ensemble playing, yay!

so i contacted four community bands/orchestras and will be playing in probably 3, though i’ve only rehearsed with one of the three yet.

the fourth one was the austin symphonic band; they let me sit in on a rehearsal even though they don’t need any oboes. as it happened two of the oboists were gone that night so it was a good thing i was around. they’re phenomenal. it’s a full-on symphonic band lineup with 90 players. big rich sound, totally amazing. bummer i won’t be joining them, but whatever.

i went to the waterloo wind band’s rehearsal on monday night and it was fun — a small, growing group that has a lot of promise. they’re rehearsing for a spring concert and so it’s all broadway and pops, which i kinda dislike. but oh well — they were so glad to have an oboist — they had none at all — that they were all “an oboe! yay!!” when i walked in.

then i had a little, brief audition with the conductor of the st. edward’s university orchestra — apparently it’s such that they need players from the community to fill out the roster, as st. ed’s is not exactly a music school. i played a bit of the schumann i’ve been working on (three romances) and did a little sightreading for him, and he was satisfied and invited me to play. i think he just wanted to make sure i didn’t completely suck.

this coming tuesday is the austin civic wind ensemble‘s rehearsal. i inquired and they were totally like yeah, come along. don’t know much about them. they’re way up north and the rehersals are 7:30 to 9:30 pm — that gets me home around 10, and then i get up at 4:30 for work, which sucks as i try to be in bed by 9, but whatever. i’ll manage. waterloo is the same hours but they’re like 5-10 minutes away. st. ed’s is earlier, 5-7 and they’re totally close too.

so st. ed’s is sunday night, waterloo is monday night, and ACWE is tuesday night. i kinda wonder if i’m spreading myself too thin, but we’ll see.

the howarth is lovely but i have to break it in carefully so i can only play it like 10 minutes at a time for a while.

i tried to make a reed yesterday but it was a huge fail. couldn’t keep the cane straight, couldn’t tie it tight enough to close the sides, couldn’t wrap it well… god, it was awful. i was watching kerry willingham’s videos on youtube and trying to follow along but didn’t succeed. gonna have to have faith teach me in person. i used to make my reeds back when, but apparently i’ve completely forgotten how. the reeds i’ve been buying so far completely suck. argh.

i really need to get my butt into the encaustic studio again — haven’t been in weeks. i’ve got plenty of time to do it, just haven’t been sufficiently motivated.

stolen instruments

just putting this out there:

Stolen instruments:
On thursday 24th of january 2013 my instruments were stolen in the Thalys Train 9325 from Paris to Brussels
The train was supposed to go at 10.01 hrs but arrived in Brussels only around 13.30 hrs. Due to technical problems it also stopped in Lille, where people got of the train.

The instruments were stored above my head – a classical case.

The instruments are:

An English horn Lorée Paris from 1913, serial number CC39
An Oboe Lorée Paris, from 1893 serial number H81
The instruments were in a modern black nylon double case (dimensions c. 50x40x10 cm) with the brand name Lorée Paris labelled on it

If you have any trace of information about these stolen instruments – of quite irreplaceable value – please let me know.
With kind regards

Stefaan Verdegem

Brusselsesteenweg 38

B-1850 Grimbergen – Belgium

#32 2 269 97 35




ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

so all six oboes arrived on friday afternoon and once they had returned to room temperature i tried them out right away. wasn’t as impressed by the rigoutats as i thought i’d be, not even the riec. the fox was about as pedestrian as i expected, and the yamaha was bright like people said it would be. but the two howarths stood out, and the new one was better than the used one — i trusted it more in the lower register.

so yes, soon i will be the owner of a new howarth S20c. it’s a student model designed for high-schoolers, really, but its tone is absolutely lovely and it’s really very nice. a definite step up from the one i have now.

now to build my embouchure back up plus my endurance… and at some point re-learn how to make my own reeds. i still have shaped cane that i bought a million years ago that hasn’t been used yet.

i emailed a lady at the austin philharmonic about possibly joining and will probably contact a couple of the other community groups as well. i know my teacher plays in a couple of them too. i’m so excited to start this up again!


so i called the two oboe people today and i should have oboes from both of them coming to me on friday to try out. gonna see the teacher i went to last week to get her opinion too, probably on tuesday.

omg! friday!!

cut and paste from a message to friends

if you’re on facebook you probably know i’m super-obsessed with finding an oboe right now. i’ve got like $3000 to work with, which isn’t all that much when you’re talking about these instruments, but that’s the way it is.

