Monday, June 25, 2007

More on the Arts Festival

This was my "instrument petting zoo" tent at the arts fair, before anyone arrived. In the distance on the right is one of the arts/crafts tents, and off to the left, you can see Main Street. We were right across the street from Liam's, an Irish restaurant/pub, featuring an enticing, if not Irish, "Lobster Rolls!" sign in the window.

Johnson String is within walking distance, so I carried the 6 or 7 violins and violas in a "beach cart," shown in the far left of this photo, and close up, in the next, taken in the shop, surrounded by acoustic and electric cellos and violins. Always a great environment! I carried the two cellos on my back (in soft cases) and wore my hat (the one I share with my cello case). It was a fine day for a walk, even attired thusly.

The next instrument petting zoo I am involved with is at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (Ancramdale, NY), for the Bluegrass Academy for Kids. My daughter and I will be camping there for four days in July and enjoying all the bluegrass music one could possibly want. Lots of wonderful bluegrass performers are scheduled, including two groups with cellos: Crooked Still and the Sparrow Quartet. More on this later.

Just for the record, the tunes the fiddlers played at our performance on Saturday were:

Old Joe Clark
Over the Waterfall
Going to the Fair
Long Black Veil
Whiskey Before Breakfast
Arkansas Traveler
Jessica's Waltz
Golden Slippers
Fish Song
Capt. Bing*
Rabbit in the Log*
Midnight on the Water
Alligator Song*

I was not familiar with the starred ones, but it is easy enough to play some sort of backup.

Tunes are often not planned in advance for these events, so you can't really practice for a concert, except that you practice all the tunes as often as you can, in the various sessions. As someone else said, you are under no obligation to play a tune the same way twice.

For my "break" on Old Joe Clark, I experimented with different rhythms, articulations, and ornaments, but in the end, I played it straight. Due to scheduling problems, I never did rehearse the break with the fiddlers before the concert, so didn't want to take any chances. It worked out well, so I will work on the "improvisational" stuff for the future.


cellodonna said...

That petting zoo thing sounds great. Wish I'd had such an opportunity when I was contemplating beginning the cello 5 years ago.

Hey! ... that festival might not be too far away from here. (I'm in northern NJ about 2 hours south of Albany) Maybe we could ride up for one of the days if they're not sold out by then. You'll be there all 4 days?

Maricello said...

That would be great! They limit the number of campsites to 4,000, but I don't think they limit the day visitors. We should arrive the day before, Wednesday the 18th, and leave sometime on Sunday. We could even meet you on Sunday outside the festival, if for some reason you can't get in. By Sunday, we have usually had enough bluegrass. :-)

It's not as far north as Albany--it's near where MA, CT and NY meet.

We arrive a day early to get a campsite in "quiet camping." In regular camping. people jam all night long, and sleep is impossible!