Category Archives: bssb

Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band

केच्छुप्

our “three weekends in a row of performances” with the sousa band is over. snake suspenderz played a moisture festival gig in redmond last week…

redmond was a trip. i haven’t been there in a long time… probably not since stlabs moved from redmond to factoria, which (according to my handy-dandy chart of when things happened) was approximately 1998… i may have been there once since then, but… wow, things have changed A LOT since the last time i hung around there. the obvious thing i noticed right away was the overwhelming number of indian and asian families i saw. definitely different than 1998, that’s for sure.

and that’s not to mention the huge mall that has suddenly appeared where there used to be woods…

i’ve been more than ordinarily depressed for about a week. i’m convinced, at this point, that the only reason i’m able to recognise it is because of the 5-HTP i’ve been taking. it doesn’t stop the depression from happening, but it gives me a degree of separation from it, so instead of being bogged down with depression, i can say “oh, i’m depressed” and continue living my life, more or less. i’ve met (finally) with a person who may become the replacement for ned. she’s REALLY young (like, possibly, still in her 20s) but it seems like things will work out, which will probably help the bouts of depression when they happen in the future. it’s likely, however, that the lack of such a person is only exacerbating the depression this time.

one of the three-weekends-of-performances-in-a-row was at deception pass, a place i haven’t been to since approximately 1991. it’s really surprising to me how much i can remember just by going to a place, when i hardly remember anything without actually seeing the place.

160723 deception pass
160723 deception pass
160723 deception pass
160723 deception pass

the picture above is the underpinings of the deception pass bridge. i climbed across the bridge, beneath the road surface, a whole bunch of years ago, before they put up the sign that says “Climing on bridge is prohibited”. unfortunately, when i got to the other side, the only place to get down from the bridge is on the top of a concrete pylon that’s about 25 feet above the ground… which, of course, meant that i had to climb back across the bridge to the place where i could get off without breaking my neck.

160723 deception pass
160723 deception pass
160723 deception pass
160723 deception pass

arf…

i’m well and truly into the midst of rehearsal season: we’ve been rehearsing the fremont philharmonic for 3 weeks for a week of shows at the moisture farcetival, we’ve been rehearsing snake suspenderz for a week for a gig at the château, a recording session with deb seymour(!), three moisture farcetival shows, and a moisture farcetival volunteer party, and next week rehearsals for the sousa band, whose first gig will be while i am in orlando.

and, speaking of orlando, this evening, i made, and paid for, the reservations for my trip from seattle, to orlando, to warrensburg, to seattle between may 23 and june 3. this is the first trip i’ve taken where i’ve had to fly, by myself, for my own enjoyment, in my entire life. i haven’t flown anywhere since the big bois with poise went to san francisco in 2012, and i haven’t been on the east coast since i went to boston when i started at software dot com in 1998… and then i was working (actually, i slept through most of the training classes, because i had stayed up until 4:00 in the morning drinking beer with spods), so i didn’t get the chance to see that much… and this is sort of the opposite corner of the continent…

i guess i’m officially starting to get “excited” about going on this trip…

but the visa signature conceirge service, in the process of giving me options for the trip, gave me the option of flying from orlando to kansas city, by way of… wait for it… seattle. yes, they tried to make what would ordinarily be a 3 hour non-stop flight into an 18 hour trip back home, with a 9 hour layover. really! 😕

flight weirdness
flight weirdness
flight weirdness
flight weirdness

stuff & nonsense

i brought home the glass bong that i made in the previous post, and now have two glasses in the annealer, waiting for me to pick them up. 8)

the fremont phil has a gig on friday, which is tomorrow. i’m probably going up to b’ham to visit with kenyth on saturday. maybe coming back saturday, maybe sunday… haven’t decided yet.

saturday is also frank zappa day, and international talk-like-a-pirate day. a week from saturday is festa italiana for the BSSB. the thursday after that (which is the first of october), snake suspenderz has a gig at the chateau retirement center. maybe they’ll remember to pay us this time.

there’s a video that goes here, but it’s taking forever to upload, so i’ll put it in later.

this is so cool!

