altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
[personal profile] altivo
Too much stuff going on.

The most interesting to me, though (I'll avoid political rants for now) has to do with music.

I've been an amateur musician to one degree or another since I started on the piano around age six or so. I remember my Mom using a pencil to write the names of the notes on the piano keys, and the same letters over the notes on the staff in John Thompson's Teaching Little Fingers to Play, in fact. Still an amateur, but I've come a long way since then. I can sort of play piano, organ, accordion, guitar, mountain dulcimer, recorders, violin, flutes, and clarinet. Keyboards and flutes are my best and the ones I spent the most time in formal study on. The others are mostly self-taught.

My husband Gary, who tried violin for a short time in school but gave it up, didn't really get into playing instruments until after we met in 1982. I convinced him that music is a participatory pleasure, not just something for passive listening. He started on hammered dulcimer by building his own instrument (still has that one, but doesn't play it any more.) Since then he has expanded to concertinas, didgeridoo, and a lot of odd percussion things. Oh, and hurdy-gurdies, of which he has two. Exotica seems to be his focus sometimes. After I steered him onto that road, he took off and went places that I didn't care to follow.

Anyway, by 30 years later he was active in two semi-professional performing groups: Bear Creek (now dormant) and the Kishwaukee Ramblers (quite active.) He was also involved in the creation of the Wednesday Group, a large crew of amateur and professional folk musicians that met weekly on Wednesday afternoons. When the latter group was invited to perform for St. Patrick's Day at a local restaurant a few times, I joined them on flute. During a period when I needed to burn off excess vacation days, I took off all my Wednesday afternoons for several months to play with them. On one occasion, I sat in with the Kishwaukee Ramblers when their fiddle player couldn't make a gig.

The Ramblers have played regularly at the Woodstock Farmers' Market for many years now. The market takes place on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and they had dates all summer on both days. This year their fiddle player wasn't able to commit to Tuesdays because of other work. I offered to fill in again, and was tapped to do that last Saturday. Neal put a couple of pieces into the set list that showcased the flute, both the alto and the regular concert flute, and we did the gig. I was surprised at the number of people who took particular interest in my share of the proceedings, and asked about my instruments and such.

In the end, we decided to identify as a new group and take up the Tuesday farmers' market slots that would have been Ramblers for this year. The music organizers for the market were quite enthusiastic about it, and we are booked for one Tuesday each month, starting in May and running through fall. I sort of fell into this without intending it, but I find I'm also enthusiastic about it.

We had to pick a name for ourselves, and will need some publicity photos and such, but Gary and Neal are used to taking care of that stuff. I'll let you know when there are photos and (probably) video or sound recordings available online. Neal actually asked me to suggest animal related names (hoo boy) and I cranked out a list of 40 or so possibilities, but in the end we settled on "ThingamaJig" since we do a lot of Irish dance tunes. It isn't all Irish, though. We have folk, rock, early to modern jazz, and novelty material in our repertoire and had no trouble filling up three hours on Saturday.

In spite of not ending up with one of the animal names (close runners up were "Paws & Whiskers" or "Spots & Strypes" and Neal himself had suggested "Hoof & Paws" early in the discussion) I expect we'll have some material of interest to the furry community. Certainly will if I have any say about it, which I do seem to have at present. I'll keep everyone advised.

Gary had asked Don, who keeps the schedule for farmers' market music, to put us on the calendar as "NGG" (Neal, Gary and Gary) until we picked a formal name. When advised that we would be "ThingamaJig," Don's response was that he'd have stuck with "NGG" because it sounds "mysteriously Vietnamese." Guess you can't please everyone. ;p

In other news, the neighbors' wandering chickens are back again, as many as a dozen of them meandering around our yards and scratching holes in the ground. Just now we had two roosters in a knock down battle that got our dog Laddie all excited and worried. Gary had to literally kick them apart and chase them back toward home in the end. The way they were going at it, I figured the larger one was going to kill the other if left alone. He had the victim trapped in a fence corner and was stomping, scratching and biting for all he was worth. I'd have turned the hose on them except it hasn't been warm long enough for us to have put it out yet.
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