17. August 2009 · Comments Off on Just Sayin’ · Categories: Ramble

Found at Wikipedia:

Brian Sabean (born July 1, 1956) is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, a Major League Baseball franchise.

Gee, we are nearly the same age (I’m four months younger). Look how far I’ve come, and look how far he’s come.

Silly guy can’t even make an oboe reed. Hah!

17. August 2009 · Comments Off on Yes, I Really Am This Lame · Categories: Ramble

I just received an email and read, at the top of the page: Mark Ellis Named Player of the Week!

I did see that it was from the Oakland A’s, but my first thought was, “What instrument does he play?”

Yeah. Honest.

But then when Jameson was in Little League I used to ask when the next rehearsal would be, where they were performing when they had a game, and I wanted to call the breaks “intermissions”.

How pathetic am I?

THAT pathetic!

He has been focusing on his music for nine years, starting out on the oboe but ending up on the viola. “The oboe was hard for me because after I practised I always had a stomach ache, so I decided to stop.”

Hmmm. I think maybe I give others a tummy ache, but I don’t think it ever gave me one. Yet.

I read it here.

17. August 2009 · Comments Off on Well Yeah, Oboists Are Funny · Categories: Videos

… or at least we like to think we are! I haven’t heard of this oboist or the group he’s in, Orchestra Nova. Guess I’ll now have to go check out that orchestra. Meanwhile, here’s a bit of oboe entertainment for you:

When instrumentalists audition — at least around here — all or nearly all of the audition process is behind the screen. I’m assuming singers don’t have that same procedure, but we instrumentalists are used to it. I have mixed feelings about behind the screen auditions, but I do understand why we do them that way.

Of course theater folk can’t do things the same way. The auditionees are seen. There isn’t any anonymity.

But no matter if things are anonymous or not during an audition, it seems that what goes on in an audition room should remain there unless the people audition ask for feedback and the panel is willing to provide that.

The New York Times reports about a casting director who actually tweeted during auditions. According to what I read, she “only” tweeted between each audition, and she didn’t name names. but how wrong can this be, and why didn’t she think it was wrong, I wonder? Certainly she is now going to be pretty well known, but I can’t imagine that’s a good thing. (Or is any publicity good publicity?) If she tweeted right after an audition, that person could easily see what she wrote about him/her, as could anyone else who was around and knew who went when.

I would never think to tweet during auditions, nor would I blog about those who auditioned. It’s not right. I might make suggestions about the process after having witnessed some things I think auditionees might want to avoid, but I’d never be specific about a player.

Here’s someone else’s take on this.

Is it possible that blogs, Twitter and Facebook have caused some to lose the ability to discern? I wonder. I have read things on blogs that I’m sure the blogger will regret. People tweet quickly, and I can swear they aren’t thinking about consequences. Same with Facebook. Seems like technology has caused us to stop using our brains. Sigh.

I fear I’ll do the same thing. Should I even be blogging? Have I put things up here that I will regret horribly?

17. August 2009 · Comments Off on Oboe Bassoon Day (Jerusalem Music Center) · Categories: Bassoon, Double Reeds, Oboe, Videos

… man I wish I understood what they were saying (especially during the balloon moment). And get a load of the end of the oboist’s performance (at 2:26)! Um. No, you won’t catch me doing that jump!

17. August 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: TQOD

Mozart sure loved himself some oboe

(And I’m thankful for that!)

Members of the ensemble do not appear to memorize the notes to heart and they constantly consult the score in form of booklets. The issue comes when these musicians need to turn that page as the performance progresses. The act of turning a page to me seems problematic although judging from how it was done yesterday, the instrumentalists obviously had little problem doing so. Indeed, each time they need to turn the page, they stopped playing temporarily. The orchestra was designed to give a certain group of players a short rest at different points of time during performance. They turned their pages during their rest time.

Yet, it looked messy in a sense that there were movements other than striking the strings, blowing the horns or the overexcited conductor swinging his hands and seemingly dancing to shape the sound that filled the hall.

I read that, and more, here. It’s kind of fun to read about a concert through the eyes of this non-musician, and see how we appear to him.

I’ve heard of “notepads” or some such thing that people use, rather than sheet music. (Oh … here’s one you can check out.) I read, some time ago, that Harry Connick, Jr. uses some sort of “electric sheet music distribution system” too. Of course if something went wrong with the machines we’d be in serious trouble. But sure, I’m going to guess that, some years down the line, we might nix the paper and move to computers. I will miss the paper and my pencil. Ah well. (And, for those of you who don’t know, our page turns are worked out so that we oboes turn when we have measures of rest, so it’s no biggie. And no, we wouldn’t want to play constantly! We need those measures of rest!) Of course these “music machines” have to be sure and provide a way for us to mark our music, and then a way to take those marks away when we get a different conductor who has different ideas. Sounds like the Music Reader has taken care of that, and then you can buy their AirTurn and turn the pages with a foot pedal. (As if we oboists don’t have enough to think about already!)

Now … when someone invents the “Perfect Reed Maker” machine I’ll buy it immediately! And if someone ever invents a plastic reed that works and sounds great our lives will become so much more relaxed. Page turns are the least of our problems!

17. August 2009 · Comments Off on Stolen Viola · Categories: Stolen Instrument

Claire Garza’s viola stands for good and beauty. She used it to soothe patients in nursing homes and hospitals and to teach music to children.

Someone stole the viola Friday from her Swiss Avenue apartment in Old East Dallas. But maybe the burglar would have reconsidered if he had known how Garza employed the viola.

Garza, 27, said she thinks the thief came in through a locked apartment window. A violin and a DVD player also were stolen, she said.

But the viola, estimated to be worth $30,000, became the focal point.

Garza’s high school viola teacher had sold it to her, and she had used it to play more than 100 concerts in nursing homes and hospitals all over Dallas.

“It was a very special thing to have an instrument that used to belong to my teacher,” she said. “It was heartbreaking for me to have to tell him it got stolen.”

Garza plays for Texas Winds Musical Outreach, a group of professional musicians that tries to help people in the community. She also plays in the Richardson Symphony Orchestra and teaches young musicians through the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Young Strings program, which provides free lessons and instruments to underprivileged first- through fifth-graders.

Garza graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and soon helped start a series of educational programs for at-risk children called the Charles Barr Concerts for Head Start. The series is named for her boyfriend, who was killed in a bicycle accident a few years ago.

Garza came to Texas after Barr’s mother, Catherine, offered her a job with Texas Winds.

Garza said the missing viola is precious to her. She just wants the thief to take care of it and return it.

“It was like my voice, and it’s gone now,” she said. “It’s such an unfortunate thing, because it was used to do such good, such uplifting things. It’s just wrong.”

Found here.