Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello Again

It's been a few weeks since my last blog, but that is not to say nothing musical has happened in my life lately. Quite a bit has actually. Some of it has just given me pause to think.

First, let me mention I got a pair of real-live organ shoes. The are "maryjanes" and so are very stylish. I used them today for the first time. I know it would have been better to practice with them before I played in front of people, but I couldn't get access to an organ yesterday and i really wanted to know what they were like. I am going to have to use an outdated metaphor because I can think of no other. But playing with organ shoes was like having played on a manual typewriter all my life and then switching to an IBM Selectric. I may have played faster than I should have. Toe-heel has never been so easy and sliding from bass note to bass note was as smooth as velvet.

Second, I got a new accordion. It turns out that accordions sound much nicer when they are in tune. I am surprised at how easy the placement of the 48 bass buttons is coming to me. At first I thought they were way too close and I would never be able to keep my big fat phalanges from striking more than one at a time. But my finger tips can actually figure it out. It would probably be easier to find my dimpled "C" if my left hand wasn't calloused from ukulele and guitar playing. I won't be playing any ornate solos anytime soon, but I can keep up with my folk needs.

Third, Sam got cited for disorderly conduct for playing the guitar on the college campus. This has really taken me some time to think through. As it was told to Sam, disorderly conduct is doing anything that is not socially acceptable. I understand that there is a time and place for everything and perhaps this wasn't the time or place, but I am wondering if some people believe that music should only be allowed in the music hall or on the radio.

The day before his citation, the college newspaper did an article on Sam and his friend Dusty singing on campus. you can find the link here. And you can find the editorial regarding his citation here.

Bobo, whose primary instrument is the trumpet has recently taken up the piano so she can help accompany in Young Women's. The girls are learning the song "Today While the Sun Shines" for the girl's camp singing tree. Bobo is planning to bring her ukulele to accompany them in July. In the meantime, the girls need to learn the song. (It is a bit of a surprise to me that the girls and their leaders are unfamiliar with this tune.) To help Bobo and her friends out, I created a simplified version of the hymn. (Of course I looked for it on line first. And since I couldn't find it, I have posted it here, so the next person who needs it can find it.)

Today While the Sun Shines

I have also been busy arranging a Bach Minuet for the Bach Festival, because the instruments in my ensemble are out of the ordinary. This year it is not going to be all ukuleles. We've got three ukuleles, two guitars, two acoustic basses, a charrango and a glockenspiel. I am posting the arrangement as simply as I can. Because of the preference of my musicians I have had to create separate lead sheets of tablature and notation. Also, the lead ukulele is tabbed for a tenor uke with a low G.

Bach Menuet SWFP

So if you are not in the St George area, you are welcome to use these as you will. If you are in the St George Area, please don't steal our thunder. However, if you would like to join the Southwest Fretted Philharmonic at the upcoming Bach Festival, give us a shout. We'd love to have you join us.

Now, for an outro. Here is Sam (with his brother Mace) singing at a house show last fall. :)


  1. I enjoyed seeing Sam's video. It is amazing he got a disorderly conduct citation. I thought he was playing very nicely! It sounded so great! Is it really against the law to play music?

    I want to join your Southwest Fretted Philharmonic! What a cool name! I thought maybe you were too busy for music the past two weeks, and then you come up with this! You are amazing! I'm jealous about your big accordion. I use Mom's old small one. Fortunately, however, it plays in tune!

  2. Wow,you have been saving your thoughts up.Thats the good thing about blogging, you get to express yourself, to let it all out. Besides I like to hear your thoughts. Loved the manual/IBM analogy. Your thoughts on Sammy reminded my why I don't live in UT. Any place of higher learning that expresses the desire to be a four year college should at least pretend to be aware of a little thing called the Bill of Rights (and the 1st amendment). Was he playing late at night? Just trying to find some justification.

  3. Sam was cited at 2:45 in the afternoon. Don't let this turn you against Utah. Sometimes it is just growing pains. Sam did plead not guilty and will have the chance to work through the system and understand law better. The constitution does protect freedom of expression and freedom of speech, however, you can't do whatever you want where ever you want. Sam's court date is set for August 22nd at 11:00 a.m. I will keep you posted as it sounds like it will be an educational experience for all involved.

  4. P.S. to Judy. That is my big ponder. Obviously campus security wasn't a fan of Sammy's sound, but does that matter? Should people be told not to sing? I get frustrated with elementary teachers who will not sing with their students because they say, "I can't sing." Everyone can sing. Students should not be taught at that young of an age that only those with "socially acceptable" voices are allowed to sing.

  5. Wow, that is a lot of thinking on music. I, too, am surprised about Sam's citation. My experience with raising boys has left me somewhat sour on America's legal system--or in this case powers that me on campus. Congratulations on the new organs shoes and the accordion. I keep picturing and imagining the feel of the "dimpled C."

  6. You of all people should know better than to say everyone can sing G-Bab. Everyone can make noise, but is that the same as 'singing?' Even my dog shutters when I hum out of tune. I love the folks who live in UT, but I deem them too patient with the 'man.'

  7. LOL! You just admitted you sing Ver! Yes everybody can sing. Not everyone has a voice that people will pay to hear -- or even want to hear, but everyone can and should be allowed to sing at whatever level they're at. (Thanks for calling me G-Bab ... I hope that one sticks -- I feel cool just thinking about it)