Monday, May 16, 2016

The Old Before The New

Since the recording session it's been the usual orchestra gig continuing. Still chuckling over some of the funny times we had during the recording session.

Spiking the set.

Since the front door was covered by the green screen, this was the entrance and exit...a ladder where the back porch used to be.

Working on light set up. Lots of coffee cups sitting around :)

However, orchestra season is now over and I'm out of work.

It's been a fun last couple of weeks though. Between gigs I got to spend some time with some extended family in the Dallas area and I had the best of times getting to know them better and being treated to home cooked food and puppy love! A Korean friend lives nearby and took me on a fantastic outing to the Korea town in Dallas. OMG, it was amazing!!  Eating good Korean food, shopping at an H-Mart, browsing Korean nick knacks, and just generally reminiscing of all wonderful Korean things made it all worthwhile. I bought some of my favorite Korean snacks, but I ate some before I remembered to take a picture :-p

I love Korean food. It's my comfort food.

Best seaweed snacks! Forgot how bad the stuff here is. Also, the butter coconut crackers...!!!!

There was a lovely time in Shreveport playing some "scenic" music reminding me of all the places I have been (like Alaska) and all the places I want to go (like the "Pines of Rome"). The people were great and I had one of my favorite days yet. One of the violists brought chamber music if people wanted to sight read. She asked me to play cello and we played Death and the Maiden. I was bouncing around for days from that musical high. It is such a great cello part!!!  What a wonderful way to spend a day....playing cello parts during a gig you're hired to play violin :) That day I also wandered around the river front soaking in the sunshine, lounging under a shade tree and just being present.

The River Goddess

Flowers in full bloom.

What a lovely day :)

Looking down at the inner street of the river walk shopping complex from the overpass.

If only the water wasn't brown.

Out to eat, introducing a friend to his first taste of crab and lobster!

Resting in the grass on the lawn outside of the Bass Pro Shop.

I had a wonderful last week at the Arkansas Symphony playing John Williams, but the highlight was my host family who really and truly made me feel at home. The Sunday morning before the concert I got a real treat as the passenger of their motorbike. We toured Little Rock and even after "living" there for over 10 years, I saw places I'd never seen and experienced familiar places in a whole new way.

Pretty view of Pinnacle Mountain

Central High School, one of the most beautiful historic high schools in the country.

Neat looking building #1

Neat looking building #2

Neat looking building #3

The Clinton library. I've toured it before. It's not my favorite but it's an interesting looking building.

Heifer Village and headquarters right in downtown Little Rock.

Neat looking street art.

After the concert I needed a getaway. I've worked every weekend and every weekday tirelessly and it was time to stop...as much as I could. I drove out to NC to the mountains and enjoyed hiking through the woods, sampling the local spots, and hours of scenic driving. Because of my upcoming plans I had to take my phone with me, but I loved losing the signal and getting lost in the scenery. It was a gorgeous and sunny few days of dirt roads, muddy trails, fantastic views and blooming allergies. I loved every minute!

Lake Front Seating.

Mud Puddle Jumping!

Getting in touch with my ancestors.

Panorama at Beacon Heights

View at the dam along the Appalachian Trail.

The lake on the other side of the dam.

Perched on the edge of Wiseman's Lookout

Found a tree to climb!

Just chilling like a local :)
I promise, I'll just hike through ;-)

The green jacket and I: as one in the woods.

Scenic country driving.

Panorama at Wiseman's Lookout.


But I still have no job. I still have no home. It doesn't matter what country I'm in for those facts not to change.

The roads are all empty as I stare blankly down each of them, wondering what is just out of sight. Should I stay in the US and twiddle my thumbs waiting for something to come along? Should I go "vacation" and try to make extra cash for the summer somewhere in the States? Or should I choose the road that takes me to Europe?

Since I started performing on cruise ships I've dreamed of nothing else. Years have gone by as I've tried to stay in the game and move up the ladder to get my own show as a guest entertainer. Years. More years. Still more years. If I wanted to pursue this dream and not just tag along in life, now was the time to make that move.

