You'd think I was in a band or something.

Four gigs in 12 days, the last three in the space of 5 days, with no additional rehearsals. I've seen jebra almost as much as I've seen J. :) (J is working overtime, trying to get up to speed on new things that need to be done RSN at work.) The gigs went pretty well, in general. No major trainwrecks, although there were a couple of places where the track got a little squirrelly, and both J and Nana said that everything seemed a little laid-back at Heritage Park. (Not surprising, as we hadn't played for a week, and Damien is likely to take things a click down in that situation. We were down three percussionists, it was hot, and the FCB has a comfortable 'groove' that we settle into unless prodded out of it.) One more gig at the end of the month, then we get August off. (A bunch of us are going up to Interlochen for Adult Band Camp, though. More music!)

Friday saw me off-line all day -- the power went out early in the morning, and by the time we got power back I was into the rest of my day and never even turned the computer on. Then the power went out three more times between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening. The back yard is much quieter without the rill running.
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It's very pretty! Although not right now, because it's gloomy out there -- it looks like it might rain. We got some rain yesterday (the rain gauge said <.1 inches, but it's a rather fussy 'raindrops going through the sensor' gauge, and the 'bucket on the ground' gauge said we got more like a third of an inch), and there are 'looks like rain' clouds today.

The FCB gig got rain-shortened yesterday - GM says we'll go back next year, with hopes of giving them a full concert (it's a reasonabe venue, as senior outreach venues go - decent parking for the band and most of the residents were either in the courtyard or on their patios). In other band news, Farmington Public Schools is not letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing -- the staff at Harrison didn't know that we were going to be rehearsing there this summer, even though FPS told us that three months ago. This is a problem because they're deep-cleaning the music wing. Next week. And we have rehearsal on Monday and a gig on Thursday. There is some dismay among the board about Thursday's gig -- the 'stage' we're on is tiny (esp for 70 people), the acoustics are iffy (it's a riverfront park with the river behind the stage, and no bandshell), they want 2 hours of "patriotic music", and parking will be annoying at best. (people who live in that town say the best approach may be to show up about 4 pm and just hang out until the gig starts at 7.) We probably won't do that gig again. Then we have the nice park gig, at Heritage Park in Farmington - bandshell, the river's on the other side of the park, reasonable parking.

My back has been creaky for the last few days -- I moved wrong on Saturday while tearing down after the church rummage sale. :(
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Saturday morning I went out to feed the birds, and noticed that the water level in the pond had dropped by 5-6 inches overnight. This most likely indicates a leak in the rill or in the hose from the pump to the top of the rill. So I unplugged the rill, and filled the pond back up. I then spent about six hours moving rock. 1500 pounds of it, an armload at a time. (I would have preferred to be weeding the gardens, but after nearly 2 inches of rain, they were too wet and mushy to work in.) The water level in the pond has not dropped significantly since I unplugged the rill, so that narrows down the location of the leak. We then wandered off to a home improvement store to see what they had in the way of retaining block and caps. Rebuilding the rill has been on the 'want to do sometime' list for a while, and it just moved much farther up the list.

J found a frog lurk while tearing the flagstones out of the front of the rill - there were three frogs under the top level rock. One of them scampered off while J was getting me, and the other two got relocated into the pond. I found a toad hole (with a toad in it!) when I was moving rocks. I picked up a rock, and the sand underneath blinked at me. Erm. So I left that area alone for a few hours and moved other rocks. Eventually, the toad warmed up enough that he wandered off a little ways (although still in the way), and then J relocated him to under one of the shrubberies by the pond.

Sunday, I left the house at 0930 and didn't return for more than a change of clothes until nearly 1900. I had a concert in Novi, and had to leave for that by 1300 or so, and between church and leaving for the concert I had to take DB some food. DB was in the middle of an 18+ hour day, and due to staffing, he couldn't leave. (it's an easy enough gig - unlock the doors and turn on everything at 6am, turn off everything and lock back up at midnight or so, the rest of the time just be in the booth in case something goes wrong - but he had to be there all day.)

