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#1983034 - 11/05/12 01:30 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
"Now It Can be Told:"

Happy Birthday, Natalie Schafer, millionairess television wife of Gilligan's Island's Thurston P. Howell, tycoon. She presided over one of televisions happiest and most charming screen marriages--- and even if it was a fantasy, I think it was worth remembering, though it will never be successfully emulated. Of course, still being in re-runs to this very day, our memories can be refreshed at will.

Throughout her whole professional life, Natalie's actual birth date, November 5, 1900, was kept the darkest of secrets. Even her closest friends--- even her husband--- did not know the truth. Well, you know what they say: "A gentleman never asks--- and a lady never tells."

The Wiki article on her life states the matter with a certain flair:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalie_Schafer

"Schafer was legendarily discreet about her age... 1912 was generally given as her birth year for many years, which few believed, yet her actual year of birth (which was not discerned until after her death) of 1900 shocked even her intimate friends. She was also a breast cancer survivor, a fact she withheld from her fans and friends.

"Her investments, particularly in real estate, made her a multi-millionaire" (back when a million bucks was still a million bucks--- ed.). Differing sources state that most of this fortune was bequeathed to either her "Gilligan's Island" co-star Dawn Wells, or to care for her dogs (Wells has not commented). The Los Angeles Times reported that Schafer bequeathed two million dollars to the Motion Picture and Television Hospital; the money was used to renovate the Hospital's outpatient wing, which was renamed the "Natalie Schafer Wing."

"Natalie Schafer died of cancer in her Beverly Hills home, at the age of 90... her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean, off San Pedro's Point Fermin Light."
_________________________
Clef


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Piano & Music Accessories
#1984946 - 11/10/12 07:45 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
I have steadfastly held to the idea that truth is manifestly stranger than fiction.

But as a direct consequence of Clef's post, I now know that one of the Gilligan's Island sequels was entitled "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island". As best I can tell, the movie's climax involves a basketball game between the Globetrotters and a team of robots that will somehow determine whether the villain achieves global domination.

You see my quandary. Must I abandon a core world-view? Perhaps the "stranger truth" in this episode is that a group of producers and writers (secondarily, I imagine) came up with this plot idea.

Or, maybe I'll just see how the day progresses. Chances are something will happen to ease my doubts, even though I don't have a gig tonight.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1987764 - 11/17/12 10:54 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Hi there PW Friends,

I just looked at my calendar and realized I have 26 gigs in the month of December. So much for the Year of Health. Ah well, I am feeling great and have lots of energy. I just have to limit my Riesling intake and remember to exercise. This year is an odd one, because both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fall on Mondays, which means very full weekends leading up to the big holidays. Crazy! Anyway, I have a nice combination of concerts, shows, and background music jobs, so things will be interesting to say the least. I get to go back to Berlin twice, once to play three songs for the farewell party for the Canadian Ambassador to Germany, and the second time to present my Piano Girl program for the embassy crowd.

Mixed in with all of the other jobs is my annual musical for children—this is our fourth year in a row. We'll do six shows over the course of two days. The musical features six ridiculous fairies (I am one of them), a piano-playing tree named Alabaster Epiphany Quixotico Baum, and a giant rabbit named Hobo. I get to wear a Dolly Parton wig, a big puffy tulle skirt, and rubber boots. I am now officially the world's oldest fairy, I think, unless, of course you count Mrs. Howell, who wasn't really a fairy, but did know a few things about magic.

Okay, I meant to file a report about last week's gigs. I played three private parties in a row—Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. No weddings, but one corporate shindig (I had two assistants), one wedding anniversary, and one birthday party.

The corporate party went well, in spite of the assistants. I finally figured out that the young people who end up up with this job —let's face it, assistant to the pianist is a pretty lowly title—are interns or apprentices. The clipboard lady doesn't know what to do with the interns, so she hands them off to me. Then I spend the whole evening worrying about them. I swear, this one young woman spent about 10 minutes arranging the water glass on my little side table.

The birthday party on the next night did not get off to a good start. It was a surprise party. I was scheduled to be there at 6:30 for a 7:00 start. I forgot about the annual St. Martin's Day parade in a neighboring village and got stuck right smack in the middle of 150 very cute little kids carrying lanterns, singing songs, and following a woman dressed like St. Martin (half a coat) riding a white horse. I am somewhat ashamed of the things I yelled at these kids—road rage ain't pretty—but I was on a mission and I had a piano to get to. I made it just in time. But you know, one of the tricks to being late is to look like you're not. I threw my coat at the manager, took a couple of cleansing breaths, tried to smooth down my electricity frazzled hair, and entered the salon with, literally, seconds to spare. Okay, fine. The husband of the birthday lady asked me to play softly when she entered (no big HAPPY BIRTHDAY song until later). Okay, fine. I spotted a couple of teenage girls in the room, so I started with "River Flows in You" because teenage girls like this song. But one of them started frantically waving her arms at me, then raced across the room and said: "Don't play that song, it reminds my mother of her dead sister and she'll cry."

