28. February 2013 · Comments Off on For Today … Just A Remembrance Page · Categories: Losses

Yes, I took down the “QODs” … it didn’t feel right to have them here. I know we all keep going, and I certainly don’t feel the loss as much as those who were close to Bill, but I prefer to keep today’s blog a remembrance page. It just feels like the proper thing to do.


Used with permission of San Francisco Symphony

28. February 2013 · Comments Off on William Bennett 1956 – 2013 · Categories: Losses


Photo used with permission from San Francisco Symphony

I just read of oboist Bill Bennett’s passing. I am away from home and will post more later.

Heart breaking news.

And now I am home. Needless to say the second half of my walk wasn’t full of joy.

I didn’t know Bill, really. We met twice. We communicated several times via email. I certainly knew of him, and I was pretty sure he was not only a fine musician but, from his cartoons and that twinkle in his eye, a very joyful kind of guy much of the time. I can’t imagine the loss his family, friends, colleagues and students are feeling right now. My heart goes out to them all.

The San Francisco Symphony is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Principal Oboist William Bennett. Mr. Bennett, 56, had been hospitalized since Saturday, February 23, 2013, after suffering a brain hemorrhage during his performance of the Strauss Oboe Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall.

“I am heartbroken by the tragic death of Bill Bennett, which has left a terrible, sad emptiness in the hearts of the whole San Francisco Symphony family,” said Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. “Bill was a great artist, an original thinker, and a wonderful man. He was very generous with his attention and affection for his friends, colleagues, students, and audience members. We all experienced his sunny enthusiasm for music and life. I am saddened to have lost such a true friend.”

SF Symphony Executive Director Brent Assink added: “How fortunate we all were that Bill Bennett was our Principal Oboe. His artistry transported us. He touched audiences around the world with his music and the warmth of his personality. We are all stunned at his sudden passing. His legacy will continue to be felt through his countless students and in the performances of the San Francisco Symphony for many years to come. While all of us here, the musicians, board and staff of the San Francisco Symphony, grieve with the entire Bay Area community, we also extend our love and support to Bill’s family. “
Bennett was born in 1956 in New Haven, Connecticut. He joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1979 and became Principal Oboist in 1987. During his many years as a mainstay of the Orchestra, he attracted the esteem and admiration not just of colleagues, but of listeners.

The entire San Francisco Symphony family offers their deep condolences to the Bennett family. The San Francisco Symphony is accepting condolences on behalf of the Bennett family at 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102. Messages can be posted at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/williambennett1.

Found here.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off on Being Kind · Categories: Ramble

Okay … this is a total pattyramble™ of the worst sort, but here goes …

I am not good at being kind. In this music business I’m in we can often be quite critical. We also can gossip. A lot. I’m guilty of both.

The other night I vegged out by watching the Oscars. As I watched, I was reading Twitter and Facebook entries. My but we all love to bash people, and if they are famous we like to do it even more. I do it too, but watching the show and reading hateful remarks made me think about how it must look to others when I’m that way. And I don’t think I want to be seen that way. Ever.

A lot of us classical folk tend to pick on anyone outside of our field with a vengeance, too. We really want to dump the snob label, but at the same time we (and yes, I include myself in this) want to have at it with people we deem unworthy. Go figure. I guess it’s just this whole being human thing.

But you know what? Life is short. People are … well … people! I should treat them the way I hope they treat me. It’s the least I can do.

Recently tragedies have struck close by. Picking on other people seems even more ridiculous, stupid, and rotten in light of things that have happened. I’m going to attempt to be kinder. I’m going to attempt to take care in what I say, and how I treat others both in person and in writing.

Like I said, life is short. Surely I can be kind during this brief stay on planet earth. I’m hoping so, anyway!

27. February 2013 · Comments Off on Washington McClain · Categories: Losses

It is with sadness that I report the unexpected and sudden death of the Early Music Institute’s esteemed colleague and baroque oboe teacher, Washington McClain.