The concert (at St James Catholic Church) went pretty well, I thought. People seemed to like it - I got lots of positive comments as I was working teardown - and it's always nice to play for an appreciative audience. The space is very very "live" so it was hard for us to not be too loud, and the setup was odd, so it was more difficult than usual to hear across the band. We did one piece that was mostly woodwind choir, and I just locked in on Damien and didn't worry about what I could/could not hear -- by the time any sound got back to me it was late anyway.... Teardown and loadout took longer than usual - there was more percussion than we usually haul to summer gigs, and they actually rented a trailer for the stand racks. By the time we got back to Harrison for loadout, we were down to a handful of people. I got to show J how to get Al into his cabinet (Al is the big bass drum that the FCB bought a few years ago, and he lives in a locked cabinet where he can't be damaged by careless high school drummers).
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- The concert went well. The guest conductor was impressed with the band and its musicality. He is, however, hopelessly immured in academia, or simply mis-spoke, when during his comments to the audience he said something about there being nine community bands in Michigan. Nine in Oakland County, maybe. I can rattle off at least nine without looking anything up! All new music for the next gig, including (as usual) a piece that's missing the BariSax part. Hooray for MuseScore. ;/

- DB was unable to attend the concert, as they had a spring cleaning day for the scene shop -- after the four months of OneAct (including hosting a round) and the two months of Robotics, it was a bit disorganised in there.

- the weather has mostly settled out. Today is clear and will be warmish, tomorrow is supposed to be warmer. And then we start the April Showers portion of the year.

- the cranes have been getting noisier about "their" territory. I don't think they'll ever charge, but they sure do make a lot of noise, and one of them mantled at me the other day when I surprised it. The finches are getting their summer color.

- I did get into the garden last week. Only once, but that's better than I've been doing. The milkweed and daisy stems are now cut back and a lot of grass has been pulled. The giant crocuses in the side garden bloomed last week. The bunnies ate the small irises in the east bed, as they do.
- rehearsals for a concert on Sunday. The pieces we did at Red Cedar, a guest conductor, a couple of new pieces, and a few that we've done before. DB may or may not come to the concert -- he's said that he wants to hear us play Sheltering Sky, but I don't know if that outweighs whatever plans he has with friends. Monday we start rehearsals for the next concert, which is the start of the 'summer season', so the band will probably be smaller. Which is good, because we won't fit onto the stages for the summer concerts with 90 members.

- waiting for the weather to decide what it's doing, so I can go pull weeds. Or even pick up the willow branches that have come down. There's only been a couple of days since they came down when it wasn't cold or raining or both, and I had scheduled errands and appointments. Maybe sometime next week.

- library was on hiatus for a couple of weeks. End of term meant half-days of school so no books being checked out or returned, then it was Book Fair and the library was full of Book Fair cabinets so no books circulating. There were a lot on Thursday.
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- we got new music on Monday. Four pieces, of the 'old warhorse'/standard of the repertoire variety (thus, not easy) and my kids played three of them in high school (iirc, SR read the other a few times but never performed it). Other people were talking about how this is the kind of music they didn't see until college.

- we got four inches of snow on Monday night. Then it all melted by Wednesday morning, because of rain and wind and 40+F temperatures. The power went out for six hours or so, due to wind damage (branch on a line somewhere). whee -- we lost a couple of fish because of it. And then it got cold again -- it was 24F when I went out to feed the birds this morning.

- I got the holiday cards done on Epiphany, but didn't get them in the mail until Saturday. Ooops. The tree got decorated sometime before Christmas (I even got the ornament boxes out of the living room!), and we took the ornaments off on Saturday. The tree itself is still looming in the living room. The bag is there, too. But Robotics season has started, and J is getting home at 9pm....

Snow!

Dec. 14th, 2016 08:23 pm
jennlk: (snow bird)
Stunning development, I know. It's Michigan, it's mid-December. Snow happens. However, this fall/winter has been fairly warm and almost entirely snowfree until Sunday; and then J & I shoveled 9" at 6pm and we got another 3" overnight. Snow days all around on Monday. So the FCB concert next Sunday will be even less rehearsed than usual. OTOH, it's not supposed to snow very much between now and then, so we may have a decent audience.

