Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Wednesday, hump day
the bumpity bump day
the long day
extends to night, tonight
overture and prelude
overture and waltz
and fractions (again)
comparing tempo and dynamics
like rhyme and accent
music in words
communicating through music
watch the conductor
watch the time
and back again
to mundanity in the morning
the brass with class
the rhythm of the sticks
bip bip bippity bip triple bip
Professor on the ivories
marching in place
Tonight, for the first time since the fire, I experienced over an hour of complete and total immersion — bliss — concentration — joy… I played a drum for our local community orchestra.
It was so much like dancing — or making dolls — or painting — or being in my garden.
And, for a while, there were three generations of our family in the room, making music together.
It was magical (for me at least) and I think I am going to do this for a long time.
Every December, Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO) puts on a brass festival to showcase the talented young musicians in the organization. Brass instrument players from the Academy and Conservatory levels practice for several weeks, with a performance the next-to-last weekend before the winter break.
We enjoy their performances, of course, and eagerly await this pleasant two hours.
Here is a short montage of the music from last Saturday. It’s about 8 minutes long — three familiar tunes. Unfortunately, the audio quality is poor (and tinny) because we forgot the real video camera this year. This is taken from my ipad’s built-in video recorder.
Whole group first, then just the trombones (my kiddo had a nice solo in that piece), then just the trumpets (my other kiddo sat in with the group though he has “graduated” from this orchestra).
SOGO “HOHO” 2012 youtube link.
A piece I have loved for many years (that is not part of this montage) is Mark Thome’s arrangement of Little Drummer Boy. He wrote this a number of years ago, and we were there at the world premier, performed by SOGO kids. It makes use of a “bolero” rhythm, and was unlike anything else I had ever heard. It is magical. Mark is the official “composer in residence” for SOGO, and we are so grateful to have his talents!
If you have a young musician (there is a full orchestra with strings for each level as well as the brass sections) who would like to have a chance to play outside of school — in a caring, supportive atmosphere with professional musicians and teachers, then I highly recommend SOGO to you. The next concert will be in March, and they do occasionally have students begin mid-year.
Another successful student orchestra concert is under our belts…
The children looked spectacular as usual, and sounded even better. Here is a clip of the Brass Choir, performing a short fanfare from “La Peri” by Paul Dukas, French composer of the early 20th century.
I am posting this a little ahead of YouTube’s processing curve. Tonight starts another round of class. Off to learn!
For comparison, here is a link to a professional group, performing the same fanfare in an Italian church.
This was the weekend of the school play. As usual, the younger stidkid participated, and as usual, he put his all into his part…
And I dressed up. This is a new blouse, new skirt and little ankle boots worn first time for the occasion. Now if only the rest of the house looked as good as this one small corner…
Now, there are a lot of jokes made about sitting through school performances, especially musical ones, and to be honest the chairs (after three of them in under 28 hours) can get rather hard. But I love it. Seeing our children perform, watching them do wonderful things and succeed — or at least give it their best effort — is one of the greatest joys.
We went to a concert the evening of the last post…
It was lovely. The pieces chosen were two Bach and Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” concerti. They fit together beautifully, and the soloists were remarkable. Most importantly, they seemed to have a great time playing for us. And the headliner came out after the finale to play a lovely Sarabande by Bach (not sure which one) – she was very good.
And the hall was PACKED. Third tier almost full, second tier completely full… The floor almost full. Haven’t seen such a crowd since we heard the Lord of the Rings music (conducted by the composer himself!) a couple years ago.
We didn’t even try to sit in our assigned seats. Instead, we gave the usher the slip and sat in the far back. I could see better from that vantage point, and there were no people around I could have been allergic to. I was also under a light which made the crochet I had brought along easier to work on. It doesn’t take much – a spacing of one or two seats (about six-ten feet) is usually enough to mitigate the airborn problems. Of course, this is the sort of seating arrangement I initially tried to get for the year!
Tom and I still have to discuss whether we renew our tickets for next year, but given the response I received from the ticketing supervisor I have to change my recommendation from the earlier post: I think if you live close enough and can afford it, the Seattle Symphony makes lovely music. Our decision ultimately depends at this point on affordability. With the cost of gasoline so high (about 7 gallons round-trip – $26 and going higher) we have to look at every road trip with extra care. What used to be a nice treat for the family has become a VERY BIG DEAL financially.
More on costs and politics in a different post…
— because they effectively closed off the third tier box seats by pricing them well out of our ability to pay, forcing us (and presumably others) onto the floor.
Rather than being an elitist thing, this has to do with their refusal to accomodate my allergies. Specifically, the chemical sensitivities to things that most people never even notice. Not “scents” per se, but chemicals that are in laundry detergents, fabric softeners, shampoos and other common substances that everyone (or almost everyone) uses.
I rarely go to movies, concerts, and other activities that require me to be in confined spaces with people I don’t know. And most of the time I go because it is one of the children’s performances. I always carry extra anti-histamines (oral and topical) to treat reactions as fast as I can.
However, we have gone to the Seattle Symphony’s Baroque series for several years in a row. Until this year, the experience was almost universally wonderful. After the first year when I did sit on the floor near the stage, the price of box seats became affordable for us. Sitting in the box seats, even if they required climbing lots of stairs and made it hard to see some parts of the stage, meant that I was far enough away from people that I rarely had a reaction — and then only a minor one. I could spend my time enjoying the music.
So far this season there have been two concerts. I have had to move both times, because someone (or several people) near me was contaminated with something. Both times, the person/s arrived only minutes before the concert began, and I was forced to flee, find an usher and get permission to move the far back of the hall, where I could sit isolated, being seated only moments before the concertmaster/mistress entered. Both times, I have looked up into the third tier seats to see only ushers or other workers. No concert-goers.
I haven’t decided if I will attend the next concert, already paid for and long anticipated.
But Benaroya Hall/the Seattle Symphony has not ever seemed to care that their third-tier seats are empty , nor to be willing to make accomodations for us. In fact, when I first renewed our tickets last summer, I specified that we wanted to be toward the back and as close to the door as possible. When the tickets arrived, we were toward the front and NOT on an aisle, a problem that was solved but could have been avoided entirely if my original seat choice had been honored.
Perhaps they are trying to get the usually very small Baroque audience down to the lower levels so the hall appears more full. Or maybe they want to demonstrate how few seats actually sell in this series so they can eliminate it. Who knows?
Well — next year, there will be four empty seats in one section. And we won’t go back again.
Why? Because after the cost of tickets, an hour’s drive up, the cost of parking, the hour’s drive home… it just isn’t worth it. Sure, the hall carries sound beautifully. Yes, the Symphony chooses great artists and selects the most lovely and provocative music. But when I am listening to this with a rash slowly breaking out all over my body, numbed by the additional antihistamines… and sitting alone without my family, it’s not any fun. We can go to very nice local concerts and at least be close to home if I do have a reaction.
I have to say that, at this point, I wouldn’t recommend the Seattle Symphony to anyone. I would encourage you to attend local concerts, support people in smaller venues, and avoid the city traffic.