Washington McClain was a former member of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and principal oboist of l’Ensemble Arion (Montreal) and Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra (Cleveland, Ohio). He performed with many other baroque orchestras in the United States and in Canada. Washington was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music (Baroque Oboe) in the Jacobs School of Music in 2001.

Professor McClain’s extensive teaching and performing experience in workshops and festivals in North America included The Amherst Early Music Festival, Albuquerque Baroque Music Festival, the Madison Early Music Festival, The International Baroque Institute at Longy (Boston), Festival International de Musique Baroque de Lamèque (New Brunswick, Canada), The Staunton Music Festival (Virginia), and the Boston Early Music Festival. He was also the first period instrument performer to be featured in an article in Windplayer Magazine.

Professor McClain made recordings for Sony Classical Vivarte, ATMA Records, Analekta Records, and Centaur Records. One of McClain’s last recordings, of French baroque music by François Chauvon, a pupil of Couperin, issued on early-music.com (Montreal), is reviewed in the Spring 2013 issue of Early Music America magazine.

Wash, as he was known to his colleagues, was not only a brilliant musician and teacher but his unfailingly cheerful, sunny disposition and deep, hearty chuckle lightened most of the fleeting moments we spent with him, which makes his untimely passing all the harder to bear.

In the EMI, Wash was much loved by all of the faculty and he will be greatly missed.

Found here.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off on Silly me! · Categories: Ramble

Yesterday as I was teaching my oboe suddenly made some rather odd sounds. I thought I had water in a key, but when I investigated I saw that the cork on my F key had come loose. Thankfully I have a second oboe and I pulled that out. It’s a bit of a nuisance because most staples are a bit too big for it and I hate shaving them down because then they are too loose for my main oboe, but at least I have a second instrument to carry me through.

As my last student was leaving I mentioned that I’d probably see if I could glue the pad back in place. Sometimes there is glue on the pad that, with a bit of heat, can soften. The pad can then be re-glued easily enough. If not, as I told him, there’s always superglue. My student (an adult) had played clarinet and sax in the past and mentioned that one had to be careful because if the pad isn’t seated correctly it won’t be fixed properly and can leak. I flippantly said, “Oh I think I can do this one, no problem!”


The heating method didn’t take, so the superglue came out. In a jiffy the pad was cemented back in place. Firmly. But yeah, my student was right … and I should have known this would happen! I thought I hadn’t turned the cork at all and it would seat just fine, but it did turn and it most certainly wasn’t seated properly, so there was a major leak and the oboe was obviously not going to work.

For the first time, though, I can truly be thankful for Facebook. I quickly wrote about my stupidity and a friend who saw it called. As he said, “Patty, Patty, Patty, why didn’t you call me?!” He’s right. I should have gotten on the phone and called him immediately (even though I hate phones). Sigh. He does oboe repairs. He lives about 15 minutes away. And he’s a friend so seeing him is great fun, too. (Oh … and if you go to his website you’ll see me. Or at least a little bit of me! Can you figure out what I mean?)

This morning I was at his house (hi Bob!). He now has my baby. I played the quintet rehearsal I had on oboe #2 (and it actually did quite well with the reed I found that fit).

Lesson learned?

Oh who knows … I’m a slow learner!

27. February 2013 · Comments Off on Van Cliburn July 12, 1934 – February 27, 2013 · Categories: Losses

First, something a bit light hearted!

Liszt: Consolation No. 3

27. February 2013 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

oboe has finally emerged from her case after a year too long.. and I CAN STILL MAKE A NOISE!

27. February 2013 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Weeee I love my oboe tutor

26. February 2013 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Mother of oboe student, as she is writing the check for the lesson: “We need to start paying you more — you’re worth it, and you haven’t raised your rates in four years.”

26. February 2013 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Sometimes I wonder why i play oboe.. like why.