Saturday was busy -- a funeral meal to host in the late afternoon and a keyboard dedication concert in the evening. I had time to come home and change in between!

DB is done with working The Nutcracker at the HS auditorium, but now he's working a church Christmas pageant at the old HS auditorium -- they have crew that does most of the sound work, but they need someone (with keys) to open the building and turn on the house and run the stage lights.

I had been vaguely contemplating going to the Chippewas bowl game, and then they got invited to the Miami Beach Bowl. That would be a fun game to go to, but the timing is horrid. The game is Monday afternoon, and I have a concert Sunday afternoon & rehearsal Monday evening. While I could skip rehearsal (although that's kind of a bad idea, as we'll be getting new music), getting in at 2am for a 2:30pm game is not my idea of fun.

There is at least one hawk hunting the backyard. There may be two, as J saw one this afternoon that seemed smaller than the one we'd seen in the morning. This probably explains why the birdseed in the feeders isn't going down as fast as it often does.

Natter, again.

Oct. 5th, 2016 12:46 pm
jennlk: (white daff)
I reprised my role as music librarian on Monday, and missed about 20 minutes of rehearsal digging through the files looking for tuba parts for the Tuba Cavalry (SB was sitting in because all the regular tuba players were not going to be at rehearsal, but because they were last-minute no-shows their music was not in the building). OTOH, I found the proper tuba & barisax parts for Semper Fi, and a proper BSax part for another piece, and a complete second page for Victors, so it was time well spent. And now the 4th tuba folder (currently unused, but we're expecting AW back after football) is complete.

In football-that-I-sort-of-follow, CHS is undefeated on the season. No performance hangover from making it to the State Final last year, apparently. CMU is playing poorly, after starting off the season reasonably well -- Coach made a comment that he'd rather be doing chemo than lose like they did in the rivalry game last Saturday (and he knows chemo, having been finishing it off during the season last year). SR was streaming the game, and said it was horrible. (I was watching the Tigers game, which was better played but the results were the same -- a devastating loss.)

DB and I counted 14 frogs yesterday, and then we moved, and three frogs that we hadn't counted jumped into the pond. And then we noticed a Big Frog in the rill. So the frog count is now 18. Whee!

I've spent the last three days pulling weeds in the NE garden, and I think there's still a day's worth of work out there, maybe more. There's a poke-y weed out there that I'm mildly allergic to, so I have a lovely arrangement of itchy things on the inside of my right arm, where the long sleeves ride up as I reach for weeds. Should dig out the shirt with extralong sleeves & thumbholes before doing more weeding.....

Tomorrow I need to ponder - with fabric in front of me - a Halloween costume for the concert. Currently, I'm thinking I'll add skirt hikes and a ruffled petticoat to the taffeta skirt from last year, and a longer jacket, and go more steampunk than it was last year. The other thought is to build a new pirate-y jacket (I was never happy with the old one, and finally put it in the rummage a couple of years ago). The theme this year is "Area 51", so I could go in that direction, but that will require perusal of my pattern stash to see what I have in the way of space-themes (the music selection is skewing heavily toward space movies - quelle surprise).
Um, yeah. So it's been two weeks since I posted. How does that happen?

The history-thing went pretty well. PH and I played a couple of residents of the area, chatting about things going on at the Grange. Got laughs in the appropriate places, got positive comments on the costume. I never did hem the blouse, so I need to do that, and move the ends of the drawstring. In related news, I now have a straw boater hat and a brown "leather" framed satchel.

FCB is going well -- first gig was yesterday, at Franklin Cider Mill. Really nice weather for it, if a bit bright (lots of side glare). I am not sure if today's headache is glare, sleep, or hydration related. J came to the concert -- the first time he's done that. Tonight we start working on more repertoire for the Halloween concert, some of which will be played on Oct 9 at the MSU Tollgate facility in Novi.

Last Wednesday was the Chelsea Marching Band Exhibition (or Expedition, or Expo, depending on who you're talking to). It was not so nice -- warm and sticky and still. Had a couple of band kids drop (a first!), but no one on the field; neither was in perfect health at the beginning of the day -- one was coming off a cold, another had injured an arm the day before and a full performance on trumpet totally wiped her out.

natter, etc

Jul. 22nd, 2016 10:54 am
jennlk: (white daff)
There are bitty frogs in the pond -- at least half a dozen, all about an inch long.

