Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Epic story of illegal playing...

What is going on here?  Well, our lovely director said that his "contact" in Pittsburgh did not raise any money (of a supposed $150,000) or advertise for our Pittsburgh concert.  Well, if we wanted any hope of being paid, we had to do as he said (which never ended up happening).

He wanted the chamber groups to go out into the community and play as an advertisement.  Cool, right?!  Well, he told us specifically where to go, which was onto corporate private property, and perform.  He never asked permission from any private property.  I'm sure his mind was thinking, "These people should be honored to have the privilege to have musicians come and perform for them for free."  Well, these companies also have the privilege of hiring people if they WANT to perform.

This picture beautifully illustrates how he took my quintet, drove us to the front of a skyscraper (I can't remember which company it was though), told us to stand right there and play, and that the worst that can happen is that we would be arrested.  Then, he stood right by us and made us play.  I was so nervous about the situation.  He wouldn't go inside and ask permission!  Why couldn't he just had called the companies in advance or scouted out public property sites that would have been legal for us to play on?

Other groups were asked to leave by security guards. It was so uncomfortable.  It makes me angry that we had to play illegally on private property to fulfill our contracts that he did not fulfill.

Well, I will laugh about this in 20 years.


Hi All!

I took a break from blogging for a bit to recuperate after the AWSO.  So, it turns out that we are not being paid.  He sent us all a letter saying that $750 for 5 weeks is enough (even though the contract promised otherwise.)  He says that that is comparable to the previous 55 years (even though other people on the tour have had that falsified by friends who have done this in the past).  Eh....

It turns out we should have left on Thursday instead of finishing out the tour.  I had a feeling his motives was to hold us on by giving us hope of possible payment and then not paying us.  I was correct.  At least I made a ton of great musician friends who I will keep in touch with for a long, long time.

Luke, Glenda, Matt, and Me: The Oboes!

Wen (bassoon)!

Fantastic Four Woodwind Quintet

Justin and his mom came to the final concert in the Pittsburgh area and took me back to their place in Canfield, OH afterwards.  Most people spent their stranded week-and-a-half going to Philly, New York, and Washington DC just for fun.  As great as that sounds, I was happy to go back to Bowling Green.  It worked out for me, because it was Dr. Leclair's last week in BG, so I was able to fit in two lessons.  These focused on excerpts and the Mozart Concerto, which were both needed.

I have also been baking and cooking!  Blackberry cookies, cherry custard, Punjabi eggplant, etc.  Yummy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tour Ends Early

Hello all.

The tour is ending after our concert in Monessen, PA on Sunday evening.  This is what we were told by Boudreau's messenger yesterday.  The truth is, since he seems to be refusing to pay us for this week and we have only received half of the money, the tour for us ended 1.5 weeks ago.  Hmmmm....

Something fishy is going on...
~he was upfront about everything on the tour until one week ago, now he avoids people
~his numbers he tell us aren't consistent, nor are consistent with numbers given by people in the cities we have played at
~he claims to not have enough money to hold us to contract (which he would owe everybody $250), but after doing some simple digging online, his assets are valued between 1 and 5 million dollars.
~he files as an educational non-profit, and I have found some tax documents from years past online, but he is currently not filed in any PA non-profit database.

I did know the risk of having the tour cancelled when I received the contract, so I knew there was a chance I wouldn't make the 1,500 promised.  I don't have a ton of money, and I definitely could have had a back-up job plan if I knew I wouldn't be doing this until August 4th, but I won't die without it.  Some people were relying on the money and are stuck at their parents's homes until student loans kick in.

There is a theory that Boudreau is doing creative accounting to support his many musical and artistic commissioning endeavors.  I am curious and will see what I can find on it.  I don't think anyone is going to see the $250.  I do think the matter should be looked into.  The stories of years past are starting to unearth.  Some professors knew of the strangeness, but yet didn't say anything about everything they heard.  Why is this?

The other question is: should I leave once the boat gets here on Thursday and I can get my bags, or should I stick it out until after the concert on Sunday?  I have no job, no home, and I am living off of others.  I really, really sound pathetic.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hear the Fantastic Four

We are playing four movements from Irving Fine's Partita.  This is at a brunch for donors who contributed over $500 to the AWSO.  The location is in New Martinsville, WV.

