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#1535542 - 10/14/10 06:27 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
And if the publication date slips a little, it will be just in time anyway because the almond orchards will be in flower. Miles upon miles of them. I admit the logistics might pose a challenge, but at least the bride wouldn't have to worry about the flowers. Now that I think, it seems I took someone some almond branches in flower, many years ago. Burst appendix. They don't see those in the hospital every day of the week.

Years later, he still remembered, long after I had forgotten all about it. The gnarled, dormant, gray-barked branches bursting with delicately fragrant flowers in the palest pink; what else could they impart but the will to live. That's just what I like to see in a new book.

Did you know--- they don't make the bees fly to the flowers, here; they bring the hives right to the orchards, with tractors. Now, I just don't know what that might mean for the buffet table. The caterers might have to be mighty careful about the menu, and I'm pretty sure bees like champagne (they are mean drunks, they say). No... a garden party is one thing, but an orchard...

Ok, how about Holland; it's closer anyway. You know some bright hotelier must have a function room for parties with a terrific view of the tulip fields, and glass doors that close, in case the bees head for the punchbowl. Booked out fifty years ahead during the season, of course, but someone might die of old age while they're waiting for their reservation to mature.

So, that leaves that lovely Irish resort on Mental Hospital Road. What a choice address to direct the guests to seek for. But that is an unseemly prejudice, of course; it is one thing for mental illness to have a bad name, but it is unfair to tar sanity with the same brush. So to speak.

We'll just enjoy the book whenever it comes out. And if it's too late for asparagus and spring flowers, it will be in time for Globe Artichokes and strawberries. Anyway, you could have the party in the Fazioli factory any time at all, and that could be the best place anyway. A toast in Asti amid the fragrance of Val di Fiemme soundboard sawdust...


Edited by Jeff Clef (10/14/10 06:32 PM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1535719 - 10/15/10 02:55 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
I have two "degrees of separation" stories, but first a note on my absence. I'm unfortunately dealing with a long-term health issue that's kept me from gigging, among other things. I'm hoping to be in the home stretch now.

-----------------

Joy, my nurse for the day, opened my chart. "So you're a musician?" I wasn't sure at the time, thinking I might have mentioned something, but I now know that bit of seemingly non-medical data is actually in my chart.

I told her yes as she poked and prodded, and briefly described my demi-career : Local, covers, easy and (usually) busy. She told me that her husband was a bass player; a full-time musician. He plays mostly jazz, mostly upright, with some private party work thrown in occasionally. He also does some more unusual things, like working with a Koro player.

Before she told me about her husband, I had said that although I work a lot, it must be pretty hard to be a professional musician. Feeling a little sheepish, I asked his name. I've met a lot of musicians over the years in the studio I worked at, but his name didn't sound familiar.

Hmmm...the last name....?

But that thought disappeared as I went home. My next scrape with medicine by coincidence featured the same nurse. It was a few days later. I had brought an old MP3 player that was originally bought for my wife. She's inherited a sleeker cast-off from our daughter, who of course has an even cooler one. "Mine" is the size of a pack of cigarettes and must weigh a half pound, but holds a lot of music. I've been filling it up with music from our CD collection, and have been having a good time rediscovering corners that I haven't visited in a while.

During my illness I have found that music, music I really love anyway, affects me more than it did before. It takes me out of myself in a way that most other things don't. For a time my world had collapsed to a very cramped vista, and time seemed extended and continuous; stretching out forever but never actually touching the "future". Listening to music I love has been a a welcome respite.

Amid the jabbing and poking I got to talking to her about that. She told me that her husband had recently opened for Medeski, Somebody and Somebody Else (not Martin and Wood). I told her that I wasn't nearly in that skill range. I like listening to Chick Corea, for example, but people like that sometimes make me want to take up knitting instead.

She said that she gets to hear good piano pretty often. It came back to me ... the last name...

She showed me her badge: "Joy Jarrett".