The cranes seem to have moved in -- they're in the yard almost all day. Their poo is not as bad as goose or dog, but I still don't want to step in it. The frogs stay hidden when the cranes are near the pond, but otherwise they don't care much.

DB has been working in the theater spaces at the schools for the last couple of weeks, and worked sound for the first few days of VBS this week. Bad timing on someone's part -- he'd have been willing to work all of VBS if it hadn't been the same week he was sorting/building/cleaning at school. J filled in on the days DB wasn't there -- he'd have been there anyway on Wednesday, as a tree branch came down on the powerline that goes by the church and the entire corner (including us!) was without power. J went over with the generators so they'd have lights and sound.

I have more plants for the garden, and a plan for where to put them, but probably won't do that until next week, when it cools down a bit. Transplant shock plus heat shock is a good way to kill a plant.

SR leaves for Taiwan on Sunday -- she'll be there for at least a year, teaching English (vocabulary & conversational) at a 'cram school' in Taipei.

There is one more FCB performance this season (Monday, 7pm, Riley Park in downtown Farmington), then most of the band gets six weeks off -- a bunch of us are going up to Band Camp at Interlochen, though. I have music and bins to transport to the concert, and may have custody of some auxiliary percussion until September if we can't get in to Harrison after the concert.

natter, etc.

Jul. 9th, 2016 07:52 pm
jennlk: (white daff)
FCB Stars in the Park concert on Thursday night. Hot and miserable on stage, and between the heat and lack of rehearsal time, we were quite ragged in places. The baritone soloist on the Holst rushed worse than he ever has -- I wish they'd stop letting him solo, because he always rushes.

There's a gig tomorrow evening, and one on Monday. I'm really unimpressed with the new FCB information team -- we still don't have a map or a performance order for either upcoming gig, nor a reminder/notice to bring a chair to Monday's gig.

I have decided to go to Band Camp at Interlochen and Musecon. There's only one day (Monday) between them, but reg for camp is 2pm Tuesday, so it shouldn't be too bad. It's been at least 3 years since I've been to camp... RS says that we should do a chamber ensemble made up of FCB members as there'll be three sax players from the FCB, plus a few others. :)

We got over 3" of rain on Thursday night, and then it stormed on Friday -- no measurement on that one as the bucket I'm using as a gauge got blown up against the deck.
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That was fun!

Jun. 28th, 2016 10:54 am
jennlk: (esme)
And a lot of work, but still. Doing a gig in a historic space like that (Detroit's Orchestra Hall) is fun, and the acoustics in the hall are wonderful. I think that's the first time I've been in a band that's stopped and listened to the hall after the tuning note!

I had forgotten how close the boxes are to the stage (in my defense, the last time I was there was in 1979 or 80, and the "hanging" boxes weren't open), so I was able to see the family in the seats. I was a bit disconcerted when I realised that I could identify DB from his back, while he was standing still -- and he wasn't with J & Mum at the time. :) Mum and SR said that the sound is even better from the balcony (which is where they usually sit), but the box was fun.

It took until about noon yesterday to clear the stiff-and-creaky from moving gear across the building twice and then unloading it at Harrison. Then there was rehearsal at 7:30 -- we have three gigs between now and the next rehearsal! (Farmington's Heritage Park on July 7 is the only "public" one -- we do a gig at FoxRun (senior living) for which they sell tickets, and there's a nursing home gig on the 11th.)

My shoulder is still annoying. The PT's been working out knots and relieving the the muscle stress that she finds, working away from the shoulder, and it gets better, but then I move just wrong and it flares up again. The PT says that I may just have to live with it. :(
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The FCB is having a big concert on June 26, the culmination of the seasonlong celebration of the band's 50th anniversay -- in Orchestra Hall, home of the DSO and a really, really nice performance space. We have big name guest conductors coming in (H Rob Reynolds and Ronnie Wooten). Monday we had H.Rob come in to work on the pieces we're doing with him, and Saturday is a 6 hour workshop where we'll work on bits and pieces of the other things, as well as discuss logistics and get our badges & parking passes. There's a concerto with a bass trombonist on the program as well, but I'm still not sure which movements from it we're going to do.

