raystrobel47: (Music)
Dans Profundo will be performed by John Manning at the University of Iowa on May 1, 2010, and also at the International Tuba and Euphonium Association's 2010 conference in Tuscon, Arizona on May 29!!

It's gonna get played twice!! May 1 is a Saturday... road trip??? I can't believe this is actually going to happen... so much more that I want and need to know... more details to come! Soon, I hope!
raystrobel47: (Director)
This morning I tried playing "Yakkity Sax" on the alto, and the best alto I have for use as the teacher. It went pretty well, and the gym teacher came in the room commenting on how he knew the song. :-) Visions of Benny Hill danced through my head, all at high-speed motion, no less.

This is a trying time for me. I was hoping to be farther along with the band than I am. The second song still needs a lot of work, and the third song has only been touched on for the most part. I know this will turn out ok, it's just a realization of how long preparing a concert really takes. I pessimistically think that I'll have to choose the spring concert songs right after Christmas and only work on those, leaving behind all the other lessons in the method book. While this isn't true, it will take more than one 'regular' year for me to get a good feel as to how far along I can have these kids perform for their second concert. It's still my first year. :-)

So, for those of y'all in Pgh., the "Spring Celebration of the Arts" is going to be next Thursday, April 30th, at 6:30 in the Wilkinsburg high school auditorium. The concert is free, and will feature all of the district's performing ensembles at the elementary, middle and high school level. The elementary band will perform after the first intermission so that their families don't just up and leave after their performance. There is a reception to follow, for which I'm playing in a jazz trio. If you're interested in coming, please comment. If not, comment about something else. :-P
raystrobel47: (Default)
One last reminder for Tuesday night's Pittsburgh Symphony concert at Wilkinsburg High School, starting at 7pm. Tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for students, and groups of 10 or more get tickets for $5 each.

As I will be helping in preparing for the event, I need to be at the HS at 5pm. I get out of tutoring at 4:30. Ergo, I'm not coming home and will miss most/all of Tuesday Night Dinner. Y'all have fun without me, maybe I'll see a couple of you at the concert, and next week will be back to normal.
raystrobel47: (Director)
For all y'all in the Pgh area:

The Pittsburgh Symphony continues its outreach to the Wilkinsburg School District and community with its 6th concert at the High School auditorium on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, at 7:00pm. Yes, it's St. Patrick's Day, but that's when it got scheduled. Ticket prices are: $7 for adults, $3 for kids. Compare that with normal concert hall prices. Music will include Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" narrated by Andrew Stockey of WTAE. The conductor, Dan Meyer, is in his last appearance here as he is moving to a new position later this year, so it will be a special occasion for him as well.

These concerts, which started when I first got hired in Wilkinsburg, are directly responsible for our ability to take advantage of the VH1 Save the Music grant received by the district last October. Were it not for the money raised by ticket sales these last 5 years, the school would not have owned extra instruments to give more kids an opportunity to play, and we would not have an operating budget. The district pays for nothing of what keeps this program running, except for my salary. Everything I need- valve oil, reeds, method books, instrument repairs, etc., is coming from money raised by these concerts. And this year, there's a big push to fill the auditorium, as attendance has dropped slowly over the last few concerts.

If you are a local, please indicate if you are interested in going. To TND folks- [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar and Pookie are staying home because the timing is too late to go on a school night, so there will be TND. However, there's you are still welcome and invited to take advantage of this opportunity to hear great music at dirt-cheap prices, to benefit these kids who are finally getting a taste of what most schools have always had.

I will have a handful of tickets to sell personally. You can also call (412) 871-2125, which will send you to the superintendent's secretary. Why? Because our PR representative left the district last Friday for another job, and his position is not going to be filled any time soon. Fortunately, the PR rep for the Symphony has graciously offered her assistance in getting this concert the exposure it deserves. We want everyone to be there- students, parents, community members, college students, anyone who loves the orchestra and supporting music in schools.

I appreciate y'all reading all the way through this. It's going to be a fun and exciting night, and I hope to see some of you there. Please, a poll before you leave:

[Poll #1355427]
raystrobel47: (Music)
The recital was *lovely*. Dave did really well, picked some neat music, and it all went well. The accompanist was fantastic, and didn't kill Dave for scheduling his recital on her birthday. :-) Oh, my piece? Yeah, I should get to that.

I am quite satisfied. Many parts were as I heard it, but it is so different hearing my music played by MIDI and hearing a live performance. As I explained to [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar, the MIDI model that I've had in my head for so long is like a 2-dimensional model, while the performance I heard was in 3-dimensions. The MIDI was a reproduction of the notes I wrote, and what Dave and Donna played was an interpretation, adding their own creativity, their own artistry, to what I laid out on paper. Some things were not as I expected- the zippy grace notes I'd imagined were gentle and rolling. But others were more than I expected. The final section, where I wrote the 'oom-pah' line on steroids, was meant to be prominent, but the piano still has the melody. The way Dave played it, he didn't give a rat's ass about the piano, he belted it out, and it was the most exciting part of the piece.

The whole piece was wonderfully received, Dave did a fantastic job of it, and I want to thank those that made it to see it-- [livejournal.com profile] cyano, [livejournal.com profile] jcipa, and [livejournal.com profile] alfiechat's husband were most gracious to listen to it in person. And, of course, my wonderful wife and daughter who supported me in this from the start. Thank you all for being there with me.

Not bad, eh? Here's the really cool part-

Craig Knox, principal tubist for the Pittsburgh Symphony, who is Dave's teacher, very much enjoyed it. He said many nice things about it, mainly that it was a good all-around piece for the tuba. That meant a lot, especially because 1) I've never written specifically for the instrument before and 2) it's coming from a professional frickin' tubist. As I mentioned before, he wants a copy. So he can perform it. In concert.

O_o


*exhales* Oh yeah. That'd suck. Ooh, how horrible, a prominent professional musician programming my music. *exhales again* Ok, he did mention it's not going to be any time soon, but he will email me later, and we can get this second ball rolling, which I hope to keep in motion for quite some time.

Wow.

After the recital, I got to talk to Dave some, thank him profusely, and remind him that he and his family are still invited to dinner. I think that will be a good time to -calmly- reflect on everything that happened and bask in our own accomplishments, if but for a while. My two favorite girls and I walked to South Craig and ate dinner at LuLu's Noodles, which was teh yum. Unfortunately, Pookie wasn't able to keep it together much, even with a full nap at school, but that did not deter from the timbre of the evening.

This is what it's like to be an artist. This is the kind of experience I want to repeat for quite some time. And maybe, just maybe, that which I am starting will begin to collect some momentum. Thank you all for your well wishes, and I will chirp up when I get the recording of the recital, with an mp3 soon to follow.

Warming up

May. 8th, 2008 02:51 pm
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
Ok, so during the school day I wasn't phased by this evening. Now it's two hours, 10 minutes until the recital starts (not even my recital) and I'm getting antsy.

Things I'm grateful for:
-I can pick up [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar 10 minutes early today, making arriving at CMU a much less arduous and desperate task.
-My piece kicks off the second half of the evening, again reducing the need to be RIGHT THERE AT THE STROKE OF 5PM. *whew*

Concerns:
-Pookie's behavior during the recital. She hasn't done this type of thing before, she'll be hungry (but she'll get snacks between now and then), and I'm just worried that she'll get over-squirmy and frustrated, and then she'll have to be taken out and they both will miss the performance. I have to remind myself that it's no more than 30 minutes before an intermission, and both she and we will be able to deal with this. Hopefully she'll find the instrument and music cool. :-)
-*headslap* I forgot to reload on business cards. I have two. That should be fine.

I will post a recap either tonight or tomorrow. Here we go, y'all!
raystrobel47: (Music)
If you are still interested in hearing "Dans Profundo" at Dave Yeager's graduate tuba recital at CMU, here are the details one last time:

Thursday, May 8th, beginning at 5pm, in the Alumni Concert Hall, which is in the Fine Arts building.

Here are the only two updates-
1. My piece will begin the second half of the recital, not the very beginning. This is good because I'm gonna be booking it from downtown to get back to CMU on time, so that's less pressure on all of us. So, if you get there before us, save three seats??
2. Dave will provide an audio recording. I know of no video options, though if someone takes video of it, I may ask reeeeeeeal nice for a copy. :-) After I get an audio recording, I'll upload it and share with everyone.

EDIT: The total estimated time will be between an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes; it should be done between 6:00 and 6:15 at the latest.
raystrobel47: (Whoa!!)
I spoke with Dave, who's giving his tuba recital on Thursday (this is not the final reminder- that will come in a day or two), and he has now given me reason to start going *boingy*boing*boingy*.

Why? Several reasons.
1) He is really having fun with what I wrote for him. This I've known, but I talked with him right after the penultimate rehearsal and he said that each time he plays it with his accompanist that it keeps getting better.
2) The accompanist really likes it. In fact, he said that I wrote the piano part quite like its own virtuoso part, making it a bit difficult for her, but that leads into my next point:
3) Dave said that by tweaking the piano part a bit that this piece would be accessible to many, many tuba players and would be a good candidate to get published. Now, I trust Dave, but this leads me to my next point which got me going:
4) Craig Knox, principal tuba player for the Pittsburgh Symphony, wants a copy of the work. And he has connections. Especially considering the number of tuba players out there versus, oh, trumpet, flute, or *gasp* violin.

-HOMINAHOMINAHOMINAHOMINA-

I am trying to get in touch with the accompanist to get her feedback on the piano part. And if I could get the same from Mr. Knox, ...I don't know exactly where I'd go from that, but let's say I'd jump through hoops pret-ty damn trivially.

