gigging in helland

It’s a beautiful, gentle morning in Michigan. The air is fresh and a bit wet from the night rain. So glad I can finally open windows in the house and let the breeze in.

Last night was the third night of working with the first visiting ballet instructor. Several more students showed up. They seemed to be recruited from some local ballet schools. I didn’t recognize any of them from my work with Hope.

I am finding this work a bit less rewarding than my experience with the Hope teachers. I suspect this teacher has an accompanist that she has worked with for years and can anticipate exactly what she needs. She often only tells me the step involved in the upcoming combination. From that I am to deduce tempo, style and an appropriate melody.

I am pretty good at this but it takes immense concentration and not so much creativity.  We went for three hours last night since several of the new students were ready for a pointe class. At the end of the evening my teacher called for the piece I have been learning from Raymonda, the Glazounov ballet.

Once again she attempted to talk to me about the tempo of the piece. This is kind of funny because it’s sort of a gypsy number and there is a great deal of rubato throughout.  She seemed to accept what I was doing better after I sort of ignored her and tried to play the piece with expression.

Here’s the video I worked from to first determine exactly which three minutes of this lengthy opera was requested and then to get a bit of the style and tempo. This is also the dance the teacher is teaching the students.

I tried to take it easy yesterday in preparation for another evening of rehearsal. I did finish a draft of a string quartet adaptation of the tune, “Yellow,” by Coldplay. And of course practiced organ and piano.

The result of all of this is that I am pretty tired this morning and looking at two more nights of gigs. This evening is my last ballet class with this particular visiting prof. Tomorrow evening I am booked to play with the Barefoot Jazz Quartet for Tulip Time. It turns out we are playing in the street which is blocked off for the evening. I can only hope they haven’t jammed musical groups close together as they have in the past. This close proximity of other musicians is one of the main reasons I ceased playing in the Holland Street Performer Series. The other is that I couldn’t find anyone to play with me and this sort of thing is so much more fun with company.


Anish Kapoor dedicates Leviathan sculpture to Ai Weiwei | Art and design | The Guardian

China is cracking down on artists and dissidents. Anish Kapoor is expressing solidarity via his unusual art work.


Disabled people to march in London against cuts to benefits and services | Society | The Guardian

The UK has instituted many austerity measures and is following the Grover Nyquist admonition to take their government to the bathtub to drown it. Tough times in Great Britain.


Aircraft carrier left us to die, migrants say | World news | The Guardian

Nick Clegg backs decision to not open Britain’s borders to Libyan refugees | UK news | The Guardian

Lebanese police send fleeing Syrians back to face Assad regime’s violence | World news | The Guardian

Wars create refugees and victims. Now they are called immigrants, a pejorative in many countries including the good U. S. of A.  These are three links that all appeared recently describing sad stuff.


Donald Trump: Developer has thrived with government’s generosity –

Why is it not surprising that Trump has received many government handouts? Like so many people, self-interest is what drives this man. Of course he promises it would be different if he were king. Right!!


Arts education: President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities issues report –

Here’s an encouraging development! Did you know yesterday was poetry day at the Whitehouse?

I didn’t watch this yet, but I downloaded the mp3 of it to put on my player. Click here to go to


Steve Lopez: The president’s speech as seen through the eyes of illegal immigrants –

More from those dam immigrants!  Excellent reporting, actually.


Rajaratnam Found Guilty –

Did you know that Rajaratnam is the 35th insider trader to be convicted?


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