Daily Archives: September 2, 2008

Good Things

Thanks to some help from Blade, the laptop is up and running and as of some messing about on my own this morning can actually connect to the Internet via ethernet cable. We’ll make sure the wireless works properly when I get the passkey again. (Duh. And this time, we’ll save it.)

Also very exciting: We have a new bed and new dressers/bedside tables! The bed is almost twice as high as our old one. The cats complained, of course, but the boy ran in, peeked over the top (yes, it’s that high) then hauled himself up without hesitation. I have to shift my clothes from the old double dresser to my single dresser today, and then the double dresser is moving downstairs to become storage. HRH has brought home the first half of the boy’s new-to-him bunk beds as well; I suspect we’ll have those complete and up by next week.

There was something else too, but I’ve forgotten it. The fact that we have new fish in the boy’s aquarium? (Six pretty guppies. All alive so far. The bonus feeder guppy died last night; I’m hoping that it will serve as a sacrifice to the Fishtank Gods and the others will be spared.) The fact that I made grape jelly for the first time yesterday? (And poured some of the boiling jelly over my left thumb while filling the very first jar; I credit the use of lavender oil with my ability to use it today, because liquid sugar? A bad thing.)

Nope; it’s gone. I’ll come back when I remember.

ETA: Aha! Walking past a mirror reminded me. I’ve now worn the new glasses almost every moment I’ve been awake for one week, and I can’t believe how light they are; I continually forget that I’ve got them on. Pretty much everyone who has seen me has complimented me (after first cautiously ascertaining that these are indeed the new glasses), and it’s a major sign of how much I like the frames that I’m taking the compliments at face value instead of questioning them or worrying that the complimenter is just being polite. Yay, new glasses! Yay, wearing glasses full-time!

Labour Weekend and Orchestra Update

HRH helped move t! and Jan to their new home in Ontario on Saturday, and I miss them dreadfully already. We had a lovely afternoon and dinner with HRH’s parents to celebrate his dad’s birthday on Sunday. Monday saw a last-minute gathering chez the Young-Schmeisser residence, complete with pool and treehouse and swings and lazing about in lawn chairs and grazing upon barbecued summer food. It was incredibly good to see people relaxing together instead of connecting only momentarily at the rare evening gathering. I saw Amanda for the second time this summer, which is a record of some sort for us, and watched Tallis marching around holding on to parental fingertips, so very much older than she was only two months ago. It was a pure summer gathering, the kind we don’t have enough of any more.

We did forget the corn on the cob we’d bought with the intent of bringing it to roast on the BBQ and share with everyone, though. Now we have a ton of corn to eat in the next few days.

We had a general meeting of the orchestra membership last week, something has hasn’t been done in at least eighteen years, possibly the entire life of the group. There have been some changes. They’re growing pangs, really, because for three decades Andres helmed the group, having founded it and maintained it on his own. When we lost him so suddenly the group needed to develop some guidelines and new methods out of thin air, and we’re still working them out as we encounter obstacles. One of the things we’re refining is our method of selecting and reviewing conductors. Our most recent conductor’s term has ended, and we’re now preparing to audition three new conductors over the upcoming season, one per concert session.

This happened some what precipitously, because we didn’t have a clearly defined review system in place. The point is, most of us expected to be somewhat adrift for the first while due to the unexpectedness of the event and the timing, but to my surprise at this general meeting the exec revealed that we not only had a guest conductor in place, but we had a programme and our first concert date scheduled. This is going so well that I can’t help but suspect our decisions in the matter have all been the correct ones. Not only do we have our first guest conductor scheduled, but we’ve had a call from the director of the WIYSO expressing interest in one of the future guest spots, as have a couple of others. There were some suggestions from the membership too, revolving around multiple performances of the same programme in different areas instead of a single concert, raising membership fees to generate more available capital with which to pay conductors (thereby enabling us to attract higher-profile directors), and communication suggestions (especially an interactive website with a members-only section to enable us to share ideas and receive information). The plan is to have a different conductor for each of our three concerts in the upcoming season, to evaluate each, and then vote on one to invite back.

From what I can remember, our first programme will consist of a Mozart divertimento for strings, the Iphigenia in Aulis overture, Haydn’s 104th symphony, and a Vivaldi concerto for four violins with continuo (our prize for the winners of the Lakeshore Chamber Music Society’s concerto competition). Our first rehearsal is on September 17, and our first concert is on November 22. We’ll have to be really focused and on the ball with this new conductor to prepare a concert in that period of time. This will happen naturally of course, as everyone will be hyper-aware and paying very close attention to the new director’s technique. New blood to stir us up will be good. I’m looking forward to exploring music with a new director. One of the things I realised through this summer mini-crisis about the orchestra leadership was that I was focusing on my own satisfaction with my technical performance in a concert and extrapolating that to measure the orchestra’s overall performance, which was wrong of me. I was also shifting my personal focus to technical improvement because I wasn’t getting artistic or interpretive satisfaction from the overall musical experience. The orchestra really needs to grow and develop musically now. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

Apart from that, musically I’ve been kind of on hold. I’ve been playing songs and such, testing my treble clef reading, but the 7/8 search and the mystery cello repair hasn’t moved forward. Why? Because my luthier and I miscommunicated about vacation, and he wasn’t gone the first two weeks of August but the last two weeks. Had I known I would have brought him my cello for its tune-up and the mystery cello as soon as I got home from our trip. Ah well, everything ought to be back to usual now that it’s September; I’ll call him Thursday. With orchestra only beginning two weeks from now, there’s time to take my current cello in for adjustments, new bridge, new strings, and a quick repair to the soundboard crack, and get it back in plenty of time. Otherwise, I can always test another cello out and use that!

I find that my initial ‘no I should upgrade the quality/level of the cello I’m using’ is ebbing to ‘something equivalent in a different shape would be just fine’. Which is a good thing, really, because it’s assuaging a lot of the ‘OMG so expensive where will I find the money now!’ jitters I’m having. I’m interested to hear what the luthier will have to say about the mystery cello, too.

Right. More work. I want to finish this project up so I can really focus on writing this week.