Friday, March 27, 2009

Music, Music, Everywhere

It is coming down to the wire on our spring orchestra concert, and I missed last night's rehearsal due to work obligations. The concert is next weekend, Friday, April 3, in the evening and Sunday, April 5, in the afternoon. I am not ready.

In addition, I am playing cello with group of piano students (to give them practice playing with soloists) on the morning of April 3, and performing both flute and cello at a church on the morning of April 5. All this music is easy and do-able. Then, there is a women's fiddle group session on Saturday afternoon (music is mostly do-able, but I have yet to memorize it), and I am reviewing an orchestra concert that evening.

This weekend, in preparation, I have a rehearsal with the pianists today, a rehearsal with the church organist tomorrow, and an orchestra rehearsal on Sunday. And I am reviewing another orchestra concert Saturday night. And, sometime, during the weekend, writing up a few articles about local music activities, events, etc.

Hope this explains why I haven't been blogging much. I think I am going to go practice now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Early Spring

I drove out to Brewster today, the other end of the Cape from where we live, to pick up my cello. The bridge had warped badly, and I had taken it to a luthier out there on Tuesday to have it straightened out.

The luthier has a wonderful studio on the edge of the wetlands, perhaps surrounded by wetlands. The property used to be an aquarium. He has large windows looking out at the marshes. It was raining, perhaps a cross between rain and snow, and I said, "Well, you will be the first to know when spring comes, when things start greening up, with this wonderful view."

He said that he considered spring to be the return of the ospreys. There is a nest on a post in the marshes, not very far from his studio. Last year, he said, the ospreys returned on March 23. He told me about how the male is expected to tidy up the nest for the female, and other interesting tales about these birds, their migratory habits, territorial defenses, and care of their young.

Almost immediately after I got on the road headed home, I was confronted with a large bird, sitting squarely on the telephone wire stretched across the road, no more than six feet from me. I imagined it was the female of the pair, waiting for the male to arrive and fix up the place.

I had my camera with me, but did not have time to turn around and go back for a shot. I wish I had. After I got home, I searched for osprey images to post with this story, but could not find one in the right position--they were angled more than my bird.

After a while I decided it was a red-tailed hawk instead. They are rounder, less angular than the osprey. The photo on the left is an osprey; the one on the right is a red-tailed hawk.)

But the hawks are migratory birds too, and I do think that bird was telling me spring is here!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Orchestra update

A couple of weeks ago, the first-stand cellists were both planning on being absent on the same night, moving me and my stand-mate up to first position. We were struggling with the music, and I was not looking forward to struggling publicly. Last season, there was a night when the first two cellists were both out on the same night, but it was further into the season, and I think we second-stand cellists did pretty well. This was too soon in the season, though; the music has many challenging sections, and it is flying by at a rapid pace!

Miracle of miracles, a new cellist showed up that night, a really good cellist--a teacher of cello and other strings who had performed all our piece in the past. It was great playing with her, and, instead of a disaster, the evening was fun, though still challenging. She is a boon all of us.

I am still practicing, both slowly and for speed, and making progress, though still having weeks, like this one, when impending deadlines reduce my practice time to 10 or 15 minutes a day. There are other times, like Thursdays, when I have an hour and 45 minute lesson (a "group" hour shared with a friend, followed by my 45 minute lesson), an hour's practice in the afternoon, and a 2 and a half hour orchestra rehearsal. That will dent your fingers.

The concert is in a month, and I am still not where I would like to be, but I am learning a lot, and that is a good thing!