but we don’t want their reeds to grow anything.

A friend shared a shot of her student’s bassoon reed. Can you imagine putting that into your mouth? Students do this. I’m always rather shocked!

Never store your reeds in a case that doesn’t allow them to dry out! Those plastic things they are shipped in should be tossed immediately. Brush your teeth before you play. If you are in school and don’t have time to do that, at least rinse your mouth out!

And if a reed looks like this? DUMP IT!

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I had a student whose reeds grew pink junk on them. They grew it even if he only put the reed in his mouth once. We never did figure out what was up, but it had to have something to do with his particular mouth. It was so odd, and I always wanted him to send a reed to a lab to figure out what it was, but he never did. I doubt he plays any more, but I should write him sometime to ask. If he does, I wonder if that junk is still growing on his reeds!

I no longer play students’ reeds. Reed sharing is something we double reed players have done a lot of. I didn’t even think about what I was doing, to be honest! But now? No more sharing. I analyze by crow. If I can’t figure out what the issue is, so be it. I simply refuse to share any more. Some oboe instructors will think I’m ridiculous, but I really don’t care. I won’t share a toothbrush either.

According to the UCSC faculty page I am the oboe instructor. I have not been the instructor since spring of last year. I have asked them to take my name down, but they haven’t done so yet, quite possibly because they haven’t hired or even advertised my position. If you are planning on attending UCSC and want oboe lessons please contact the music office. Thank you!

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (831) 459-2292
Fax: (831) 459-5584

My students are back to school, and I go back to performance work this week. And when I write work, I really mean play … but really work. You know what I mean, right?

This week it hits and it hits hard! Last week students returned — nearly all came to lessons, so that was great and I love having them back in the studio. This coming week it’s about my performance life: I have (ready?) three rehearsals for Wicked, along with eight performances of the same and one rehearsal for Rigoletto. That’s a whopping twelve services! The norm is never that high, but so it goes: the two jobs overlap, so I’m doing all of Wicked and then doing what I can with Opera San José‘s Rigoletto. This is the life of a musician, really: we sometimes have to work between several jobs.

I know I’ll make it through, but it IS a killer week. (Did I mention I also have six of my fourteen students to teach? Sadly the rest can’t come due to my schedule.) I’ve decided to look at my calendar one day at a time!

I’m obviously going to have to put a hold on my walks after Monday. Monday is my day off. I’m so glad I rearranged students so that I at least can guarantee that one day of “nothingness”, as I know I’ll need it.

(Posting to both blogs … because I can.)

I haven’t really written much since our return from New York and the IDRS convention. Between our house remodel, recovering from the trip, and other fun but tiring things, I’ve just not had the energy. But now I’ll at least try to write a wee bit about our train adventure.

Yes. Train.

We began in Emeryville. The Amtrak train station there is small, and there is really no security at all. I guess trains aren’t like planes at all! We had decided to fly out to New York, knowing it would take more time, but would also mean we’d see parts of the country one can only see from a train. I loved it!

Here … have some train music …

Sinten Nunggang Sepur (Who Is Riding the Train) by Heni Primastono – The NUSChoir

We did it up fancy, getting the larger sleeper car. Food is included, so while it was pretty darn costly, at least we didn’t have to think about the food. Of course by the time you’ve been on a train for three days and two nights you just might repeat meals, especially if you don’t eat red meat. I was fine with the food, though. My only issue was that I ate far too much of it! (I’ve always had a difficult time turning down things that seemed “free”. Funny, that.) I took a lot of iPhone photos from the train, and a few with my Fujifilm X-E1 as well. I’ve only had time to briefly glance at them. Most are blurred … but that’s to be expected, I think.

Sleeping on the upper bunk is a challenge on the California Zephyr. There isn’t much head room, and crawling my way into bed was probably laughable had anyone been watching. Once I was there, though, it was fine. I slept okay, considering we were on a moving train.

Trains aren’t in a rush. I like that. I like that I can do nothing about time. It causes me to just go with the flow. For the most part I handled that well.

Ah, but the SMELL. Sigh. At one point in our trip the smell of what I can only think is sewage was so strong I thought I was going to go nuts. Truly. I looked online and read that others have had that issue as well. I guess so many people in a train and the use of bathrooms … well … you get the idea. They need to work on that. I don’t think I’d want to do a long trip again if I only thought about that awful, awful smell!

The California Zephyr landed in Chicago, and we enjoyed a two night stay there. Unfortunately the Lollapalooza festival was in the city, so we didn’t get a true feel for it. As far as I’m concerned it’s full of frat boys, sorority sisters, and lots of VERY short shorts, bizarre shirts worn by guys (disco, anyone?), retro 70s clothing (I should have kept my clothes and sold them there), and other bizarre outfits including one guy in overall short shorts and a sailor hat. The crowds were rather huge, but we avoided them when possible. We went to the Art Institute (Yes, I finally saw Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte!), saw amazing architecture (yes, we took the River Cruise!), and tried some Chicago deep dish pizza. I do hope we can return sometime.

