Wednesday, 20th of December, 2006
I requested more info and received a demo video of his line of violins in the mail. At first I'm wondering what a supposedly classicaly trained musician is doing with a violin with frets. But apparently there has been a lot of thought put into it - they don't seem to interfere one bit with vibrato, shifting, and everything else you'd think would make putting frets on a violin disasterous. And yet the claim is that it will help you get those huge 7-string chords that you'd never be able to get in tune otherwise.
Now I like how Wood supports my belief that the electric violin can do anything that an electric guitar can do and more. However I wish that he had better examples of his playing on the video - I know several high school students that can do a better job of playing the E Major Partita. Oh well, when you get to that point in your life, such things don't matter anymore I suppose.
In case you're wondering what sort of neck injuries holding up a 7-string solid body instrument would inflict on you - this instrument has a chest strap so that it suspends on your chest and shoulder without even getting near your neck. Now you won't feel left out if you join a rock band where the members move their heads around like chickens while playing.
Saturday, 16th of December, 2006
Sunday, 10th of December, 2006
Saturday, 9th of December, 2006
So it wasn't even December yet and I was tired of Christmas music. Last night was December 8th, and one of the worst evenings of my life. I despise taking a period of time (like an evening) and generalizing about how "good" or "bad" it is - because it's simply wrong. But to get the point across, I had three things I had to be doing at one time, and each was a disappointment of its own.
I had an entire instrumental section no-show on the stroll last night. The audience was great - they were all staring at is when they could be enjoying the party and the company of the people they were with. But they complained all night that we didn't have any Christmas music, so I went out to the car, grab a collection of christmas carols written for harp that I happened to have, plop it on the stand and play it with the other two teachers there present, only for it to get received poorly by half the guests emptying the room. We switch back to our normal show and the crowd turns silent and becomes the best audience ever again. Guess I've learned never to listen to your audience.
Then I hurry home to log in and complete my part of a software release at work that is supposed to take 15 minutes, only to discover that the entire system is down. So I spend the next 90 minutes frantically calling co-workers' cell phones and home phones on a late Friday evening to try to find out what's going on and if there is a huge issue that needs to be taken care of and to figure out how I'm supposed to complete my part of the job, only to discover that the system gets routinely taken down between 8PM Friday and 6AM Saturday every single week. I've managed to work there for almost 2 years and not ever have been told that - but then again, who works on a Friday night? Oh wait, I was last night wasn't I! Or I was trying to. So after wasting 1.5 hours I realize I have to let everyone know that my part of the release is going to be delayed until early this morning, so I can have something exciting to do after staying up all night with some high schoolers for a lock-in which I ended up being hours late to due to the other events of the evening.
It seems rolling the calendar to the 9th, by itself didn't change the course of events. I show up later this morning to the venue for next week's stroll, trying to do some homework so I can just send a small group and the other director out there and I can be absent from this one, but no. It's got a couple of complications that I think will require my presence. So much for my idea of not attending any Friday strolls this school year - my success rate is 0 for 2. Fortunately the owner of the venue is very nice and we worked things out and I will be able to sleep at night.
The stakes increase as time progresses - I play for a 2:00 concert down at Powell Hall today, playing some solo violin accompanying a choir in front of a near-sold out audience. This event starts with my lack of knowledge of where I managed to put my music. The fact that it was not in my place, my car, or Haley's car, was completely outrageous. This shouldn't be that hard - it's not like I own a mansion where things can get lost easily or anything. Fortunately, Haley graciously looked again and was able to locate it there. didn't have to play until after intermission, so there was some buffer time and some time to collect myself and not transpose the disasters of the last 20 hours to this performance.
I went up to the back of the balcony at Powell Hall to watch the first half of the concert. It started with 500 children entering Powell Hall, filling the stage and the aisles of both the floor and the balcony, and they sang 3 verses of O Come All Ye Faithful. Those 3 minutes touched me in an extreme way that music has never touched me before - I can't even begin to describe it in words here. Christmas has come a bit late for me this year....
Incidentally, the verse works a lot better when you sing "in" and "the" both on two notes instead of stretching "in" out to 3 notes like most people do when they get there and suddenly realize they are 2 syllables short.
Some of those choirs were really good - they're professionals! There were elementary school choirs up there singing with real syllables that traveled all the way to the back row of Powell Hall, and put to shame every single adult church choir I've heard in my life. And that's what everyone packed Powell Hall to hear this afternoon - but the musicianship was there with the musicians that supported too - the brass ensemble played a lot of really cool arrangements of Christmas pieces, and the jazz percussionist and string bass player that came on toward the end of the concert were amazing.
My part of the performance, by the way, worked out well. They made a change at the last minute for us to be seated, which I think was necessary as we were probably blocking the view of members of the choir and it makes me less nervous to be seated. I attempted to project some sound out to the largest crowd I've ever played for - even with the F-holes pointing the wrong way (towards the back of the stage, ugh.) - and I suppose it went pretty well considering I had essentially no rehearsal time.
And of course the concert ran long and I scheduled an appointment back to back against it so I had to forgo going home to change and sat in an office with a tuxedo on for 6 more hours before closing out the day. But really, by this point, I haven't really come to expect anything better.
Friday, 1st of Decmeber, 2006
Now, on to pictures of the snow and ice storm that crippled the city last night. Out at Page and I-270 we got a decent amount of snow Thursday before the sleet and ice started. I think it arrived earlier than they thought - the snow plow crews didn't appear ready for it.
It was actually kind of fun driving through the thick snow. I was surprising my nearly bald tires were able to kick up a decent amount of snow onto the windshield.
Picture - Later last evening, temperatures rose a little bit, melting all the snow and ice just a little bit, but not enough to allow the stuff that melted to drain properly. There were huge standing puddles of slush all over I-270! The water splashing rises above this SUV as it generates a huge wake behind it.