Tonight, we get a different band-packing experience, as we're playing at Nardin Park UMC's Summer Music Series. A short gig (only an hour or just over), but we have to schlep everything over there and back again. In concert dress, not summer uniform. I'll be packing trousers to change into, because load-in/load-out is hard enough without doing it in a full-length skirt.

In other news, I've gotten a few strawberries -- not many, because it's been so dry. The peonies are just about done, the irises are done, so all that's currently blooming in that garden is blanket flower, larkspur, and the poppies. Lots of stuff budding, though. The rosebush next to the house is pretty well covered in deep pink roses.

SR says that she's seen a pair of orioles at the birdbath, and the kingbird is still hanging around.
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Tuesday was a special election -- schools -- so I trundled off to the township hall at 5:45 am. After we got set up but before we had any voters (DN is a very efficient deputy clerk, so all we had to do was turn things on and make sure they worked correctly), the clerk handed out schedules for the next two elections (August and November). I noted that I was on the floor for November (rather than on the Absentee Voter board), and the clerk said that I had been requested for the floor because I knew how to print/send reports. Um.err.OK? And then we get to close of day, and I've been shifted to receiving board and can't actually *do* anything (state requirement), and after I walked DN through printing from the electronic poll book I discovered that nobody else knows how to close the program and unmount a flash drive (!?!). So I had to hang over MJ's shoulder and tell her 'click that triangle, now that green icon, now uninstall the stow&go, now you can take it out and slide it closed'. (It's slightly disconcerting when I'm the computer 'expert' in the room.)

Wednesday AM I went to sort books at the K-2 library, and when I got back there was a call from the clerk 'can you chair the AV board in November? There's been some concern about the people I had scheduled for it, and with you in charge they won't slack off.' (nothing that would affect the integrity of the election, or they wouldn't be asked to work!) As AV Chair, I will be on the floor when they're closing, so I still get to deal with printing/sending. whee?

Sunday was the FCB spring concert. There were a *lot* of notes in it. I heard from people in the audience that it was very good. The local public access station recorded it (actual concert begins around 3 min). Monday we started working on things for the Orchestra Hall Concert (June 26, tickets at dso.org). There's going to be a lot of notes in that, too.

In garden news, the red species tulips are blooming, as are the little tete-a-tete daffodils in the same bed, which only emphasise how desperately I need to weed that. But it's either been too dry or too wet, or I've been gone; so there's a lot to be done. The oaks and the tupelo have finally budded, and the leaves on the crab apple popped on Tuesday while I was gone. The big white daffs in the NE flowerbed have bloomed. I can finally plant out the lily and daff that came home at Easter. Today will be busy....

And looming in the not-too-distant future, a funeral meal. I haven't heard anything official, but the lady in charge of usables called me today to find out what my plans were WRT to silverware/plates/napkins/cups. And we chatted about how many funerals we'd be doing this year. It may be a lot -- we ran down a list of about 6 church members who are visibly declining (in a congregation of about 120); and there are community members as well. The new pastor may have a rude welcome -- 'hi, welcome to your new church. have a funeral'.

There's a special farewell potluck and performance for the outgoing minister (who has accepted a posting to a Korean congregation in Troy) coming up as well, so there's rehearsals and the like for that.
The daffodils in the NW bed that were lagging were the double daffodils, so they're later than the plain yellow ones. The yellow-and-orange daffs by the wellpoint bloomed last week, and the clumps of hyacinth by the house are almost solid purple. There are a couple of species tulips out in the front bed by the forsythia, but the rest of them are either late or not blooming -- we did have a solid freeze and snow cover when they usually come up, so it's possible they'll just be late this year. The standard tulips are budding nicely, so as long as the bunnies leave them alone I may get flowers on them. There's nothing blooming in the side flower bed right now (because no species tulips), but there's a lot of stuff growing at least. The volunteer fruit trees in the easement bloomed last week, and the rosebush and rowan leaves popped.