Here … have some more train music with the King’s Singers:

From there we took the Lake Shore Limited to New York. I read that it is frequently called the Late Shore Limited. For good reason. It was quite late by the time we arrived in New York. We did finally grow weary of the train when we were stuck in a “dead train” in Albany: they split the train and half heads to Boston. There was no engine for our half or some such thing, and we waited and waited. Some riders were upset, and one was just ridiculously rude to our attendant, who deserved a medal for his patience. The food? Well, it’s the same menu as the California Zephyr. Variety might have been nice, but no biggie, as it’s only an overnight trip, and included just breakfast and lunch. (Due to a late train a dinner might have been nice, but I guess they don’t do that.) The bed was much easier to get into, since it’s a one level train and there’s so much more head room. The train, though, is old and things were breaking. Our bathroom door wouldn’t stay closed at all.

Odd, funny, or bizarre things:

I felt like a school girl doing the wrong thing in the dining car. I ordered sausage and then realized I hadn’t specified the chicken sausage and my server yelled out “WHITE OUT!” and had to redo my order. One must not dilly dally when ordering, either. It’s like “This is a no nonsense train and don’t you dare take up my time with your indecision!” I learned to come in with a good idea of what I wanted. It was also interesting to see that once they knew we were from the sleeper car we were treated a bit more politely than those from coach. (Long story about that with another person at our table, but I’m too lazy to write about it at the moment.) Someone else had filled out their order and got in a bit of trouble because we aren’t to do that. We are only to put our name and room number down, but they don’t tell you that plainly so how are we to know?! Ah well. I was, in fact, rather dismayed at being treated rather rudely. That being said, I can’t imagine the job is a fun one. Our California Zephyr attendant was only courteous after we tipped her the first time. Our Lake Shore Limited attendant was nice from the start (I wrote a letter to Amtrak about him, he was so good).

Below are just some shots from the first part of our trip up until Ottumwa. I’ve run out of steam so I think I’ll stop now!

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What a fun but exhausting time at IDRS 2014. I think I have music leaking out of my ears now. I’m very grateful to have had Marigaux (I’m sorry I didn’t get the technician’s name in my head so I can’t note him here) work on my “baby” (yes, I do love my old but wonderful Marigaux oboe!). Renaud Patalowski, you are the best for encouraging me to bring it this year and insisting I leave it. It plays wonderfully!

Tomorrow I’ll try to drop by the vendors to say goodbye to a few people, and perhaps I’ll manage to attend a recital, but the latter is still a question mark. This is very taxing on me, being the introvert and all.

This evening we went to hear Threeds at Joe’s Pub, and the Breaking Winds opened for them. Both groups were just a blast to hear.

Photos you see below are all just iPhone photos. Quality isn’t great, but it at least is something.

Breaking Winds:
Breaking Winds, 8.8.14

Threeds:
Threeds, 8.8.14

Threeds 2, 8.8.14

From there we raced back to Washington Square Park so I could hear more music, and see Constantine Kitsopoulos conduct. Constantine conducted La Bohème many years ago up in San Francisco and I have the best memories of that time: he is one of the most wonderful conductors I’ve worked for. I just wish I could do more with him, but he’s on this coast and I’m on the other and … oh well. I guess it’s not meant to be. I arrived in time to hear Keve Wilson play. She sounded lovely!

Keve & Constantine, 2, 8.8.14

Now I’m beat. Sleep is definitely necessary.

Today was a full day … again! The sounds of the convention are many and varied. The sounds in the vendor rooms rather amazing. I took my iPhone around and just captured them, so I’ll post that sometime soon, but right now I have to get to bed.

I attended the “Centennial Birthday Serenade in tribute to William H. Scheide” and was fascinated by the film I’m posting below, for a number of reasons. Maybe you can figure out why. Maybe not. :-)

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I am here. Soon performers will be as well. :-)

Prior to lunch, and after the first recital, I heard both a Baroque ensemble and a jazz duo. There is a huge variety of music here. I love that!

I just heard a recital of new music by John Steinmetz. The first work was a duo for bassoons, with one playing contra on two of the four movements, and the other was a duet for oboe and bassoon. Musicians were tom Nugent on oboe, Nicolosa Kuster on bassoon and Margaret Philips on bassoon and contra. Bravi tutti to all!

I didn’t manage to get a photo after the first duet, but here’s one from after the second.

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There is so much going on at this conference, and it’s a challenge to keep up my energy, but I’m loving it! I’ve seen some friends (what fun to meet you, Berke Hitay, in person finally!), heard great music, and eaten far too much. I definitely need to walk more, but there is so much to listen to, so I’m attempting to not worry about my lack of exercise for now.

I left my oboe at the Marigaux table today, to have it looked at … it’s like leaving a baby, all the while knowing it is in excellent hands. Thank you, Renaud Patalowski, for encouraging me to bring it! (And yes, I will forever be a Marigaux Girl!)

I also saw Jason Onks, and we had our picture taken together. I really want to get that and more posted, but for now I’ll post things that are easier to access, and I hope to get more up tomorrow. I need to get some rest.

Added quick note: I also ran into Robin Tropper, and he has a handy dandy “thumb thing” (have you named it, Robin?) which I think could save a whole lot of oboists a whole lot of trouble!

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I have just arrived at NYU this morning — I’m moving too slowly and getting lost too easily! Still, I’m finally here and about to hear a recital involving oboe, bassoon and piano … here goes…

What a delightful recital and what fine players! More later … blogging isn’t easy when in the hall, and of course is also distracting so I wait until we are between works or, as in this case, until after. This program is one I’ll want to write more about so readers can investigate the works. Three of the works (quite new) were for the trio and all were wonderful: I think they would be great fun to put together and play. They certainly weren’t easy, though!