Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Peak Into the Future and a Blast From the Past

I am almost over (freaking) whelmed with practice now. We've spent the entire Thanksgiving Vacation and then some practicing. This Friday is Doomsday (or D-Day if you will). Jojo has his major student recital at the college. And what I want to know is why clarinet accompaniment music is always as difficult as the clarinet "solo" material. We also have the ward Christmas Party where we are all in the "River Ridge Jazz Ensemble" (Cameron also has a student recital coming up -- thank goodness that isn't until next week.)
Last week when Jojo and I played together at his clarinet lesson, I was sure his teacher was going to pull him aside and suggest that he fire his mother (much like Judea's Eagle Brother Wayne Newton fired his brother). But the teacher didn't. Instead he recorded the practice session and posted it to YouTube. As luck would have it, I have now posted it here. (p.s. Practice Room Pianos are the worst!)

And for the blast from the past -- practicing for the Ward Christmas Party has got me all nostalgic for when my kids were little and we played for the Christmas Party. I have a clip of that as well -- and while it isn't very good, I do treasure it especially now that the kids are older. I hope you can find something to enjoy in it -- A tiny Bobo singing and a baby Sam on Trumpet. Joe is on drums, Judea on Bass, and I'm on guitar because Macey had another concert to perform at that night. Hopefully, when I post this years concert you will see some musical growth.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making Lists

I have a couple of kids (the Oh-Oh's) who like to make lists of how many instruments they play. In this quasi competition, we have not only had to define "instrument" but also "play". Because, apparently, "play" can mean "picked up once and plunked out a tune."

But after tonight's concert, I am about ready to concede to one "Oh-Oh" that he can indeed "play" multiple instruments. I've looked forward to seeing him in the flute choir for a long time now. The flute is such a lovely, sensitive instrument that I was afraid he would feel like the ugly duckling surrounded by glorious swans. But amazingly he held his own. Then he went on to steal the show with his clarion soprano sax and his jiving alto sax. (Don't believe me -- watch the instant replays below.)

Jojo and the Flute Choir

Simple Gifts

When the Saints Go Marching In

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not So Lame

Hopefully, things are calming down a bit. Our "gig" for the Washington County School District Indian Parenting Action Committee (the WCSD IPAC) is now water under the bridge. And the thing I learned from this gig is that Ben is even shy as a camera man. He didn't start actually trying to frame the shot until the last song. So if you want to see Naji dancing (and not just sliding in and out of the frame) that's the video you should click on. (I realize he is dancing to a Girls Fancy Dance Song -- that's because he we are singing it for a girl who is out of frame. Naji is just dancing with her.)

The other, more important thing I learned from this gig is that I LOVE it when my kids work together. I love to see them enjoying one another's company. I guess I love the opportunities that we have to perform as a family because i truly believe it draws us closer together. Doing something is better than refusing to do anything just because you feel like you are not good enough -- because if we didn't do anything we wouldn't ever become "good enough".

I also love that my sister shares her family's talents with us. If you haven't heard her family sing you should check out her blog site (link in my blogroll to the right). But to hear how far her family has come is truly outstanding. Listen to their latest Christmas CD at It is the best yet!

I guess that's what comes from putting one foot in front of the other even when you feel like it is pointless because you can't see the final destination.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lame, lame, lame

This week has me questioning. I am feeling a little worn out. Ragged. Exhausted. Pooped. I want to lay around and watch TV. Isn't that what people do? -- Come home from work, make a snack, and watch their stories on the big square box?

I took a day off from work. I figured that's just what I needed. It would give me a chance to catch up on some of my personal projects (like writing) and it would give me the opportunity to lay around and watch some of the shows I've recorded and not yet had a moment to watch.

By the time I practiced piano (I had to go with Joe to his lesson yesterday) and practiced the organ (Tuesdays are the only day I can get into the church to practice with pedals) and practiced singing around the Powwow Drum with the kids (it turns out the Thanksgiving Potluck I committed us to singing at is tonight) The day was shot and I am more exhausted than ever.

But all while I was practicing, I was asking myself, "Why?" Seriously why? Of all the things I can do there is always somebody or something that can do it better. I could plug my computer into my Yamaha Keyboard and it would play without missing a note. I could play a recording for us at the Dinner tonight. And nobody would care. They would enjoy it just as much. As I drove home after practicing the organ last night, I was determined to spend the last few hours of my day off watching TV. But just as I parked the truck, I thought of a round dance song we could sing -- so I dragged my fuzzy brain inside and gathered the kids around the drum (again) and we arranged one more song.

There is definitely something wrong with me.

PS Here is a video of Bobo playing in her first Orchestra concert. She looks lovely. I got her a pair of cello (Pallazo) pants to wear and I was thrilled with the results. Keep in mind, she has only been playing the cello since August.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bleh is for Bach and Blogging and Bringing my piano up to the mountains

Bleh. I need to blog. And the funny thing that I am noticing is that when I get lax on my blogging it is not because I am getting lax on my music. It is generally when I get so engrossed in my projects that even my lips fail to stay above water. 

I have such a craving for practicing right now that I actually schlepped my Yamaha Keyboard to a ski resort in Park City so I can practice in my motel room while I attend a week long forensics conference. The motel room is smaller than I anticipated, but I made room for the piano/organ. (I am determined to keep up with Joe and Cameron when they play their student recitals next month - at least I won't be holding them back.) And yes boys, if you are reading this, I totally got four hours of practice in today. An hour and a half on each of your pieces and an hour on my Bach organ stuff (minus the pedals) I haven't even touched the Christmas Jazz and Brubeck I brought up with me to learn.

Speaking of Christmas, I've been asked to get a jazz ensemble together for our Church Christmas Party. That is coming along nicely. (Think Vince Guaraldi) I am narrowing down the music. Watch for more posts on that. If anyone is interested -- I am still looking for a bass player and a drummer. Let me know if you know anyone in the greater STG area that is interested in playing in a Christmas Ensemble.

Speaking of Bach. The Bach festival is just around the corner (February). I have spent the last couple of weeks choosing songs for the organ and the Ukulele Orchestra. Oddly enough,one of the songs I picked I love so much it is stuck in my head day and night. I can't decide between playing it on the organ and playing with the ukulele orchestra so I am going to do both. I am posting all of the parts I have arranged so far. I would still like to add a glockenspiel part and a continuo basso or chord strum. Those of you insisting on playing on guitar, the notation is for you. Keep in mind that a baritone uke is a guitar minus the lower two strings.

All of you readers out there that want to join in the Southwest Phretted Philharmonic's triumphant return to the Bach Festival - Learn Your Parts. We could even revist the Bourree we did a couple of years ago and play that as well. I will post the parts for that on the Ukulele Page of this blog.

BMV 645 Ukulele

BMV 645 Ukulele 1 Notation

BMV 645 Ukulele 2

BMV 645 Ukulele 2 Notation

BMV 645 Baritone Ukulele

BMV 645 Baritone Ukulele

BMV 645 4-String Bass Guitar