Keith is her Father-In-Law, Noah is her husband.

----------------------
And...

In the early '70s I went on a cruise with my family. It was the Italian Line "Michelangelo". The food was Italian enough, but the itinerary was closer to home: a few Caribbean islands.

As the ship actually sailed from New York, and at a cooler time of year, there was plenty of shipboard time. I fell in with some of the other young teens on board. At least one of the girls sang a bit, and I was already in my first "band", (scare-quotes intentional). As cruising was less crowded, less structured and less packaged, they didn't mind a bunch of kids singing songs around a piano.

I briefly met a couple or three brothers. I believe they had a band together, and I somehow remember they were from Buffalo. (all details tentative) It sounded like they were more accomplished than my rag-tag group at home.

I've forgotten pretty much everything else, except the unusual name: Rataczak. I believe that over the years I've run into Dave twice, both times at the studio. They were far enough apart that by the second, I had forgotten the first. "Dave Ratacak... you're not going to believe this, but..."

"I know. The Michelangelo. You told me the last time I was here."

Oh well. I'll bet he was surprised the first time, whenever that was. I'd never have remembered any of it if their last name was Perkins.


Edited by gdguarino (10/15/10 08:37 AM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1535812 - 10/15/10 07:33 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
OH MY GOSH.... that is a fantastic story gduarino (i am a huge Jarrett fan).

i wish you the best with your issues. .. truly.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1535925 - 10/15/10 10:43 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
I am more a Guarino fan than I am a Jarret fan. But the element of understatement the nurse used was truly admirable, and she had truly excellent 'musician radar.' Nice subtle way, too, of letting you know you're 'in the family.' For, of course, you are as famous around here as, well, anyone.

As they say, "live fast, die young," so it's more than a surprise to some that I have lived long enough to have "issues" of my own (scare quotes intentional and actually scary), and a piano teacher half my age. I have to go to the hospital a lot, though so far the doc has managed to keep me out of it, and my piano teacher thinks I'm impossibly lazy and stupid and getting worse every day. Fair enough, I suppose; I used to be pretty smart, and energetic enough to get in LOTS of trouble. "Old enough to be harmless---" HA! Let them keep thinking so.

It is wonderful to hear your voice again, Greg. You have my very best wishes, and if you're unfortunate enough to land in the hospital, you have good enough luck to land a nurse who's on your side. A great nurse makes all the difference in the world when it comes to patient care and outcomes.

Since the talk has kind of turned toward book releases and the inner sensation of music... there was a time when Bach could have used a commercial, though his fortunes have turned around (the first edition of "The Art of Fugue" did not make enough sales to recover the cost of the printer's plates, which his son finally sold off for the value of the metal). But now here I am, pounding my way through the "Inventions," breaking a sweat over it daily, and only wishing I had more to give to it. Resting from that, I picked up Albert Schweitzer's two-volume musical biography of Bach (yes, the medical doctor who hauled a piano to his clinic in the heart of Africa's jungles and played Bach for the natives in his time off from work). The Dover reprint edition has sat on my shelf for a long time; so old and inexpensive I figured it was going to be way too hard to read. I was so wrong! A thunderbolt--- the guy said more on the first page than most books do in five hundred pages.

To calm down some, I read over the preface. No relief--- it turned out that young Schweitzer had studied organ under the great composer, performer and educator Charles Marie Widor. But it figures. If their music has lightning and bolts of thunder, joined with perfect plasticity of expression, why should their book prefaces not have it.

"The mind, like a colorless jewel, takes on the qualities of whatever it is placed on." I'm sorry you have been so ill, but if it gave the power of music a greater entree and fostered a deeper love even in you, I can't say it's been all bad. If you can be well and keep that door open, you will be a truly fortunate man.
_________________________
Clef


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#1537049 - 10/17/10 03:46 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 690
Loc: Germany
Welcome back, Greg! Glad to hear you're on the mend. We've missed you around here.

