St. Louis-based diva Christine Brewer, who usually sings in the great opera houses and orchestra halls of the world, clung to the piano on the stage of a cruise ship’s gaudy show lounge, fighting to maintain her balance. The ship listed severely to starboard; so did she.

Brewer and her accompanist, pianist Craig Rutenberg, performed songs by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss over considerable engine noise as the MS Veendam left the harbor at Tallinn, Estonia. But they were finally defeated when the captain made a long-winded announcement to explain the alarming tilt. When he finished, they started again.


Part of me wants to say, “Humbug!” But there’s this other part that says, “Gee, it kind of sounds like fun!”

I’ve never been on a cruise. I was asked to play on a trio once that was going to do an Alaska cruise, but the kiddos were small and it wasn’t the right time. Now I wonder if I could stand the feeling of being trapped on a ship. I dunno. I probably won’t ever know, since I think my cruise opportunities are gone. I know, though, I wouldn’t be like Brewer when she says, “any time I’m in a public area, I’m sort of ‘on.’ I can’t be too casual; I have to have some makeup on. And remembering everybody’s names is hard.”

Makeup? Um. Not usually. And names? Really bad with names.

But of course she is a star (and I’ve heard her and she really is a star) and a lowly oboist wouldn’t be the center of attention. Certainly not this lowly oboe player. (Maybe the famous oboe folk (FOF™) would be, but even that’s doubtful; how many FOFs can you name that would draw in a crowd?)

Now a Reed Making Cruise … that’s sure to be a hit.

Um. Right?

03. September 2007 · Comments Off on Today · Categories: Ramble

… is Labor Day.

Go practice. 😉

03. September 2007 · Comments Off on New Blog (to me) · Categories: Ramble

I just landed on Notes From the Ivory Tower, a blog by Kate Boyd, found via Chris Foley’s The Collaborative Piano Blog. There are some good quotes up at Ms. Boyd’s site, and some other very useful blog entries that, while directed at pianists, can be applied to oboe students as well. Check it out!

Just this past week I’ve had a number of students tell me they didn’t have any time to practice. Here is a tidbit from Ms. Boyd’s blog entry, Using the Scraps:

It’s easy to get in the habit of waiting to practice until we have a block of time to devote to it. But when things are busy it becomes increasingly important to utilize the little gaps that present themselves unexpectedly, in between all the other commitments that fill the day.

Good advice. Take it!