Meet the Fantastic Four

We are the Fantastic Four Woodwind Quintet!  Why is it four, and not five, you may ask?  Our group was randomly assigned when we came to the AWSO.  On the small ensembles sheet, we were listed as Group 4.  We love quintet and get along well.  We have designated ourselves as Fantastic Four!

I play oboe, but you should meet the other members.

Mallory Phillips is a flutist and piccolist from San Antonio, TX.  She attends graduate school at Oklahoma City University and frequents the professional orchestra world with her piccolo.

Chester Howard is a clarinetist from LA.  He received his BM from Eastman and is working on his MM at SUNY Stony Brook.  He plays a mean bass clarinet as well!

Our hornist, Jessica Young hails from Amarillo, TX and is working on her undergrad at University of North Texas.  She has crazy stories of UNT's band recording sessions.

Adam Drake plays the bassoon!  He is from Satellite Beach, FL and is working on his BM from Florida State University.  He also is working on degrees in accounting and finance.  He is one smart cookie!

American Wind Symphony Orchestra Days

Here is the official declaration by the mayor in New Martinsville, WV.

Boudreau Explaining His Coast Guard Arrest

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Video from Ravenswood

Here is a video of us performing under a guest conductor with his granddaughter singing the National Anthem in Ravenswood, WV.

More West Virginia

AWSO had another concert on Tuesday, July 10. It was last minute and hosted by a town about 25 minutes away from Ravenswood.  This rocked because they fed us lunch and supper both on Monday and Tuesday.  West Virginia is quite hospitable.  We rehearsed in Ripley’s High School auditorium and performed a different program than on Friday evening.  The program was shorter because our director wanted it to stop around an hour.  We played two lovely new pieces (to us): Adagio by Rodrigo and an arrangement of a Vivaldi piccolo concerto for piccolo and small chamber group.  The Vivaldi had a strange band which consisted of flute, alto flute, bass flute, oboe, English horn, Heckelphone, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, and trumpet.  It worked and was orchestrated well.

This morning (Wednesday), we drove to New Martinsville, WV.  This time, we only had a two hour drive.  We are playing in the Lincoln Theater.  It’s an old theater with class.  You may be wondering what happened to the boat.  Well, it is stuck in the river because it is being towed and many of the locks are broken down.  The Marine Corps run the locks and weren’t allotted enough money to maintain them throughout the years.  If the boat arrives to Pittsburgh in time (within the next week), we should be good to continue on the tour, but in the meantime, we have to hope that towns want to hear us, not just see an old boat.

Ron Paul could fix this.  Honestly.  He would take military money out of foreign wars and into rebuilding our infrastructure.  Political rant done.

(Midnight)-  Our concert is done!  It went extremely well and the place was packed.  Our program was similar to last night.  We were in a cute little/cramped theater, but it had charm.  My host family is wonderful.  We have already had some great conversations.  I’m off to bed!  My quintet plays in the morning.  I will try to record it on my computer so you can all see a video J.

I'm Back!!!

I'm sorry that it has been awhile!  I have not had a reliable internet connection.  Here are the latest posts:

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

We are in Ravenswood, WV.  Our concert was on Friday evening in the high school auditorium instead of the boat.  It did not have the appeal that a boat would have, but it was much cooler this way.   Here are my thoughts (and the facts) of the trip so far in West Virginia.

The people here are very kind and generous.  I have been provided every meal since lunch when we arrived on Thursday.  Housing was organized in advanced and we all had places to stay.  I am staying with an absolutely wonderful woman named Carol, who has been extremely generous in all regards.  She drives us everywhere, even though all the places we need to go are a few blocks away.

Organization of the music has been the usual: unorganized.  I was yelled at from playing a part wrong in a piece, which I almost cried about because he kept nagging me that I was playing it wrong, even though I was allowing for the correct amount of rest, correct notes, everything.  I was slurring.  Just like my part told me.  He said, “The score says to articulate every note!”  Thankfully, Glenda stood up for me and said, “Her part has the section marked as slurred.”  So then I crossed them off.  He’s done that to others as well.  The percussionists fight back though. 