Hey, love the Dave Ratajczak story. For anyone wondering why Greg told this story . . . Dave is the drummer in the short film I posted a few weeks ago. It's called The Drummer and it's about a wedding band (or lack of one). Here tis again, in case you missed it.

http://www.thedrummershort.com/watch_film.htm

I do believe the last time I saw/heard Dave was not on the Michelangelo Crusie Ship, but with my husband and Claude Bolling at an outdoor festival somewhere on Long Island. This was probably seventeen years ago.

Also love the Joy Jarrett story! Many musicians have family members in the medical field, which is probably a good thing. My dad had an almost identical run in with a nurse who turned out to be George Benson's mom. Dad had played with George before he left Pittsburgh and became a star. Mom Benson didn't have to leave Pittsburgh to become a star—she already had her fans at the hospital.

Anyway, Greg, looking forward to more posts as you continue to heal.

Yes, Jeff, the book launch is planned for spring. The castle is already planning an "asparagus menu" to correspond with the reading/concert, which will be held on Mother's Day, at the peak of asparagus season, right before the brides storm back into the castle and take over again. I'll probably never book another wedding gig once the book is released, because it's also being published in German and a few of my bride stories are in there. (Remember "The Tattooed Bride"?) But no risk, no gain, so I'm going for it.

Last night's wedding dinner turned out to be only four hours—the people were speed eaters—but that's okay because my back starts to ache after three hours on the bench. The fifty people were all seated at one very long table and—let me tell you—I have never seen so many roses in my life. The entire center of the table, from one end to the other, was piled high with a ridge of pink, orange, and red roses. It was BEAUTIFUL.

The gig was easy, everyone completely ignored me. I mean, really, not a single adult (except for the photographer) talked to me or even waved hello.

One awkward thing: I was scheduled to start at 6:30. I arrived at 6 :15, knowing that everything would be in order and that the technician had been there to tune the piano that morning (One of the benefits of working so often at the same place is that there are no instrument surprises!). But the guests had shown up an hour early and insisted on being seated. So even though I wasn't late, it looked like I was late. Odd feeling. I've learned over the years that if I'm actually late I should never apologize, never explain, I should just relax and act like I'm on time and no one will notice. But last night I wanted to shout out: "I'm not late, you're EARLY!!!" I resisted.

Also, our younger guests---five adorable pre-school aged children---- were seated (of course) next to the piano. The bride—in a move straight out of the Wilma von Weasel playbook— had thoughtfully provided them with toys that blared TECHNO music. They opened these gifts just as I was sitting down to play, and I thought, oh boy, this is not getting off to a good start. But an astute nanny assessed the situation, confiscated the offending techno toys, and got the kids to color. I smiled at her and nodded my thanks, but even she ignored me.

Later in the evening the same kids discovered they could crawl under the table from one end to the other. Tunnel heaven! One of the kids belonged to the bride, and I took great pleasure in watching her get down on all fours to retrieve her three-year-old son from underneath the immense table, which was draped in three layers of ivory linen and all those roses.

All in all it was an easy night. I had a nice bowl of soup and a hunk of the world's best bread before I left. And I'm sure there will be leftover roses today when I return to play for my regular Sunday lunch gig.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1537868 - 10/18/10 09:26 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
that was a lovely story Robin. I made a huge mistake yesterday.. i won't even go into it.

prayers and thoughts for a complete recovery Greg.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1538073 - 10/18/10 02:13 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 690
Loc: Germany
I don't know, Apple, i think you have to tell us about the mistake! I live for mistakes. they make life interesting.

There were no roses on the Sunday after the wedding. The bride took every last flower home with her. There must have been 2000 roses, really. She must have had a truck.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1538114 - 10/18/10 02:54 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
I don't know, Apple, i think you have to tell us about the mistake! I live for mistakes. they make life interesting.

