Showing posts from June, 2024

Manhattan School of Music in Great Falls

Originally posted to FB December 21, 2012 This evening, I had a fun little gig playing "solo bassoon" with a clarinet quartet started by our Principal Clarinetist.  It was at a local nursing home, performing Christmas tunes for their annual Christmas dinner.  As I was warming up, a gentleman at the table closest to us remarked, "That sure looks like a bassoon!"  Since most people can't even identify my instrument, I was delighted to discover he had a background in music.  He told me he had played "a lot of bass drum and cymbals" but that he had occasion to be around bassoons quite often while studying at the Manhattan School of Music ...more than 60 years ago.  His name is William "Bill" Dolena, a native of NYC, who was a piano major at MSM in the early 1940's.  When WWII broke out, specifically the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted with the Marine Corps band and was sent over seas.  It was then that he played "a lot of bass drum a

Who She Was, Who I Am

Originally posted to FB on May 15, 2023.  Unplanned travel changes allowed us a brief drive through Altenburg, home of the now defunct East-West International Music Festival in which I played the summer of 2000. Economic abundance seems to continue to pass by this far-flung village. My German language skills were much better 23 years ago. The hotel for the orchestra has fallen into decay but the town's historic charm remains. My heart is filled as I recall the young woman who walked these streets, her dreams and goals. Incredible how different it all turned out. A year later the whole world changed, my aspirations with it. I was 19 turning 20 the summer I came to Germany, brave, naive, hopeful. I had no idea how capable I was, how powerful I could be in my own life, how narrow my vision was for possibilities beyond the one sacred path taught to conservatory students. There are so many words I wish had been spoken to me. Those are the words, the messages, the wisdom I give to

New England Music Camp

Originally posted to FB on August 19,m 2023 During the summers of 1995 and 1996, I was privileged to receive scholarship to attend New England Music Camp . This life-changing experience opened my eyes to the possibilities and opportunities available to me as a "pretty good" high school bassoonist. It is where I met Michael J. Burns who deeply inspired me as a young performer. I would subsequently attend the UNCG Honor Band for two years. One of which was lead by the great conductor of the "The President's Own" United States Marine Band Colonel John R. Bourgeois (my first exposure to military bands). NEMC was where I met Kara Dago-Clark and first learned of Manhattan School of Music . The ripple effect of these formative experiences cannot be quantified but highlight the long, circuitous, and adventure-filled road to the career I enjoy today. I'm so grateful to Howard Warner , who met me when he was an adjudicator for NYSSMA all-county in Perry, NY,

Trust Your Work

A reflection follows. Originally posted to FB February 29, 2024. Things I say to students: Always work with a metronome with subdivisions. Make a lot of reeds. Trust your work, accept that things will still go wrong. Sitting in an airport reflecting on what has honestly been a wildly chaotic week+ leading up to my departure for SHE Festival for a Kari Cruver Medina Sasquatch: Sightings premier and leading a panel discussion "De-bunking the 2-Path Career Myth." So. Many. Things. Have. Not. Gone. Smoothly. My rigidity does not like that. Last minute instrument switch. Trauma-drama at work. Challenging professional communication. TOUGH meetings. Long days, short time. Too many emotions. Some I could control, a lot I couldn't. Which is why the most fundamental skills musically, professionally, and emotionally have felt particularly crucial. 1 - I'm taking 31 reeds for a 5,000 1,500 foot elevation drop and ~30° temperature increase. Excessive? No. With 31 reeds, I am 1

The Story Behind the Music

A reflection follows: the story behind the music. Originally posted to FB March 14, 2024 In 2015, the Chinook Winds Great Falls Symphony were invited to film a 60-minute episode of the Emmy winning 11th & Grant with Eric Funk . I wish I could remember exactly how it all came to be. My iteration of the CW had worked hard for three years performing, engaging, touring, and energizing the community in Great Falls and around Montana. We were embraced by a devoted community, concert presenters, and wonderful audiences. Northeastern Arts Network, Montana Montana Performing Arts Consortium In addition to our invitation to film with 11th and Grant in the summer of 2015, we were also invited to present a recital at the International Horn Society in Los Angeles and International Double Reed Society in Japan! Outside our contracted activities, we spent the summer raising money in a grass roots campaign. We performed the National Anthem at a Great Falls Voyagers game and Electric City Spe

Debunking the Myth Within Myself

 A reflection follows. Originally posted to FB November 19, 2023 This memory popped up today.  At the time of this post I was working as a CNA in an assisted living facility in which we lived for "free" in exchange for 20-hours/week of honestly horrible work. (For those in this industry, GOD BLESS YOU!)  We did this to save money, pay off a mountain of debt, and allow me to be an "at home" mom, assuming there would be more children.  I had sold my bassoon, and performed only in the 23rd Army Band UTARNG.  I really believed my "career" was over and tried fervently to find peace and joy in the work of motherhood.  Ken was working full-time, nights and weekends, while completing his degree in auto mechanics.  It was an interesting time in our lives.  Morgan made a ton of developmental progress.  In retrospect, that one fact made the rest worth it.  This period of full-time motherhood/domesticity lasted about two years for me.   Towards the end of this chapter