09. August 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Ramble

Nearly all oboists know who John Mack was. And he made fun of me. So now, after all these years of silence, I’m going to tell you about it.

I am not tattling on the dead; when I say John Mack made fun of me I have a reason.

I went to what I think might have been the first Hidden Valley John Mack Oboe Camp (or whatever it was called). This was about 23 years ago, I think. I wasn’t fully prepared (I had young children, after all), but I did play for him. He had very little to say to me, and I’m sure he was very underwhelmed by what I did. But he did make fun of how I looked when I took a breath. Every time I did that, I lifted my upper lip enough that you could see my (somewhat large teeth). At the time I thought it was just weird that he would comment on that, but I honestly didn’t care what he said. I mostly considered the whole week a vacation. Later that day someone somewhat sympathetically talked to me about his comment, and I realized she thought he was being mean and silly.

But I’ve decided now that it wasn’t silly at all. Took me THIS long. How ’bout that?

And why might I come to this conclusion after all these years? Well, I just saw a video of an oboist who did what I probably was doing a short time ago. And it does look very, very odd. We oboists look weird enough as it is. This just added to the “weirdom”.

I sure hope I don’t breathe that way any longer! I never see videos of my playing, so how would I know? I DO know that I think about the time John Mack made fun of me rather frequently, and if it’s when I’m playing I make sure I don’t share my very large teeth with the audience.


  1. it’s okay, he made fun of me too. I won’t repeat what he said, but it wasn’t very nice.

  2. I guess he wasn’t perfect, eh?

  3. Apparently I haven’t been paying attention to your ginormous teeth or your funny-looking breathing, sorry (I’ll look more closely next time). It is really unfortunate that one needs to open one’s mouth to take a breath – I’m sure my efforts are entirely aesthetically pleasing to all. I would mention that some ladies have been known to swoon when I take a breath while playing, but that would be boastful, and I am ever modest.

    And for some really great guitar/bass/drum faces: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3evSM5dAhA

  4. Hah! Did you mean to write “I am never modest”, Tim? 😉

    And yes, great faces. Thank you for sharing. I am forever changed.