Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The greatest work day ever

I wanted to write this up two weeks ago, and then got behind... but I think it's going to repeat tomorrow, so I'm happy to revisit.

I've been complaining a great deal lately about my dayjob(s) and stress related to money, etc. That all took a backseat a few weeks ago when I had a daytime rehearsal for the Low End Quartet.

I started this project about a year and a half ago. I threw together a few pieces, found interested players who were willing to do a couple of rehearsals and one show for free, got us a spot opening for a friend of mine, and we did a little proof-of-concept. It worked quite well. The music was well received, we made some rehearsal recordings, and I was quite insipired to write more music for the group. Instead of writing said music immediately, I wrote grant proposals. And then some more proposals. Then I got really lucky and some of those were funded.

So here we are, I've got this thing going as a paid gig. I was able to take a few months at the start of the year to focus on composing, and I've got the budget to pay the performers (including myself) for a handful of rehearsals and a show or two. Plus we're going to spend three days in the recording studio in September. Exciting stuff...

Of course real life didn't unfold according to plan and some of the details in my proposals have been changed. I had to hire a new bass player, I didn't finish writing the pieces I needed in the time alotted, etc., etc... but we've got a show coming up this weekend, and the recording session is two weeks away. And here's the best part -- our rehearsal days are paid for. It's literally my job to rehearse with the group. Not as much as I'd like, but we're devoting a couple of days to it - six hour blocks of time, which is quite unheard of in my experience with other bands.

So a few weeks ago, I set up the basement for us and sure enough we spent the better part of the day playing new music in my basement. We didn't cover as much material as I'd hoped, but I'm always putting too many things on my to-do list for any given day. This was no exception. We took a short break for lunch, and played some more. A photographer for the Express came by because they're running a feature about our upcoming show. We got to get acquainted a bit more with one another during lunch, and we got to get acquainted a bit more simply by playing together. (The cat's out of the bag, as far as my skills as a performer... the other members of the group are pros and I'm not quite up to speed when it comes to playing chamber music ;-)

At the end of the day, I was awfully content. I put my coffee down at 9am and forgot to drink it, I was so absorbed in what we were doing all day. When I found it again after the rehearsal was over and everyone had left, I realized that I'd just had the best work day ever. We'd worked hard, but it was seriously fun the whole time. Maddening at some points, given that my music is repetitive and we have to count bars carefully, but fun!

I can't wait for rehearsal tomorrow.. and the show on Saturday should be a blast. Check out the Express on Thursday (I think that's when the feature will run), and I think the Post is covering the show so a review should be in Monday's paper...

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