We taught at the school, actually others did.  Bassoons and oboes go home because there were no bassoons or oboes to teach.  I use the time to practice.  However, the directors go and do something else during that time, and there were no teachers present, just random kids with instruments, so Camp Counselor Mike took charge and made an impromptu schedule.  We are told to teach, but not given any guidance or organization.

The town was unorganized in getting money for the group and doing advertising.  The people in charge of those aspects of bringing the AWSO to the town did not do their jobs.  There weren’t many at the concert, but those who were there loved it.

Now, we were supposed to leave Saturday to go to Parkersburg, but Parkersburg postponed it until later.  Boudreau consequently asked Ravenswood to keep us until Wednesday.  They are mad about that and rightfully so.  The families only wanted us for two or three nights, not a week.  We have been trying to play around in the community.  A bunch of chamber groups played at churches.  We played at First Baptist Church.  Yet another Sunday where I couldn’t go to my own church.  I’m really sick of this.  Boudreau said that he doesn’t get religion.  He’s not religious, so therefor he sees music as merely entertainment for churches.  I don’t think he understands that there are real reasons behind church music and that faith is a real thing.

The service had a call to worship, multiple prayers, including a prayer request session (which I never enjoy).  We played “special” music, but it was just the Gigue movement from the Fine quintet.  They had a time where everybody stood up and sang three or four praise songs in a row.  Although nice and moving, you could replace “God” or “Lord” with “Mother Earth”, “Allah”, etc.  This is why I generally don’t enjoy praise band music.  There is very little substance to many of the songs.  However, there are the exceptions that are fantastic laced with Christian dogma.  The sermon was based on John 5 where Jesus healed the lame man at Bethesda.  From the sermon I learned that this man was lame because he had done a specific sin to cause this and shouldn’t sin anymore so he doesn’t have any other horrific incident happen because of the sin.  Oh, man.  Every sermon I have ever heard in the WELS on this passage among all other times Jesus tells people not to sin is because it has a worse effect of going to Hell.  Also, this man was not lame because a specific sin had caused it.  Ailments are all here because there is sin in the world, but it isn’t cause-effect.  The pastor did have a point that we should use common sense and know that if we are alcoholics, alcohol will probably destroy our livers, or that if we sleep around, we will probably contract venereal diseases.  But some smokers never develop cancer, some people can eat as much as they want and never gain an ounce, some people murder and steal and get away with it.  The sermon wasn’t focused on the eternal consequences of sin.  The sermon told me that Jesus taught this man how to live a more comfortable life by following God’s commands.  I would label this a works-based sermon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day!

Happy American Independence Day!  Enjoy some John Philip Sousa.


Sunday night was our boat performance.  It was nicely attended and the breeze at dusk made the heat a little more bearable.  I had a wonderful time performing with all the musicians.  We all share a camaraderie based on the perplexing beat patterns given to us by our seasoned director.  We again apologize to Camp Counselor Mike for giving an inconclusive ending to his brilliant trombone concerto.  But honestly, where was beat four?  Really?!

We performed the "Scherzo" (I play oboe d'amore in that one) for the first time with only two rehearsals.  The 5/8 was pretty sketch, at least for me, but the way I couldn't find the beat, I feel that other people shared in my dilemma.

We had a lot of majorly successful pieces.  My hat is off to our solo marimbists (is that the correct term?) in the duo marimba concerto.  They rock it so much.  Camp Counselor Mike sounds fantastic on his trombone concerto.  The three Japanese pieces continues to be my absolute favorite.  Glenda and I are really rocking the double English horn part.  We should be called Cool Anglais...  And naturally, the arrangements of traditional American songs perform well and are crowd pleasers.

I'm not too happy with our housing situation right now.  We were told that we would be fed breakfast and supper.  That is if you have a host family.  Right now I am in a hotel, as have many other people.  I am playing the "eat as little as possible to save some money and maybe I'll lose some weight as well" card.  Graduate school did make me gain ten pounds.  Okay, I let myself gain ten pounds, but I'll blame BGSU.  And I would have to lose 25 pounds to be too low on the BMI scale, so I have some wiggle room.  Don't be too concerned...

