Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mouse Guy

I last blogged about our friend Kurt in May.

Kurt is the assistant conductor of the Disneyland Band.

He usually sits behind me in the trumpet section.

Tonight, however, he made a big move forward.

As the marine layer moved in over Bluff Park, Kurt moved onto the podium:

He conducted music from Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean".

Go Kurt Go!!!

A chill wind whipped the band as the fog continued to roll in.

That didn't stop singer Carol Welsman from heating things up:

We'll be at it again tomorrow at Los Cerritos Park.

Come cheer us on!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Dreaming of Cambria

Three weeks from today will find us in Cambria.

It's grand to have something to look forward to!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Camp El Dorado

Playing a concert at El Dorado Park is like going to summer camp.


Because you have to hike to the portable toilets.

Here is my chair:

Here is the view from my chair.

Can you see the portable toilets?

Yeah, me neither.

Here's a closer look at the important destination:

Here's the view from the portable toilets.

Can you see the band stand?

Yeah, me neither.

Here are Riser Crew Mike and Justin 2 weeks into their unlaundered pink shirt stint:

As much as I like Mike, I've asked him to keep his aromatic distance while wearing the shirt.

Next week is called "High Adventure".

No, we're not using mind altering substances before the concerts.

Three weeks are left in the season.

Hurry on down!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Manly Attitude Adjustment

After viewing the tranquil aquarium scene that was my attempt at attitude adjustment, my dear husband suggested this instead:

Thanks, honey!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The View From Where I Sit

I took my still-grumpy self to Marine Stadium for tonight's Muni Band Concert.

I was determined to be cheerful.

As it turned out, I was well entertained before the concert.

The following pictures were snapped as I sat in my chair on the band stand.

The tide was high tonight:

This monster C-17 was easy to spot (and hear) as it lumbered its way to Long Beach Airport:

A daring lenslinger hung from the open door of a police helicopter as it repeatedly buzzed the crowd before the concert (it left promptly at 6:29):

It was HOT and sunny on the stand.

Clarinetist David, seated directly behind me, found cover for his bald spot:

Clarinetist Larry was stylin':

Okay, I feel better now.

Tomorrow, El Dorado Park.

Attitude Adjustment Pending

I'm still wrestling with a less than laudable attitude.

While I try to make a turn for the more honorable, I'm still thinking about fish:

I'll check back in later.

Maybe if I stare at these fish long enough...

P.S. No, I'm not hormonally challenged!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Flushed Away

It was a good night to be out at Los Cerritos Park with the crowd escaping the heat and taking in the Muni Band concert.

Things on the band stand were a little tense.

I made it through the concert thanks to Jack's Shack.

I kept thinking about the Fish 'n Flush he posted about earlier today:

Check out this video:

Things will be better tomorrow.

Even if they're not, there's always Fish 'n Flush to keep me amused.

Thanks, Jack!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


The Muni Band was back at Bluff Park overlooking the Queen Mary and the Port of Long Beach for this evening's concert.

I don't think I'm the only one in the band who was feeling weary at this afternoon's rehearsal. We have yet another week of exceptionally difficult music, my brain RAM is full, and my attitude needs some serious adjustment.

As I was wrestling with my whiny self, I picked up an email from a dear friend, Jessica Shumba:

She is currently serving as a missionary with YWAM in Durban, South Africa, but hails from Zimbabwe. She will be returning home to Zimbabwe for a brief visit in 2 weeks. Food and fuel supplies in Zimbabwe are short. Inflation is at 2,ooo%. She is able to take supplies to her family, but was asking for help in supplying basic toiletry needs, since her budget included only enough for groceries.

I was certainly pulled up short by her request. While I'm whining about my excellent job from the comfort of my secure dwelling with a Costco-size supply of toilet paper and other hygiene products, Jessica is giving sacrificially to supply her family with very basic daily needs.


Time to count my blessings and zip my lip.

I am grateful for the perspective.

If you would like to assist Jessica in meeting her needs, this is how you can give:

Make checks payable to Calvary Commission, and designate on a separate note “for Jessica Shumba”

All gifts and donations are tax-deductible and will be greatly appreciated

Then mail the check to:
Calvary Commission
P. O. Box 100
Lindale, TX 75711

Monday, July 23, 2007

Passport Process Complete!

Exactly 16 weeks ago I presented myself, my expired passport, and all other necessary items to the Signal Hill City Clerk.

I joined the nationwide queue of people applying for passports.

In my case I had no travel plans, no non-refundable plane tickets, no weddings to attend or honeymoon to travel to.

Many people weren't as fortunate.

Los Angeles Times Travel Editor Catherine Hamm, whose passport expired without her realizing it, has been keeping a Diary of a Trip Through Passport Limbo. It makes for scary reading.

"The U.S. passport system is broken, and Americans are paying a painful price," Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Burlingame), head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.
"Every citizen of our nation has the right to hold a passport. But millions of Americans ... have been reduced to begging and pleading, waiting for months on end, simply for the right to travel abroad." Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2007

So those of you who expect to see your passport in "10 to 12 weeks" after your application process begins might want to lower your expectations. Significantly.

Please let me know how things work out!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Muni Band "Day Off"

I try to schedule one day a week where I don't touch my flute.

Avoiding burn out is difficult, and these mini vacations really help.

I have been known to dance around the housing singing, "I don't have to play my flute, I don't have to play my flute, I don't have to play my flute!" on those days off.

"Get over yourself," I hear some of you muttering. "What's so hard about playing the flute? You show up at the park, play for an hour, and that's it! I wish I had an easy job like that!"

Hmmm. Where do I begin?