In other natter, rehearsal last Monday was fraught. We had sectionals, and FB sent me off with the brass, which is normally fine, but one of the pieces we worked had the lower winds with a countermelody to the brass, and I could *not* count! I can play that part, have done so, and did so in full rehearsal, but just couldn't do it when it was just me against the brass. And then RB started in on the crappy reed I was using 'yes, I have good reeds. this is not one of them.'-- reeds are expensive ($8/each, $3.60 in quantity), so I use them as long as I can, which is usually a month. It was in a section where the bassoons/barisax double the baritones, and he wants a full no reed sound. I admit that the sound was thin and reedy, not the usual full sound, but I really didn't appreciate being called out; and as the composer included low winds, he must have wanted some level of reed sound there -- he leaves them out in other places.
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Birdies, etc

Feb. 16th, 2016 08:54 pm
jennlk: (white daff)
We saw what we think is a Northern Harrier (hawk) on one of the big power line towers. Too big to be a Cooper's Hawk, wrong shape for a Red-tail hawk or turkey vulture, but definitely a raptor of some sort. The bird book says that we're well within the winter range (and at the south edge of the year-round range), so it's not too surprising, although this is the first time we've actually noticed one. There was a Northern Flicker tearing at the suet cake a couple of days ago -- she was digging into it really hard while hanging on the bottom of the cage and it was spinning a little. The female red-bellied woodpecker has decided that she really likes the 'bugs' on the platform feeder (sunflower seeds), coming up nearly every day to get a few -- the books say that Red-bellied woodpeckers don't usually eat seeds, but the ones in our yard seem to enjoy them.

The sax ensemble is not going to happen for the march concert - we decided that we weren't even going to audition it. We've had one rehearsal with everyone, and one with people on the right parts. They were not the same rehearsal. :/ We're still going to work on the piece, maybe do it over the summer or something like that, but it wasn't going to be ready for the audition....
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FCB stage rehearsal Friday evening, concert Sunday. The concert went pretty well, I thought. It was quick -- I think we would have been out of there in just over an hour if we hadn't had to do a complete stage reset at intermission. It was a collage concert, so the first half was small ensembles, and then the full band came on and did a mini-concert (fanfare, tricky piece, march, orchestral transcription). Then there was a whole band picture after, and then we struck the stage *and* organised the music folders. So I still didn't get home until 17:30. Tonight we get new music. For a concert in four rehearsals (no rehearsal on Easter Monday, because no rehearsal space).

DB's collage concert is this Saturday. The pictures J took at last year's concert are being used in the PR for this one (with permission, and credit in cases where the publication gives it). Mum was planning on coming to this one, but instead is in FL, dealing with AJ's estate. DB did get Benedick for Much Ado About Nothing-- while he menaces well, KA didn't have a lot of realistic choices for the lead. And there are other ways to do menacing than looming over people.

In yard/garden news, the snow is melting, and exposing a lot of birdseed hulls. A couple of days ago, there were fresh bloodstains on the snow. I don't know if a squirrel squabble got vicious or if it was a hawk strike -- there were no feathers, but the blood was still bright red.
I did. Which explains why DB only had two days of school last week (Monday was a scheduled off day for "Great Americans' Weekend") due to the cold (past a certain point, you start running into busses not starting, as well as student safety). At one point before last week, SR and I were contemplating going to see the Open Hood event at HFM on Friday, but with every school in the metro Detroit area closed Thursday and Friday (and the museum offering buy 1-get 1 admissions), we decided we could wait. Maybe this week. Although not Thursday, because that's MSBOA Band & Orchestra Festival, and DB and I will both be working.

(The thermometer in the backyard, which is reasonably accurate and fairly well located, indicated that it was -25F/-32C at 8am Friday. yeah, not so much with the busses starting.)

I have no idea what to expect from the bands and orchestras on Thursday. They all sounded pretty good at the concert last week, but I noticed a lot of things that could have been better. I fully expect that the directors noticed them as well, so it becomes a matter of how much time they can spend on fixing them.