i’ve knowingly been around this building for 45 years, but i’ve never actually been inside the Women’s University Club in seattle, until yesterday, when the ballard sedentary sousa band played there. it’s been there for 90 years, or thereabouts, and has been the venue for many a ‘hoity-toity’ event presented by the rich, upper-class women of seattle… and now it has also been the venue in which the BSSB has played, which either means that their standards are slipping, or that the BSSB has moved up the ladder, in our social circles, by several rungs… πŸ˜‰

but the photo below is not that… it is about 3 blocks away, right next door to the building i lived in (according to the handy-dandy chart of when things happened) between 1996 and 1997, at terry and east union

seriously, this is one of my favourite places in the entire city, and i would live there again in a cold second, given the opportunity… there’s nothing like waking up in the morning, walking a few blocks, and being able to eat breakfast at the pike place market before starting your day… 😎

when i got to the women’s university club, i played, as i was expected to do, but i then learned about the fact that, in 1927, John Philip Sousa had actually been a guest of the women’s university club, and they had his signature in their guest book! so, of course, i had to take a picture of it…

150729 John Philip Sousa autograph

of course, because of the fact that i took it with my cell-phone, it’s kind of blurry, but hey… it’s a real piece of history, that i’m a part of, because we actually got to sign the very same guest book! πŸ˜€

new antique music by somebody else…

once again, i would like to offer my utmost gratitude to my wife, who made it possible for me to own the awesome music notation software called Sibelius. it has made processes like this take so much less time than doing the same thing “by hand”… and it’s not something that i have to imagine, as i have actually done projects like this “by hand” in the past, and it was so tedious and drawn-out over, literally, months, that i no longer do such projects… conversely, this project in it’s entirety, took 5 weeks to go from “a gleam in my eye” to having finished parts and a recording… and 4 weeks and 5 days of that were waiting for the score to arrive from the publisher. 😎

so, there’s this march in honor of Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment written in 1881 by Thornton Barnes Boyer, which we’ve been trying to play with the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band for several years now, and getting nowhere… primarily because of the fact that there are several different “arrangements” of it scattered across the 35-odd musicians in the band, which have several differences which, while not major, definitely mean that playing it as an ensemble is a lot more difficult. and that’s not to mention that it is in the key of E♭ minor (six flats, for those of you who may not know), which, for a community band with players of all abilities, is asking a bit too much…

but that may or may not be the issue, as i discovered at a recent BSSB rehearsal that, in fact, there are two different “arrangements” of Joyce’s 71st NY Regiment March just in the trombone section, and that they are enough different that playing the two of them and expecting it to sound even reasonably coherent was impossible, as one of them had the “Trio” in an entirely different key all together.

a little bit of research revealed the fact that there are several different “arrangements”, which include adding harmony and ornamentation to the trio, changing the key of the trio to the relative major, and changing the location of the “Da Capo”, all of which were made long after the original composer, TB Boyer, had passed on, and nobody could decide which of the many different arrangements was “best”. one thing that they all agreed on, however, was that the original piece had been published by J.W.Pepper.

a tiny light bulb appeared over my head, as i realised that i actually own a 100-year-old musical instrument with the J.W.Pepper logo stamped on it, and i actually know where J.W.Pepper has a branch location in tukwilla…

so, i went to J.W.Pepper and asked if they still carried the original version of Joyce’s 71st NY Regiment March, not arranged by anyone, and, bob’s-yer-uncle, they have it. not only that, but they have a version of it that has been transcribed for modern instruments, which is really an issue when you realise that what constitutes a concert band has changed pretty dramatically in the past 120 years: no saxhorns, no helicons, no ophecleids, quinticlaves or clavitubes, no serpents, consistent woodwinds, a tuning note that is several cents higher than it was, etc., etc., etc…

however, they sold the publishing rights to some other company, which only prints copies on demand, so i had to wait until they printed a copy… just for meeeeee… 😊

i got it the other day, and entered it into the aforementioned, AWESOME MUSIC NOTATION SOFTWARE (which took all of 5 hours, stretched out over a couple of days) and transposed it down a half-step, into D minor, which only has one flat!

my impression is that it will be much easier to muddle our way through, now that we’ve all got the same arrangement, and it’s in a key that doesn’t twist our brains while we’re trying to learn it… 👍

and, because of the fact that the software also outputs in sound formats, i have been able to hear what it’s going to sound like (more or less) to make sure that all the parts are correct BEFORE i print them and hand them out to people!

Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment March