Borkopolis

May 5, 2011

How to Sight Read

Filed under: 20-minute,music,skills — Mark Dalrymple @ 10:56 am
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Banned music

I’m a pretty good sight-reader, and I’ve written about that before. Put most (reasonable) pieces of music in front of me and I’ll be able to play them. Over the years I’ve built a system where I can get a feel for a piece before playing the first note. I’m usually in an ensemble situation, being in a band or orchestra or a quintet, where you have a little bit of time between getting your part and when you have to start playing.

I look for places where things change. Those places will be where you have the highest probability of messing up during playing. It’s easy to get lulled into nap-land with a long string of whole notes only to discover that you have a run of sixteenths after the page turn.

First, I glance down the part from beginning to end. I look for keys. What’s the opening key? Are there any key changes in the middle? Are the key changes related? Going from C to C minor is pretty easy for my brain to handle. Going from Db major to E major, not quite so easy. Does the key change often, or is it fairly stable?

Next I glance at the tempo markings. Is it something slow? I like slow. Slow makes easy to get the notes in. Look for tempo changes throughout. Does it go from Gravé to Presto?  That’ll probably be a tough spot.

Next up is the road map. It’s embarrassing to be the only one who takes a repeat. You might be lucky enough to have a group that reacts consistently when faced with repeats in a new piece, but this would be a good question to ask otherwise. A simple “are we taking repeats?” takes away some of the stress. Don’t forget in some situations you don’t take repeats on a D.C. Be aware of the rules different styles of music have. Also be aware that some pieces naturally have complicated road maps. Waltzes, minuets, and polkas tend to be the worst. Concert band marches tend to be the most predictable.

Look at the page turns. Is there evil lurking just over the fold? Jot down a little note or a big “V.S.” to know there’s no prep time after you turn the page. You may have been given a photocopied part that’s offset by one page, so the nice page turn rests the composer gave you are now in the wrong place, and your page turns happen in the middle of a phrase. You’ll need to figure out now how you’ll handle that. Can you play this phrase with one hand while turning with another? Can you mentally grab a couple of notes and turn before it’s time?

Next I look for big blobs of scary notes. What are they made of? Is it a bunch of scales and arpeggios? If so, I can handle that. I might pencil in the name of the scale as a reminder. If not, this will be the parts that I silent practice until it is time to start.

Dynamics! Most avocational musicians are terrible about dynamics, especially quiet dynamics. Look for the ff and pp passages so you know what part of the dynamic range of your instrument you are aiming for.

Look at the last measure, especially if it is a march. Most marches have a stinger at the end. But many do not.  You do not want to be the only one to play a stinger at the end of a march that doesn’t have one.

Finally, it’s good to be very aware of what’s going on around you. A section that looks scary might be a unison part everyone is playing. It’s OK if you grab a quick glance at the part of the player next to you and see if everyone is flurrying at the same time. The page turn that’s in the middle of a phrase might be a whole-band unison, in which case you can probably drop out and turn the page.

The worst thing you can do before sight-reading is to ignore the part, and just try playing it from top to bottom. A two minute glance through the part can show you where the hard parts are likely to be, and what parts are going to be easy. You can mentally recover during the easy parts so you can tackle the hard parts you know are coming up.

April 24, 2011

Marking up Musicals

Filed under: 20-minute,music,skills — Mark Dalrymple @ 8:35 pm
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The sound of music

I like to play musicals. There’s just something fun about learning a show, performing it a bunch of times in quick succession, and then being done with it. I usually play high school musicals, sometimes in a pit with students, or sometimes just a bunch of Old Folks. The shows chosen in high school are usually popular and fun, and frequently challenging. West Side Story kicked my butt the first time I played it, and Singing in the Rain has brutal brass parts. “You mean I only have two beats to yank the mute out of my horn?” Plus you get to meet and bond with a wide spectrum of other musicians. Nothing like 20 minutes of scene-change music to give you a topic of conversation later.

I’ve played 29 shows over the last 25 years or so. In that time, I’ve developed a method for marking my book that makes end-of-show time easier. Ideally you erase your book when you’re done. Take out any cuts, markings, cheats, or changed vocal cues so that the next user of your book doesn’t have to wade through a lot of junk. Supposedly the publisher will fine you if you leave your book marked up, but that never seems to happen given the number of pre-scribbled books I’ve encountered. Still, I don’t like leaving a mess for others to clean up, whether it’s the next dude with the Reed 4 book or a high schooler who’s being forced to erase my book by their band director.