i haven’t played since i left minneapolis in 1997. didn’t know a soul when i got to massachusetts, didn’t know of any groups to play with or anything, so i just kinda let it slide. and then it slid some more, and etc etc etc. but lately i’ve really really been missing that particular creative outlet — it’s like singing, almost. voicing something that you otherwise couldn’t, in any other way.

i still have the ancient student oboe that i played in college. i’ve been practicing again and while it’s tiring for the lips, i seem to be in better shape than i thought. had one lesson with a nice lady who’s studied with one of the oboists from the austin symphony, so that gives me confidence in her and it went pretty well. probably see her again once i get paid friday.

also, i signed up for a free trial with scribd.com and they have a *shitload* of oboe music. i think i downloaded just about everything available.

so i’ve been talking to a couple oboe dealers, nora post and hannah selznick, both very nice women and as is customary with this sort of thing, both will send a couple instruments out for trial with no obligation. so i talked to mathew last night and got the ok to take some out on trial; if there’s something i absolutely have to have now there’s always AmEx. so i think i’ll call both of them today — ideally i’ll get the four from hannah — a rigoutat RIEC, a howarth S20, a yamaha 441M and a fox 450), and the two from nora (rigoutat delphine and another howarth S20) all at once so i can compare the two rigoutat models against one another (hannah has the RIEC, nora the delphine) to see if i’m missing out on much if i don’t get the more expensive RIEC and get the affordable delphine instead. rigoutat is supposed to have a darker sound and that’s what i’m going for. leaning toward no on the yamaha but i should try it out just to see.

i’ve had trouble sleeping because i can’t stop thinking about it, it’s so exciting.

wow, ltns

dang, it’s been early october since i updated.

since then i’ve been rather active with the austin encaustic arts group, showing at the dougherty center and soon to show at the georgetown library. also doing raw artists, a one-night show of new and emerging artists in all sorts of categories.

also i’ve picked up the oboe again, after a good 17 years of not playing a single note. when i left minneapolis (and the minnesota philharmonic) and got to massachusetts, i didn’t know a soul in boston/cambridge and had no idea where there were any groups to play with or anything, and so i just sorta let it slide… and slide and slide. got to texas, still sliding. but lately i’ve really been missing that creative outlet — and i was so, so very good. music has always been my first love even though i’ve abandoned it and done it oh so wrong over the years.

so i’m busy building my embouchure back up and re-learning some fingerings. took a lesson from a woman who’s studied with one of the oboists in the austin symphony; that gives me confidence in her and she’s super-nice. plus, the other teacher i tried to contact never got back to me, so pphhttbbtt.

and i’ve been working on mathew for a new oboe. the one i have technically belongs to my former college, oops. looking at the yamaha YOB-441, which is around $3000. i’m told it’s better than the fox 330, which is about $500 more than the yamaha. probably not gonna happen until we get a tax refund this spring. itching and itching for it though. both those models are “intermediate,” i.e. not beginner instruments but not super-professional quality, somewhere in between. no way could i afford a professional model.

so yeah. busy with art these days. feels good.

october 7

so i stared at my art journal for a good 15 minutes or so tonight. does that count? i wrote some text onto a background i’d made a few days ago, so that layout is technically finished but it’s not like i really did any “art” to speak of. so far i’m kind of sucking at this.

getting one’s art on

so yesterday and i think the day before were artless. today i went to the studio, though, and did some encaustic work. had to go to jerry’s artarama first though and pick up some alizarin crimson oil paint to make some medium on the cheap — adding oil paint to the clear medium will make a decent encaustic paint if you need it. i totally can’t afford to buy R&F all the time, much as i would like to. and i use a LOT of alizarin crimson. just call me bob ross. [btw i bought a fantastic t-shirt at the bob ross site — “vote bob ross for president (paid for by the happy green tree party)”]

my business cards arrived from vistaprint — all 1000 of them in a big box. they’re lovely, but there’s an odd photoshop postscript error with the s in my last name. looks like it’s not bold like the rest of my name. i didn’t catch it at first until i showed the card to mathew. and it’s not their fault — i looked at the file i uploaded and it’s wonky — if you click on the text box it looks fine but if you click outside the box it changes. stupid photoshop. but i’ve got 1000 of these now and i paid a bunch for them, so out they go and i just hope no one notices 😉 ….