2012 Year in Review

It’s the final day of 2012. I’ve been thinking about this blog entry for a number of weeks now. How would I sum it up? Then this morning, a friend on Facebook put up this status:

In 2012 well I learned a lot. lost a lot. gained a lot. Must say hardest year to date but I’m still smiling happy new year everyone and a happy 2013 to all!

Nailed it! Continue reading

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First Montreal and Now Regina

Ever since seeing the announcement for the Montreal Symphony, I’ve been on practicing overdrive. I’m up earlier in the mornings to get some tuba time in. Not necessarily every morning but lots of them. I’ve got the rep list for Montreal in a tab on my desktop browser and on my iPhone to check the bars I need to prepare. I’m swapping days between the Eb and the C. There’s A LOT of rep to work on, including a Bach flute solo transcribed for tuba and the slow movement of the Vaughan Williams. And orchestral stuff I’ve never touched before. And some I’ve not heard before. Continue reading

My Mom Passed Away

I’ve been pretty quiet online here lately but my life has been nothing but in the past few months.

In mid-March, my mother was diagnosed with 4th-stage cancer.  They discovered this when discovering she had blood clots causing her right arm and hand to go blue (which was causing pain too).  On Friday, June 1st, at 10:17am, she lost her battle against the cancer.

I’ve had lots of time to think lately with drives to and from Ottawa.  I discovered that Mom had been my spiritual guide when I was a child and this shaped a lot of who I am today (I discovered Dad was a much larger influence that I realized too).  She taught me right from wrong and love from hate.  I will miss her with every part of my heart, mind and soul.

When it happens, I will dedicate my first orchestral performance of the Vaughan Williams to her.

Application in to the Canadian Armed Forces Regular Service Bands

Well, I did it!  My first music job application!  Today was the deadline for the Canadian Armed Forces full-time bands.  I sent a cover letter, resume and CD overnight-mail yesterday.  I’m really happy with the package – I’m hoping they like the recordings.  Honestly, I wish the orch excerpts and Air and Bourree had better acoustics.  I’m really happy with the RVW first-movement recording though.  It’s not without a few flubs, but there’s a lot of great material there.  I had another listen to the Air and Bourree though and I’m not happy with the tuning and the close mic.  Yikes – I hope they forgive that.  I’m going to re-record it this fall along with the full RVW.  Here are two things that went out:

  • orchestral excerpts – various, and narrated by me (recorded at Ian Pay’s sound studio in West Guilford, ON)
  • RVW concerto, 1st mvt – with Melissa Stephens, piano (recorded by Mark Tomlinson at Zion United Church in Carnarvon, ON)

What do you think?  I welcome all critiques.

I hope they see that beyond my tuba playing, which is at least ‘competent’, they’ll see my dedication (via work on this blog), my conducting and my coaching aspirations and account for this in the whole package.

And even if this doesn’t work out – then at least I threw my name in.  This is good for me to grow as a musician going pro:  put myself through the paces of recording and auditions.

A Week to Remember

This has been an intense week, to put lightly. First, the Domaine Forget application deadline was this Thursday. As usual, I went into panic mode to fill in the application. I needed to do two recordings — at one with piano. Ian Pay, a bassist living in Haliburton County, has a home recording studio so I gave him a call. I recorded a few orchestral excerpts with him. Thank goodness for having him around locally. I panicked next for an accompanist. It’s March Break. Many pianists are teachers. Some were not available because they were on break. Some were just too busy. Lucky for me, again, Melissa Stephens, a local pianist, was available for a tiny window that worked for me too. So we headed again to Ian’s studio. Phew! Recordings completed and uploaded. Plus Sasha was able to write a letter if recommendation for me too. So I got the application in and on time. Now I wait.

On Wednesday too, I finally got The Breathing Gym in the mail. It had been in back order since November! I had remembered bits and pieces over the years so it’s great to have the book to fill in the blanks. But bonus is that it gives the musical goals behind each exercise. A bit of an expensive book but it’s paper gold!

In the meantime, Orchestra Toronto was having special sectionals yesterday. Versatile artist, Guy Few, coached us. He was fantastic – great attitude, great ear for tuning, and some great tips and tricks too. I also enjoyed his take on interpretation of the pieces we’re: Ravel’s La Valse and Holst’s Mars and Jupiter. He was very engaging and the FULL brass section was very responsive. And hearing us in full forces was amazing: 6 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 euph and me. Oh yeah, baby!!

Thursday wasn’t all good for me though. I found out on Tuesday that my mom was in the hospital for a blot clot. It seemed simple enough until I got to speak with her in Thursday and she told me through tears that she has cancer. I started to cry too. It was a very emotional phone call. I didn’t know what to do and the rest of my day at work was quiet for me. I considered missing practice and driving right home, but I knew that playing would be therapeutic for me. I sat quietly in the car, in the underground parking, and cried. I had it pent up for a while. Driving to the practice helped me clear my mind and put my heart at ease a little. Though I still felt guilty as we started the sectional. Something so exciting for me mixed in with feelings for my mom.

This Sunday, my partner and I drive to Ottawa to spend time with my parents. I don’t know what else to write about that right now. I’m just looking forward to seeing her and hugging her and telling her how much I love her.