There were no roses on the Sunday after the wedding. The bride took every last flower home with her. There must have been 2000 roses, really. She must have had a truck.


Perhaps she talked all the guests into taking them home.
_________________________
Terry@cincyrockers.com
www.theplayerpianoshop.com

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#1538126 - 10/18/10 03:07 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
Greg, good to hear from you again. grin
_________________________
Terry@cincyrockers.com
www.theplayerpianoshop.com

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#1538577 - 10/19/10 05:45 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4663
Loc: Italy
Maybe she wanted to start her marriage on a bed of roses?
_________________________
Interested in MOYD? Check out the RULES!
XVIII-XXXIII
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1538652 - 10/19/10 09:12 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
I don't know, Apple, i think you have to tell us about the mistake! I live for mistakes. they make life interesting.

There were no roses on the Sunday after the wedding. The bride took every last flower home with her. There must have been 2000 roses, really. She must have had a truck.





i was one of those mistakes that only an accompanist would fear. There is service music in the Catholic Mass. Dozens of settings have been written and we periodically change these. I work with/for a wonderful director. She is the epitomy of a benvolent dictator.. a six foot tall German with a military background AND a doctorate in choral conducting and more. When she turns and looks at me with horror and frustration i quake even tho she is basically my best friend. ha ha.

i gave an intro for a different HOLY HOLY.. fortunately it was in the same key as the one we were supposed to sing. I knew she was angry when she didn't shake my hand at the sign of peace.. always a good indicator. I have a reputation for being a bit spacey.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1538705 - 10/19/10 10:49 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
Playing the Service for the Dead at an event that turned out to be a wedding... that's still the one to beat.
_________________________
Clef


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#1538733 - 10/19/10 11:34 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
Playing the Service for the Dead at an event that turned out to be a wedding... that's still the one to beat.

Unless it's the wedding of a member of or fan of the Grateful Dead band. crazy
_________________________
Terry@cincyrockers.com
www.theplayerpianoshop.com

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#1539053 - 10/19/10 09:09 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Welcome back, Greg! Glad to hear you're on the mend. We've missed you around here.

Hey, love the Dave Ratajczak story. For anyone wondering why Greg told this story . . . Dave is the drummer in the short film I posted a few weeks ago. It's called The Drummer and it's about a wedding band (or lack of one)
I really should proofread my posts. I decided that my original formulation of the story, which began with me watching the film, took away the element of surprise. But without any mention of the film there’s no surprise at all, except maybe for Robin.

I have a pretty nice story I’d like to tell, but will be sparing with some of the details online.

I was recently in the hospital for three days. It was a pretty comfortable stay and I was able to get around a bit. There’s even a recreation area for the more ambulatory patients. If only for a walk and a change of scenery, I made my way over there.

I expected a lounge, a small library, arts and crafts tables and the like. And that’s what I found, plus a piano.

The room was quite large. Near the far end I saw a woman grouting a mosaic tile candy dish. She wore a blue smock that suggested “Staff”. I asked her what the policy was regarding the piano, expecting to hear that it was restricted to the performers they have from time to time.

She paused, “Are you a player?”

On most days I’d have felt comfortable answering that yes, by reasonable standards, I am a “player”. But what with being tethered to an I-V pole, an ACE bandage around my left hand and some more insidious (but thankfully, temporary) impediments, I felt the need to qualify my answer a bit. I believe I began with the word “Usually…”

She said I was more than welcome to play. They ask non-“players” to use a digital they have; apparently better volume control is the key factor.

Even back in what I refer to as the “real world”, I don’t typically play solo in front of people. I’m not especially shy about it, but my attempts tend toward random improvisation. It’s a fine way to spend an hour for the player, but not always as satisfying for any onlookers. There were a few people scattered around the room. I started off slowly and softly, trying here and there to repeat a motif or set of changes to avoid my usual stream-of-consciousness. The piano was in pretty decent shape and tuning. I tried to throw in an actual song once in a while.

