The past couple of weeks went where exactly?
This morning I sat down and decided I should write an article, but it had been so long since I had done so, that I found it difficult to get into the right headspace for it. I have a rather long and illustrated article on counterfeit Selmer saxophone that I started work on a couple of weeks ago, which I should finish up, but somehow it was rather hard for me to get back into writing that piece.
Regardless of our sexual orientation; regardless of our view of the United States Constitution—and the 27 words that make up the Second Amendment—the fact is, the shooting of over 100 innocent civilians by a single man, which resulted in the deaths of 49 individuals who were doing nothing more than having a good time on a Saturday night, should affect anyone who has a conscience.
Not being able to get away from the barrage of coverage on the news and on social media, has made this tragedy almost hyperreal for me. My thoughts and wishes for healing go out to the survivors, as well as the victims’ families and friends.
This could have happened anywhere, but the troika of tragedy that rained down on Orlando over the past few days is almost beyond comprehension. May Orlando finally have some peace, and time to grieve now…
Learning the music for another musical
For the past couple of weeks I have been working on the Reed 3 book of Wizard of Oz. Since I don’t play flute, I am only working to get the bari sax and clarinet parts under my belt. Our first pit orchestra rehearsal is in early July, with the show starting at the end of that month and running for two weeks.
Another horn for the stable: but it’s not a saxophone
Another musical project that I’ve been working on the past couple of weeks is my new (to me anyway) bass clarinet. After relearning clarinet for Guys and Dolls earlier this year, I decided that I should again pick up the instrument that I used to play—which was not Bb clarinet.
Bass clarinet was always my instrument, but I never owned my own. During junior and senior high school I always used the schools’ instrument, and then in university, I used theirs.
When I decided to get a used bass, I did some homework by speaking to the bass clarinet in the wind ensemble I play in. He has a low C Selmer, and he and I spoke about the relative merits of the extra 3 notes versus the costs for what I was planning on doing with it.
Given that bass clarinet is nothing more than a double for me, I didn’t see any point in getting a horn that goes below Eb. Given what I would be using the bass in—some big band charts, and maybe the occasional pit or concert band arrangement—I decided spending the extra thousands necessary to get those extra three notes just didn’t make sense.
I was lucky, because my tech happened to have a few bass clarinets in the back room of his shop that all needed rebuilds. We looked at them all, and decided that a circa late 1950s Richard Keilwerth-made Jubilee was likely the best choice.
This bass clarinet is a solid intermediate model, which has a surprisingly lovely tone, and quite acceptable intonation. (Since my bass chops are 25+ years in the rearview, my intonation is getting better ever time I play. Currently there are about 8 or 9 notes that are 20 cents sharp for me.)
I haven’t had a chance to take any photos, but I will. I will also write a full review of it once I get the chance a little later this summer. Right now I’ve started working on the Klose book, and am going to practice from it religiously in order to get back as much of my fluidity, speed, and accuracy on the instrument that I once had. (I’ve got a ways to go before I’m ready for prime time. )
Throw a couple of shows in the mix and I’m done
Besides working on getting my bass clarinet chops again, I had a couple of shows this past weekend with the bands I currently play in. By the time Sunday night rolled around, I was physically wiped out. I could barely lift my head off the couch after I fell asleep after dinner. I was quite literally done. This neurological fatigue sucks big time.