Thursday, y'all. I'll post one more reminder before the big day.
raystrobel47: (Music)
A friendly reminder for those who want to hear brand new tuba music! The recital for David Yeager, Masters student of tuba performance at CMU (yes, there is such an animal) will be on:

Thursday, May 8th, beginning at 5pm, in the Alumni Concert Hall, which is in the Fine Arts building.


My piece is the very first on the list, so come early and save your seats! What makes this recital more meaningful is that it connects my earliest experiences in education. You see, Dave was a senior at Allderdice High School (along with [livejournal.com profile] cortneyofeden. *waves*) when I did my student teaching there in the spring of '96. Between then and about a year ago, I'd seen him maybe three times. I knew he attended CMU for undergrad performance, but that was it. Then, I'd seen him and his wife (also an Allderdice grad, who I taught in '96) in Squirrel Hill, and at the Greek Food Festival. That was cool, but it was seeing him perform with other brass players for a sing-fest at our church last May that I cooly offered, "Hey, if you ever need any music written, I'm your guy." He said, "You know, I may take you up on that," and by gum he did. So, it was a treat to be doing a friend a favor, and getting to write cool music on top of that.

I will repeat this reminder the week of the recital. If you really wanna come see it but don't know where, comment and I'll try to help decipher the mystery that is parking at CMU.
raystrobel47: (Music)
For anyone interested in the Pgh area:

The premiere of "Dans Profundo," my tuba solo with piano accompaniment, will be at David Yeager's graduate tuba recital on Thursday, May 8th, at 5pm, in Alumni Concert Hall on CMU's campus. Any more prepositions?! Dave was a senior at Allderdice High School when I was a student teacher there in 1996, and he has entrusted me with providing music that is being programmed with the likes of Strauss and Persichetti. I am still midway through writing it, but its shape is nearly formed and its flavor is already apparent. This is an open and FREE recital, and it would be extra special for those interested to attend and support such a seldom-used solo instrument like the tuba. It should be fun, a thrill for both of us, and a night of great music. You don't need to RSVP, just mark your calendar for the 2nd Thursday in May and contact me if you need directions to Alumni Concert Hall. Thanks!
raystrobel47: (WMS sing)
The winter concert is tomorrow. I *just* finished the accompaniment CD this morning, and had to juggle auditorium time again because we can't go a year without two performance classes being scheduled against each other. This year it's HS choir vs. African drumming. I did get some time with the choir today in the auditorium, and tomorrow I'll get the whole class. Did I mention the concert is tomorrow night?

I feel better about it, in general. Today helped. The MS choir has a lot of enthusiasm, now if I can keep them from spazzing out, that'll be perfect. More absences in the HS choir both hurt and helped things. It's all about who was absent. I wish I'd've been more prepared, and had more time to prepare, but it all should go fine.

So, this picture that made my eyes water from teh funny kinda reflects how I feel about the whole thing: LOLcat time! )
raystrobel47: (Music)
If you are in the Pittsburgh area and observe Palm Sunday, you are invited to hear the First United Methodist Church choir singing the Ellingboe Requiem on Sunday, April 9 at 3pm. It's free! I'm singing in it! And there'll be a 30 piece orchestra playing, too! It should be great!
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
Everyone who showed had robes. I had four no-shows, which included one of the soloists. The girl who took her place got nervous and couldn't get through much, but the choir backed her up. There are lots of choir members who are really disappointed in their performance. They have high expecatations, and we'll talk about those today in choir. Overall I thought they did ok, but I know that there's lots of room for improvement. The breakfast itself was very tasty and nice, and I forgot the appetite of high schoolers!!

Oh, and for those who asked in my last entry, the concert was merely hosted by the School for the Deaf, for the Chamber of Commerce. I thought the same thing, to be honest, but we were not singing for deaf people.

Back to school...
raystrobel47: (South Park teacher)
Context: I am directing my first HS choir concert, a Thanksgiving breakfast for the Wilkinsburg Chamber of Commerce at the Western PA School of the Deaf. This is a tradition, lasting I don't know how many years. It begins at 8am. So, I am left to only hope that:
-the bus is there when needed
-the six or so kids who didn't get robes show up early enough to get them
-all the other kids show up early enough to get their robes and onto the bus
-we set up without commotion
-stage presence isn't disasterous
-no sideline issues throw monkey wrenches into what should be an enjoyable morning.

