Monday, December 26, 2011

The Show Must Go On

Christmas is past. The gigs have been played. One thing remains from those days. That is....Well, there is one part of the winter months that is nearly inevitable for most. The bug that catches hold and makes you sick as a dog quick as wink. The virus that brings the toughest to his or her knees crying for relief, though relief is hard to come by and usually on the most merciless terms. I hate to mention it but because this happened to me not before or after my Christmas Eve performances rather, during, it is incumbent upon me to talk about it. (Well, humor me anyways. ^^)

All was going well throughout the first Christmas Eve service in Dowogiac. I played and was feeling energetic. That feeling of nothing being wrong, or in other words, life will continue uninterrupted and I'm not even thinking about the possibility of getting sick was soon to be shattered. Half way to the next service I suddenly--usually one is prone to hyperbole in such cases, but if my memory serves me right, it took a matter of minutes--felt rumbling in my stomach. It was that doomed sort of feel that you get when you know that something doesn't agree with you and it wants out, and I mean OUT.

Within 10 minutes of onset of those sick vibes I began to sweat and wondered silently how long I could hold it. After all I was carpooling and had no control over when to stop other than to ask the driver to pull over immediately. Miraculously I held it in for 20 minutes. Upon opening the door I made a "drunken" dash for the grass hoping that it would be all done with before it began. Nope, the winter bug had struck and it wasn't letting me off the hook! (I am sure you know of the action I speak, so I will spare the details at this point as it is such an unpleasant topic to describe or even mention by name.)

Some minutes later I made my way inside the church hoping that I would be strong enough to play the service. I did make it through several hymns and a couple of special numbers but really was unable to focus for lack of energy--having been purged of my supper. I must have looked pretty bad at this point because Linda asked if I wanted to lie down for a spell. I acquiesced and proceeded to nod off through the caroling and most of the homily, waking up only to play one special number that had been arranged specially for voice, cello, and organ, only to remove myself immediately again.

At this point I was done with playing, too weak and tired to focus and pull the bow across the strings. Alas, I have never been struck by the winter monster bug so viciously nor so quickly on a performance night. It was a relief to be purged since it remedied the largest part of my problem but then again, I was unable to play the entire program for lack of energy. Thankfully, I was mainly in good health and spirits the next day and could eat normally again at the time of this writing, even early at about 36 hours after the bug had struck.

The show must go on, with or without you. Luckily there was another who could perform with or without me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Performances

This month I have been fortunate enough to have one gig (in some cases even two gigs) every weekend this month. Beginning with the trip down to the capital city of Illinois, namely, Springfield. It started in the last days of November but ended on the first day of December, so I consider it a December gig. The next weekend was the Pops concert for the Southwest Michigan Symphony in which a local school for dance (The Citadel Music and Dance School) added to the traditional Nutcracker. The music was supplied by the orchestra and the dancing by the students of the Citadel dance school. Although I think the entire program should have been given to the children ballerinas and ballerinos (masculine form?--hmmm, not sure) it was a nice program. The kids did a fantastic job and hopefully will be featured in full next season for a complete Nutcracker, but that is just a section cello wishing on a blog that less than 10% of my friends on FB read.

The next weekend was filled with a double church service at the First United Methodist Church in St. Joseph, MI. There is no doubt that I appreciate playing at this church primarily because the music director, James Kraus, is such a great musician to work with. He arranges most of the music we play and even composes original pieces now and then. I am planning a performance with him next year, whether it be a piece or two for church or a full concert. The times will definitely be given and I'm inviting everyone that can come. He is a fabulous organist as well.

For the Christmas weekend I have two services coming up. Another organist, Linda Mack, has invited me to perform with her for the Eve service in St. Paul's Espicopal Church in Dowogiac, MI. Their service begins at 7pm on Saturday night. I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing acoustics in this church. If you want to hear acoustics that are really in a hidden gem of a building, please, come to the Christmas Eve service.

Dircectly following this service we head to Harbert, MI to play the midnight service in The Espicopal church of the Mediator. It actually ends close to midnight rather than starting at midnight. We begin there at 11pm. Again, the acoustics here are quite nice. There are two organs in this church, one of which belonged to Dr. Gunther Koch, Long time violinist in the Andrews Symphony Orchestra.

Here's the schedule of this weekend in short just in case you want to venture out and hear some wonderful Christmas music, most of which is set or arranged (by Linda Mack) for cello and organ.

Saturday December 24, 2011:

7pm - St. Paul's Espicopal Church in Dowogiac, MI

11pm - The Espicopal church of the Mediator in Harbert, MI

Thank you all for reading and supporting. 

I wish you all a Merry Xmas!
Frohe Weihnachten!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Springfield Concert

Springfield, IL Capital Building

St. Agnes Catholic Church. Friday Night concert venue.

The receptionist had a wee bit of trouble understanding how to spell my name.

A closer shot of the Capital building. Not a bad looking place really.

I found a small but nice SDA church just outside of Springfield.
Not only did I eat I played a mini recital in place of the planned vespers.
All Bach. 

Inisde the Presbyterian church in Bloomington, IL.

This was a very nice gig. The people in the orchestra were kind and played well. The conductor, Alister Willis, has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra some 30 odd times and, well, knows his music and knows what he wants....and knows how to get it. Was a great experience and would do it  again despite the long drive over endless fields.