Well. It was too late. She was already crying. I did a fast segue into "The Girl from Ipanema," a song that never makes anyone cry.

The next thing that happened is that the owner of the castle hotel chain walked into the room—he and his wife were guests for this party. Okay, fine. But they were seated right next to the grand piano, so they were staring directly at me. And this was going to be a 6 course dinner.

Not so fine.

Speech. Which led to the HAPPY BIRTHDAY song. At this point—because of being late, making the birthday girl cry, and having the owner sitting there staring at me like I had a lettuce leaf on my head—I was a little rattled, and every one of you who plays gigs knows that HAPPY BIRTHDAY can be, uh, problematic. I have hit more klunkers playing HAPPY BIRTHDAY—it's just part of my gig history. It's so easy to get distracted and screw it up. If you don't believe me, go right to the piano this minute and play it. If you played it perfectly, then you're a better woman than I am. Note: my friend Emilee, who plays at the Plaza in NYC has to play HB about 80 times a week. She still has a slight panic attack every single time. So it's not just me.

No big train wrecks—I survived. But it was a very long night.

The wedding anniversary was a great party. I played for the dinner and a Creole jazz band followed me for dancing. There was also a magician and a "show waiter" who did obnoxious things like clear a table while wearing industrial rubber gloves and a gas mask, not something we often see in the castle. I kind of enjoyed watching him, especially when he sat right down at a table and stole someone's soup.

On another note: My son is a huge Gilligan's Island fan. He claims he got into international business school by using Thurston's vocabulary. And let's face it, back in 1976 I got my first piano job by dressing like Maryanne. And I married a bass-playing Professor. I actually met Ginger in the lobby of the Marriott and I reviewed her daughter's first book (we had the same agent at the time). So Greg, my core world view is that pretty much everything in life can somehow be connected to the insanity of that show.

I gotta go practice HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1987806 - 11/17/12 12:38 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5640
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Speech. Which led to the HAPPY BIRTHDAY song. At this point—because of being late, making the birthday girl cry, and having the owner sitting there staring at me like I had a lettuce leaf on my head—I was a little rattled, and every one of you who plays gigs knows that HAPPY BIRTHDAY can be, uh, problematic. I have hit more klunkers playing HAPPY BIRTHDAY—it's just part of my gig history. It's so easy to get distracted and screw it up. If you don't believe me, go right to the piano this minute and play it. If you played it perfectly, then you're a better woman than I am. Note: my friend Emilee, who plays at the Plaza in NYC has to play HB about 80 times a week. She still has a slight panic attack every single time. So it's not just me.



I am SO GLAD you said that.

laugh

Cathy
_________________________

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#1988567 - 11/19/12 02:20 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
There's something I forgot to mention about that corporate gig, which was not at my regular venue, but at a nearby castle that sports a 120 year old C. Bechstein square back grand in the lobby. The piano is gorgeous—it boasts beautiful carved legs and has an elegant satin ebony finish. Sadly, I also think it has original parts, or at least it hasn't been restored anytime in the last billion years. It is a beast to play. The technician has done as much as he can with it, but unless the hotel sinks 5,000 € into some solid repair work, there's not much more that can be done to revive the aging patient.

This is also the venue where there are four pianos but only three benches, two of which are frozen in a very high position, which is okay for the guys who work there (they are on the short side) but not so good for me because I'm sort of tall. Every time I play there, it's like Piano Bench Lotto. Will there be a bench? Will it be adjustable? Will I throw my back out after five hours of playing on a bench that's too high? I started taking my own bench to this place rather than take my chances, but I wasn't driving from home on the night of the last gig, so I had to take what I got.

I got the adjustable bench, but there was something very wrong with it. Every time I shifted my weight on the bench—something that happens a bunch of times during the course of one piece of music, the bench CRACKED. I mean, it was loud. I began to feel really fat, which I'm not, but a cracking bench under one's butt can lead one to think such thoughts. Then, and this is where it got really disconcerting, whenever I changed the sustain pedal, the entire instrument WIGGLED. Crack, wiggle, wiggle crack. I'm sad to say I have witnessed two grand pianos crashing onto marble floors (once in NYC at the Grand Hyatt, once in Haiti at a hotel that years later fell into the side of a mountain during the earthquake) and I was not anxious to see a third one go down, especially if my legs (featuring my brand new foot with titanium parts) were under it.

