saint-saëns sandwich – the prequel

and guess what: the saint-saëns sandwich is sooo fancy it comes with an appetizer.  ooh la la!  yep, the folks at the oregon symphony and all-classical fm always team up to offer a delish happy (half) hour menu before every classical show, and this weekend’s tasty app featured the brilliant christa wessel talking with the brilliant jon greeney.  needless to say, i learned more interesting stuff about the timpani than i thought was even possible.  [cliffsnotes version: “calf is the way to go.”]  and in addition to boning up for the next big game of timpanial pursuit, the beav was once again reminded how truly extraordinary each of the band members really are.  seriously.  while listening to mr. greeney trace his own musical journey to the schnitzer stage, this rodent realized a potent insight: providing for your family by becoming a professional kettledrummer is just about the bravest/craziest thing i can imagine.  here’s the real mind-blower: every one of the 70-some musicians in this band have parallel experiences of eternal practicing, losing auditions by a hair, and forking over a shit-ton of hard-earned money for instruments, education, and airline tickets with absolutely no guarantee there will be any return on the investment.  in this town, where any inked yahoo can pick up a washboard once a month and call himself a “musician,” sometimes i feel like the title of classical musician just doesn’t cut it.  to the beaver, the peeps in the oregon symphony are more like orchestral sādhus ~ each living on the outskirts of our traditional american society and devoting their entire life to master an instrument.  and week in and week out, i get to hear the musical fruits of their lifelong dedication… oh my, it’s just about the bravest/craziest thing i can imagine.


3 Responses to “saint-saëns sandwich – the prequel”

  1. 1 Nancy Ives March 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Big sloppy kiss to you, Maestro Beaver! You’ve really hit on something about our world that can be hard to explain. (Yet again!)

    BTW, thanks for the shout-out in the Dvorak write-up. Wild, wacky fun, huh? :>)

  2. 2 Marvin Dawson March 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    You can watch all of the pre-concert conversations on the website.
    Just click on “Programs” and then “Audio & Video Archive”.
    Jon Greeney will even tell you how to make your own timpani mallets and why he needs so many.

  3. 3 pdxvla March 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I second Nancy!

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