payday, congas and more book talk

Two of the three checks I have been waiting for came in the mail yesterday but my depression or whatever you want to call it has not lifted.  I think the demeaning stance of wondering when and if one is going to be paid for one’s work contributed to my mood but probably was not the source of it.

I managed to install a Twitter button on my web site yesterday.

Twitter Follow

You should see it at the top right hand of the screen next to the “Site” and “Comments” button which come with this template. I began doing a web site from scratch years ago and then switched to the Word Press Template so readers could comment and we could have the possibility of a online conversation.  Since the template locked me out a couple of years ago and I was only able to restore access with some panicky help from daughter Elizabeth I have lost confidence in my ability to manipulate the template.  Putting a Twitter button on or a Google Analytics counter makes me worry I’m going to screw something up so badly I can’t get it back.

Nevertheless once in a while I do try things like putting buttons in. Yesterday it worked. Hurray!

I decided to call the professor I know (not a music prof) who attends my church and invite him to play the congas today at church.  I am not feeling at all motivated about anything so I had to force myself to call him.  We are doing an anthem called “Keep Your Lamps” which is a Spiritual arranged with written conga parts.

I don’t like the written part but the idea of congas is a good one.  The prof said yes so I called a couple of young people from church who are percussionists and invited them to come as well.  I didn’t speak to any of them directly. One was still sleeping in,  the other’s mom has instructed me the best way to contact her son is through the her cell so I left a message for these kids in both cases.  (As I was writing this entry, the mom messaged me that he will be there… that means I have two percussion players for sure….. )

I then trundled over to church and moved the congas to the rehearsal room after fooling around with “tuning” them.

I have two congas and they look sort of like these.

I put “tuning” in quotes because I think that tuning a conga is a bit of a misnomer or specialized use when applied to congas.  One does try to stretch the head to a pitch. But I think the tension is more related to the optimum response of the drum than the relationship of the pitch or note that the drum is vibrating at to the key of a piece.

I learned to tune and play timpani in college. Timpani are tuned to pitches and are expected to play certain notes in different keys.  They have a quick tune pedal which enables the player to switch quietly switch pitches even in the middle of a piece.  I think that is different. Conga players might tune to a pitch for a recording. But there is no way that a conga player switches the pitches from one key to another as they play.  At least that’s my impression.

My copy of Driven by Lemons by Joshua Cotter arrived yesterday along with a copy of Skyscrapers of the Midwest. I have finished re-reading the latter and think that Cotter is pretty good.

Last night (this morning?), I was listening to a Lapham’s Quarterly podcast in which Michale Dirda recommended the writer John Crowley’s book Little Big.

I got up this morning and poked around in my library and discovered I have a copy of this. It’s bound with two other novels of his and I always thought they were a trilogy.  I think I read one of the other two at some point. It’s called Beasts.

The third is Engine Summer.

My book is not as cool looking as any of these individual books. It’s an old Quality Paperback edition.

Anyway I’m glad to own this one and am thinking of giving Little Big a try.

This morning I am performing a piece by Pamela Decker based on “O Come O Come Emmanuel” for the organ prelude.

We are not singing this hymn today but I think that the melody is familiar enough that playing a little piece based on it will still be appropriate.  I like the fact that it was written in this century.

The postlude was written in the last century but it still feels like what I call “fresh music” to me. It is Fugato from Hommage to Persichetti by Janet M. Correll.

I don’t recognize the composer but Persichetti was an important composer and teacher from the 20th century. I found the setting in a collection I purchased recently of composers I don’t know very well.

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