Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December Updates

At the beginning of this month the Kashima Philharmonic (trumpet section starts griping instead of playing the fanfare) held its first-ever "Family Concert". As I mentioned in an earlier post, because of gross mismanagement scheduling problems, we weren't able to follow our usual pattern of Summer Pops and Winter Classics this year. Instead, we held our classics concert in August and had a more family-friendly program in December.

The first part of the program was a whole series of tunes by Leroy Anderson including "Sandpaper Ballet", "The Typewriter", "Syncopated Clock", and "Blue Tango", among others. It gave me a chance to expand my instrument performance repertoire; in addition to my usual clarinet playing, I did the dog bark at the end of "Waltzing Cat" and played a slide whistle in "Plink Plank Plunk". The second part was a "conductor's corner" in which members of the audience were able to try their hand at conducting the orchestra. The tunes they got to try were the 1st movement of Beethoven's 5th (one of the hardest tunes to direct, period) and Brahm's Hungarian Dance # 5. There were more participants than I expected, and it was a lot of fun. Part three was a selection of famous classical tunes that have appeared recently as background music for TV commercials. Included were a cut from Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld", the wedding march from Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Tchaikovsky's "Serenade", Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance", and, most significantly, "Jupiter" from Holst's The Planets.

It was actually a pretty good show, perhaps one of the best for us. (Of course, the orchestra was so loaded with extras and ringers as to be almost unrecognizable, but anyway...) As for me, the CTS in my left hand didn't cause any problems at all this time, even with all those notes in "Jupiter", and I really felt like I was in the groove. I felt better about my playing than I had in a long time. It was tough for us to prepare so many tunes in such a short time, but we pulled it off reasonably well.

Speaking of music, I went into the studio in Tokyo to do some session work toward the middle of this month. It was the first time in ages, and it felt great. Once again, the CTS didn't even surface. (My voice, however, continues to be in crappy condition. Luckily I only do backing vocals.)

On Sunday the 27th I'm scheduled to fly back to Oregon for what will (hopefully) be my first visit home in four years. So naturally my son came down with the H1N1 ("swine") flu on the 20th, which also happened to be his birthday. He's already pretty much over it, but I'm hoping like crazy that I don't end up with the damned thing! As it was, his getting sick threw a wrench in works which were already fouled up to begin with. I only just got our Christmas tree up today, and I haven't even started my Christmas shopping. I don't know if I'm going to make it...

I'll report back if anything else comes up that is worth mentioning.


  • Congratulations on a good show. We look forward to your arrival.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 1:25 AM  

  • Fingers crossed...

    By Anonymous Dave, at 3:13 AM  

  • Somehow I miss the posters for Kashima Phil concerts.

    Considering your part in "Waltzing Cat", perhaps you should switch from backing vocals to barking vocals. ;^)

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 10:42 AM  

  • Like I've said before, if Geddy Lee can make it in can make it anywhere Moody! I have to work alot, but hoping we'll be able to connect during the time you're here...Beaniac is a senior this year!

    By Blogger ladybug, at 11:07 AM  

  • Merry Christmas

    By Blogger Robin, at 11:30 AM  

  • Love Leroy Anderson! Hope your travel plans go smoothly, MM, and have a wonderful merry Christmas.

    By Anonymous nikkipolani, at 6:38 AM  

  • Best wishes for Christmas and your plans. Be safe, be cool and have a good visit. We've over an excellent Christmas dinner now, but after a phone call just now, we are expecting about fifteen people to visit us in an hour!

    By Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog, at 2:37 PM  

  • Merry Christmas, MM.

    By Blogger HappySurfer, at 8:00 PM  

  • Dear MM, best wishes for a happy new year, one filled with everything your heart desires. Cheers!

    By Blogger HappySurfer, at 4:04 PM  

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