I felt clumsy, but careful avoidance of quick sets of notes kept me from driving the bus entirely off the cliff. The Grout Lady came over after a while. However I might have sounded, I’m sure she’d have applied the same critical standards to my playing as she might have to a patient’s birdhouse or bead jewelry. I told her I’d have to be going soon; sitting on a hard bench without a back was taking its toll.

“What? Hold on. Wait right there…”

She applied all five-feet-nothing of her frame to the task of dragging over a heavy padded armchair. It was nearly as big as she was and came from far across the room.

“…you keep playing.”

Maybe she did enjoy it a bit. Nice. But that’s not what I remember best.

I played a little longer. Armchair or not, I was getting tired again and was winding down to leave. A woman comfortably into her eighties was coming down the ramp into the room, assisted by a younger woman who was likely her daughter. She moved slowly, but stood tall and straight.

A song came to mind, one my Dad always liked. “Tenderly” He used to ask me to play it when I was a teen. (My Dad is in his eighties too).

I went through a couple of verses. By this time the women had passed me, without comment. But I heard the older woman singing the melody softly. She was on key and there was a hint of quivery vibrato; the kind of non-professional but accomplished singing that might once have been more common. It spoke of Sundays in the choir, or perhaps just an era in which people saw to more of their own entertainment.

They never turned around, but they made my day.

I’ve been reflecting on what lessons I might draw from my current situation. For quite a while, I had been saying that I hoped to forget any such “lessons”. At best, most could be lumped under the heading, “you can get through a miserable time”. Useful, I suppose, but not terribly inspiring, and carrying with it some counterbalancing and unattractive memories

But there has been at least one other class of lesson. An awful lot of people have been pulling for me, calling from the four corners of the earth, offering help of every kind, repeatedly and continuously; Even people I’d lost touch with, or hadn’t seen very often, or didn’t know all that well to begin with.

Beyond the obvious – that people can be pretty generous – we touch more lives than we know. And some of the people we touch seem oblivious to the conspicuous flaws we see in ourselves. To see yourself in the eyes of people who care about you can be a quite a revelation. And the list has been longer than I could ever have expected.

I am quite at a loss to respond to Clef’s recent post, except to say that surely no one else could have written it. Camaraderie from afar, good wishes, Albert Schweitzer, J.S Bach and another positive lesson I might draw from a tough situation, all woven into a coherent whole. Woven with evident effort, by someone I know only through writing.

We touch more lives than we know.

I hope the woman in the rec room got a few seconds of surprise and enjoyment from that song. Maybe she’ll even tell it as a story sometime.

I’d like that.

Thanks to all.


Edited by gdguarino (10/19/10 11:28 PM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1539190 - 10/20/10 01:33 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 690
Loc: Germany
Thank you, Greg, for that beautiful post.

"We touch more lives than we know," you say. Beautiful, and inspirational for all of us who play or write or put art into the world and hope for the best.

So, you were a cocktail pianist in a hospital crafts room. As Fred Rogers once said to me, "You never know who is listening." It's the thing that keeps me going on these solo gigs. Someone is always listening. And maybe the music will make a difference in his or her life. Sounds like this is exactly what happened with the retired church choir soprano who passed through your room.

Also sounds like you've been listening to yourself, not just to the music you play, but to the music in your thoughts. This is always a good thing.

I agree, Clef says the most profound things.

And so do you.

Keep writing, keep playing.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1539782 - 10/20/10 10:37 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
that WAS an awesome post Greg... glad to know you
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1540105 - 10/21/10 10:17 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
And "Yesterday and Today in Wedding History:"

I thought I'd let it pass by when I saw the notice of Jacqueline Kennedy's marriage to Aristotle Onasis, yesterday. But, today when Juan Peron married Evita, I just had to say something.