We are next going to West Virginia.  They just had some major storms.  I'm okay with sleeping in cots, which is what I think we are going to be provided with, which makes sense because the people are living without electricity, gas, and other essential items.  Our director told us that our next town's Kroger and Walmart had to throw out all their refrigerated and frozen foods.  Poor people.  And it is so hot!

We have three more cities after Ravenswood, WV.  I honestly don't know if the tour will continue or be cancelled.  Stay tuned.

Finally, I would like to give a giant shout-out to Southland Baptist Temple for providing housing for all of us between Sunday night and Thursday morning.  They found host families for most people and put the others up at the Comfort Inn on their credit card.  They also took a love offering at the church for the group.  The Boudreaus are going into major debt for this tour.  They are super nice people and want to provide music for different communities, but they aren't collecting enough money for what the entire operation costs.  They've been doing this for 55 years, but times have changed.  Any suggestions about how to raise money for the arts?  Any suggestions on how to raise money for the AWSO?  I think if they would have hired a professional manager, things would be quite a bit better, but it is their choice.

I am very thankful for skype.  I have the pleasure of seeing my boyfriend every few days because of it.  Yay!

Toodles for now.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Paducah, KY

AWSO is now completely in Paducah, Kentucky.  Boy, it is HOT.  They have had record temperatures, with the all-time high of 108 F on Friday.  Right now, it is about 103 F.  I don’t mind heat, but I cannot do this.  I like the air conditioning.  However, we do have a performance tonight on the boat at 8 pm.  It is not so bad when the sun is down.  The program will be a little shorter, for our health.

This morning, the entire group played at Southland Baptist Temple.  This was the first time I was at a Baptist service since Heidi’s funeral in 2001.  The church was huge, new, and beautiful.  The population was white.  They are led by a giant volunteer choir, who stand up front, with selected soloists, piano, and drums.  The congregation responded enthusiastically (with clapping and exclamations) to the choir and the sermon.  I think that this is what Chapel wanted to do, but never succeeded.  The choir split into two or maybe three parts, but with about fifty members, each part was strong.  Even the soloists were often in groups of two or three per part.  The numbers and simplicity made the choir and band seem more talented than the average church, but really, the music minister is just smart in how he directs.

The service had no liturgy.  There were multiple prayer breaks and many, many songs.  The sermon came at the end of the service.  Since Independence Day is Wednesday, the service was extremely patriot.  Many members of AWSO complained about how political the service was.  I felt the service was patriotic, not political, but now I understand.  The minister emphasized that our freedom is from God, and only a country that fears Jesus Christ and his cross, will be free.  Without faith in Jesus, it would be very political to continue to push God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The minister’s sermon theme discussed two symbols of freedom: the flag and the cross.  The flat theme seemed to drag on and on to me.  He told stories of Francis Scott Key, Old Glory in Tennessee after the Civil War, and of John McCain as a P.O.W, and how for all of them, the American Flag stood for freedom from oppression.  Then he discussed the cross.  It was packed with verses of law and gospel.  He emphasized that we are all deserving of hell and need a Savior.  He discussed how death on a cross was a cursed death, and that is why St. Paul was criticized for worshipping a Savior who was put to death in such a manner.  But now, it is the ultimate symbol for our spiritual freedom from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

I was very impressed with the sermon.  And then there was the “accept Jesus into your heart” bit.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.  I honestly feel guilty when I listen to the radio knowing that I haven’t “accepted Jesus into my heart”, but the Holy Spirit has freely filled me with faith.  I can’t ask for it, I can turn away from it, but it is freely given and there is nothing I can do about it.

AWSO played “American Tribute” for preservice music, a brass fanfare by Strauss for the offertory, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” for a music break, and the ending of a liturgical fanfare by Henri Tomasi. The music director of the church did not want the Tomasi, which is strange because it is highly religious, written specifically for church (probably a Catholic mass), and depicts Christ walking to the crucifixion.  However, it is very intense, and not suited for the character of a charismatic church.  Boudreaux got around that by only doing the very end without voice.  That way, it just sounded like pretty brass music.  “American Tribute” was a big hit for the congregation, but I didn’t think it was appropriate because it included a long list of secular patriotic tunes as well as patriotic hymns.  Oh, well.

Stay cool, wherever you are.