18 Jul, 2008  |  Written by  |  under Music

We got up at 3:30am for our flight to Baltimore, and made it to the airport in time to pick up a latte and drink half of it before remembering that security wouldn’t let us on with it. Oops, been a while since we’ve flown!

Tepring’s sister, Sharon, picked us up and we headed to DC for the rehearsal of John Williams and The President’s Own Marine Band. We were able to get in because Sharon’s husband works for the band.

The next three hours were an amazing preview of the concert we’ll go to Sunday evening. The traditionally orchestral pieces have been re-orchestrated for band, and Mr. Williams was often surprised how well it worked. Part of that is that this is perhaps the best band anywhere, though!

During the concert, we had full scores to follow, which made the rehearsal more interesting for the four of us huddled around the music stand.

Afterward, we waited while the band staff met Mr. Williams, and Ted was able to get a couple of autographs. Amazing day so far!

We had sushi at Sharon and Ted’s favorite place in Annapolis and got to bed early. 3:30am was a long time ago!

14 Jun, 2008  |  Written by  |  under Music

A few years ago, my friend Michael Kaulkin mentioned seeing a guy in Golden Gate Park playing a “Hang Drum”. This is a metal drum with tuned surfaces on the top, and makes a really neat sound. Here’s a sample:

I think Michael was interested in the drum because he thought it was from Hungary, and he’s obsessed with all things Hungary. I was interested in it because I’m in a percussion group at church, and thought this thing would be an amazing addition. (The drum is actually from Switzerland, which like all European countries, Michael thinks of as “formerly part of Hungary”.)

Sadly, the things are impossible to get from the originators, and incredibly expensive, so I was at a loss.

Luckily, the Internet intervened, and in a moment of serendipity provided me with a random YouTube link to this:

So now I’m obsessed with buying a propane tank, drilling and cutting tongues into it, and tuning it up to make my very own “Hank Drum”.  Great for the Orff group at church, and great for taking camping!