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What Douglas Adams might call a “Whole Sort of General Mish-Mash”

I know you all love an eclectic collection of unrelated bullet points.

– I think, based on the fact that a lot of the profile photos show people with instruments, that some of you are friending me on Facebook. Which is totally cool and I’m down with being your internet buddy, except if I don’t know who you are or why you’re friending me I am generally disinclined to accept. In short, if you friend me, or you did friend me and I never reciprocated, send me a message explaining that you’re a fan of Ain’t Baroque and we shall carry on in peace and love.

– You can still win a Symphonic Voyage cruise if you purchase a BSO subscription package!

– The consensus among my friends is that if The Golden Girls was recast with composers, Bach would have to be Sophia. I don’t know, we’re weird. We also need help with the rest of the cast, if you have any ideas. I’d love to do a whole post on this; it’s the sort of thing I’d do, but I worry my long-suffering audience would finally rebel.

– There is a fire drill exclusive to the summer camps that have moved into Strathmore going on right now (have I mentioned the summer camps? I have been inundated by an unusually large number of children and I disapprove of children in groups as they revert to their baser instincts in the herd). No one else is required to evacuate, but I’ve spent the last five minutes listening to a recorded message requesting me attention about a fire emergency on repeat. I am dangerously close to spontaneous combustion. Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies. Anyway, did anyone go to a music/arts summer camp as a kid? What say you of the experience?

Updated to add: The BSO Academy needs more fans so that Facebook will recognize it! Become a fan now! NOW!

That’s all.

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Percussionists do it on their heads

Please allow me to be the first to say: what?

Someone needs to buy me a hard hat.

The new musical anatomy

Funny Pictures
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This viola joke goes out to my dear friend Rebekah

Q. What do you get when you cross a violist with a sheep?

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It’s summer and thou shalt not be blah!

No excuses today, folks. I’m late because I’ve had a tremendous time getting up the motivation to post. I’m draaaaaggin.’

In my defense, I spent much of yesterday at a callback interview, which was awesome but strangely exhausting. And then I met a friend in DC and we ended up hanging out longer than I intended and I came home late-ish. And then I did my usual up-at-6:30-am-for-the-7:28-train routine. And Benevolent Dictator Jamie isn’t here this week, and nobody is sending me any web updates to do, and I already finished organizing all of next season’s concerts by composer, and I already made myself a list of potential apartments should I get this job, and in short: blah.

But never fear! I have mentally slapped the metaphorical cheeks of my sleepy brain into something akin to alertness, and I’m ready to talk about the BSO’s summer season. Like those popsicles at Walt Disney World, itzakadoozie.

First you have your “Star-Spangled Spectacular” on July 3 and 4 at Oregon Ridge. Ya got your Sousa, ya got your 1812 Overture, ya got your national anthem and lawn chair and barbecue.

Next up is “Planet Earth Live,” wherein clips of the documentary will be projected onto a screen while the BSO plays the soundtrack conducted by the composer. I find this decidedly nifty and am looking into attending. It’s on Thursday, July 8 at 8 pm at Strathmore and Friday, July 9 at 7:30 pm at the Meyerhoff.

Then we have “Rising Stars Perform Tchaikovsky Concertos.” The BSO is bringing in two fifteen-year-old prodigies, one on the violin and one on the piano. They will play – get ready – concertos by Tchaikovsky. Oh, and the program also includes his Capriccio Italien. That will be on Saturday, July 10 at 7:30 pm at the Meyerhoff and Saturday, July 17 at 8 pm at Strathmore.

Next! A Michael Jackson tribute! Yup, orchestral versions of his works, plus a Jackson-esque vocalist. That’s on Thursday, July 15 at 7:30 pm at the Meyerhoff. You can’t make this stuff up. Nor can you make up the Eagles tribute concert at Pier Six in the Inner Harbor on Friday, July 16 at 8 pm. I rather like the Eagles and I’m not afraid to admit it!

This one’s free! Soprano Rachel Gilmore joins the BSO for a concert at the Meyerhoff on Saturday, July 17 at 2 pm, gratis.

Not gratis but (if you ask me) even more exciting is the Porgy and Bess Gershwin concert on Thursday, July 22 at the Meyerhoff. They’re playing An American in Paris too! I love that piece! Especially that really swingy slow bit on the solo horn that gets picked up by the whole orchestra and then syncopated, if you know the part I mean.

And if all that wasn’t out there enough for you, how about some Philip Glass and Frank Zappa featuring beatboxer Shodekeh? That’s on July 23 at 7:30 pm at the Meyerhoff.

And finally, you can head back to Oregon Ridge for a “Broadway Melodies” concert on July 24 at 8 pm. “From My Fair Lady to Jersey Boys!” the brochure avers. I’m afraid.

For more information and to purchase tickets to any or all of these concerts, click here. Tomorrow: the frenzy the above have stirred on Facebook!

Icarus at the Edge of Time preview

The BSO is going to play this in the upcoming season.

I know, right?

That could prove dangerous

Humorous Pictures
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You know you want to be part of the cello ensemble at HCC!

Because stuff like this happens:

My apologies to soprano violists

Q. A violist and a soprano are trapped in a burning building and you can only save one. What’s the real spiritual dilemma here?

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“Love yourself, and make your instrument sing about it”

I have been planning to make this post for weeks now, but it something has always popped up to take its place. Well, finally the day has come. I want to talk about Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “The Kid Nobody Could Handle.”

First off, let me just say that I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Vonnegut. This is some serious, Beethoven-style love here. So I might be a little biased when I say that “The Kid Nobody Could Handle” takes the pure, undiluted form of the ideal music teacher and exposes what all the good ones really feel deep at the core. Helmholtz, the school band director, believes that music truly can save the world, and give a troubled boy’s life meaning. Read:

“Like listening to music?” said Helmholtz to Jim brightly, as they rode to school in Helmholtz’s car.

Jim said nothing. He was stroking his mustache and sideburns, which he had not shaved off.

“Ever drum with the fingers or keep time with your feet?”said Helmholtz. He had noticed that Jim’s boots were decorated with chains that had no function but to jingle as he walked.

Jim signed with ennui.

“Or whistle?” said Helmholtz. “If you do any of those things, it’s just like picking up the keys to a whole new world – a world as beautiful as world can be.”

Jim gave a soft Bronx cheer.

“There!” said Helmholtz. “You’ve illustrated the basic principle of the family of brass wind instruments. The glorious voice of every one of them starts with a buzz on the lips.”

The seat springs of Helmholtz’s old car creaked under Jim, as Jim shifted his weight. Helmholtz took this as a sign of interest, and he turned to smile in comradely fashion. But Jim had shifted his weight in order to get a cigarette from his tight leather jacket.

Helmholtz was too upset to comment at once. It was only at the end of the ride, as he turned into the teacher’s parking lot, that he thought of something to say.

“Sometimes,” said Helmholtz, “I get so lonely and disgusted, I don’t see how I can stand it. I feel like doing all kinds of crazy things, just for the heck of it – things that might even be bad for me.”

Jim blew a smoke ring expertly.

“And then!” said Helmholtz. He snapped his fingers and honked his horn. “And then, Jim, I remember I’ve got at least one tiny corner of the universe I can make just the way I want it! I can go to it and gloat over it until I’m brand-new and happy again.”

“Aren’t you the lucky one,” said Jim. He yawned.

“I am, in fact,” said Helmholtz. “My corner of the universe happens to be the air around my band. I can fill it with music.”

You can glean plenty about the plot from that snippet; I don’t want to tell you any more because it’s a short story, and if I started handing out more info I might as well just transcribe the whole bloody thing. But if you love music, you need to read this story now. It’s in Vonnegut’s short story collection Welcome to the Monkey House and I doubt it’ll take you more than half an hour to get through, and only that long if you’re a supremely slow reader. Duck into a bookstore, read that story, and put it back. I won’t tell. But I’d buy it if I were you. Vonnegut is awesome.