Today the northeast is being hammered by a horrible blizzard. Thousands are stranded up and down the coast as airports, train lines, and roadways close. Here in Ithaca we've dodged the worst of it, but still the day has been murderously cold and windy and the little snow we've gotten (maybe an inch or two) has blown up in smooth drifts that coat the sidewalks and make the roads extra slick. Everything's supposed to pass over by tomorrow afternoon so I'm hoping my drive back to Evanston (so far planned for Wednesday) won't be too terrible.
This afternoon Rob and I braved the storm and made a trip out to Hickey's Music--the local music dealer and one of the best online sources for brass music and supplies I know of. After my first lesson with Chris Martin a few months ago he'd suggested that I try some different mouthpieces and (NON-equipment-junky that I am) I've been putting off this gear-heady chore for far too long. At the very least I knew I should get a smaller picc mouthpiece as what I have been playing for the last couple years (a GR 7H*P) has a great sound (I love GR mouthpieces!), but is far too much work to play.
I was a little nervous that I'd go in the store and someone would recognize me as the former Cannonball trumpet lady--not that I'm embarrassed about that, I just didn't want to have to explain my reason for leaving the company. Fortunately, that didn't happen (guess I'm not nearly as famous as I'd feared), but I was excited and pleased to see a little Cannonball display featuring a gorgeous Brute Sea-Dog tenor that I'd engraved.
Looking at this beautiful horn I was suddenly overcome with a healthy dose of pride. I could point out nearly a dozen features on the horn that I'd designed myself (various guards, decorative metal pieces, and of course engravings) or helped others design (a few of the functional components--keys and the like). You know...I really did do great work at Cannonball. Despite how my personal experience degraded towards the end of my time there, I left having made a meaningful contribution, and of that I can be proud (right?).
The sales people were great and set me up in a practice room with several mouthpieces to try. I didn't find anything compelling for my big horns, but decided on an interesting new option for my picc: a Schilke 5A4. I'm hoping it'll get me more effectively moving through some rep I've been neglecting due to its prohibitive high range.
Rob scored some gear as well...
He's had the piano for years, but had needed a stand and bench...no longer! Stravinskian that he is, he also picked up full scores of the master's Octet and Histoire Du Soldat...hours of fun await!
For the rest of the evening we're both hunkered down indoors (feeling extra blessed as we listen to the wind howl through the pines outside the window), and in a little while (after I finish up my daily practice) will probably continue what has turned into an out-and-out Scrabble war (we're tied 3 to 3 out of 6 games...though I totally clobbered him on the last one...HA!).