’t play a violin. Nor could she fake playing a violin.

Ah. And now Hume Cronyn has appeared.

So yet another movie that makes a musician wince. (Although I do enjoy seeing Tandy and Cronyn.)

It’s a funny world, where music disturbs people.

-Jessica Tandy (as Camilla)

And one more…

“I can play the silly thing, you know.”

“I know you can.”

“Just not if anyone is listening.”