27. August 2011 · Comments Off on Pay Cuts · Categories: Symphony

The 84 musicians who make up the Wichita Symphony Orchestra voted recently to accept a 20 percent wage cut for the coming season, a move necessary to keep the orchestra viable in tough economic times, those involved with the decision say.

Reading the whole thing it gets even drearier; they took a 10 percent pay reduction two years ago and a 4 percent one last year. This has really got to hurt.

27. August 2011 · Comments Off on After Those 90 Year Olds, 63 Seems Very Young! · Categories: Read Online

You can read about Elizabeth Camus, oboist in the Cleveland Orchestra who is now retiring here. She’s a young’un. Right?

27. August 2011 · Comments Off on Moving Up! · Categories: Read Online

… to the age of 91!

E.R. Wasemiller is a retired physician. He opened the Wahpeton Clinic in 1946. As a young man he learned to play the oboe, but a flourishing practice put his music on hold. About 20 years ago he dusted off the oboe and began to play again. At 91, he will be the guest artist at the ‘Winds of Change Festival’ in Fargo.


27. August 2011 · Comments Off on An Extra TQOD/FBQD · Categories: FBQD, TQOD

… because I am the writer of this one …

I’m pretty darn glad I checked my schedule for opera. I was thinking 7:30 PM tomorrow, but it’s actually at 1:00 PM. Whew! Thankful ….

Yep. Just realized tomorrow’s rehearsal is 1:00 to 4:00. I was thinking 7:30 start time. Double whew!

27. August 2011 · Comments Off on That’s a lotta double reeds! · Categories: Double Reeds

One thing that always makes me smile is watching the feet … notice how they aren’t all moving together? (I’ve even seen that in professional groups, believe it or not.)

… or just cry a lot over bad oboe reeds.

But really … read this:

On the heels of reports that watching television or spending time on the computer can decrease your life expectancy, science has made a ground-breaking report that just one hour of reading can take as much as 59 minutes off of your life. Medical doctors at the NCBVGETVV (National Center for the Betterment of Video Game Engagement & Television Viewership) have proven staying in a seated position with a book, especially those novels whose page count totals more than 300, can cause hypertension, diabetes, chronic back problems and irritable bowel syndrome.

Science worries about your children — WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?, science says. Preeminent scholars in the study suggest getting your offspring to engage in more active seated hobbies — such as playing video games or learning the oboe, which encourage children to move about in their chair, often burning calories and elevating the heart rate. If you must give your progeny a book, dignified specialists suggest at least giving them an audio book, which will keep their hands free to do other things, like the occasional push-up, or again, the oboe.

I read it here. 😉

27. August 2011 · Comments Off on Will I Be Playing When I’m 90? · Categories: Read Online

… heck, will I make it to 90?!

Moore remembers hearing “Stars and Stripes Forever” for the first time when he was 7. He and his parents watched the Joliet band perform with 16 other high school bands from across the country during the National High School Band Contest in 1928 in Joliet. Sousa conducted the 2,000-piece ensemble that day.

Over the years, the song became a signature piece for the band.

“Every time I play that I tingle all over and tears come to my eyes,” said Moore, a retired insurance company owner who still plays oboe with the Joliet American Legion band.

Mr. Moore is 90 years old. And as you see, he still plays. I’m wondering if he has the reed making thing down pat now.


Sometimes I talk with other oboists and we ponder how long we’ll continue to play. I don’t want to keep performing if I should pack it up. I hope someone will force me to step away from the oboe before I make a fool of myself (Hmm. Might be too late!) I especially hope that I will know when to let it go on my own so no one has to have the uncomfortable task of saying, “Drop it. Now.” to me. But who knows if I’ll realize it, right?

27. August 2011 · Comments Off on Concert Distractions · Categories: Read Online

The man seated directly behind me was connected to a portable medical device, presumably an oxygen cart to aid his breathing, that emitted a steady ticking. Hard to describe, it was really more a faint, dull metallic clank in a relentless rhythm that seemed somehow resistant to all the many other rhythms emanating from the stage.

I have no idea how many people heard it: 4 or 5 immediately around, 15 or 20 in the vicinity? And I have no idea how I would have reacted if not for a worrying experience of my own last year. As it was, I found it impossible to ignore.

In February 2010 I had heart surgery to replace a congenitally faulty aortic valve with a mechanical model. Mechanical valves tick, I had been told, and since much of my professional life involves sitting in concert halls as unobtrusively as possible, this was a troubling prospect. I buttonholed the surgeon with my concerns on the morning of the operation, and he assured me — whether taking me seriously or, as I suspect, humoring me — that he would install the quietest valve he could find.

Be that as it may, in my drug-enlivened imaginings of the next few days, I heard a thudding that suggested I had swallowed a bass drum. Soon enough it became apparent that all I had swallowed was a metronome, and a reasonably quiet one at that. Today even I can hear the ticking only in a small, reverberant space or in the dead of night. No one has yet tried to shush me in a concert hall. But what if. …”

I read it here.

I’ve thought about things like this for a while now. We have a woman who brings a service dog to opera performances, as I’ve mentioned before. Fine. But what if someone next to her is highly allergic? She loves to bring the dog down front to show the orchestra. What if someone in the orchestra is highly allergic? She’s never asked us. She needs a service dog. We need to breathe and not sneeze! I was at a Merola performance earlier this month and there was a beep that occasionally went off. It wasn’t a phone. The only thing my companion and I could come up with was that perhaps it was some sort of heart monitor or something else health related. It was quite distracting, but neither of us dared to turn around and try to figure it out. Last year, when I was playing in Merola, someone’s hearing aid screeched through an entire show. While at a symphony concert a while back someone’s oxygen tank was making itself known by a horrible wheezing noise. I’ve heard other things as well, that implied someone had a problem (Tourette’s disorder, maybe?) that kept him or her from remaining quiet.

I want everyone to be able to attend performances. I really do. But what can be done to make the event successful and not miserable for all attendees, I wonder? I really don’t have an answer.

27. August 2011 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online

From a community newspaper. Really.

I’m not a big classical music guy. I cringe to admit it. The music is absolutely beautiful and I can certainly appreciate and respect the talent, especially that of the Downey Symphony, but an entire night of classical composures? Truth be told, I’d rather be doing…something else.

27. August 2011 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Confession #3: I know how to play the oboe, but I wish I could play trumpet