It beats yet another story about the antics of Elvis impersonators in the Las Vegas nuptial factories (the last remaining industrial powerhouse in the US economy). It also beats going into the kitchen and scrubbing the shelves with antiseptic and putting out traps and poison for a mouse or mice who have invited themselves to dinner.

And the beat goes on...
_________________________
Clef


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#1540847 - 10/22/10 08:48 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: apple*]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: apple*
I gave an intro for a different HOLY HOLY.. fortunately it was in the same key as the one we were supposed to sing. I knew she was angry when she didn't shake my hand at the sign of peace..

Ah, the cutthroat world of the choir.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1541361 - 10/22/10 10:44 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 690
Loc: Germany
I'd say that choir director is treading on thin ice. Never ever mess with the organist. It would be ever so easy to transpose next week's choir feature to an impossibly high key.

Apple, maybe you could purchase one of those joy buzzer contraptions for the next "sign of peace" handshake.

I'm thinking we could open an entire shop full of gig-related merchandise—none of those cutesy piano keyboard items, but really practical things like bride repellant spray, joy buzzers, extension cords, and flasks.

Ideas?
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1541988 - 10/23/10 07:22 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
I had another hospital visit on Thursday, just for a few hours.

I am an extreme late-adopter as regards MP3 players. I have only very recently gotten one, and even then only because it was too large, old and uncool for anyone else in the family.

I still don't feel any need to impose my own soundtrack on the universe during all my activities, as seems increasingly in vogue; the world is pretty interesting on its own, I find.

[tangent alert, please assume the "brace" position]

Here's an example. When I feel up to working, I've been driving to and from. In more regular times I take public transit. Driving into Manhattan (NY City) anywhere near rush hour is not a task for the faint-hearted. I avoid highways altogether and take a route through some Brooklyn and Queens (other "boroughs" of NYC) neighborhoods instead.

The basic route has worked out pretty well. But once I had practically memorized every storefront along the way, I started to vary things a little. I've now taken dozens of different permutations, and not because I expected to save any time. I'm exploring; I feel like I'm at the helm of the Santa Maria some days, which I like. Neighborhoods that have been a complete mystery to me, despite being a few miles from my home, now have a "shape" to them, and a thousand little details too. Prevented from being a tourist of distant destinations, I choose to be one at home.

[The captain has informed us that we are now lurching back to our original trajectory]

I think that having music right in my ears would insulate me too much from the world around me. This is likely not even safe in places which demand a large degree of awareness just to negotiate a complicated and dense urban environment. But beyond that, I generally prefer to be "present". Things interest me, amuse me, puzzle me, and sometimes make me wince a bit, but it's better than floating through unaware...

[The previous announcement was premature, but the Catpain assures us that we will now be be making a sharp bank to starboard]

... usually, anyway. But sometimes, say when you're in a small windowless room for a few hours, "floating" on a carpet of sound can be very pleasant indeed.

And if you have what amounts to the world's oddest radio station -- several hundred songs (and rising) drawn from a wide variety of disparate genres, yet without any (for me) "chaff", played entirely randomly -- it can be a good bit better than pleasant.

Laying around in a hospital room, even for a short time, and even with only mild discomfort, is a perverse time to feel lucky. But I couldn't help it. I was being carried off on a journey by the music, a feeling that was perhaps intensified by being a little sleepy.

I'm sure I actually drifted off a couple of times. But when I was awake there was Arturo Sandoval alternately jolting me with Big Band Latin electricity or playing a soft, liquid trumpet over piano. Next Dr. John would intersperse rasping vocals with piano that was simultaneously perfect, obvious, and impossible for anyone else to have played. Sharon Isbin, unafraid, followed with a Latin American classical guitar piece with percussion.

It was a steady, odd parade. Oregon would improvise something militantly acoustic featuring Eastern harmonies, Lyle Lovett would counter with something wry and clever and Paul Winter would carry me off to freezing late December nights spent at Solstice Concerts in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

There were, of course, visits from the pantheon of my youth: Steely Dan, Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Santana and the like. (in whatever sense those four could be considered a "like"). But they were interspersed with lilting Bossa Novas, Tom Waits growling about women, drink and temporary accommodations, some impossible musicianship by Paquito D'Rivera or something impossible not to grin at by Asleep at the Wheel.