I've got a one way ticket that drops me off in Europe the beginning of June. I have several musicians interested in working with me in a long term show that are willing to travel to audition. And there are friends I already have and friend's I haven't met yet who are willing to host me and show me around their cities.

I still don't have a job although I'm sending out emails soon with the final videos from the recording session. But I have hope. I have a dream. I have verve for life.

Yes I did pack for a 2 week cruise AND an up to 3 month European holiday AND a cruise ship contract all in ONE suitcase, ONE carry on and my violin case thank you very much!!  


I will try to write regularly while I'm on the road in Europe. Join me as I wander the continent of land and the continent of my life. And if you happen to be in Europe, give me a shout out! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Sound Harbor Strings Snafus

It's been 7 months since I finished my last cruise contract and I have been working tirelessly to get back out there.

Obstacles I have to overcome are looking for new musicians because each cruise line hires different ensemble types so having just one ensemble really limits the line(s) where you can work. Then I've discovered that the cruise lifestyle really doesn't correspond with American musicians. I've found countless non-Americans to go but very, very few Americans, and in that hurdle is the distance factor. It's required to have an ensemble video. If you're in Europe it's not as difficult nor as far to travel to get together, but in the USA, having people travel from LA, Seattle, and NYC to meet and record is extremely difficult and costly. Then trying to fit everyone's schedules together to find a free week...well, hah!

I was one month away from moving to Europe to record with musicians I've been in contact with for months, but couldn't record a video and therefore, couldn't get work together.

In that month, somehow I pulled together a quartet of people and found a free week where everyone agreed to travel to a semi-central location and do multiple recordings.

It was an exhausting week. I woke up at 8 a.m. and the earliest I went to bed was midnight each day. I didn't usually get three meals and was pushing my body physically, mentally, and emotionally to its limits. So was everyone else.

We all succeeded and created 248 video/audio recordings!

We listened through them to find our best takes for each piece and then it was my turn to create the ultimate spreadsheet with each piece, composer, video number, audio number, audio time, each member's desired audio time, final audio times, and total video times.

In addition to all that went into the spreadsheet, I then had to create a pre-video to verify all the transitions and accuracy of the final clips. After this is all done for each ensemble video (there are 5 ensembles), someone else has to do the final post-production to make it all pretty and shiny to send to the cruise lines.

We've got most of the process done except for the final polishing. Hopefully they will all be completed by the end of the month and next month I will be back into the game and the career I love, performing on a cruise ship.

I'll keep you all updated on that, but in the meantime, I thought I would share some fun outtakes from the week's recording sessions. Enjoy!


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All four of us doing a test shot for the video. We're playing different tunes at the same time and having a blast doing so!


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Had to get the guitar out to figure the right chords for Edelweiss. I know the song best on guitar. Weird how musicians' brains work sometimes :)



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1,2,3, 1,2....    What comes after 2 again, Earle? HAHA



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"It helps if I read the music..."



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I was just kidding about it being in F#!! It's really in C haha!!



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"Isn't it illegal to give the viola the melody?"  ~Cliff's opinion



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My jacket is like the Dude's rug....or so I'm told.



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My cue failed and Earle couldn't contain his amusement :-D



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See me reading bass clef on my violin?!?!?



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Why do I have all these notes??!!??



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Are we supposed to play the 2nd ending??



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Then there were just fits of laughter. It was a fun week :-p



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Earle is just reserving his place in line lol



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How you count when you lose count.  oops



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The result of no sleep and too much caffeine...



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Your hand is covering the view finder.



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And the weirdest of all...there is no explanation.


I hope you have enjoyed all the crazy and fun outtakes from our recording session. We had tremendous fun putting it all together. Hopefully all the hard work results in a contract soon.

In the meantime, I have lots of news and changes that are about to happen. Stay tuned for some more excitement coming soon!!