About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guitar recital at Ives Hill retirement community, Watertown NY

Today I played a one hour guitar recital/concert at the Ives Hill retirement community in Watertown, NY.  It was one of my best performances ever. Overall I was relaxed, confident, and expressive. On the couple of tunes where I got into minor trouble (that in which only I knew what was going on) it didn't rattle me. As my mind wandered here and there to either negative or positive thoughts which were not related to the music, I quickly brought myself back to the music.
Here are the pieces I played:
Romance, the first piece.
Next I played Chet Atkins arrangement of Mr. Bojangles.
Then I played Matteo Carcassi studies #3, 7, and 19 ( probably the best I've ever done on the 3 pieces in a row).
From there I played Fernando Sor studies #2,3,4, and 5 from Andres Segovia's compilation 20 Studies for guitar by Fernando Sor.
Then I played selections by Francisco Tarrega: Stuides #1 & 2 ( from Isaisa Savio's book Ten Studies for Guitar by Francisco Tarrega).
Then I playe FT's Lagrima followed by Estudio en forma de Minuetto.
Then I went out on a limb and played FT's Estudio Brillante. (I did a pretty darn good job on that considering the difficulty level of the piece. I played at a slower tempo  which helped a great deal).
 At that point I wasn't sure where to go.
So I decided to play Estudio Inconcluso by Augustine Barrios Mangore.  Because I decided that on a whim I took off prematurely and fumbled the first beat of the first measure. Laughed it off, restarted and did a fair job of it.
I think that after that I played an arrangement of Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline (arranged by  )
I then finished with Mason Williams' Classical Gas.
All told I filled up a solid hour with commentary in between many of the selections.

For this event I used my Guild Mark V guitar with a piezo electric pick up plugged into a Fishman Solo Amp 220. It all sounded great (at least from my seat.) I recieved many compliments.

What is important to me is that I am getting a grip on the stage fright, the performance anxiety.
NY City guitarist Peter Fletcher at Onondag County Library, Syracuse, NY. He was tuning his guitar to C#minor to play Koyumbaba. iPhone 5 instagram photo by Gary Walts

I attribute that to a couple of things recently. One is the series of guitar  performance/workshops I have been giving at libraries in Jefferson County. The other event, that was a real eye opener for me was going to see NY City guitarist Peter Fletcher performing at the Onondaga County library in Syracuse. There were only about 15 people there, but he gave it his all. I learned a lot just by watching him. I was familiar with much of the music he played. I detected a couple of points where he had a menbtal lapse, like he forgot where he was, but his recovery was so quick, so smooth, it was impressive. But I am sure no one noticed, and if they did it did not matter. Not to him, not to the audience, not to me. Nobody cares. And one piece he played I thought was really off from beginning to end. He is such a fine musician and guitarist he must have known. However, he just rolled along with it and seemed to be caught up in the reverie of the piece from start to finish, as if all he were doing were intentional. Maybe it was. Either way, the man handled it brilliantly. Watching him boosted my confidence immensely.
Here are two other observations: I sat in the front row and while waiting for Fletcher to take the stage a man sitrting next to me asked if I had ever seen or heard of him before. "No.", I replied. "Well, you are going to be blown away." he said. Mingling with people after the show a woman came up to me and asked if I was a player. I said yes, but that I was mostly a dabbler. " I could tell," she said, "by watching you I just knew you were a player."  How is that? I wonder what I was giving away about myself as I watched Fletcher's excellent performance?
So, what I learned was to give your "All" to the music, no matter what size the the audience or where it is. And secondly that the audience is far from critical or judgemental. Relax and give your best.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Classical guitar concert and workshop

This past Wednesday, April 16th, I did another one of the series of concert/workshops. I am doing a total of ten of them at area libraries. This one was at the Depauville Library.  Here is the poster they created. It depicts a steel string guitar as opposed to a clssical one, but that's OK. It gets the idea across.
The event went well. When I got to my selection of Beatles tunes I got hung up on All My Loving, simply lost a chunk of it out of my memory. No one really cared, we laughed it off.  There were 25 people in attendance. I also played my new Cervantes guitar that I bought a couple days earlier at The Classical Guitar Store in Philadelphia, PA. I have been getting a better handle on the stage fright issue. I am simply being more realistic about it. The new guitar was nice to have which also helped keep me focused on the music rather than on idiotic thoughts such as how people might be judging me. 

Weekend visit to Philadelphia, PA

Here are some photos from last weekends birthday visit to Philadelphia, PA.
The Lehigh Tunnel we passed through on way to Philly. 

My niece's house. This is a really cool, roomy house with a lot of character. 

Niece's husband P and their 1 year  old birthday boy L. 

Birthday boy L's grandfather assembling one of L's gifts. 
My great nephew L and I. We share the same birthday along with Thomas Jefferson. What a great time we had.

One year old great nephew L on his birthday. 
My great nieces at play. 

Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA. Thge Classical Guitar Store is on this street. 

The Classical Guitar Store,  2038 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA 19103

2038 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 567-2972

Saturday, April 19, 2014

New guitar for my birthday

Last Sunday, April 13th was my birthday. I spent the weekend in Philadelphia with Niece N and her family. I had a most wonderful time. While there I went to The Classical Guitar Store where I bought a new guitar. It is an Alejandro Cervantes signature series Master model with cedar top and Ibdian Rosewood back an sides. The instrument is an absolute dream. I should be in bed right now but I was playing a couple pieces by Francisco Tarrega and the quality of the sound was so fantastic I had to take time to write this. And also to thank God for having blessed my life so much. I thank you dear Lord for all you have provided me. Family, work, talent and more. Happy Easter everyone.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blue Moon at Art's Jug restaurant in Watertown NY

Sister S from Tucson , AZ was in town for Few days so we had dinner at Art's Jug in Watertown. I had a Blue Moon beer. The light on the bottle caught my eye so I snapped the photo you see here. As usual when I snap something like this the waitress and others often wonder what exactly am I photographing?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Snow banks in April

It is April 2nd and we have a paltry 42 degrees temperature out doors. We had more fuel oil delivered yesterday at $4.19 a gallon. Unbelievable! I snapped the photo shown here in Pulaski, NY just at the RT81 off ramp at Byrne Dairy.
Snow banks at Byrne Dairy parking lot in Pulaski, NY.    photo by Gary Walts