Lucky.

Lucky to have something that can transport me; strong enough to take me away when I need it to and strong enough also to keep my interest in less"needy" times.

The parade continued, a jumbled sideshow of songwriters, singers, and some great instrumentalists. Indigo Girls, Ray Charles and then Gonzaguinha (I'm can feel the Brazilian "jones" coming on in a big way again).
Loud and raucus, soft and subtle, electric, acoustic, lyrics I love, lyrics in languages I don't even understand , sophisticated jazz chords followed by three-chord Blues and Roots. Best of all? Music I'd forgotten about.

A reverie.

I found myself smiling a lot, which probably would seem a little strange given the setting. I don't know how often the nurse came in to check, but it happened to be Joy again, and she probably knows what it means if I'm grinning with headphones on.

I've had a similar disjointed soundstream playing while I've been writing this. As I come to the end of my post, a positively sublime song I can only remember having heard once or twice is on. It's called "Pra Quem Quiser Me Visitar" and it's by Leila Pinheiro. I can't tell you anything about her; the song probably came from a collection.

It seems fitting. It's commanding a lot of my attention now, making it harder to concentrate on writing. Jeez this is good. It's full of the "minor chord with Major 7th" harmonies that nicely symbolize the one familiar word I've been able to detect in the lyrics so far, "Saudade" (sow-DA-gee). That's the Brazilian concept of "happy sadness" as best I understand it.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to go now. I've got to play that song again.

See? Lucky.


Edited by gdguarino (10/23/10 08:13 PM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1542182 - 10/24/10 01:30 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20744
Loc: Oakland
Hey, I tuned for one group on that list this week, and I will tune for another this week! My life is your MP3 player!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1542272 - 10/24/10 08:11 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
heh... i would never intentionally mess with the director. she's tooooo cool.

I found that my ipod is indespensible (?) for learning music. if i aurally memorize the music before i start playing, i can practically, flawlessly sightread even Bach. I also play along with the ipod.. starting with the first 'chord' of all measures and then filling it.

an accelerator of sorts. I have no problem with style imitation.

I think I'd live to invent a remote control personal vibrating metronome.. everyone would get a pulse at exactly the same moment.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1542399 - 10/24/10 01:16 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...Apple, maybe you could purchase one of those joy buzzer contraptions for the next "sign of peace" handshake... we could open an entire shop full of gig-related merchandise... really practical things like bride repellant spray, joy buzzers, extension cords, and flasks. Ideas?"

Yes, I have an idea you are trying to start trouble--- trouble I've seen plenty of over the years, starting with being sent to the principal's office in elementary school.

Whoopee Cushions and Plastic Dog Poo have stood the test of time. Don't leave fingerprints! Also, do your best to keep a straight face and preserve a demeanor of innocent surprise. The Joy Buzzer and the Fake Hands which come off when they are shaken--- you're sure to get caught. DON'T get caught. I had very good luck with a plastic spider, which I put on a thread and lowered into the librarian's plane of vision (she actually picked up her typewriter and threw it; luckily she was a good sport since I was a favorite).

Blackening Soap lacks subtlety, though I've always liked it just before a wedding; however I don't think much washing takes place then. Maybe after the bride and groom mash wedding cake all over each others' face (if they're that type, Blackening Soap is too good for them).

Do they make Electric Mice that operate via remote control, like one of those little cars or airplanes? A Church Mouse for a church wedding.

