Some pictures of places I've played, plus one of me playing to prove I'm still working hard, despite a lack of blog updates.
Libby's is a great place to play. Hardwood floors and a 15' ceiling gives it great acoustics, and the baking and packed house gives it great atmosphere. My friend Mike took 70 pictures of me that day, and I used the first one. Look at me go, turning pages with my left hand!
One month from today (Feb. 28th) is the two year anniversary of when I decided to get "serious" about playing. I launched this website, recorded some samples, took out ads on major wedding websites, and watched my calendar fill up. But there was one key component missing. I didn't have any recordings of me playing with anybody else. At first it was because I didn't have any way of recording on location. Once I got a digital recorder I had to wait for a duo wedding, which can be months apart. Over the next ~8 months, I tried not once, not twice, but FOUR times to get a workable on-site recording. The first time the batteries died. The second time the background noise was so loud you couldn't hear us. Once I thought it was recording but it wasn't (you have to hit the button twice) and the last time I left it in my car and didn't realize until it was too late.
Last saturday, I played a very snowy wedding at St. Mary's in Glens Falls with an incredible violinist, Jessica Belflower, who was gracious enough to let me record the whole thing. AND. I. DID. Because as they say, the 5th time's a charm. It took almost 2 years, but the wait is finally over. Duo samples are available Here.
To celebrate, here's the full recording of us playing Ode to Joy during the postlude. Enjoy!
Meaghan, you made it down the aisle a lot faster than I expected, so I thought you both might want to hear the arrangement you requested in its entirety. Congratulations again, and best of luck with your new lives together!
When I tell people that I'm a cellist, invariably the first follow-up question that they ask is if I play with an orchestra. I always say 'no, I do freelance work... weddings, lessons, pits, stuff like that'. About 90% of the time I then watch their interest waft away and I change the subject. The truth is, I do some subbing here and there, but I neither have, nor want, a full-time seat in an orchestra. Don't get me wrong, the steady, reliable work would be nice, and I'd love to be able to answer that question with a big 'Yes, I do!' then ride the ego high I'd get from their impressed expressions, but that's about it. Those are the only two reasons I'd take an orchestral job. In the end, it's just not my thing, and I'm fine with that. I get to do something better.
The other 10% of the time, the asker of that question keys in on 'weddings' and says something about how spring must be my busy season. I laugh, and say it's actually fall. People tend to be surprised by this, but September and October are by far my busiest months for weddings. Why? Because fall is when the always beautiful Adirondack region is at its' absolute peak. Spring is great, because everything is that fresh bright green. But things are green in the fall, too. And orange. And red. And yellow, brown, blue and gray, crisp and crunchy, with a hint of wood smoke and (if you're really lucky) a light dusting of snow. Who wouldn't want to get married then?
When I leave my house to play a wedding, but particularly a fall wedding, it's really hard not to appreciate how lucky I am to be doing what I get to do. As I drive over mountains, through valleys and along lakes, I get to watch the scenery the whole way, and it's stunning. If I were an orchestra player, I'd go from my house to the hall and back, and not have time for much else. Instead, I get to do a wide variety of work in every corner of the Park at all times of the year. I get to see it all through the windows of my little car. I have the best seat in the house to the greatest show around.
I played a rainy wedding last weekend. I was under a tent, but everybody else got a little damp. I've had rained-out weddings before, where they switched to the backup location, but I think this is the first wedding I've ever had where it started dry, then got wet just as guests started to arrive so everybody stayed in their cars, then dried up again right before the ceremony started so they were able to stay with plan A.
The clothespins you see at the bottom are clipped to my stand. They're official tools of the trade for outdoor players, and are usually just as necessary as your instrument or bow. I keep 5 or 6 clipped to by gig bag at all times, just in case.
My case was sitting on the edge of the platform, and some rain blew under the tent. It got a little sprinkled, but fortunately once the ceremony started it didn't blow hard enough to get me wet in the middle.
Best of luck to the couple, Kyle and Lindsay! May the rest of your days together be sunny and dry!
A beautiful day for a wedding! - Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid NY
Yesterday, August 5th 2013 I played the first Monday wedding of my career, at the always fabulous Whiteface Lodge. But this time the weather outshone the venue! Low 70's and breezy, sunny and no humidity to speak of. I love summer in the Adirondacks! (Although technically this was September weather, but if it stays like this the rest of August I'll be one happy camper.)
Many thanks to the newlyweds, Hannah and Russ, for bringing me out on this perfect day! Congratulations and best of luck as you start your new life together!
Stories, pictures and maybe even sound clips from weddings and events I play.