Obviously I got through the gig without a disaster, but the thought of a seven foot grand plummeting onto the granite and taking me along with it added a nice level of tension to the evening. Maybe I should have had the assistants standing by to catch it, just in case.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1990923 - 11/26/12 03:28 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Hey, Frank Baxter and I are birthday twins! We were both born on November 26th. Not sure who is older. I will now go and play Happy Birthday and try not to screw it up. Frank, I'll leave the balcony doors open wide. The sound of the piano won't make it from Germany to Florida, but I hope the good vibes will!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1990956 - 11/26/12 07:11 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1814
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Happy Birthday to both of you!
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1990986 - 11/26/12 09:28 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Happy Birthday Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5636
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Hey, Frank Baxter and I are birthday twins! We were both born on November 26th. Not sure who is older. I will now go and play Happy Birthday and try not to screw it up. Frank, I'll leave the balcony doors open wide. The sound of the piano won't make it from Germany to Florida, but I hope the good vibes will!


Thanks Robin, I heard you playing it :-)
I'm the older of the two of us, born 1951.
Happy Birthday Piano Girl!
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#1991009 - 11/26/12 10:17 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Happy Birthday Robin and Frank! smile
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1991018 - 11/26/12 10:41 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5640
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I'll be your doppleganger today, Robin - I'll play Happy Birthday and screw it up, and yours will be perfect! NNTTM - it'll come naturally smile

Happy birthday to both of you -

Cathy
_________________________

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#1992000 - 11/28/12 03:05 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Thanks for the birthday greetings! I spent my birthday giving a creative writing workshop in DĂĽsseldorf (there's a joke here somewhere . . .).

Last weekend I met one of my "brides of weddings past." She and her husband (five years later, they're still together) came into the castle with their 18 month-old daughter, the lovely Johanna. I remember nothing about their wedding, but I do remember they were a very nice couple. I'm hoping they hire me for their 10th anniversary party.

This is FAIRY WEEKEND—six performances of my musical for children, "Hobo und die Waldfeen." I'll check back in when I get to the other side of Fairyland. We now have a cast of eight—a piano-playing tree, a giant rabbit, five fairies, and a troll. There's a lot of singing, drums, piano, trumpet, flute, and violin. If nothing else, the kids who see this show will have a live music experience. They might also have nightmares about the piano-playing tree (he wears a Wizard of Oz tree suit that I ordered from Amazon in the USA several years ago), but I like the tree so I'm not changing a thing. He is a fine musician, and he does a great job of playing even though his hands look like branches.

This is the fourth year for this show. I may be getting too old for this, but as long as the fairy costume fits, I'm hanging in there. I'll be brushing glitter off my skin until well after the holidays.

Happy weekend to all of you, and to those of you playing holiday gigs, remember—it's never to soon to start figuring out how to play an ending to "Carol of the Bells." I'm still on a loop from last year.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1992097 - 11/28/12 06:41 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21821
Loc: Oakland
My summers are spent on the other side of Fairyland. The Oakland Municipal Band performs on the bandstand which is just beyond the fence from Children's Fairyland in Lakeside Park. I do programs and sound and a bunch of other technical stuff which are necessary and usually unappreciated by the audience.

The bandstand dates to 1923, and the band has been playing in that area since 1912. Fairyland dates from the 1950s, and it was one of the inspirations for Disneyland. There are a lot of interesting things in Lakeside Park, which itself is the first wildlife refuge in the US, right in the heart of Oakland.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1992305 - 11/29/12 08:24 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
"The Other Side of Fairyland," just the title I have been looking for... speaking of birthdays and memoir. Or maybe, "The Underside" is what I'm looking for. But all the same, Happy Birthday, Robin, and many happy returns to you. Also Happy Birthday to your titanium foot; I believe you may qualify for two celebrations, two cakes, two champagnes, two bouquets of orchids, and two birthday gifts to indemnify you for the inconvenience. Believe it or not, I have been wondering when your birthday fell. Some of these days, I will record and send you my little piece, "Happy Birthday Pushing Forty." It was written--- let's just say--- "a few years" ago.

I have not been able to turn up much in the way of wedding arcana recently, except, perhaps (for yesterday, 11/28):

"1582 – In Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway pay a £40 bond for their marriage license."

These days £40 (or €40, or $40 either) would not put placecards on the table. Then again, there is no mention of paying that professional nuisance, the wedding planner (a big saving in more ways than one), and in fact I'm pretty sure the clipboard did not come along for quite a many years later--- in fact, I'm wondering when metals technology advanced enough to create spring steel. No clip, no clipboard. Talk about The Law of Unintended Consequences!

Now BDB, I really did take to heart what you said about the value of event planners. But you can't expect me to give wedding planners a complete pass on Robin's birthday. We'll speak of them no more, only pausing to imagine the scene where Robin takes one aside and tells her, in a low voice, "I have a titanium foot, dear."

