Where to begin…?

The 2009 Summer Season of the Monteux School comes to an end today.  Not before our bitchin’ Pops Concert though — in less than two hours time, I’ll find myself playing cymbals on “American in Paris”.  I’ve also volunteered my services as choreographer on that piece, and without anybody even asking.  That’s just the kind of guy I am.

Other recent highlights have included conducting Bartòk’s “Dance Suite”, about the darkest work that one could imagine with that title, and therefore bad-ass, and taking the role of Sacrificial Virgin-cum-Conductor in Le Sacre du Printemps.  The former activity has me contemplating writing a satire piece called “Middle School Dance Suite”, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

In non-musical events, we continued a great tradition of the School Pig Roast.  Please notice the use, by one of my genius Southern colleagues, of mustard-based, Carolina Style BBQ sauce:

oinky expression

I think Maurice would be proud.  As would my South-Carolingian Great-Grandmother.

In other wildlife news, there was a firefly in my bedroom last night who thought he had found his Life Partner when my cell phone’s LCD screen lit up to confirm the completion of my battery charging.  Plus I saw a roach in my kitchen whom I strongly suspect of having been a free-verse poet in a previous life.

Quickly, my vigilant friend Mary pointed out in a recent blog comment that Alexander Bernstein called into “CarTalk”, and I think we’ve really got to sort through this one.  This is the link to the full interview.

We start with this: http://www.willcwhite.com/audio/ab%20cartalk%201.mp3


Next: http://www.willcwhite.com/audio/ab%20cartalk%201.mp3


Finally: http://www.willcwhite.com/audio/ab%20cartalk%201.mp3

So, Dear Readers, will you take the challenge?

Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

This past Monday, I did the first of (hopefully?) many children”s concerts that I shall do over the course of my career.  All in all, things went well, though I learned that the worst part of any children”s concert is definitely the children — they”re just too unpredictable.  Plus, there were some real tweakers among the Mainish children to whom I presented.

Philosophically speaking, I would offer a typically Žižekian reversal and propose that Children”s Concerts are truly for adults: the parents and grandparents are the ones listening and learning, and they feel especially good because they”re doing something “cultural” for their children.  Of course, if we take this assertion to its natural conclusion, it should mean that adult subscription concerts are really for children.  Maybe this is not so far off the mark, but only for a certain kind of child – the child who is entranced not only by the music, but by the elusive ritual of adult nightlife — the child who would savor the rare treat of being allowed to share the company of adults on a special occasion.

Anyway, I tried slots to make the whole thing interactive.  Here”s a clip:

God I hate my voice.  I wish it was deep and gravelly, like Lenny”s or Bea Arthur”s.  I could try smoking it down an octave, but the last time I had a cigarette I booted all over the damn place.  I suppose I”ll just have to live with the curse of my clear, beautiful, ringing, natural tenor.

Overall I was happy with the Kinderkonzert, but let”s just say, I don”t think there”s any danger of a shift in my key demographic, as this YouTube Analytics Pie Chart will certainly indicate:

key demographic

Come to think of it, maybe it”s just my Children”s Concerts that are really for adults… or maybe just old ladies.

(Route) 1 is Down (with its bad self)

I have been in Hancock, Maine nigh on a month plus change, Conducting-Associating my little heart out for l’École Perry Montux.  Yesterday, the unthinkable occurred — we experienced our third straight day without rain.  Around these parts, that’s considered a dangerous drought, but I found it so inspiring that I decided to embark on a little photojournalism project to get to the heart of Hancock.

pms chainsaw

Where better to start any trip to Hancock than at The Raye Chainsaw Sawyer Artist? Nightly shows at 7:00 PM feature The Raye Chainsaw himself sculpting masterpieces from logs.  Speaking of logs, next we move to…

pms pine tree

Alden Bunker, Pine Tree specialist to the stars.  What Enterprising young Pine Tree specialist wouldn’t want to establish Hancock as his home base?  The one confusing thing about Alden’s is that the parking lot is always full of school buses, not pine trees.  Rather, I should say full of Handcrafted Pine School Buses, painstakingly designed by Raye Sawyer, nightly.

pms raggedy

It’s true that Raggedy Ann Dolls are not hard to come by — most small towns with populations of 500 or more have entire stores devoted to them.  Thank goodness I came to Hancock though, where Raggedy Andy is given his due.  I just hope that the owner of that 1984 gray Cadillac Sedan isn’t planning to dress his Raggedy Andy doll in any of those American Girl Size clothes.  They’d probably be too big for him anyway, what with some of these obese children I see walking around here.

pms debbies

Never having patronized Debbie’s myself, I can only imagine what sort of Blueberry Ware she has in store for us, but I do know one thing — if you’re sick of those high-end, marked-up Blueberry Ware prices, you can always walk right next door:

pms debbies outlet

Yes, all this plus a Conducting School and a Gazebo await you in beautiful Hancock, Maine.  I defy even Ludwig von Mises to explain this local economy.

I mean, really…

…how often does one hear a cover of a Maurice Ravel song…?


Ravel: “How’s your Mug?” fr. L’Enfant et Les Sortilèges

My Brightest Diamond version

…much less a remix thereof?

Tim Fite Redux

OK, well, actually, it turns out that there may be one other example.  Amazingly, I heard this on Maine Public Radio today:

Tommy Dorsey, “The Lamp is Low

…which of course began life as


Can you hardly believe it?