Most Holy Dave

I played four--FOUR!--church services yesterday!  I am the the Most Holy Dave!

So…I'm bragging.  Two were back to back.  You could say I only played three.  I will say it was four, and mostly on clarinet, so I'm counting every minute.  Clarinet is hard.

I got a call mid week about playing clarinet for my AM church gig, which was also the location of my afternoon church gig.  It immediately made me think that somebody'd read last week's blog and gotten pissed off at me for complaining, which I guess I was.  Nobody ever said anything about it, so maybe I dodged that bullet.  Maybe they were just being organized.  The head of the music department said to me Sunday, "I don't know why we've never thought to use you in the orchestra before."  That's cool--I'm glad they're realizing it and hopefully will plug me in wherever they can.  I spent a good chunk of this past week's practice time on clarinet.  I found a couple of good reeds, played some etudes, ran through scales--everything I could do to ramp up my playing.  Sunday morning, here I come!

#1:  Because of the two services back to back and then the afternoon service, I was handed a lot of music.  The first service had a couple of things that kicked my ass--some crazy sextuplets at quarter note equals 152 in the key of F#.  Uh…yeah!  I played something there!  Mostly right notes, I hope.  First note and last note in the right place, and the correct shape of the line, for sure.  There was also another piece where the clarinets were doing lots of arpeggios--more tricky stuff.

#2:  The same stuff again, with about twenty minutes of fierce practicing between services.  I certainly didn't nail the sextuplets.  I was better on the arpeggios thing.  Wow.  What's the music for the afternoon look like?  I was kind of stunned from trying to sight read all this stuff, and then there was a folder of things for the afternoon service.

I went home, ate, and practiced all this stuff that freaked me out, plus a bunch of stuff in the manilla folder for an hour and a half before I headed back.

#3:  I showed up more ready to roll.  They passed out the program for the service, and several things I'd spent a lot of time on (the sextuplet thing and some other stuff) was not in this service!  Aggh!!  That would've been good to know.  The arpeggio thing was, and I did a much better job with it.

#3 turned out to be a pretty solid performance because I was awake and had practiced the music!  I was ready to kick ass from the moment I sat down.

Whew!  After all that, I must say it was a GREAT experience.  I haven't been in that kind of situation much at all pretty much since college--those three services were two flutes and two clarinets, trying to blend and play in tune and listen to each other and translate the music on the pages in front of it.  I loved the challenge of it so much!  Even the hang and the discussions between services was something different and fun.  I learned tons about my clarinet playing--the kinds of stuff you can't get from plowing through etudes by yourself at home.  I really really dug it--probably my favorite church gig I've played this year.

#4:  Not a bad way to cap the evening!  Two singers and piano, so the mixing was easy.  Right as the band leader threw me a solo, I blinked and got an eyelash in my contact.  Can you play while someone is poking you in the eyeball with a pencil?  Does my playing seem angry and unfocused?  Ouch.  Naturally, the solo was over one of those weird hymns where the phrases are weird lengths and the chords change in weird spots in order to keep up with the melody, and I couldn't open my eyes because of the pain so I couldn't see any kind of cues as to how long I had to endure this incredible pain.  I continued to wail away like some angry goose in the corner (paging St. Francis of Assisi) for what felt like forever, waiting for the vocals to come back in and put me out of this misery.

That was that.  I was in bed by 11 PM.

Here's a cool picture from our throw and go gig a couple of Saturdays ago at Center Stage:

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