Common--- so common; low, even. A person of refinement would never even let the mind 'go there,' no matter how provoked. And so mean and unworthy (I have to keep telling myself); also extremely risky, with brides as keyed-up as they so often are. Just make sure no one sees you with the remote control--- a henchman in the vestry may be the way to go. But if you think the Wedding March is taking too long, you could turn it into a fifty-yard-dash that could take the record (for pumps and a long dress).
_________________________
Clef


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#1542800 - 10/25/10 01:53 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 690
Loc: Germany
Very common, very low. Lower than low. Throwing all good taste out the window. Who among us would stoop to such tactics?

I actually own one of those remote control rats. Not that I, queen of good taste and international diplomacy, would ever think of using it to chase a bride down the aisle.

It's blackish-brown and very authentic looking. It even appears to be wet, like it just crawled out of a sewer. You could place the rat in the sixth pew from the front (friend of the bride or friend of the groom?) and have it dart out just when the maid of honor walks by. Right when that sixteenth note section of the Pachelbel Canon kicks in. Remote could be operated by a plant in in the choir. This way, should anyone get busted, it would be a SINGER.

Personal note: I know from experience that the very idea of a rodent under one's long skirt is enough to cause major hysteria. I had a castle mouse run under my gown while I was playing one night. Echos of my screams are still be heard across most of the Rhineland.

I'm also thinking it would be nice to have a goodie bag for musicians to give to the bride after the gig. A toke of appreciation to thank her for hiring us. Clef?
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1542982 - 10/25/10 09:52 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG

I'm also thinking it would be nice to have a goodie bag for musicians to give to the bride after the gig. A toke of appreciation to thank her for hiring us. Clef?

I'm sure that many a musician has offered one of the guests a "toke of appreciation" after a gig.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1542999 - 10/25/10 10:17 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 690
Loc: Germany
Some typos are better left unedited.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1543034 - 10/25/10 11:07 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
Even I am not low enough to sic a Sewer Rat on a bride, simply for my own amusement... when an adorable little church mouse with gorgeous black eyes and a velvety-gray muzzle would do the job just as well. But hold that Sewer Rat in reserve. If you see the wedding planner heading your way...

I saw one on Bridezillas who was just the type. The wedding was in the Deep South; the bride was from California. The wedding planner's pleasantries began with observing (to the camera--- not to the bride's face), "Well, she was TOO FAT to get in the dress," and ran on through the range of, "And she was SO DRUNK at the rehearsal, it's no wonder nobody knew what to do." For good measure, she added, "And if she shows up that drunk AT THE WEDDING..." She rolled her eyes, evidently a signal to God that it was time for a bolt of lightning to smite upon the purple-haired hussy.

At that point, I changed the channel to a documentary about World War Two; something a little lighter.

Mice don't know from formalwear, of course. They see those floor-length gowns as cover, in case hungry owls are flying overhead. So it's only natural that... you know. Last time mice showed up, about six months ago, we had an exterminator mouse-proof the house from cellar to attic. This area was mouse habitat long before the suburbs were built. But it's of no use if they can just walk in the back door, standing open for the convenience of the dogs.

At least I got Jerry to clean out the garage this time. More habitat and little supervision. Maybe if I just put a wedding planner out there, it would frighten them off--- give the house a bad name with rodents.
_________________________
Clef


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#1543133 - 10/25/10 01:28 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 690
Loc: Germany
Please send Jerry to my house. We had a mouse in the house last year and my daughter picketed with SAVE THE MICE signs until my husband agreed to a humane trap. The trap worked, we caught two mice and set them free far away from the house.

Maybe we could sell wedding planner front lawn statues to ward off evil spirits.

Anyone ever deal with a male wedding planner? I have. Very scary.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1543154 - 10/25/10 01:47 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Maybe we could sell wedding planner front lawn statues to ward off evil spirits.

Perfect for the above-mentioned store!
_________________________
Terry@cincyrockers.com
www.theplayerpianoshop.com

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#1543155 - 10/25/10 01:49 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
Greg G: Really enjoying your writing.
_________________________
Terry@cincyrockers.com
www.theplayerpianoshop.com

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