Every show is going to have cuts, that is, sections of songs or dances that are removed. Maybe the song is too long. Maybe the music is too hard. Maybe it’s in the wrong key for the singer. You can always spot a first timer when they make huge pencil markings on the music to indicate a cut. “CUT TO 87” with a huge arrow scribbling over the intervening measures.

There are two problems with this technique: you have to erase a whole hell of a lot more. Also, cuts change. If the cut is made to measure 45 instead of 87, you have to erase 43 bars of scribbles. If the cut is removed (perhaps Little Johnny finally learned to mambo), you’re faced with a lot of erasing.

I use Post-It® notes, in particular the skinny brightly-colored flag-like “page marker” ones. They’re the perfect size for covering up part of a staff of music, say to change the count of a rest, or to block out a part that’s covered elsewhere in the group but is confusing you for a solo entrance. The bright colors make it easy to spot during performance.

The big thing is that they can be picked up and moved easily. Cut’s been changed to bar 43? Just pick up the flag that has the destination arrow on it and put it onto bar 43. The vamp is going to be repeated 8 times? Put a little “8x” on a note. The vamp is out? Just take off the note. The repeat is no good? Tear two skinny notes and hide the repeat bars.

You can make the flags stick out of your book too, making “flip back three pages for the reprise” situations easy. Just put a couple of flags on the page you need to flip back to and have them peek out the side. Easy to grab and turn. I also use the full-sized notes to write “SUCKS”, and put it in my part with “SUCKS” sticking out the top. I can see exactly where I clobbered an entrance or a solo the night before, and can look at it before the next show.

You can also get rolls of Post-It tape. I use that if I re-write a chunk of music and want to attach it to the book. Regular scotch tape will ruin the paper, but Post-It tape lets me easily take it off once the show’s done.

I used to use a fancy system with different colors for different actions – green for cuts, purple for vamps, red for repeats, but that was too complicated. If I see “Cut to 45”, I know what that means. So the colors are just a nice visual side effect.

Next time you play a show, give the Post-It flags a try. I’m all for less erasing and having a flexible system to adapt during changes in the show, which you know will happen.

 

April 22, 2011

More Air!

Filed under: 20-minute,bassoon,Mark Norman,music,skills — Mark Dalrymple @ 6:35 pm
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Halloween tree

Another one of Mark Norman’s favorite phrases back when I played in his bands was “More Air!”. Playing a wind or brass instrument requires air. Many amateur musicians don’t Play Out enough. This can be linked back to not using enough air. Hence, When in Doubt Playing Out requires More Air!

Mark used to work with the Music and Arts chain of music stores in Northern Virginia. For whatever insane reason, they let him make a radio commercial. It of course featured tuba, since Mark is a tuba player. The commercial was a “lesson” with Dr. Adidibandyopatai (or something like that), with a hilariously terrible Indian accent, repeating “Morrre Aiirrrrr!  Morrre Aiirrrrr!” to his struggling tuba student. Over this tableaux Mr. Norman intoned the availability of private lessons at Music and Arts. It was probably the most surreal commercial on the local radio at the time.

To this day, Sharlotte and I still say “Morrre Aiirrrrr!” to each other.

I myself have had a More Air moment. I’ve always had pretty good technique on trombone and bassoon, but kind of a fuzzy, weak sound. I had one or two lessons with Mark, and we did the usual exercises of using wind power to keep a piece of paper pinned to the wall as long as possible, and blowing into weird torture devices to suspend a ping pong ball in a column of air. But the advice of, “dude, just use more air. Fill those lungs and blow” is what did it for me.

Pushing More Air through your horn leads to other improvements in your playing. You need to collect a large lungful of air in the first place (unless you’re an oboe player, of course). You can’t collect a good quantity of air if your posture is bad. Sitting up straight, on the edge of your chair lets you inhale more deeply. Poof. More Air!

You also have to learn more control over your instrument. Sure you could force a lungful of air through your trombone at mach 3, but it’ll last five seconds and sound terrible. You need to learn control over your air. By making your More Air last longer, you’ll get better tone, a better dynamic range, plus be able to sustain longer phrases. More Air in the lungs let you keep a constant column of air going into your horn for a longer period of time. A consistent air column means you have less work to and fewer adjustments to make from moment to moment.

