18. February 2017 · Comments Off on For Your Listening Pleasure · Categories: ACappellaAnyday™, Listen, vocal

Oh this Saturday afternoon …

Ed Rex: Sonnet 116 (Shakespeare)
Siglo de Oro

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

17. February 2017 · Comments Off on Ravel! · Categories: Listen, Oboe

Maurice Ravel – Tombeau de Couperin (Prélude for oboe and piano)

(I wish I could remember how I found this video … surely it was someone on Facebook? Maybe Robin Tropper? I’m just not sure. But whoever it was … this is a gem!)

From the YouTube page:
Christian Schmitt – Alessandra Gentile
Contact: alessandragentile@yahoo.it
Special Thanks:
Ass. Cult. blugen

17. February 2017 · Comments Off on And One More … · Categories: Children Making Music, Choral, Listen, Videos

Caroline Shaw’s “So Quietly” (I’m unable to locate the text, so perhaps it’s Shaw’s own?)

Again, by the very talented Brooklyn Youth Chorus. I don’t see a conductor listed, but I’m thinking this might be Dianne Berkun Menaker, just from glancing at their site.

17. February 2017 · Comments Off on Because I like it · Categories: Children Making Music, Choral, Listen, Videos

This is the very talented and adventurous Brooklyn Youth Chorus singing Nico Myhly’s “Advice to a Young Woman”. I have yet to find the full text available, but I know it’s from The lady’s new-years gift, or, Advice to a daughter by George Saville, Marquie of Halifax (1633-1695).

Below I include any of the text I located via his writing that I can hear or see on the video. I copied it completely, although Muhly may have deleted a few words here and there.

…it must engage you to have a perpetual watch upon your eyes, and to remember that one careless glance giveth more advantage than a hundred words not enough considered; the language of the eyes being very much the most significant, and the most observed.

It is better for a woman never to dance becasue she hat no skill in it, than to do it often, because she doth it well.

16. February 2017 · Comments Off on Jumping into the Pit · Categories: Opera, Ramble

Last week was a week I will be happy to forget. I haven’t been so very sick in a long time. Today it’s almost as if it never happened, as I feel just fine. What a relief.

I’m apprehensive, but today I go back to play in Opera San José‘s Silent Night. I played three of the six rehearsals. They had to have two subs come in for the two shows last weekend, so I still played more rehearsals on principal than they did, but I never was able to do a straight run through. I’ve been working on it all week long, of course, but in order to be sure I understand the “lay of the land” as you might call it, I just played the entire DVD and played along with it. That can be a challenge with an opera that has such varying tempi and isn’t as straight forward as older operas. The conductor will be greatly appreciated (and closely followed) tonight!

14. February 2017 · Comments Off on Opera San José 2017-18 Season · Categories: Opera

Opera San José today announced the company’s 2017-18 season opening September 19, 2017 with Mozart’s Così fan tutte, conducted by Peter Grunberg and directed by Brad Dalton, followed by Puccini’s La rondine, conducted by Christopher Larkin and directed by Candice Evans. The company will begin 2018 with Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman on February 10, directed by Brad Dalton, and conclude the season in April with Verdi’s La traviata directed by Shawna Lucey, both conducted by Opera San José music director Joseph Marcheso.

“Opera San José is bringing four time-honored masterpieces to the California Theatre this coming season, by the opera giants: Mozart, Puccini, Wagner, and Verdi. These are works that we have not produced in many years, and having assembled casts that are perfect for these roles, we believe audiences will find that each will engage the mind and refresh the senses. Each of these operas was conceived to be beautiful, and each one is beautiful. It seemed especially fitting to bring La rondine to the stage, as this is the 100th anniversary season of its Monte Carlo premiere,” announced General Director Larry Hancock.

The 2017-18 season will feature principal artists from Opera San José’s resident company and guest artists from across and United States and Europe. All performances will be held at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street in downtown San José. Subscriptions and tickets are available by phone (408) 437-4450, online www.operasj.org, and at the Opera San José Box Office, 2149 Paragon Dr., San José, CA 95131.

Single tickets will go on sale July 24, 2017, priced from $56.00 to $176.00. As always, students 25 and younger (with current student ID) can purchase tickets for $10. Performances are supported, in part, by a grant from the San José Office of Cultural Affairs.

I read it here

13. February 2017 · Comments Off on How It Works · Categories: Listen

I really love Igor Tkachenko’s video. Hope you enjoy it as well! (Found on Facebook thanks to Nancy Moser.)

Yesterday a friend dropped a reed and it proceeded to fall through a crack in the floor. This happened during a concert.

Let me tell you, this is worthy of many, many tears! I know the friend didn’t literally cry, but surely must have felt a bit like doing so.