I have never been to Fairyland, with its many surprising wonders, having only seen it while passing on the freeway. It did, of course, come to public attention a few years back when the statue of Mother Goose--- or was it Humpty Dumpty--- was mopped by vandals from its perch above the front gate. I believe that surprised everyone, for many reasons. On the whole, I find your find your story both more illuminating and more interesting.

Mother Goose was surprisingly subversive, but more about that another time. Meanwhile, regarding those questionable engagements at the Other Castle with the broken bench and the rickety piano legs (which strikes me as really dangerous). We have written about this place elsewhere, in connection with another wedding customer and a demo CD designed to teach them a lesson; we will speak of them no more. I would suggest that you make the simple rule that future customers there must rent a decent and safe piano for you to play, with its own bench. One simple rule, which covers a multitude of sins (oh I do love that expression).

While I don't mind reading in the news, "Wedding Disrupted by Screams," I would not like it if they were yours.
_________________________
Clef


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#1992381 - 11/29/12 11:43 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21821
Loc: Oakland
When I was young enough to take an adult, still only admitted accompanied by a child, to Fairyland, we would have to enter through the Old Woman's Shoe. Kids could go in standing upright, but adults have to duck down. Alas, laws have changed, and the entry gate has been moved behind the shoe, probably for ADA compliance.

I have not been in there since my niece, now married, was a child. I hope her older cousin will bring my grandniece one of these days, so I can go again. We do wrangle with their personnel, because their theater is entirely too close to the bandstand.

Lake Merritt has been undergoing a lot of changes, most of them precipitated by a proposal to build a cathedral on the parking lot for the Oakland Auditorium, aka Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, which alas, sits idle these days. In response, a group of citizens proposed a redesign of the roadways there, which was adopted by the voters, and that financed many other improvements around the lake. Facilities have been upgraded and improved all over. The project is at the final landscaping stage now. Completion should be in February, with a celebration in May, once the landscaping has taken root.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1992722 - 11/30/12 08:02 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...the kids who see this show... might also have nightmares about the piano-playing tree... I'll be brushing glitter off my skin until well after the holidays."

Only fair. Plenty of trees have nightmares about piano-playing kids.

Hey, if you want to take it on the road, it looks like we might have found a venue for you at Faerieland After Dark. Money, travel, a chance to meet people with a taste for the moderately bizarre. I used to know some of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and I can tell you for a sure fact that if once you let a drag queen into your car, you will never, ever, be able to get all the glitter out afterward, short of melting down the car for scrap. That, and the sequins.

The pickings were a little slim today, but this is still a well-known one for Today in Wedding History:

November 30, 1940 – Lucille Ball marries Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut. Did you know--- there is a life-size bronze of Lucy, seated on a bench (at what appears to be a bus stop) in Palm Springs, with her full skirt flying up in the wind. Nothing unseemly, just a touch cinematic.
_________________________
Clef


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#1992875 - 11/30/12 03:02 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1814
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I grew up only knowing Desi through his character on the I Love Lucy TV Show (which was that of a slightly goofy and eccentric Cuban musician).

Lately I've been advised he was in real life a very intelligent man generally, and quite a good musician. Perhaps still a little eccentric, though...
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1994047 - 12/03/12 09:42 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Desi was a great musician. He plays a small fictional role in my book, Rhythm.

At this point in my life, though, I feel more like Lucy. I am now on the Other Side of Fairyland, having survived six shows in two days. Lucky for me, the Woodland Animal part of the cast did not engage in any marital battles, not one of the fairies threw up, and everyone remembered their lines and showed up on time. Two of the fairies had bad colds (nothing like a fairy named Farteeno with a stuffed up nose), and the little boy who plays the Troll got a tad hyperactive by the time the last show rolled around. I had to jump into the audience and escort a screaming child out of the theatre (her idiot mother—who sat in the lobby drinking a latte— sent the child into the show unaccompanied). The little girl, who was three, freaked out when she saw the rubber fish (we perform a piece called the Stink Fish Tango). Can't blame her, the rubber fish is horrifying to some, really funny to others.

But aside from those small things, I think we did deliver a modicum of pleasure to many small children this weekend. And I for one am grateful they had a chance to hear live music. Our piano playing tree is fantastic and he holds everything together—no easy task considering the drummer and the violinist are each eight years old. I couldn't handle doing this more than one weekend a year, but I feel happy to have written and produced a show that feels like real theatre. No playbacks, no laser lights. Just real people acting like, well, fairies. There are lots of silly pictures here:

http://www.facebook.com/robin.meloy.goldsby

And now on to the next task: I'm packing away the wings and tutu and Thursday morning I leave for Berlin, where I will perform five concert pieces for the Canadian Ambassador to Germany. He is returning to Ottawa after many years of service over here. The concert pieces will be part of a farewell ceremony, which is bound to include many heartfelt speeches and tributes. He has requested that I play Heart of Gold, the Neil Young classic, which is hardly solo piano material, but I've sort of figured out a decent arrangement. So I'm going from fairies to Neil Young.