Maybe you’ll need a different reed or mouthpiece to support putting More Air through your horn. That’s one reason why I like the David Brundage bassoon reeds: you can push a huge amount of air through them before the sound starts distorting. If you have to fill a church sanctuary with sound during a solo piece, you need to have the volume and projection that come from moving More Air through the horn.

It’s amazing, but that two word piece of advice was the start of a chain reaction that has drastically improved my playing over the 15-some-odd years since I first heard it.

 

April 20, 2011

Why I don’t go out much, part 2

Filed under: 20-minute,music,rants — Mark Dalrymple @ 2:07 pm
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D3C 3836

I tend to attract annoying people whenever I venture forth into the world of public performances. In fact, I’ve already written about that once here, with a string of bad experiences at the Lord of the Rings movies. A friend who read it told me “It must be a Lord of the Rings curse”. I wish it were so. I wish it was just limited to that. So here continues the Litany of Annoyance.

We have some good friends in the area, with a daughter who is a serious over-achiever.  In addition to knowing everything Star Wars, she has an incredible singing voice. The final high school choral concert of the year featured her singing a solo. I was expecting a somewhat noisy audience, given that it’s a group of students and parents in a somewhat backwater part of the state, but I was completely unprepared for the rudest grandmothers in the world. You’d think that if you were coming to a concert to hear Little Johnny sing, you would be quiet during the singing parts so you could actually hear them, and talk during the quiet parts. Bizarrely enough, they talked incessantly (and loudly) during the singy parts, and were silent during the in-between parts. After a brief, but friendly, dressing-down by me, they stop talking at the tops of their lungs, and only quietly muttered about “that bastard” sitting in front of them. At least I got to hear Erin’s solo.

The Pittsburgh Symphony is not immune to Audience Members from Hell. Sharlotte and I went to a “building the audience of the future” concert with some fun pops stuff on it. If this is going to be the audience of the future, I think I’ll stick to things like “CD’s” and “mp3s” and “sitting in an orchestra“. We were up in one of the middle balcony sections. Two rows ahead of us and about 30 degrees to our right was a guy eating a big bag of Peanut M&Ms. Crinkle-crinkle-crunch-crunch. Luckily he didn’t throw M&M shells on the floor. Behind us a couple of rows,and near the exit was a Young Teenage Couple making out. Behind us were some folks chatting. And in the row ahead of us, about 10 seats down, was a dude flicking his ticket. *flick*. And not in *flick* time with *flick* the music *flick*flick*.  I was *flick* amazed at his *flick* arhythmic abil*flick*ity to have no correlation *flick*flick*flick* with the music. *flick*.

Even the subscription concerts aren’t immune. Brahms Requiem. Nice piece, with the Mendelssohn Choir doing the backing vocals. The Brahms was on the second half of the concert, with the first half being some modern stuff. Persichetti in particular, and something else. I actually like Persichetti having played some of his band music. The folks behind us apparently hated it. Hated It. They obviously Just Came For The Brahms To See Their Friend Singing, and complained bitterly about being denied that. I’m ordinarily a meek and mild individual, but I had to ask them to be quiet, or leave, since they’re obviously not enjoying the music, and not making it especially pleasant for anyone else.

Musical theater. I was playing a run of Brigadoon in college. Someone out in the audience had a screaming child. Said screaming child was present for both halves of the show. Those of us in a pit (and it was a sunken pit, not able to see the audience at all) were giving each other the “can you believe that?” “no, I don’t really believe that.”

We went with a friend to see Fiddler on the Roof at a downtown theater. Behind us was a father with two young girls, maybe 6 and 8. Too young really for the show. Even though Fiddler has some familiar tunes, it’s a really heavy show. From the outset, the girls were asking “can we go home Daddy?”. “No, watch the first half, and if you want to go home at intermission, we’ll go.” They were reasonably well behaved, although Father Unit decided he had to explain everything that was happening. At half-time, the girls informed their parent, in unison, that they wanted to go home. “We’ve already seen half of it girls, let’s see the rest of it.” Argh! The girls did the right thing and started complaining bitterly, and thankfully they all left ten minutes into the second half.

