What a busy summer season. Or a bussy summer season...
Anyway, who cares.
I performed a very good organ recital on Sunday.
Here are my observations and curiosity laden thoughts:
Marinating on theater/theatre programming, being recently asked to play 10 rehearsals and 12 shows (about 100 hours of work)- for $315.00 as a "generous" stipend "...but we love you CJ, you're so fun, and you do it how we want..," one really does have to just work exclusively nonstop for a group to make any ends meet, I'm sure. As far as I am aware, there are no institutions that would actually enforce or acknowledge paying a musician of any notable amount or union rate (aside from symphony work), unless it was a singing company- in which, had one not billed them, the payment could also be as dismal as musical theater. Yes, I realize folks do this out of the goodness of volunteering. Haste, I speak on the situation of performing musicians.
Something else to note- did you know it was Huntsville Music Month?
1: I have just realized we have a music office of sorts? (WHAT?)
a. Is this just to manage Mars and Orion or whatever it is called? Neither of which I have been to. (I don't like to attend concerts et-cetera, it's not a hatred of anything to do with my city, I like to perform, though not attend performances)
2: What is Huntsville music?
a: Are these the new performers that they are bringing in or just buskers?
b: Aside from the obvious institutions of Huntsville's veteran performer scene, do professional musicians need acknowledgment in other situations, like us organists? We in churches, while we do play sacred work, we are extremely skilled in the profane music, and otherwise. Must we reach outside of our already toxic and extremely vile world of hatred that is organ music? Could someone or some sort of profiting business venture such as a city's music office lend attention or spotlight to real professional musicians of the city that perform weekly at a standard uncommon to those in late night bars or profiting concert halls?
3: Whose job is it to find musicians of Huntsville?
a: Do Huntsville musicians have to play cocktail-networking-party in an office room sort of situtation to grovel to the (people?) Music Office for acknowledgment?
b: Where do these performers perform without with stamp of magic from the Music Office of mystery?
c: Are the performers paying to perform? Are the performers being paid to perform?
d: Do the performers have to do their own publicity? What is the benefit to local musicians to have a music office?
e: Do the Huntsville "musicians" network on or at a specific place? Why are the venues in all the media the same hackneyed ones over and over, when there are more concerts than you can shake a stick at at many, many other places in the city?
f: Does the Huntsville Music Office seek out musicians, or?
g: I perform often with the real OG true veterans of the Huntsville music scene- and have never experienced one that has been sponsored by this mysterious entity.
4: Is the music office's job to enforce fair payment to performers and musicians? I know that $300 for over 30 hours of time is a complete joke, though- I've heard most organizations trying to pay less...especially when said rehearsal table is filled with fast food bags, sugary drink cups, and expensive phones...Heaven forbid ye ol' musician to get a leg up by executing their craft and suffering multitudinous years of practice and rotten critique. ***Guitars are exempt of course, since they're not real instruments***
I'm happy that the city of Huntsville has a music office or whatever sort of group this is- I find it fascinating. It's a treat to see all these celebrities come to town, I guess. The sort of jam-band-geek-hybrid-collegetown-fancy name-intermediate technical player-groups often make appearances. Some of the local musicians that I believe to have been intoxicated by the sponsorship ideas of said music corporation of the city- they still are suffering, carting their own junk to every gig with no assistance, and expected to perform usually for the drunk, and pseudo-privaledged newly-residented down-town future has/have/was-beens. A fate I wouldn't wish on the most blue haired immature geetarrrr play-atter. Yet, these local musicians are keeping the faith, and honing their skills- though, what's the broader picture intended to equate to?
I am aware that some folks entertain for fun, and their own enjoyment. For the ones trying to earn a living, I certainly hope that whatever this music office appears to be, will help line the pockets of local performers that actually have skill. I will be very interested to absorb the unfolding future of the music scene here.
For now, I'll keep to myself, practice what I do, and keep on doing what I do.
Summer- as I fry to death on my porch this morning, I reflect:
The organ recital, and a friend's flute show were there only shows I wanted to play this season. Happily resigned from local theater groups, I do sort of miss music directing shows from time to time. Well, not really. The directors can be or are usually tyrants, or slimy/politician-esque, regularly with extremely tight purse strings for music (because why pay for that shit?) attempting to get everything for free by ass-kissing, or manic annoyance and straight up lies or thievery (I see you); 114% of the time, the music directors do all the work from scheduling odd schedules of work for the volunteer cast, altering each rehearsal for everyone that didn't learn their part, or didn't make it to practice, making sure the entire show doesn't fall apart. Once all the minutiae of music rehearsals are set, and altered to fit the ever-changing cast schedule, then the directors usually hog the pre-set music rehearsals for their agenda in which they are too lazy to do from the beginning. While the music director job is much more important than a director's (in a musical)- the general director's love to pig out on the work done for them so that they can be "artistic" with their "vision" (usually generally too small and too cheap looking as well)- I'm just fascinated by this routine, as it is rampant. The directors while usually shoulder-chipped, or has-been, or slovenly, appears in the theatre to enjoy more than directing, the fellowshipping and gossip, and fake friend's in which they're playing den-mother to for the next four months. They also enjoy copious amounts of fast-food, and treats (mostly of the processed/sugar-laden kind)- mostly free from brown-nosing parents of cast members, or by the cast members themselves. The albatross that makes these shows even worse is the lack of high-quality audio, and deft audio techs. I know of five extremely fine audio/theatre sound techs, alas, they work for professional firms, and allow no room for error. In productions, there needs to be zero room for error when one is being paid. So, we have a situation- quality versus fellowship and being part of the "group" fun. SO much to unpack and try to wrap my head around.
Yes- this should all be fun, though it is a career for the support staff of a production usually is dependent on these gigs to make their ends meet. Or just meet their end, which is usually by the end of act one, since all first acts last too long, especially those droning Rodgers and Hammerstein first acts. Jesus.
I might should add: Not all musicians want or need to teach. While I coach four students, only one is a beginner- and not so much at this point, all of my students are or will be colleagues and fellow high calibre musicians. I fall into the category of being a non-teacher. Are there others?
Anyway- back to my concern over musical theatre/theater: Who cares how to spell it et-cetera pukery nauseam ad nauseam infinitum.
Only in a few cases are the musical directors allowed into the realm of the directors-as for now, I don't care to visit again.
Trying to finish Craig Claiborne's biography by Thomas McNamee. Craig seemed like a spoiled alcoholic. So what. His time was indeed documented and he did wonderful research. Only a few chapters left. If I can stand to read the re-hashing of the information that has been repeated numerous times already in the book.
I'm reading also The New Southern Encyclopedia #7 on Food- I think it's from UNCG Press, though I don't have it with me right now. I'm reading it from the appendix, and reference portions. The articles while good, are pretty boring, yet extremely informative.