Musical Meanderings

This is a blog centered around some of the musical encounters and experiences that I come upon in my daily life as a musician.

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Location: Alameda, California

Sunday, January 25, 2009

St. Marks Episcopal Benefit Concert

Last night Isabelle and I opened the show at 7:30 in Berkeley at St. Marks Episcopal. St. Marks is a beautiful church and we were very excited and a little nervous about playing. There were alot of people in the audience. I was trying to get Isabelle to think about the music and to go over the music in her head before we went up to play, but, being six years old, she just said, "Mom, I already know the music!", and continued coloring in her Hello Kitty book. Hmmm, maybe she has something there. Maybe it is better to do something fun and relaxing before performing, instead of stressing about the music that we know so well already.

We were called to the stage and our cellos were already up there so we walked up hand in hand and took a big dramatic bow, which the audience loved. We performed Schubert's Berceuse, Gavotte by Lully, (Suzuki Book 3), and then two fun Irish songs, the last of which is called "Star of the County Down." Isabelle played with determination and musicality. It was really fun. We were not perfect, but we made some magic, I believe, which was our goal. The crowd was very appreciative, and the clapping left a wonderful echo that filled the church.

Isabelle was very tired, but we managed to stay and listen to the entire first half. Valdez Hill played some lovely piano music. (He is the organizer of the event.) There was a flute trio headed by flutist Carol Alban that was really nice. A very macho tenor sang some Italian arias, and there was a student jazz trio. Last was a clarinet concerto performed by a young girl. This was a variety show kind of a lineup. It was a benefit for the San Francisco Aids Society.

Isabelle got all kinds of nice comments as we left the church. It was freezing outside! They handed us two teddy bears for performing, and Isabelle held them tightly as she fell asleep in the back seat on our way back to Alameda.

We are now planning our summer, or trying to plan our summer. One of my groups, Ramana Vieira and her Ensemble, has just signed with a record label, Pacific Coast Jazz, and a booking agent, Maria Matias, and so I am supposed to be ready for some tours of the east coast. But I have to book my own gigs and it is very difficult. I would like to take Isabelle to Beaver Creek, Colorado again this summer, to the Colorado Suzuki Institute, in June. It will be much fun! We love Colorado!

I have also been looking at the Strings by the Sea camp, in San Diego. This Suzuki music camp is run by a family friend: Karla Holland-Moritz. I have never met Karla, but she is a prominent San Diego cellist. Her parents used to come on trips with my family when we lived in Michigan. Her father, Helmut, played trombone in some of the same orchestras where my dad used to play viola. I remember sitting around campfires, telling stories and making jokes with her parents and my parents on Drummond Island, Michigan, where we used to vacation often. What a beautiful spot!

Anyway, I think it would be fun to try to go to Strings by the Sea in August. San Diego! I could drive us there, as it's only 500 miles. And, we could go to Sea World too, and maybe Disneyland...Wait a minute---this trip is getting a little bit out of summer is getting too!

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Friday, January 16, 2009


Ramana and I on the water.

Hi everybody! Monterey was beautiful. I performed with Ramana Vieira and her Ensemble Wednesday night at a venue called Monterey Live. It was a sweet place and we filled the house. The audience was very receptive. Ramana sold some CD's to admiring fans, and I sold my new CD "Butterfly Girl" to some fans too. After the show there was loud music being piped into the house and I was trying to talk to the people that had enjoyed the show and that had bought CD's...but, I was losing my voice and had no volume at all. It was awful---I kept trying to shout over the music but could not find the voice to do so...

Ramana's group has a new record label- Pacific Coast Jazz, and so we were meeting with them, and with a possible booking agent after the gig for dinner. Donna Nichols was this great lady from PCJ--she reminded me of Holly Hunter---she was very spunky and fun. She was there with her friend Judy. I sat beside her but could barely talk, much to my chagrin. The booking agent's name was Maria---she wants to take us on and get us some bookings and some tours, so this was very exciting!

We stayed at the Monterey Hotel, this awesome old Victorian place in the center of town on Alvarado Street, and in the morning we walked down to the pier. What a gorgeous spot! I only wish I could take my little daughter Isabelle with me to the same area. She will love it! Not to mention getting her to the Monterey Aquarium, which is also within walking distance.

Last week there was alot going on musicwise too. On Tuesday I met with JoAnne Tobias, who is writing an article about me for Alameda Magazine. She talked with me for a long time. She is going to help promote my new CD in her article, and she is hoping to make it a feature. On Wednesady, I went on the Doug Edwards show on KPFA, and he interviewed me and played some cuts from my past shows at KPFA and also four or five songs from "Butterfly Girl". Later, I sold some CD's from my website to people that had listened and loved the music. Yay!

On Thursday, JoAnne Tobias' husband, Mitch Tobias, did a photo shoot of my cello and I. He had me up on this big concrete block next to the ocean out here on Alameda Point. It was very funny, as Mitch wanted me to dance with the cello and spin around with it. There was a big hole in the concrete and for some reason he wanted me near the hole---he kept shouting, "Great! Now spin! Near the hole! Closer to the hole!..." I think we got some good shots---??? Lucky to be still alive though!

I have to go to bed now---I have no voice and am totally sick....I hope I can fall asleep!

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