Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Woman's Trash....

Our lovely mostly finished basement has, over the years, gotten filled with junk, and I am on a mission to get it cleared out and usable again for music and art. When he was in high school, my son used to have his friends over to play music (sometimes a rock band, more often a jazz band). I think it would be a nice place for fiddlers and cellists to gather, and for me to make use of my drafting table (left over from my city planning days).

Some stuff is easy to toss, other stuff, books, records, memorabilia is harder. One item is my old cello case, a big, hulking black case, of molded styrofoam covered with black canvas. I wish I had taken a photo of it before I finally hauled it off to the dump today. The dump has an area called "Pick of the Litter," where you can put usable stuff in hopes that someone will pick it up.

I figured that it was pretty unlikely that anyone would want a massive black cello case, but there are people who lurk around the Pick of the Litter in hopes of finding usable stuff to sell, and I was hoping one of them would think my case valuable enough to sell at a flea market somewhere. I just wanted someone to use it--I hate throwing things out. Thus the state of my basement.

So, I brought the cello case to Pick of the Litter and barely had it out of the car when someone--who barely knew what it was--showed it to a friend of his who happened to be a guitarist who knew a cellist who needed a case. Who would have thought? I left them marveling over the cello case, happy to be one step closer to a litter-free basement.

Fiddling in the Sun

My fiddle group, Ladies' Choice (we are all women--we chose Ladies's Choice because it is the name of a fiddle tune) performed outside at the art market on August 21. We had 10 members playing: three tin whistles, four fiddles, one guitar, one drum, and me, on cello.

I worked hard on these pieces, and felt pretty well prepared for this, but I still couldn't keep up with the fiddlers on a couple of the tunes. Sometimes I wrote simplified versions for myself, which helped, and sometimes I just simplified them on the spot (Notably Pig Ankle Rag). I was worried when a more accomplished fiddler joined us at the last minute and speeded up some of our tunes, but, in the end, all went well.

You will notice that we play from sheet music--that really helps, and enables us to play music with multiple parts. Of the selections below, Ash Grove is a three part version: whistles on one part, fiddles on the second, and me on the third. I love this one because the cello part flows well.

We had prepared an hour and a half of music, but the event was 2.5 hours long. We played through the entire repertoire without a stop, then took a break and started from the beginning again. I taped the tunes we played after the break. (FlipVideo camera on a tripod in the audience--I apologize for the audience noise. The shrieks you hear are kids, not fiddles!)

By the time we started the second set, the sun had shifted and some of the fiddlers and whistlers and the guitarist moved behind me--we had started out in a horseshoe, with me more or less in the middle with the drum and guitar.

Country Waltz/Molly's Waltz

Jamie Allen

Inis Oirr

I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

Ash Grove

Boda Valsen

Polka Set

Pig Ankle Rag

Orchestra starts on Wednesday!