Report forthcoming.

Fairyland After Dark sounds like my kind of place.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1994652 - 12/04/12 01:25 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
Well, if it's got to be Neal Young, I think I'd rather go with, "It's Only Castles Burning." But it's hard to dust off the guest of honor's request. Tempting, to go with what our friend Greg's bandmate used to reply to requests: "Write it on a Twenty." I suppose it wouldn't do. I should steal that title for when I release a CD of covers--- I was going to title it, "You Never Know Where It's Been." But now that we have a PianoWorld Censor Board which deletes even moderately naughty words, and even thoughts sensed to be subversive and un- "family friendly," oh, you just never know if it's worth the trouble.

It seems to me that expecting everyone on this board to be "a friend of the family" is asking for a bit much.

I think I would rather go with a song about Neal Young, myself. Very late CSNY; you would have to scare up a few singers to put on the harmony, but it's very pretty; haunting, perhaps even inimitable.

"And the dreams of the cowboys will all blow away/
Like the dust on the desert/
On a hot, windy day/
I've tried so hard to tell you, in so many ways/
But I'm scared of the heartaches and scenes/
With the Cowboy of Dreams."


[Well, a quick tryover on the keyboard indicates it could be put over fairly well with piano accompaniment--- unusual chord voicing, I'll admit--- and solo lead voice. Not bad, for a post-golden-age number which the FM stations seem to have wholly overlooked.]

PS-
"...You'll like this, Clef. I had not one, but four assistants for the big evening... these ladies were following me around everywhere. They were really really nice, but I couldn't shake them... All I can say is that I never ever have an assistant when I actually need one. Such is life."

I haven't forgotten the story about the rainy night, the muddy cobblestone path, and the satin slippers. What you need is not assistants but some handsome fire-daddies--- properly buff and studly--- to get you into the hall using a 'chair-carry.' There's no chair, just their strong and muscular arms. And if I ran the zoo, dear Robin, you would have them.

Some of them contain titanium. You would have something to chat about on the way.

PPS
'Corcovado' is not bad in an emergency--- not that 'The Girl from Ipanemia' is, though it is both well-known and tricky to bring off. Gosh, anything from the original release of those Getz-Gilberto-Jobim sessions will settle an ugly crowd faster and better than turning a fire hose on them. Not for nothing did Astrud Gilberto rocket to international fame literally overnight.


Edited by Jeff Clef (12/04/12 02:05 PM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1994691 - 12/04/12 03:26 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1814
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef

...I haven't forgotten the story about the rainy night, the muddy cobblestone path, and the satin slippers. What you need is not assistants but some handsome fire-daddies--- properly buff and studly--- to get you into the hall using a 'chair-carry.' There's no chair, just their strong and muscular arms. And if I ran the zoo, dear Robin, you would have them....


Oooh... bad Judy Tenuta flashbacks...
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1994975 - 12/05/12 10:43 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Bring on the Fire Daddies with their titanium arms. I doubt I'll ever write another children's musical, but if I do, I'll work in some firefighters.

My husband is playing with Kurt Elling this week—two concerts in big halls featuring Kurt, the WDR Big Band, and a symphony orchestra. No Neil Young on that gig. I head to Berlin tomorrow. The concert/event is at the Ritz Carlton, and, lucky me, I get to stay there for a night. I'm hoping for a bench that doesn't creak and an in-tune piano with non-wobbly legs. Wish me luck.

Holiday wedding coming up on Saturday, and then my annual Concert in Candlelight on Sunday. The thing is, the concert salon is also the salon where the wedding dinner will be held. AND the breakfast the following morning. It will be somewhat problematic chasing the breakfast crowd out so that the technician can get in there and tune the piano. Let us not forget that this very instrument was pounded to death but a man in a tree costume just a few days ago. It's in pretty good shape, but still.

Oh, I'm listening to my daughter play the piano right now. I wonder if she takes requests.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1995221 - 12/05/12 08:52 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...Oh, I'm listening to my daughter play the piano right now. I wonder if she takes requests."

If you keep your cards close and lay them down carefully, it's possible. Off the top, I would guess she would find it hard to say no if [1] You send a fire-daddy to make the request, [2] He writes it on a twenty, and [3] A lot depends on what you ask for.

