Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A scroll down memory lane

While writing the last couple of posts, I noticed the blog has had over 8,000 views in its lifetime. Wow, that's a lot of family and friends.

 I started scrolling through my posts, and I realized: this has been a great way to document my kids. This is especially meaningful this Christmas as I realize the only toys I will be buying are for my grandson. But it is great to scroll through the past and remember how cute my kids were, once upon a time.

I shared this with a couple of my grown kids this morning. We scrolled through the blog, stopping here and there to watch videos of them when they were young. We stopped on a video I posted November 30, 2011 entitled "A peak into the future and a blast from the past." This had one of the earliest videos I have of me and the kids performing (it was probably from 12/05). We were pointing out who was who and who was playing what, when Ben asked "who's that guy playing with us?", "What guy," I said. "That's me." I love that video. It was taken a few months after I started the divorce diet. I am the skinniest I've ever been.

"You look like the dude from Guns and Roses."

Hmmmm. I am going to sit here, eat my Christmas BonBons and contemplate how right he is. :(  -- its just 'cause I'm holding a guitar right?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Why do I play the Organ?

The organ gets no love. An organist gets even less. The organ is designed to fill large spaces with sound. As such, it is typically a large instrument. An organist travels to the instrument...not with the instrument. Organs are placed in an out of the way corner, and organists are hidden in the loft. I had this hair-brained idea that maybe I could change this.

I use a software program called "Hauptwerk" to run my large organ at home. It is digitally created by sampling pipe organs from around the world. In fact you can buy hundreds of different pipe organs for this software. The sound produced is much better than the electronic sounds that dominated the better part of the last century.

Earlier this year, I began designing what I termed a "portable" organ. Originally I wanted something that I could set up in 10 to 15 minutes and haul around in my 1973 Volkswagen Beetle. The first set up worked like this, but I was using a practice amp for sound and I hadn't added the pedals yet. By the time I add the pedals and a decent sound system, it takes more like 30 to 45 minutes to set up  and it requires a truck to haul the equipment.

And now my kids sharpen their sarcasm by saying, "Sure. It's a portable organ - as long as you have six kids to haul it!" So I am not sure how great of an idea this was. The sound is good, but the presentation and hassle leave something to be desired. And I am not sure that the piano recital audience was ready for the majesty of the king of instruments.

The technical aspects include a Hammond SK2 keyboard and a custom made 2 octave pedal board from ebay, Hauptwerk runs on my 4-year-old Macbook Pro (8 gigs of ram). 

At the piano recital, I played Guilain's Suite du 2nd Ton from his Pieces D'Orgue pour le Magnificat. It has seven short movements.

1. Prelude

2. Tierce en Taille

3. Trio de Flutes

4. Duo and 5. Basse de Trompette

6. Dialogue

7. Petit Plein Jeu

Concert Season

Concert season 2014 is about over. Even with fewer kids under foot, musically, it was still pretty hectic. I played piano with the DSU Jazz band this semester. That added a bit of stress. I also played for the stake music fireside, our ward choir, and on one number with the branch that meets before us.

Add into this my organ recital, Bobo's band concert and her orchestra concert as well as Naji's orchestra concert...and that's a full season. But along with that Macey's band is getting more and more gigs. They classed themselves up for Christmas and add did some acoustic arrangements (adding Ben on upright and a horn section with bobo and cameron) So where to start...let's do everything but organ and then the organ can have it's own blog post.

Mom Section: Piano with the Jazz Band
1. Asleep in the Hay

2. Get Smart
  Bobo Section
1. Jazz Band (on Tenor Sax)
2. Concert Band (1st Chair Clarinet)
3. Orchestra (combined with the middle school. 1st Chair Cello)

Naji Section

1. Do you Hear What I Hear

2. Le Froid en Hiver

This Nomad Heart Section (Last but not least)L
1. You Vs. Yourself