There were doves standing in the (dry) birdbath this morning, keeping their feet warm.
The FCB gigs were well received. I got horribly lost in the fourth movement of the Persichetti, and completely whiffed on a couple of phrases. Some of it, I'm sure, is that Persichetti doesn't always treat barisaxes like reeded tubas, or low french horns, and gives us woodwind parts sometimes. In theory, this is good, but in practice (especially for a band like the FCB) it makes my life a lot harder. The parts are difficult to play anyway, and when you're separated by the trumpet line from anyone else who has that part.... (and the brass sectionals that I attended didn't cover those parts, although they covered other tricky parts in the Persichetti that I did have. I suppose I could attend both woodwind and brass sectionals, depending on which piece of music they're working on, but that way lies madness. And missing work on things that I do need to work on -- like the Bach.)

The "Lifetime of Music" outreach we did yesterday was fun -- the bands we played with were both very good. North Farmington has a small auditorium & stage, and a rather large music program (the 8th grade band had about 70 kids in it, the Wind Symphony about 50), and it seems that that they have to mix and match groups so that there's enough room in the auditorium for the audience. We wound up putting the upper winds down on the floor in front of the stage, and nearly everyone else (bar tubas and bassoons and bass clarinets) standing for the mass band (I didn't get a count, but probably close to 200 people). Their barisax players had never seen a barisax without a low A key set on the bell -or- with the side F-sharp that Esme has. I don't think I've ever performed Sleigh Ride that slowly, which may not have been entirely a bad thing -- due to miscommunications, there was no rehearsal on Monday, so the FCB was sight-reading in a different key than we usually play.

DB's concert went well. He played in two groups, playing about thirty notes in the Symphony Orchestra and a lot more than that in the Wind Symphony. The (much larger) stage at CHS was crammed full with close to 300 strings and winds for the Borchestrand performance of Sleigh Ride. After a decade of trial and error, the tubas have figured out how to make themselves heard, and the three WS tubas headed toward the back corner of the bandshell, where they stood on chairs to play. Yeah, they made themselves heard.... I made it to the last half of the middle school concert (DB was in the booth, I had a OneAct parent meeting across the hall), and the 8th grade band is good.

The pond is frozen over quite solidly, even with the occasional forays above freezing, and I don't expect it to melt anytime soon. The sun and breeze yesterday sped up evaporation from the birdbath, and even though I filled it yesterday it was dried up today. I filled it, and shortly after I went in there were birds at it, so I guess they were waiting! Ji brought me a actual mouse yesterday morning. Anna crept up on it, and wigged out when it twitched a bit. Then it died and I took it outside for the crows....
FCB Halloween concert was yesterday afternoon. It went pretty well -- no major trainwrecks -- but it's a relatively easy concert. It's short (about an hour) and mostly pops stuff (movies, popular songs, etc) -- the heavier stuff is in the December and April concerts. It's still a lot of notes, though, and the setup for this one is a little bit more involved, as we decorate the stage. My hand seems to be holding up pretty well, but I'm still doing the stretches and the taping.

In a twist, I didn't do much musicking at church -- the choir director is out of town, and her deputy had just come back from 10 days in China....

There will be high school football on Friday; so I expect that I will spend my Halloween at a football game. Current weather forecasts are saying it will be chilly but dry. I can live with that. There will be stadium coats, but I think they'll be able to avoid doing halftime in them. (DB just texted that, in a *stunning* turn of events, they will be playing Thriller!. oooh. the shock!. He will ask if they're doing the dance.) DB will be working crew for the Orchestra Halloween concert tonight, and tomorrow after school is set/scenery move-in for Footloose!.

The kids and I did some raking/garden clearing on Thursday (DB was not called for show rehearsal, so I put him to work at home) and got a lot of leaves moved out of the front yard. I also trimmed back the edges of the sidewalk and cut back the lilies in the front flowerbed. I remembered to move the short orange lilies from where they've been hiding to somewhere more visible (they were planted when SR was in 3d grade, to honor a classmate). Today I need to spend some time clearing the East garden, and plant the new early spring bulbs.

There is a redbellied woodpecker who has figured out that the tube feeder is a weird tree, but hey, it's got good stuff in it. Over the weekend, it brought another, so now we have two pairs of woodpeckers at the birdfeeders.

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