If a fireman were to ask for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," who could deny him? I know I couldn't. Of course, she may not be old enough to know this one, though I would imagine any daughter of yours would have at least a nodding acquaintance with the great lyrical works... and, it is covered very often in film and TV, to this very day. But that is where writing it on a twenty comes to the rescue. It may not be your daily grind of a 12-bar blues, but almost any performer will make an effort for an audience which shows some bulge at the tip jar, and I daresay there's a Fake Book within arm's reach. For twenty bucks, you might even get a medley... "Smoke Gets In," "Our Love is Here to Stay," and "These Foolish Things." (I'd ask for that one a little up-tempo; it brings out the poignancy, and no teenage girl can resist that.)

I suppose there is not much call at a wedding for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," unless one of the mothers-in-law is in an especially grim mood. Though, to me, 1933 is not so very long ago, and Jerome Kern is as fresh as tomorrow. George Gershwin,"Our Love is Here to Stay;" released in 1938 after his tragic, early death, but it still has a lot of life left in it.

I did not know this story, though:

"These Foolish Things" is a standard with words by Eric Maschwitz and music by Jack Strachey, both Englishmen. Harry Link, an American, sometimes appears as a co-writer; his input is probably limited to an alternative "middle eight" (bridge) which many performers prefer. It is one of a group of 'Mayfair Songs', like "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" [my idea of a fine encore--- ed.] Maschwitz wrote the song under his pen name, Holt Marvell, for Joan Carr for a late-evening revue broadcast by the BBC. The copyright was lodged in 1936. Maschwitz was romantically linked to the Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong while working in Hollywood, and the lyrics are evocative of his longing for her after they parted..."

So far, so well-known. The incredible part:

..."The song was not an immediate success and even Keith Prowse, Maschwitz's agent, refused to publish it, releasing the copyright to Maschwitz himself - a stroke of luck for the lyricist. Writing in 1957, he claimed to have made ÂŁ40,000 from the song. Despite being featured in "Spread it Abroad," a London revue of 1936, it aroused no interest until the famous West Indian pianist and singer, Leslie Hutchinson ('Hutch') discovered it on top of a piano in Maschwitz's office at the BBC. 'Hutch' liked it and recorded it, whereupon it became a great success and was recorded by musicians all over the world. This first recording by 'Hutch' was by HMV in 1936."

from Wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/These_Foolish_Things

For once! It may be a touching song, but I call it a happy ending.
"The smell of burning leaves, the wail of steamers/
Two lovers holding hands who walk like dreamers..."


Our modest little request may be written on a twenty today, but tomorrow it could be on a fistful of ten-thousand-dollar bills. Hey, a girl never knows.
_________________________
Clef


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#1996752 - 12/09/12 05:55 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Wow, Clef, thanks for the back story on "These Foolish Things." Who knew? What a great lyric that song has.

I had a great time in Berlin playing for the Canadian Ambassador. "Heart of Gold" scored big points for me and I even got one of those maple leaf lapel pins, which might come in handy. I performed in Berlin with my long-time song-writing partner Peter Fessler, who is a gifted guitarist and a world class singer. We did five songs, two of which were penned by us. About 100 people at the Ritz Carlton. Lovely hotel, and they have grand pianos everywhere. I saw at least four of them in the 18 hours I was there.

There was some VIP staying in the room next to me. I knew this because there was a security guard sitting outside the room all day and all night. And I thought having an assistant was bad. Imagine having someone right outside your door all the time. I don't know if this made me feel safer or not. Maybe I've seen too many movies where the bad guys break into the wrong room and whack the piano player. Actually there are no movies like that, but it's not a bad idea. At breakfast the next morning I noticed a lot of high fallutin' Russians. Maybe the VIP belonged to that bunch.

Last night's wedding was easy, although the guests were extremely LOUD. I played for the cocktail hour. The Upper Class Trio (featuring GoGo the singer) followed me and played dinner music and later for dancing. I love this band, in spite of their unfortunate name—but what the heck, they work all the time, so the name obviously isn't hurting them.

My big concert at the castle is tonight. There is a lot of snow on the ground and I fear attendance may be hindered. I hope I can be there myself. As I write this there are small children (not mine) skiing down my driveway. I'm very much looking forward to this evening. We'll have about 75 people in a charming salon with lots of candlelight. The concert will be followed by a four course dinner. Yeah! My husband and I are staying overnight and ringing in his 54th birthday in style. John has spent the week performing with the fantastic Kurt Elling. Now he is out shovelling snow. Ah, the life of the working musician . . .

It will be good to have a day off tomorrow.



