Welcome to the official blog of the Highstrung String Quartet!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Step two: The paper part

Some quartets go out and purchase the music they are going to preform and use the originals for their performance. Personally, I think that is the most crazy idea I have ever heard! For one, I have never met a second violinist who could keep track of their parts for longer then a month... but even more basic then that is that using the originals seems to just beg for drama on concert week. “Hey guys........have any of you seen my Haydn part?” Those are the worst words to hear the week of the concert! Add to these facts another, we have found that there is always at least one terrible page turn in the original. Most of the time you will have two beats to turn the page and once you've turned the page you have to play a solo! How dumb is that? It is because of these facts that most quartets photocopy the originals and then but the photocopies into a black three-ring-binder called a “performance notebook” (while at the same time locking the originals in a vault.) It goes down like this:

First, a responsible member of the quartet takes the originals to Office Depot and breaks the law by illegally photocopying them. Secondly, This person brings the copies home and turns them over to the other members so that they can but them into their own performance notebooks. Finally, it takes about five or six weeks for the two procrastinators (they would argue that they are the “busy” members) to get their copies organized into a notebook.

What really irks me is that one part ALWAYS gets lost somewhere in this process. This time it seems to be the second violin part to the Borodin that has decided it wasn't getting payed enough to put up with Justin's terrible hand writing. It truly boggles my mind. We photocopied the originals. I gave Justin his copy while I put the original in the file. Then Justin says he can't find his Borodin part. Figures. So I go to grab the original.....it's gone. Poof! This happens with someones part every time. Although I have noticed through the years that is seems to be always be one of the middle voices. Have no fear, it will show up at some point.....usually delivered from Sheet Music Plus by FedEx.

- The responsible member

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We love our job!

We just returned from Newport, where we were paid to play for at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The Aquarium was having a party to raise money for the center. The coolest part of all though, was that they paid for one night in a hotel.

The quartet drove down on Saturday(okay, not all four of us drove, just Josh), checked into the hotel, and got everything unloaded. Josh, Justin and I (Eric, yes, I'm posting), hit the pool. I had not been swimming in a while, so it was fun to brush up on my old swim team skills. I realized that I had a lot of brushing up to do. But Josh, being our cellist, is a genius. His recommendation? A dip in the hot tub. To put this in context, we were hired to play three hours of background music. Ouch. The fact is, that even with breaks, it is a very tiring experience. So we sat in the hot tub, allowing our muscles to relax, and sang(tried to sing) the Borodin string quartet we’re working on. That was fun. We showered up, and "hit the gig" as I say.

The event itself was pretty cool. Lots of silent auction items, different food to taste, etc. We got setup and were able to walk the aquarium for a little while. But then the staff decided to open the doors early, so we started playing. It was really amazing seeing all of these people coming to support one of the most amazing places in the city of Newport. The crazy thing was when they asked us to move outside. My initial reaction was: outside + Newport = saltwater in the air = not good for the instruments. But, we walked out there to check, and it wasn’t that bad. The light was fading anyway, so we wouldn’t be there for long. You have to see it to believe it so here:

After the gig was over, we remembered that one of our amazing quartet coaches, Cindy Petty, was playing with the Newport Symphony that night. Coincidentally, we were driving by the performing arts center, and stopped in. As usual, she was the last person leaving, and we were able to see her for a few minutes. It was a moment I'll remember forever. All of us, standing outside the PAC of Newport just talking at 9:45pm. It was neat. We managed to find some food, and got back to the hotel room.

It was the first time I had slept in on Sunday in a long time. We usually leave around 8:00 to help get church setup. I slept until about 9:00. The truly refreshing thing was waking up to the ocean outside the window. Today was all fun and games, but more importantly, an opportunity to see another aspect of God's amazing creation.

We packed everything up and headed for Lincoln City. We spent the day in the various shops and on the beach. We went out to dinner, and enjoyed some local clam chowder. Best stuff ever.
We headed for home, and had an awesome time.

I guess the gist of this is to say that when you get paid to take two days vacation do the beach, all you can say is, "I LOVE my job."