10/10/16 – I’m starting off the new week by moving from my old Livejournal blog to one hosted on this new website. So since you are reading this….welcome. My old blog is still located here. I may or may not keep updating it at this point…there are only so many hours in the day. For now, the latest news and posts will be posted here on my website, and perhaps a redundant post will appear on the Livejournal page as well.
It’s been a quite the week. Just starting with the news….that on it’s own could fill dozens of blog posts. In the local news, the week started off with a person shooting a police dog at a gas station about a mile from where I live. A police helicopter running search lights was flying over my area until well past 3 AM. This is NOT very typical of where I live. Thankfully, the person involved was arrested by Tuesday, but it was a very tense start to the work week. I’m also very grateful that the police dog had surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
Additionally, we had tons of political insanity in the Presidential race this week. Donald Trump hit several new lows with some of the details of his tax situation being revealed and the admission of sexually assaulting women. I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton either…ugh. We are so screwed.
On top of that, Hurricane Matthew slammed Haiti, Bahamas, and the East Coast of the US. The satellite image taken by NASA is quite metaphoric for how many impacted by the storm feel. I’m not sure if my Aunt and Uncle are at their beach house, back home, or at a hotel somewhere. They were among those that were asked to be evacuate in the Carolinas. They are fine…we just don’t know where they ended up for the moment. Prayers to all those who were victims, to those dealing with floodwaters, or who have come back to their homes to find their lives completely upended by property loss/property damage.
Meanwhile, I went about the business of teaching private lessons locally, in Richmond, and via Skype. Seems so quiet and quaint, but looking at these news events, it makes you a bit grateful. The Double Koru Rock Ensemble had a good rehearsal last week; we’re prepping to play a 2 hour gig in December. It was a productive rehearsal; we solved a lot of problems on current pieces, we started working on new arrangements AND we have a completed holiday arrangement of three songs to record. Many thanks to cellist Dave Hills for arranging another piece of music for the group.
BTW, the DKRE is a smaller ensemble version of the Double Koru Rock Orchestra. There’s only 4 people in DKRE; guitar, bass, violin and cello. The DKRE serves as the professional “gigging” group, doing shows I could not send the DKRO out to do. The DKRO is a large general ensemble that anyone, at any age and any level can join and enjoy. I created it for various reasons;
- to give local music students access to more challenging music than they get in high school. I try to pick difficult arrangements of interesting rock tunes
- to help them learn about rock history, electrifying string instruments, live sound concepts, using amplification, pedals, and pedalboards
- to help adult beginner string students have opportunities that they may not get playing in a group (often the local community orchestras are populated by music majors and music minors who are classically trained, and they may squeeze out opportunities for adult beginners)
- to create a situation where classical musicians could work with a rock rhythm section…forcing both parties to learn things from each other that they may have never been exposed to otherwise.
Folks can only join DKRE by auditioning for it after spending some time in DKRO.
I started DKRE this semester as an experiment. It seems to be working out nicely. The group is highly productive and learning tunes at an accelerated pace. They are goal oriented and driven players…not necessarily type A though either. They want to gig, and they want to have something to show for the time put in.
I’m also looking at recording a bass -forward holiday tune…a duet with someone. Ideas started getting passed back and forth Friday morning.
I got my upright bass down to William Mason’s Violin Repair shop for the yearly sound post adjustment. Bill gave me a tour…it is amazing to see how much that shop has grown since it opened. They’ve easily doubled in size, adding a new repair shop, a teaching studio with waiting room, and a raised stage area for intimate concerts and presentations. There’s a great energy in that space.
After the bass was adjusted, I started getting to work on music for UMW’s version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I’m also charting/working on another piece that I was asked to demo a double bass part for.
I’m also meeting my goal of creating one new piece of Lady Bass Gear per day. This is primarily to get my Etsy store restocked for the holidays, but also to keep some creative flow going in that particular department.
I had Friday off (ie…no gigs and no lessons) so I cleaned the studio and did repairs. Getting ready to do some painting and minor remodeling to make the studio (and house) feel more warm and welcoming.
My home studio has some nice gardens curbside….finally. It’s taken a good chunk of time to get the gardens into shape, but I really think it is important for my space to feel like a creative, welcoming space. That begins when someone steps out out of their car and walks to the house on the brick pathway. The gardens are designed to provide color and interest all year, but this is the time when they really put on quite a show. The main sources of color; two large bushes of Michaelmas daisies, two plantings of purple fountain grass, a sweet potato vine, and a bridal veil clematis. All the flowers are popping now, the clematis and the sweet potato vine are wrapping up their show, and my dahlias are still in bloom. Nature is putting on one last spectacular display before she rests for a season.
I ended with week with a last minute trip to the Richmond Folk Festival. Despite the rain, the mud, and the gusty winds of Hurricane Matthew, the event was really well attended. This was heartening to hear, as they run this free event entirely on donations. A chunk of those donations are gathered by a bucket brigade…volunteers who walk around the event with buckets and stickers. They don’t ask for your money. You are usually impressed enough by what you experience that you seek one of these folks out to drop a donation into the bucket and support the event.
The Richmond Folk Festival is situated in a visually appealing spot. It’s half on Brown’s Island, between the James River and the canal. The CSX train trestle runs nearby, so a train will come through every so often and respond to people’s requests to hear the whistle blow. The other half of the festival is in the Tredegar Iron Works. It’s a great backdrop for a folk festival, and the National Park Service keeps the Iron Works open to visitors during the festival. One of my favorite moments was just pausing by this millwheel today, and focusing on the sound it makes.
Oddly enough, this STILL doesn’t cover ALL that happened. I was approached to help a Native American tribe set up a recording studio/rehearsal space for the young ones of the tribe. But I’ll save that story for an upcoming blog post.