Just worried, nervous, but still hopeful.
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
I took my first field-trip as a teacher today that I organized and everything. I took select 2nd graders to Heinz Hall to see the Pittsburgh Symphony's Schooltime Concert. We had 19 kids go, along with myself, a 2nd grade teacher, a special-ed teacher, and a parent. It actually worked out really well. The kids were well behaved, the bus was on time, and we got to sit in the right balcony! That was cool! It was a good program and the kids liked it. We even got to leave first and not have to wait forever! I'm impressed. Hopefully this won't be a fluke experience.
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
Well ladies and gents, the concert happened, and as I suspected back in my little brain, it went just fine. The kids truly played their best performance, and even though it wasn't perfect, it sounded quite good. I was proud of them. All the kids were there, most of them looked quite nice, and the music went off with only a few minor hitches here and there. I even played trombone in a concert for the first time in my life. A load, from my shoulders, has been lifted.
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
Tonight is the concert for all of the Wilkinsburg bands, starting with the very first Wilkinsburg Elementary Band concert in about 10 years or so. Two of the three songs we're playing are my arrangement. One is "Hot Claire de la Buns," a fusion of 'Hot Cross Buns' and 'Au Claire de la Lune' which are in every single beginning band method book on the planet. So instead of just ripping through each of them, I've put them together to make it more interesting and just plain different. The other piece I arranged is "Hit the Road, Jack" in recognition of Ray Charles. I hope it comes off ok. I feel that with three more weeks we'd be better off, but plainly put it's on tonight. We'll do the best with what we have. The middle number is called "Swing Street" and is a basic beginner swing tune. Nothing to write home about.

I'll be nervous, but more concerned with getting the kids to play the best they can. I'm hoping and expecting that their performance will be well recieved, as the middle and high school kids and parents will already be there.

I apologize to the Tuesday night crowd as I won't be home until later, not sure exactly when. I will be glad to arrive once I do, though.
raystrobel47: (Conch shell)
I must destress. [livejournal.com profile] lstrobel danced on both of our last nerves pretty handilly there at the end, and taking a wrong turn on the turnpike didn't help. Though I drove a total of 30 miles out of my way, it's nice to know there's no charge from exit 28 to exit 13.

It was most wonderful seeing so many people there. Pookie enjoyed being in her new umbrella stroller rather than the humungo-model we'd used in the past. And I got rattan!! 18' of it! I can't wait to start making my weapons out of it.

The weather surely cooperated. Really nice 'n sunny all day, not too hot. It just felt too rushed, which I recall being typical when we take Lake to an event and we both have things to do. The choir concert went quite well, being in the barn and all, and Cai and I got to trumpet their Majesties in. That was nice. So was Cooper's chocolate milk. Mmmmmmmmm...... Oh! Got to stroll and chat with [livejournal.com profile] gootmu, which I really enjoyed. I don't get to hang out with him nearly enough.

Henry is currently in my lap, which he is now known to do, which is helping all of this. I think a hot shower, and maybe perhaps a home-brew might help things further. :-)
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
While not 100% just yet, I'm over the fever that plagued me for four days. Now my throat needs to calm the hell down and return to it's unsctratched, unswollen state. But I'll take that over the fever. I'm glad I didn't have to worry about if it were strep or not.

Let's see, Pennsic. It was a strange one this year, but a deliberate strange as opposed to last year's stranger-than-planned. I didn't get to see or do as much as I wanted, but then again, as my sweetie put it, we weren't gonna be there anyway. So it was all bonus. We all did weekends, and I showed up Monday for the choir concert. I noticed that many of the fighters were out on the field when I went for a parking space. Then, when I got out of the car, I heard the drums. I asked myself, "Why does this smell like the field battle?" Then I reached the field. It was the field battle!! WTF?!? This'll teach me to check the Pennsic battle schedule every single year from here on out and never trust tradition. So, I got to drum with Yama Kaminari, but no conch shell since the battle was well underway and the shell was still at camp. So, no Also Sprach Sama-thustra, or Jeapordy-dess. Alas, next year.

The rest of the day went very well. It was fun seeing everything and hanging out with friends that I haven't seen in a long time. The concert that evening went well. I see areas for improvement, both on the choir's part and on mine as the director. I need in increase my scope on our performances and any new music for them. Changes in personell will just have to be dealt with as they happen.

Fortunately, our tent survived the flood. The carpet remnants didn't, but those were the only things we had to chuck. Everything's dry, and we can't wait to use the yurt again and not have to deal with the nylon again.

I'm really hoping that next year we can do the full second week. It'll be so nice to be able to stay up for longer than 24 hrs at a time. A trip home or two will be needed, but that won't be bad at all. It was just so great to be there and see everyone.

Hm, preparation. School starts next week. We're in the midst of in-service days, and I'm still without a room. It's not that bad since 75% of what I ordered in my budget hasn't shown up yet, either, so there you go. I do feel that the beginning of this year will be far less stressful than last year, for obvious reasons, but I hope that I can gain ground on these kids. I don't just want it to be easier, I want it to be better. I have many new ideas that I want to try, so here's hoping.

Ok, got that out, feel better now. ;-)

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