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

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#1996785 - 12/09/12 07:41 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i always enjoy your anecdotes Robin!
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Ă•un (apple in Estonian)

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#1996843 - 12/09/12 10:06 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1814
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Nothing messes up my ability to play either piano or bass more than shovelling snow. I hope John doesn't have to move too much of it! Happy birthday to John, and enjoy your concert and evening, Robin!
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1999412 - 12/14/12 12:58 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
John survived the shovelling, I survived the drive (over the river and through the woods), and we only had a handful of cancellations for my concert. What fun we had. There was such a nice vibe in the audience—I knew (personally) about half the people there, and the complete strangers who happened to show up were welcomed warmly by those more familiar with what I do. After the concert people were seated at tables of ten and oh boy did they ever whoop it up during dinner—not something I expect at a candlelight dinner, but there was such a festive mood to the evening. I think we were all just happy to be alive after risking life and piano limbs just to get there.

John (the husband) and I have sort of a rule about not working together—we figure our marriage is more important than a couple of gigs, but we broke with tradition for this one concert and he played a few pieces with me, most notably a musical version of "Married to the Bass" a story from Piano Girl. I recited the story while he stood behind me and played. You can just imagine. I am posting it below, in case you're not familiar with this piece. Bass Player Magazine published it a few years ago and I started getting emails from bassists who were carrying it around with them so they could show it to babes they wanted to impress. There you go.

One funny thing happened at the concert. We did the program, took a bunch of bows, and then the audience wanted an encore. I sat down to play, and a guy in the front row, who was wearing an AMERICAN FLAG tie, shouted out "ROMEO AND JULIET." So there you go, once a cocktail pianist, always a cocktail pianist. I should have told him to write the request on the back of a twenty.

Anyway, that's it for me and the high pressure gigs for this year. I have quite a few cocktail piano gigs coming up between now and January 1st, but those jobs will be easy and fun. One wedding, tomorrow. I hope something will happen so I can report back here, but off-season weddings tend to be uneventful.

Here's the Married to the Bass story. Happy reading.

Married to the Bass
Excerpt from Piano Girl: A Memoir
Courtesy of Backbeat Books
©2006 Robin Meloy Goldsby


Okay, Ladies, listen up. Bass players make great husbands. There is no scientific data to support my claim. But having worked my way through the rhythm section, the technicians, and a handful of brass, reed, and string players, I’m a qualified judge.

First, consider this. A man who plays an upright bass is strong. He lugs the instrument around, carries it up steps, slides it in and out of cars, and maneuvers it through large crowds of people. If you marry a bass player you’ll be getting a physically fit husband. Okay, there is the occasional back problem. This crops up two or three times a year—usually when you want him to move your grandmother’s walnut armoire or need him to stand on a ladder and drill a hole in the ceiling. But you can cope with such minor inconveniences by calling a muscular clarinet player who is handy with a power drill. Good luck finding one. Here’s the thing: When your bass player is pain-free, he’s as strong as a bull. He has to be in order to make the gig. And he might even throw you over his shoulder and carry you over the threshold every so often, just because he can.

Next, ponder the shape of the upright bass. It’s shaped like a woman. A bass player knows about bumps and curves—he even likes them. He has dedicated his life to coaxing beautiful music out of voluptuous contours. He’ll do the same for you. Just don’t marry a stick-bass player, unless you look like Kate Moss or intend to spend the rest of your life eating lettuce.

Examine the bass player’s hands, especially when he’s playing a particularly fast passage. Now imagine what those fingers can do to you. Enough said.

A great bassist is an ensemble player, a team member who executes, with confidence, a vital role in any band with the strength of his groove, the steadiness of his rhythm, and the imaginative logic of his harmonic lines. This doesn’t just apply to the bassist’s music. It also applies to his outlook on life. A bass-player husband will be loyal, true, and interesting, and will help you emerge from life’s challenges looking and sounding better than you ever imagined. If you’re in a bad mood, don’t worry. He’ll change keys. On the other hand, if you marry a pianist, he’ll try and arrange everything and then tell you what your disposition should be. If you marry a guitarist, he’ll try to get ahead of you by analyzing your temperament in double-time. If you marry a drummer, it won’t matter what kind of mood you’re in because he’ll just forge ahead with his own thing. A bass player follows along, supports you, and makes you think that everything is okay, even when the world is crashing down around you.

There are some minor drawbacks. You need to have a house with empty corners, especially if your husband owns more than one upright bass. I know, you have that newly reupholstered Louis XV chair that would look fabulous in the corner by the window. Forget it—that’s where the bass has to go. You can come to terms with these trivial decorating disappointments by reflecting on the sculpture-like quality of the instrument. Even when it’s silent, it’s a work of art.

If you have children—and you will because bass players make great fathers—your most frequently uttered phrase will be “WATCH THE BASS!” You will learn how to interject this phrase into every conversation you have with your children. For instance: “Hello, sweetie, watch the bass, did you have a nice day at kindergarten? We’re having rice and broccoli for lunch, watch the bass, do you want milk or water to drink?”

