Global Skywatch

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Montana Trombone Chorale

The evening of August 3rd had an event that was BIG and BOLD on my calendar. The Montana Trombone Chorale came to the Hamilton Band Shell to perform for an enthusiastic, discerning audience. High on my list of musical dreams would be to play in such a group. Listening and watching them play is almost as good… and very much a delight. I apologize for the quality of my videos. I am using my much-loved Canon SX710 a bit beyond its capability for taking great still photos and making short video clips by recording these tunes. But you can certainly see and hear what these folks brought to our community. Now if I can just get something like this going […]

trombone trio

After four years of wishing I could find, and looking for someone to play trombone with, I began growing my own trombone trio. I found a couple of lads interested in learning, gave them each a trombone and began giving lessons near weekly. As with nearly everything else I do, I am underqualified, but the best I can find who will actually get the job done. In this case, both are in homeschooled families, so I am The Music Department of their school. I bought other instruments, and gave a few lessons, but the trombonists are the only ones who have stuck with it, now going on five months. We recently got into the more enjoyable phase where we can […]

432 Hz

There I was, all hepped-up to do a researched post on 432 Hz, but my research got in the way. I will explain further in a bit, but this frequency and relatives of it are part of our nature, calming, centering and beneficial in many ways. In 1917, the rulers decreed that music move off of that center onto a 440 Hz standard. We have been in discord ever since. The new look at 432 Hz was not my first. Thus I was knowledgeable enough to embrace the concept. If this is your introduction, I recommend you web-search (DuckDuckGo) 432 Hz, then read at least three of the links that turn up in order to get closer to accepting this […]

making music for your health

You know you like it. You run your electronic music-producing electronics A LOT. Those of you who play a musical instrument, or sing feel good while you are doing it, as well as afterwards. Numerous studies show increased health, learning ability, brain capacity and more in those who make music – in any way… that includes the didgeredoo, the love of one co-author in the article below. The two of them studied and quantified the effects. Add this as one more research article supporting musicianship as a positive for humans. Click the links to the article for the whole thing. I admit to cutting out the didgeredoo-centric part as that is not my thing. The website has A LOT about […]

Jacqueline du Pré

Shortly after the turn of the century, I went searching for an affordable turntable. I had a modest-sized, high-quality collection of vinyl LPs, many of which I longed to hear. I purchased a BIG old-school stereo system from a retired couple who “upgraded” to a modern surround sound … for less than the price of a turntable! It included four two-and-a-half-foot-tall speakers, two of which were HEAVY Yamahas, a 400-watt amplifier capable of driving all four, twin-cassette recorder/player, 5-CD changer, AM/FM receiver, 5-channel equalizer and the all important Pioneer direct-drive turntable. Just before our 2013 move to The Bitterroot was the last time I heard the big stereo play. Tuesday a friend helped me get it going, but pointed out […]

winning trombone bid

I “won” an eBay auction on a horn I just had to hold. It is probably around a 1950 build from Elkhart, Indiana – a time and place some famously good playing horns came from. For $68 + $38 shipping, I HAD TO take the chance I would score another nice playing horn … I’ve been pretty lucky at buying and restoring lately. It is an American Triumph made by Harry Pedler … the production line and artisans that became Conn, that produced my Conn 6H, among other vintage desirables. My initial straightening of quite badly bent inner slides along with a serious session for upper and lower parts in the bathtub was happily rewarded, but that merely took it […]

new old axe

I found a prize vintage trombone 2 1/2 years ago. It was a 1958 Conn 6H in an Austin, Texas Salvation Army store. Looking ugly and selling on e-bay for cheap, I took a chance. Even if I had to pay for a full restoration, it would still be below market value for a good one. The lacquer was flaked off as much as on, the slide had a lot of drag and some visible wear in the plating. It would have responded quite well with a round trip to one of the trombone restoration shops in the USofA. I was not, am not hugely concerned about the cosmetics, though I do appreciate nice looking horns. But the slide […]

ragtime

In February I finally got around to checking out the monthly gathering of Bitterroot’s Ragtime Society. It looked good and they encouraged me to bring my horn next time. March 5th was next time. I brought my horn. Mom and Missy also came along … my fan club … hadda make sure somebody liked the noises I made. Ragtime is not familiar territory to me. Tunes I have experience with are Dixieland, Swing, Jazz, Big Band and the like. But, Hey, these people let me play trombone! 🙂 I HOPED to play along in a quarter of the music, enjoy it all and end up with some sheet music to play with between now and the next meeting. I was […]

instrumental

In public school 4th grade, kids who “got it” with the plastic flutes the year before were offered loans of real instruments and lessons in their use. Trombone was IT. I turned down all proffered alternatives until a trombone became available. It was the only sound I was interested in making; instrument I wished to play. Many decades later, acoustic bass snuck in as a possible interest. If ever I had to play something other than trombone, I decided the upright bass would be it. Fate delivered me to a place where I have been unable to find people to play my trombone with, but a bass would be enthusiastically welcomed. I still enjoy playing my horns with my ‘band […]