I thought the opera went very well. Of course I’m in the pit, and can’t hear the singers tremendously well. So what do I know?

Oh … I do know that I managed to make it through without coughing during a solo or sniffling much. I did miss a few bars as I had a small coughing spell, but it was during a very loud section so it’s not like anyone would miss me. More importantly, I had no water in the octave vent during my solos, which is something that has plagued me in the past.

The audience appeared happy at the end, but the applause seemed muted. I’m never sure if that’s just because I’m in the pit, or if I’m reading folks correctly. Who knows?!

Meanwhile, I came home to a smelly house. I’m fearful; the last time I encountered this smell we had a pipe that had corroded and water, along with anything going through the disposal, was leaking under the house. Sigh.

The fun of life never ends, right?

I’m hoping I’m wrong, but I won’t know unless the smell goes away, or someone goes under the house. And I don’t “do” under houses.

09. September 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

Music is for the people. For all of us, the dumb, the deaf, the dog & jays, handclappers, dancing moon watchers, brainy puzzlers, abstracted whistlers, finger-snapping time keepers, crazy, weak, hurt, weed keepers, the strays.

The land of music is everyone’s nation – her tune, his beat, your drum
one song, one vote.

-Eric Stokes

(I saw part of this quote first at Lawrence Dillon’s site.)

I think that the incident has now happened long enough ago that no one (aside from those who are in the know) will connect this to any person or event, so here’s a little story for you.

I get migraines. Not every day, but I get them. They are the sort that cause me to put my head between my legs. They are the sort that pound, pound, pound and make me want to crawl under the blankets. And they are the kind that make playing oboe extremely painful.

Some time ago I had a double service day — two rehearsals in one day, with a bit of time in between for dinner. Dinner was great fun, as I spent some time with friends and all was well. Until, on the walk back to the hall, I felt a “bad one” coming on. Suddenly the head started killing me. I was playing some works, though, that required a good amount of oboe, and I was playing principal. So I wasn’t about to take off the rehearsal if I could help it. So I played. But the pounding hurt like crazy. So when I didn’t play I would lean over and put my head between my legs. We finally reached the break and I looked forward to just sitting and not playing at all.

Right when everyone else was leaving the stage, a musician leans over and says, “I have to talk to you.” (or something like that—none of this is verbatim). I was told that I caused the individual to blow every solo because I was so distracting and that if I thought the playing was too loud I should just wear earplugs so I don’t cause problems.

Well, I was shocked. I was so busy being in my own painful world I didn’t even think about anyone else. Selfish, I know, but true.

I tried to explain the situation but the person wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise. I kept trying to say, “It wasn’t about you … I have this migraine …”. But I don’t know that I was ever heard and meanwhile I was being yelled at. (I will say that this particular musician is often fairly volitile.) The person finally left. I burst into tears. I hate when I do that; I’m usually under control and rarely will someone see me cry. Between the shock and pain I guess I was more vulnerable than usual.

Of course my dearest friends were incredibly sympathetic and kind and told me the person was out of line.

But now it’s been a long time and I can think and ponder and figure it all out.

What I did was unintentional, but was distracting. I should have explained the problem to anyone around me so no one would think it was all about them. Because, well, let’s face it; we all think it is all about us!.

So I learned my lesson. Or at least one of them. There are so many lessons to learn, darn it all. But at least I’ve learned this one.

I’m thinking about this today as I suffer from this sinus headache. You can bet I’ll warn my colleagues about my condition before we play tonight!

09. September 2006 · Comments Off on Romeo et Juliette: Opening Night · Categories: imported, Ramble

Tonight is opening night for Opera San José. And of course I’m sick. Isn’t that par for the course? Seems so.

I often get sick when the season begins. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m back to work, or if it’s that kids are back to school. Being a private instructor means that I deal with a lot of school-aged kiddos and I know they can bring me all sorts of wonderful bugs. I’m being much more careful these days about playing students’ reeds, but there are times I simply can’t avoid tooting on them; it’s the only way I can really figure out whether it’s student, oboe or reed sometimes. So there you go.

In any case, I’m taking it very easy, and attempting to get a lot of rest. I taught a couple of students this morning who were willing to deal with my sniffling, but this afternoon’s students cancelled and this is allowing me to take it easy and feel sorry for myself. (I love doing the latter, you know? I’m a musician, remember!)

Opening night is always fun, and tonight should be extra special, what with our new singers and all. As long as I can keep the sniffling under control and deal with my horrendous sinus headache I think I’ll make it. (What other choice do I have, after all?)

Now back to resting.