How about beginning with the daily hours (many hours) of practice required to maintain rudimentary fluency on the instrument? I have to practice whether I'm getting paid to play or not, just to maintain a level of fitness that will keep me from getting fired when I finally do get a paying gig.

Oh, and that music you hear at each concert? Some of it is stinking hard to play, especially in a park in the wind while dogs bark, kids scream, adults chatter, and planes fly overhead. It takes a lot (a lot) of repetitious practice at home before one can play securely under those conditions.

Okay, the music is pretty much under my fingers. Now comes the sheer effort of focusing on every little detail of the playing process while playing at warp speed. Focusing, and staying focused, is one of the more exhausting parts of my "easy" job.

Let's talk about my "flute day off" yesterday. I spent 3 hours putting an impossible-to-read flute part onto Finale (a music printing program) so I could play it without having my eyeballs fly out of my head while my brain exploded from trying to decipher the hieroglyphics scrawled across the page. It will be worth the effort when I walk away from that piece relatively unscathed next week.

I also work out regularly to improve my breath control and keep my muscles from permanently freezing into shoulder twisted flute posture.

What have I done today? I went to church. That was a pleasure. Then I stopped by Trader Joe's for food, came home, and started practicing. I've got more to go today, but took a break at the four hour mark.

So, just as in a "real job", I put in a lot of time and effort to do what I do.

Here's the cool part: I love what I do.

I'm glad that I make it look easy.

That means I'm doing my job.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Muni Band - Half Over or Half Left?

Whether you look at the season as half over or half still to go, Muni Band reached the mid point of the season tonight.

We have finished four weeks of concerts, with four yet to come.

If you've come out to the parks, THANK YOU!

If you haven't had the pleasure, what are you waiting for?

Dad and Mom joined us in El Dorado Park this evening.

Dick and Dolores were there as well, but Dick blinked during his picture.

Chris was visiting from Michigan on business. He was here for his first concert with my brother Ken.

Multi-talented Riser Crew Justin crafted his name out of coat hanger:

I want one!

Here's the scenic view from my chair:

Tony Galla was back for his final night this week.

He'll join us again for Week Eight.

Men In Pink Mike and Justin display their shirts after one week of continuous wear and no laundering:

Notice Mike's advanced case of "Riser Belly", caused by the risers rubbing against him as he loads them in the truck.

Please join us before the summer is over!

Tuesday finds us at Bluff Park.

Will it find you there as well?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Mom Remembered

My friend Monica (on the left) was at Marine Stadium with her sister for this evening's Muni Band Concert.

Monica's husband Gordon is the band's incredible drummer:

It's been almost a year since the last time Monica visited this particular park.

Last year she was with her mother:

"Mom" came to the Muni Band concerts faithfully for many years.

She called me "her girl" and always had a big smile and hug for me.

I was able to snap these pictures from the band stand last year.

"Mom" loved to hear Tony Galla sing, and he was on the program that evening.

Monica's mom passed away in November.

Tony, seen at tonight's concert, sang at her funeral.

Monica was so happy to get the above pictures last year.

She told me this evening that she wrote a note on the back of one of them and placed it in her mom's casket.

I know Monica's mom is with the Lord in heaven. I look forward to seeing her there.

Meanwhile, though, I sure do miss her.

Tomorrow, El Dorado Park.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dancin' At Los Cerritos

The theme of this week's concert is "Happy Feet".

The concert band set is an esoteric collection of dance music from around the world.

Aunt Charlo is having knee surgery on Friday, so she and Uncle Joe came to the concert tonight instead of their usual El Dorado Park venue:

Remember how I found Nemo at Disneyland last month?

I met fellow Annual Pass Holders Linda and Jim while waiting in that long line line.

We had a lot of time to get acquainted while we waited.

They made it to tonight's concert:

It was great to see them again!

John plays a mean marimba:

Here are are Charlo and Joe in the crowd...

...enjoying the magnificent Tony Galla:

Sound engineer Bob (my dear husband) and stage manager Greg are surrounded by a sea of people:

If you haven't heard Tony, what are you waiting for???

We'll be at Marine Stadium (the party park) tomorrow evening.

Come on down!

P.S. Check out this video of an 11-year-old Tony Galla on the Original Amateur Hour:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Coastal Concert

Today was our first concert of the season at Bluff Park.

I could see the Queen Mary from my chair:

Here is one of the scenic oil well islands:

We had a lenslinger from the Port of Long Beach on hand:

The wind blew briskly during the concert band half of the concert.

This is the place to come if you need cooling off.

The amazing Tony Galla rocked the second half of the concert.

The men were in black today (until the tear down, anyway).

Tomorrow finds us back at Los Cerritos Park.

Will you be there?

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Sweet Riser Shuckers

Bob and I had way too much fun with my Scrapbooking program this afternoon:

Click the picture to enlarge:

What I Do For A Living

The following conversation actually took place, word for word, last week.

The most frequently asked question I get at the Muni Band concerts is, "What do you do for a living?"

"Um...I play the flute," I reply.

"No, but what do you really do for a living? How do you make money?", comes the query.

"I play the flute," I say again.

"But that's not really your job," they insist. "Don't you teach somewhere?"

"Yes, I teach at two universities three days a week during the school year," I answer.

"Oh, I knew you had a real job."

Actually, I play flute all day long at that "real job".

I don't go into the degree I have in, guess what, Flute Performance.

I don't mention the hours of practice I put in on my "days off".

I don't mention the orchestras I play with, movies I've been in, the studios I've played in.

What would be the point?

I'm just glad I make it look that easy.

I love my job.