You will be doomed to a life of station wagons, minivans, and SUVs. You might harbor a secret fantasy of zooming around town in a Mazda MX5 convertible, but this will never happen unless you go through a big messy divorce, give your bass-player husband custody of the children, and marry a violinist, which would be no fun at all. Better to accept the hatchback as an integral part of your existence and get on with it.

Any trip you make with your family and the bass will be a pageant that requires detailed organization and nerves of steel. In addition to your two children (one of whom probably wants to be a drummer—heaven help you), you will commence your journey with suitcases, bass, bass trunk, backpacks, amp, car seats, strollers, and diaper bag. Your husband, weighted down with an enormous backpack and a bass trunk the size of a Sub-Zero refrigerator, will leave you to deal with everything else. As you try to walk inconspicuously through the airport terminal, people will point and stare.

First Spectator: “They look the Slovenian Traveling Circus!”

Second Spectator: “Hey buddy, you should have played the flute!”

Things like that.

You will learn how to say ha, ha, ha, stick your nose in the air, and pretend that you are traveling with a big star, which of course he is, to you.

Your bass-player husband will know the hip chord changes to just about every song ever written in the history of music. This is a good thing. Just don’t ask him to sing the melody. He might be able to play the melody, but he won’t sing it—he’ll sing the bass line. And, if you happen to play the piano, as I do, don’t expect him to just sit there silently and appreciate what you are playing without making a few suggestions for better changes and voicings. He’ll never give up on trying to improve your playing. But that’s why you married him in the first place. He accepts what you do, but he pushes you to do it better.

If you marry the bass player, you marry the bass. Buy one, get one free. Your husband will be passionate about his music, which will grant you the freedom to be passionate about the things you do. You might not worship the bass as much as he does, but you’ll love the bass player more every day.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1999506 - 12/14/12 05:23 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
LOL That is a fantastic story about a bass man! smile

Glad things have simmered down for you. I'm off to a "musicians social" to support a local band this evening. My friend plays bass, I just might have to point him to this story! wink
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2000044 - 12/15/12 10:07 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1814
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
You're very kind to us bass players, Robin. Thanks!
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2000280 - 12/16/12 02:14 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Glad you enjoyed the bass player story! Just don't get me started about guitarists. I'm not nearly as kind.

So at last night's holiday wedding I had to deal with a famous Russian piano teacher (he was a guest) who stood by the piano and STARED at my hands while I played. I am pretty confident these days, but that was a little more than I like to deal with. He tried, really he did, to say some nice things, like (imagine Russian accented German here): "You play very well considering this piano is less than optimal." Or: "It is a miracle that you can play at all without the music in front of you." Or: "Nice acoustics."

I just kept smiling, nodding, and saying, "Danke," because, really, what's a girl to do? The Prokofiev just isn't in my fingers any more, and even if it was I doubt that the wedding party (average age: 19) would be interested in hearing it. At least not my version. How about a nice Christmas rendition of "What Child Is This?" Of course my arrangement of this piece does sound a little like "House of the Rising Sun," but whatever.

Then, on top of everything else I had a another guest, whom we shall call Katarina, hovering over my other side and telling me about her sex life. In detail. Maybe that's why the Russian piano teacher was hanging around—he wanted to hear all about the nasty-nasty.

The bride was wearing the pouffiest of all pouffy gowns. She needed several assistants just to get up the stairs. And I can't even think about what she must have had to deal with in the ladies' room.

And just let me go on record as saying that the Yamaha C7 I play in the main hall of the castle is a fine instrument. It is a war horse, that piano. It's 20 years old, gets moved around regularly, sits next to a working fireplace, and has drafts hitting it from three different directions. We should all hold up so well. I have a great technician there, and he comes once a month (sometimes more if we have concerts) to tune it. This alone makes a huge difference.

I played for lunch today and I'm back there again tomorrow night for a rare Monday night private party for Lufthansa. Come fly with me.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#2003562 - 12/23/12 04:17 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 708
Loc: Germany
Happy Holidays everyone! Lucky me, I made the NPR Piano Jazz Christmas Show this year. It's a nice hour of holiday music with wonder-woman Marian McPartland. I'm on toward the beginning of the program playing my composition "First Snow." Title of the show is Let It Snow, and there are lots of great players on here (including George Shearing). Have a listen while you're trimming the tree or decking the halls or wrapping the presents. Cheers!

http://n.pr/VWCPBq
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#2004272 - 12/25/12 11:48 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
riley80 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/08
Posts: 386
Loc: Florida
An organist friend just did a wedding. Somehow, the first bridesmaid wasn't listening to instructions at the rehearsal and she started down the aisle during the prelude. (Maybe tone deaf?) The organist made a split second decision to somehow end the music and launch into the usual Wagner, but it was an awkward moment for all.

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