Really. It’s not you. It’s me. Tell me how the concert or movie was, and I’ll be glad to live through you vicariously. *flick*

 

April 10, 2011

When in Doubt, Play Out

Filed under: 20-minute,Mark Norman,music,skills — Mark Dalrymple @ 10:33 pm
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Play outOne of my favorite band directors from my sordid past is Mark Norman. That man could get a group of mediocre musicians to perform far beyond their skill, and generally perform it well. I’m still impressed that our little community band in Loudoun did the complete DeMeij Lord of the Rings Symphony after only a year or two of existence. Mr. Norman is a source of a large number of short and sweet sayings related to music. One of the ones I have taken totally to heart is “When in Doubt, Play Out.”

I spend nearly most of my music time in the amateur realm: community bands, orchestras, high school and community theater musicals, and church music. Occasionally I get paid, but I know I am purely an avocational musician. One thing I have noticed amongst my peers is that many of them are timid. They’re afraid of their horns.  They’re afraid of their parts. They’re afraid of the music. “I can’t play that solo!” “I don’t want to play this part by myself!”

When in doubt, play out. The solo might be easier than you think. If you screw up. Big Deal. We all screw up. Sometimes even spectacularly in concert (I know I have). If you screw it up, try again.

If you’re timid in rehearsal, you’ll be timid in performance. Practice makes permanent.  You might as well not be there. The part you are covering is important, otherwise the composer would not have written it and the publisher would not have spent the money to publish it (well, except maybe for alto clarinet parts. I believe those are a contractual liability left over from the late 1800s). The part deserves to be heard. Inner parts too. Sometimes the third clarinet part is more important than the first.

I’m a firm believer in the conductor’s hand. I’ll play my part out with the power I think it deserves. If I don’t get The Hand from the conductor I assume I’m playing it right. If it’s too loud for the texture I pull it back under direction. That way the conductor understands that I know my part, that I can handle my part and the part will be there when needed, and that that I’m actually watching them (gasp). They’ll know that the part will be there on the performance. The highest complement conductors pay me is saying “I’m not worried about you, the part will be there.” A timid player might bring out an important part during rehearsal at the conductor’s request, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be there when the time comes during performance. That makes conductors nervous.

The same thought applies to entrances. A timid entrance can be worse than no entrance. No entrance means “someone messed up their counting, but as a group we kind of know where we are.” An early entrance is usually pretty obvious when it happens and the group adapts. A timid entrance telegraphs “I think I’m in the right place, but I’m not really sure. Do you know?” to the rest of the ensemble. This can send a ripple of uncertainty through a section or even the entire group. Lots of bad things can happen if everyone is questioning their place in the music. In rehearsal, if you’re not sure of your entrance, play out by all means. The conductor will correct you if you’re wrong, and you try again. It’s No Big Deal. If you’re right, you’ll have a little more confidence in your entrance the next time you play it, plus the rest of the group knows what that part of the piece sounds likes. In performance, of course, if you’re lost or unsure, ask you neighbor where they are.

Solo entrances absolutely demand that you play out. It’s your time to shine! You’ve spent a lot of time and money to get to this point in your musical career. This is where all that works has gone for. Stand up (musically) and say “look at me! I am covered in awesome right now!” You can’t pull that off if you’re frightened of the part.

When in doubt, Play Out!

 

April 5, 2011

From the middle of the orchestra

Filed under: 20-minute,music — Mark Dalrymple @ 3:00 pm
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PP orch

People know I’m into Classical Music. I can usually talk intelligently about it. And I can recognize most any piece of popular classical music, or at least identify the composer. I have a decent collection on my ipoodle.

Everyone assumes I have some kind of kick-ass audiophile music system, with tuned dual-response gold-filled nitrogen cables and $5000 stereobarydynmaic headphones to eke out the last gram of awesomeness from my 512-kpbs losslessly-encoded music files.

Much to to their horror I show them my favorite headphones : $10 Sony MDR-W08 that I get from K-Mart. I usually rip my CDs using the iTunes default settings. I enjoy listening to music on car manufacturer stereos. I really don’t need hyperaccurate reproduction of music. Mostly I use it to set moods or provide general enjoyment, but the listening is not an end-goal in itself.

That’s because I play classical music. Passive listening to something like Beethoven’s Seventh or the Brahms Haydn Variations absolutely cannot compare to hearing it from inside the orchestra. Being a bassoon player I’m right in the middle of the wind section – clarinets to my right, oboes in front, and flutes in front of the clarinets. The strings are in front of us. The brass is behind me. Horns to the right, trumpets behind, low brass to the left.  There have been times in the past I’ve asked brass players to point at my head during great parts, such as the end of Brahms Symphony #1 has an amazing build-up to an incredible brass and winds chorale, easily my Favorite Single Musical Moment in the literature. Being on the receiving end of that figure has been one of the most transcendent experiences of my life.

When we play, I’m totally awash in sound. Granted, I play in community orchestras and the quality of the sound does not match that of the professional groups, but the overall effect is the same. You’re in the middle. You’re surrounded. And, most importantly, you’re contributing.

It’s one thing to point at a cool photograph and say “This is really cool. I bought this print at an art show.” It’s another thing to point at a cool photograph and say “I made this. This is me.” Same with music. Being in the orchestra takes the enjoyment level up a notch. Or twelve.

April 1, 2011

Brundage Reeds

Filed under: 20-minute,bassoon,music — Mark Dalrymple @ 2:21 pm
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Contra punctus

I am a bassoon player. The bassoon is one of those of those weird double-reed instruments which require a double-reed. Most bassoon players (and oboe players) make their own reeds. I have tried valiantly in the past to make my own reeds, but I suck at it. Huge quantities of suck. You already know I don’t like to practice, all alone in a room somewhere. You can imagine my opinion of sitting alone in a room, alone, with a knife scraping on reeds. That ranks even lower than practicing.

My spousal overunit is an oboe player, and she seems to love making reeds for four different members of the oboe family. More power to her. She likes to say to her students who are learning to make reeds “keep a laundry basket next to your reed desk. Put your old and broken reeds in there. When you fill it up, you’ll have learned enough to make good reeds.”. I can sympathize with the 10,000 hour thing, but I have many other things I’d rather do with that time than make reeds.

The reed making process is interesting, though. Get some wet cane (I bought my pre-gouged, shaped, etc), fold it over, attach some wires, crunch the end to make a tube, wrap it with string, let it dry, wet it again, cut off the end, and then start scraping.  That’s a bit of labor put in to it before you start finishing it. The scraping process is very iterative. Take some off the blade. Ut oh it’s gone flat because it’s too soft. Cut a little off the tip. Now it’s sharp because it’s harder. Repeat.  When you’re ham-fisted with a knife, like me, you can easily destroy an hour’s worth of work in seconds.

I made my own reeds for awhile, during college and after I got out. Once I got a job, I was happy to exchange money for someone else’s time. My friend Nancy started selling her own reeds which were utterly fantastic. I loved playing on them. I took some lessons on making reeds like hers, but it was a disaster. So I just kept on buying them. Unfortunately she had a life meltdown and quit the reed business suddenly.

Luckily the principal in the community orchestra I was playing in had discovered Brundage reeds. She had been playing on them for awhile and had a very nice sound. David Brundage is a bassoonist with the Army band in DC and makes bassoon and contrabassoon reeds. You can get his stuff from Ann Hodge, at pretty reasonable prices considering the quality of the reeds. I got a handlful of his reeds and really liked them. Not quite as much as Nancy’s, but they’re still good.

I like the Brundage reeds because I can take them out of the tube, put them on the bassoon, and reasonably play a rehearsal on them. They make a nice sound and can accept a lot of air before gronking out. They also last forever. Santa Claus brings me six Brundage bassoon reeds and one contra reed every HannuKwazaSolstamas. That will last me the year. Sometimes I don’t even use all six.

After the first playing out of the tube, they get pretty stiff. I Kramerize them at this point (a term introduced to me by Dr. Keith Jackson, trombone professor at WVU. I have no idea what the derivation is). You Kramerize something by playing for a period of time at double-forte. A half-hour usually breaks them in. I usually do this before a rehearsal, or while we’re playing a piece that’s brass-heavy.

After that, I just adjust by squeezing at the wires. I’ve never taken a knife to a Brundage reed. They play great. Highly recommended.

 

March 28, 2011

The Secret to Sight-Reading

Filed under: 20-minute,music,skills — Mark Dalrymple @ 1:19 am
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Newt music

I’m known in the local musical community as being a good sight-reader.  I’ve been invited to sight-read concerts, subbing in groups that have had a player go missing for whatever reason.  Put a piece of music in front of me, and 99 times out of 100, I can play it.  I might not play it perfectly, and I definitely play them better after I’ve had a chance to work on them. but I can play them with enough confidence that folks are impressed, or else think I’ve put a ton of practice time in on it.

The funny (scary?  lame?  sad?) thing is that I’m a good sight-reader because I hate to practice.  I love playing my horns in groups, or the occasional solo, but I loathe practicing.  I dread the idea of unpacking my trombone or bassoon alone in a room somewhere, and then playing through some etude or exercise or piece over and over again, alone.  And then packing up alone and heading back to whatever else I was doing.  I rarely practiced during my formative band years from fifth grade through my senior year.  Even today, I rarely practice.  Maybe I noodle on stuff before rehearsal, but that’s it.

One thing I hate worse than practicing, though, is sucking in public.  I hate messing up a solo.  I hate missing an entrance, or worse, coming in early.  I hate a run that’s uneven.

That’s quite a dichotomy.  You not-suck by practicing.  And here I am bragging that I don’t practice.  That’s where the sight-reading skills comes in to play.  All during high school, after I figured out I didn’t want to suck, I determined the best way to not embarrass myself in public: become a good sight-reader.

So what makes a good sight-reader?  There’s a couple of things to know, but the big ones are knowing your scales and arpeggios.  Which, of course, you learn by practicing.  “Gee MarkD, going around in circles again, aren’t we?”

I was lucky enough to take some bassoon lessons from an awesome teacher when I was growing up.  Each lesson or two I had to master a scale, straight eighth notes spanning two and a half octaves. The bassoon has a nice wide range, so even a fairly new student can do two-plus octave major scales.

So I learned my scales and arpeggios.  When you look at music closely, a lot of stuff is based directly on scales and arpeggios.  I the Loudoun Concert Band was doing the Holst Suite # 2. There’s a run at the beginning for the tubas and the euphs.  They just weren’t getting it. Finally the director said “guys, it’s just a freaking F scale”.  The next downbeat, they played if perfectly.

If they had realized “hey, it’s just a freaking F scale” before the conductor told them, they would have looked totally studly.

Likewise, trombone parts in band marches frequently have some fast, seemingly difficult parts.  These are usually based on, you guessed it, scales and arpeggios.  Also, the same kinds figures tend to turn up over and over again from march to march.  If you keep aware of what you’re playing you’ll see the same figures again and again.  When you see a familiar figure, you can just sit there and toss it off, not worrying about learning it beforehand, alone, in a practice room somewhere.

It also helps to sight-read a lot.  I love the sight-reading rehearsal for a new concert cycle.  You get used to figures, patterns, plus it’s no longer stressful if you do it a lot.  Plus I have a bit of musical ADD, and love reading new music.

Scales and arpeggios.  Spend your alone time building yourself some good tools, and you can escape the lonely drudgery of practice.  And sight-read a lot.  Soon you too can become studly.

March 26, 2011

It’s a small world

Filed under: 20-minute,bassoon,music,small world — Mark Dalrymple @ 3:20 pm
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Speaking of BassooneryColin Barrett, I had a small-world experience with him awhile back. Back when I worked for Google, I would go to the mothership out in Mountain View a couple of times a year. At Google I had met AnneKate™ Halsall, one of the webmasters. Together we launched a pretty difficult project, which forged one of those friendships in adversity and shared pain and suffering. On one of my Google visits, I was lamenting the lack of good Mexican food back home in Leechburg.  The closest Mexican was a Taco Bell 5 miles away. AnneKate said “let’s go to this great hole-in-the wall Taqueria. They have awesome burritos.” I’m always up for burritos. Colin met us there.

While waiting for the goodies to arrive, we started chatting.  Colin and I have hung out on IRC and exchanged email and technical questions, but hadn’t met in person, in general knowing each other by reputation. Somehow the discussion got turned towards music, leading to the inevitable “what do you play” question.”  Oh, trombone and bassoon. Not many people know about the bassoon”, which is true. During instrument petting zoos, instrument demonstrations, or just being out in public with it, people go “what is that thing? Is that legal?” Turns out Colin’s dad is principal bassoon of the Honolulu Symphony, one of the major symphony orchestras. So yeah, Colin knows all about bassoons.

Awesome! It’s great to meet someone who is actually familiar with the instrument, things like reeds, and so on. Turns out Colin is not a bassoon player (bummer), but has played violin in orchestras. After that we had a good afternoon talking music.

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