Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Whoever ordered the weather for this weekend should get a medal. It was not too hot, not too cold so piping wasn't uncomfortable one way or the other, no precipitation of any kind, overcast so we didn't get sunburns . . . in short, perfect.

On Sunday I had two hours at Redwood. I put flowers on my friend Wanda's grave and played Danny Boy for her a couple of times. I also put flowers and a flag on the grave of A2C Melbourne G Black, Korean War veteran who died in November 1980. Nobody from his family seems to live here, because his grave is always unadorned. Because he fought in Korea, where RoseE is, and because he is apparently abandoned, I adopted him. Every year I put something on his grave, and play him a tune or two. This year I played "Going Home" which seemed appropriate at the time. Dave asked me if I knew anything about him, but I've told you all I know. I wonder where I could find out more? Maybe I could get in touch with his family (if he has any left), or play a more appropriate tune. I still haven't learned the Air Force tune, but Taps would work for any military.

If you don't want to read a 'he said, she said' recounting, skip to the line of **** and there will be a quick summary and you'll be spared the details.

We had two performances on Monday, one at Redwood and one at Mountain View. As we were tuning up for our first gig, the PM asked if anybody had any solos they could do. Dave volunteered his" Loch Caber No More" (which sounds like "la caber no more", an ode to not throwing telephone poles around in the future) and I said I could play my slow air. This was received with a nod. My reed has been squeaking like a scared mouse, so I didn't think I would actually be taken up on my offer. But I put it out there anyway, to give the good players a break if they wanted.

Then I got a new reed, a much harder reed, but I'm a blowhard anyway, which you already know if you read this blog at all. This new reed doesn't squeak at all! I was very happy. The PM said he wanted to hear how my new reed sounded before having me play a solo for a performance. OK, that made perfect sense. I said I would try not to cry if I didn't get to do my solo (joking, of course. By this time I was pretty tired and my lip was swollen and my arm was sore, so not playing would be fine, too.) Solos by me in the past have not been the best experiences for anybody.

Dave got to do his solo for the performance at Redwood, and he did it beautifully. I did not play with the timed medley small group. The performance went very well, then we all skeedaddled up to Mountain View cemetery for the 2nd gig which we thought was going to be at noon. But it wasn't. It was at 12:30. We had looooots of tune-up time, and we had to wait for the cemetery personnel to move the chairs and music stands from the symphony band before us. We stood around and told jokes and played tunes totally inappropriate for Memorial Day in a cemetery. By the time we marched in, it was nearly 12:45. This performance went well, too. After about 4 numbers, Jason nodded to me and Jack announced me and my tune. (Fair Maid of Barra) I remembered it all, and did not mess up anything. Should have put longer pauses between the sections of the tune, but I'll work on that for competition. Afterwards the PM came up to tune one of my notes that had gone flat because the tape had slipped and I asked him if I had overblown the tune (my most recent issue; it makes all the notes sharp). He said that I had not; all my notes were flat.

I can't win for losing, I tell ya!
So, my solo at the second gig was nearly flawless, and I got lots of compliments.

I played my last half hour at 5pm. Nobody asked me to play Happy Birthday this year. Mostly it was Danny Boy. I don't mind.

Then the family went to the ball game and the home team probably lost. We had to leave early to get the kids to bed on time.

Today it is raining, and the ceiling is leaking again.

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