Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian plays bass in an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The 23.8% solution

Many thanks to those who came to the Gunnelpumpers CD release show. Also, many thanks to those who wrote heartfelt comments about the Ravinia Festival. For those who haven't given up on it entirely, I would encourage you to make your feelings known to someone higher up in the organization (which is just about anybody but me, honestly). Hopefully the opinions of past, present, and possibly future ticket buyers might carry some weight.

My apologies for the dearth of posts this summer. I really couldn't bring myself to do what might be taken as the moral equivalent of strolling through a hospital ward and making snarky comments about the patients: “Geez dude, you're looking a little pale there.” However, since today (Saturday, July 31) is my last at the festival this summer (the Operas next week and the Musical the following use small orchestras) I struggled mightily, trying to come up with some sort of closing remarks to put the whole thing in perspective. Last night I woke in a cold sweat (the best sort of sweat, really) and hurried to my computer to check a few things and make a couple calculations. If my numbers are off, blame it on a lack of sleep.

Here are some Festival Fun Facts:

Percentage of our concerts this summer featuring Patti LuPone: 23.8 (5 of 21)
[A caveat is in order here: I have not looked closely at the rosters for the Mozart Operas next week. I'm assuming them to be LuPone free, but who knows....] I've got nothing against Patti LuPone, in fact, she's great, but that seems excessive.

Number of concerts without a soloist: 0

Number of concerts on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday: 13 (including two matinees, see below)
All {name redacted} concerts used to be on weekends. Now when somebody asks me when we're playing next week I can only shrug, “Tuesday?”

Number of concerts lead by our music director: 12

Number of concerts on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday lead by our music director: 4 (including the two matinees)
The Saturday and Sunday Mozart Opera concerts are at 1 PM in order to make way for the Temptations/The Four Tops, and the BoDeans. I wonder if one lawn ticket covers both shows each day, or if truncheon wielding, Segway riding security guards will clear the park of classical music buffs after the Opera is over.

Number of concerts canceled: 1.
The Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy show died as a result of our contractual limit on the number of 'Pops' concerts we can play in a summer.

Number of disappointed FanBoys slinking back to parents' basements: unknown.

After the cancellation of the video game music show, we were interested to see an extra rehearsal for the Sondheim: 80 show (with Patti LuPone!) pop up on the schedule. This could only be described as a 'punitive' rehearsal – sticking in an extra service where none was needed, bringing the scheduled rehearsal time for the 90 minute Gala performance to seven and a half hours. (The 3-hour long Operas the following week each get eight and a half hours of rehearsal, BTW.) The poor fellow on hand to conduct the Sondheim show found himself looking down the barrel of a pretty testy orchestra at the first rehearsal. After the break he came out and hastily announced a 'deal' had been struck, canceling the punitive rehearsal. I once struck a similar deal with dubious character on a darkened street: I agreed to give him my wallet and he agreed not to beat me. Sometimes you have to cast something aside just to save your skin.

Monday, July 19, 2010

the nth wave

Gunnelpumpers CD release show
Tuesday July 20, 8 PM
Martyrs'
(3855 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL tel. 773 404 9494)

The Gunnelpumpers will perform this week to celebrate the release of our first CD, the nth wave. The CD is available on iTunes and CD Baby. A few videos of us in performance are also available on YouTube. I believe we have Facebook and Myspace pages as well, although I'm not really in touch with the social networking thing.