Double reed players spend hours on reeds — it can feel like a lifetime! We are dealing with plant life. Every piece of cane is different. Every piece of cane is in a state of change. We take our knives to this material, and each tiny scrape can change a reed drastically. One bad scrape and it’s done for.

If I hear a student say “I LOVE LOVE LOVE my reed” or some such thing (always using that dangerous singular “reed” rather than “reeds”!) I sometimes respond with “I’m sorry.” I don’t say this completely in jest: if you love it that much it’s just sad because 1) it will change and 2) you are probably relying on that one reed. (I could continue to list other reasons, but for now I’ll leave it at that.)

A non-reed player can’t quite understand why we all go crazy over reeds. When we get that rare batch of really great cane it’s rather like getting a huge sum of unexpected money in the mail: it’s wonderful, you can definitely use it, but it will go away. One difference between the two, though, is that the money doesn’t change value: a $100 bill doesn’t suddenly morph into a $5, but the cane just might opt to change at some point. Maybe it’s more like a bottle of good wine. Hm.

Most of my students aren’t interested in making reeds. They are young, they are FAR too busy (oh how I wish they weren’t pushed to do so darn much: how can they do anything well and with passion when they are running from one “this’ll get me into college” thing to the next?), and, honestly, they really don’t want to bother. I have colleagues who require their students to make reeds. I don’t. I’ve taught two reed making classes in the past few years and not ONE of those students continued with the process. They merely developed great respect and admiration for the reed makers from whom they order! (That is actually one of the main reasons I wanted to teach the skill … that, and getting parents to understand how difficult the craft is.) I think I’m now done with teaching the craft: someone else can take over on that. I have hated reed making for years, and it’s better to learn from someone who doesn’t despise it quite as much as I do.

But I ramble. Mostly I wanted to share this quote from the wonderful oboist Aaron Hill:

Reed making is what it must feel like to try to keep an endangered species from going extinct. We cling to a few precious living specimens for hope and guard them with every bit of strength we have. Many attempts to reproduce good reeds either fail entirely or don’t reach maturity.

Here is a nice interview with Aaron and this link takes you to some great YouTube videos by him. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He’s a great player and I have no doubt that he’s also a great teacher.

13. February 2017 · Comments Off on What We Lose · Categories: Ramble

I’m recovering from The Cough. I get to go back to teaching and, I’m trusting, playing opera this week. (I want to be sure that my colleagues and the conductor are comfortable with my reappearance … I’m careful that way.)

Being sick when you are self-employed and working for smaller companies is quite costly. We have “sick leave”, but not really. Opera will cover two “services” (a rehearsal or concert is called a service) but we don’t get those funds until the end of the season, and I actually already used those services when I skipped all of Barber. Not teaching simply means no income for that, obviously. It’s not like those full time jobs where you get a bigger number of days off and can feel good about staying home when you are ill: many of us play while sick simply because it’s so difficult to give up the income.

Alas, I had NO choice but to stay home. I couldn’t play if I tried. Playing oboe would have only caused more coughing. Talking (teaching) would do the same.

Think of those who miss months of work. I sure do. I have had friends who have been out for longer periods of time, and for more serious illnesses. At some point I guess disability comes into play, but still.

(Side note: in addition, we have no health benefits through our opera and symphony companies here. I guess some have been using ACA … soon to disappear. WHAT will they do then, I wonder. Thankfully I’m on my husband’s rather excellent plan.)

So what DID I lose? Do I want to know? Hm. Yes and no. But for those of you who wonder, and are considering this career, I will share. Mind you, this is before taxes (and yes, I pay taxes on my self-employment teaching income).


I’m not sure I am!

But the grand total for this rotten cough comes to …


Yes. Really.

I think I want to go crawl in a hole now. But I can’t: gotta get OUT of that hole … and the financial hole as well. How grateful I am that I am married to someone with a steady income AND health benefits.

I love my jobs. I wouldn’t want anything else. But I sure wish we had something better for these rare times when we get so ill we have to cancel life for a time.

13. February 2017 · Comments Off on For All You Hamilton Fans Out There · Categories: Bassoon


From the YouTube Page:
As soon as I heard this song, all I could hear was bassoon in my head. Honestly, if you had to pick one instrument to be the misunderstood king atop his mighty throne in a shifting world, why wouldn’t you pick the bassoon? Share it with your Hamilton friends, share it with your bassoon/band friends!

Special thanks to part.time.adventures for setting up the lighting and shots! Check her out here!

Wow, it’s been a little over a year since I actually started attempting videos to my music. I think I’ve made some progress from me just playing with a banana I found.

The Musical “Hamilton” was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda