Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

The first noticeable snowfall of the season! I headed out last night to pick up some milk & pop, and I could hear Suzie Snowflake tapping on my window. Pellets of good ol' Michigan "snain" were tap dancing on the hood of my car. When I awoke this morning, it had changed to full-fledged snow. Not much, mind you, but enough to add a festive canvas for colored lights and holiday music on the radio.

Thankfully, I don't have far to commute to work, and it's all surface streets, so I was more fortunate than many of the other commuters on the roads today. I started out listening to the local "All Christmas, All Season Long" station, but switched to my usual "All News, All The Time" station to see what what's up with the world this morning and heard the longest traffic report in a long time. Seems we Michiganians are a bit rusty with the winter driving. Be safe out there, folks. Better late than dead.

The quartet had a rehearsal last Thursday. It used to be, I would look forward to quartet rehearsals, but with some trepidation. I enjoyed singing and harmonizing, but much of the rehearsal was spent bemoaning personal lives, arguing over repertoire and interp, rehashing tips from chorus coaches (which rarely applied to quartet), going over boring standards, and fixing wrong notes (or cringing and ignoring them) in one or more parts. These days, with this new(er) configuation of the quartet, the repertoire is more challenging, the chords ring a LOT more, the songs MUCH more fun, and we can pick up new ones VERY quickly. I LOVE rehearsals again! We can easily start around 7pm, and the next thing you know, it's 11pm and we have to force ourselves to break it up.

Lately I've been introducing songs I've recorded for my client quartet in Nevada. I've always been a Sinatra fan, and their quartet - aptly named Rat Paq - focuses on tunes of that ilke. With our next chorus show focusing on songs of the 50's, there were a few tunes I recorded for them that fit squarely in that box. Being cool songs, with great arrangements and with learning tracks provided by yours truly, I though this would be a good idea.

It wasn't a good idea, it was a GREAT idea! We tried a tune called the "Flying Sinatra Medley", utilizing "Fly Me To The Moon" and "Come Fly With Me". After MUCH convincing of our lead (who wanted to do something rock n' roll), we tried it out and it sounded promising. Rough, but promising. This week, at the behest of our bass, we gave "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning" a try and it RAAAAANG! There are some great chords, wonderful room for interp and dynamics, and it's just a sweet balad. After 2 runs through, we found ourselves talking about a new contest set.

It's going to be a busy season for the quartet. We have a gig performing with the chorus at Henry Ford Village this sunday, another at the Goldfish Tea in Royal Oak on Sunday the 23rd (7pm-9pm), and the Hazel Park City Hall on December 13th (6pm-8pm) for a neighborhood enrichment event. We're brushing up our Holiday tunes for these and sounding good. I'm hoping this may lead to a few more gigs, so I have to print up some more business cards. I'm realy looking forward to getting out and performing with these guys again. It's been over a month and I'm jonezing.

Work is getting a bit...discouraging. Sales is not a good line of work to be in at this point in our economic history. The family budget is getting strained, bills are piling up, and our savings is getting tapped more than I'd like before the Holiday season. Hopefully, the Christmas shopping rush will hit soon and things will pick up. It would help to be given the tools to be able to compete, but that's a rant for other venues (non public). I may need to look for a 4th job. I'm not sure where I'll fit it into my 55 hour work week, plus family commitments, recording tracks, and quartet gigs, but I'll do what I gotta do. There's still the potential of the directing gig in Lansing, but that won't even be decided for a few months.

Okay, time to head to work and hit the phones. Gotta keep the heat on and food on the table.

1 comment:

Musical Daddy said...

Try Roger Payne's arrangement of "One For My Baby." It's really, really amazing. Also, Clay Hine's arrangement of "Just the Way You Look Tonight" is a neat, up-tempo, jazzy arrangement that isn't difficult to sing!

Ah, the thing I don't miss about Michigan - the constant winter precipitation that starts in November and lasts until April or May.