Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Chris Talley Trio Plays at Bellerive Park

Just wanted to let you know that The Chris Talley Trio will be playing in Carondelet (St. Louis city) tomorrow evening at Bellerive Park from 7:00-9:00 p.m. This is right on the river and a great place to be! Click here to get directions. It's a free concert. Hope to see you there!

Physicist Alan Schoen Visits!

Wow! Did I ever have a treat this week! On Friday, I had a wonderful visitor to The Bluegrass Shack. I was working in the shop on instrument repair when Mike came in to introduce Alan to me. Of course, I had no idea who Alan was.

Alan is a very unassuming gentleman. He appears to be very much your average visitor...for maybe a full minute or two. Once we began to talk, it became obvious I was not talking to any "average" person. I gave up my instrument repair for the afternoon and spent the next 3-4 hours talking and playing music with Alan. During the course of this time, I learned that Alan is a published physicist who has lived an extraordinary life. He is 84 years old, but throughout our conversation, didn't seem a day older than me, though he is twice my age.

Alan studied languages when he served for our country, currently speaks seven languages fluently, and is nearly bilingual in Japanese and English. His published findings occurred while working for NASA. Although I don't entirely understand it all, he solved a mathematical equation that produced a geometric shape that he named a "gyroid." Even after reading the definition of gyroid, I am no closer to understanding it!! The shape is pretty interesting though. There is even a woman who produces sculptures of it. Here are a couple of links to look at. If nothing else, you should visit Alan's website (only if you have high speed internet) to view the fascinating geometric shapes. Alan is a mathmetician, so the equations of how to create these shapes (which is listed for each one) is lost on me...

Wikipedia Article

Sculptor Bathsheba's Website

MathWorld Website

Alan's Personal Website

Alan was trained as a classical violinist from an early age, but by his own admission, he didn't take it seriously at the time. It seems to me he was a born musician. He said he had played only a handful of times in the past 15 years or so, due to a wrist and shoulder injury which is now better. He actually came to our shop looking for a violin. (Yes, we do have a few of these!) He plays all classical music, and though he was out of practice, it was OBVIOUS he is a very talented guy! He played scales, arpeggios and movements of several different classical pieces for me, in between times telling me stories.

After a while, I suggested we play through some duets together. I pulled out a couple of my favorite books, and we played through quite a few pieces together. I don't get to do this too often, so I was having a blast! Alan was so taken with one of my favorite pieces that he bought the book. It is a book of Scottish Duets called "Scottish Airs for Pairs." I have a feeling the next time Alan comes we'll be playing some more!

Alan allowed me to take a video of him playing, so hopefully he doesn't mind that I'm posting it here. It's not an entire song, but I think you'll get the gist (of his expertise).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Independence, MO Jam & Jam Instruction

I received an e-mail this morning from Matt & Allen (the "dad") Wyatt of Wyatt Violin Shop in Independence, MO. They are having a jam session on July 26, and also several sessions on learning how to jam earlier in the day. I am posting his e-mail for you so those who would like to attend will have the information. Matt is a fantastic person & player, and I would highly recommend this session if you are able to attend. Here is the information:

We are having a jam session at the Wyatt Violin Shop on Sunday, July 26, 2009, between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m.

Bring an instrument and join in or just come to listen. Free classes will be held throughout the day for beginners to learn the art of “jamming.” Advanced jammers will break into groups inside and outside the shop. We look forward to seeing you.

We are located at 2418 East R.D. Mize Road, Independence, MO 64057.

If you have questions, feel free to call us at 816-252-5656.


Matt and Allen Wyatt

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Courtney Wins the Fiddle!

The lucky winner of the fiddle in Sunday's fiddle contest was Courtney. She is just 9 years old, but already plays guitar and sings quite well. Now she gets to try her hand at another instrument! She had her first fiddle lesson this week. You'll have to watch for her in upcoming fiddle contests!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Response to my Big Money Making Plan

Just in case you haven't read my post about making lots of money on E-bay, you probably need to do that first...because this post is about a response I got in my e-mail to that post.

Cliff was reading through the blog and agreed with me! (I know, I know - it's pretty amazing.) Anyway, he sent this response:

Everybody needs an authentic Fuzzball. What more could you want for or need??? You can name it - "Fuzzy" or "Dusty" or "Mozart's Musical Menagerie" while it sits encased in a glass paperweight - a part of history. The perfect gift designed to intrigue friends and family alike as they imagine the noteworthy musical history brought forth in the dust of time.

Anyway, there is a buyer for everything, so go for it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Athens Homecoming Parade

This marks our 4th year of participation in the New Athens Homecoming Parade. Many thanks to Terry & Terry for providing the trailer, decorations, vehicle and great ideas! We actually had live rabbits on the float this year! We were probably the only float that had a 16-year driver (Zoey, you did great). Lots of folks helped us out by joining us on the float and throwing off candy, harmonicas, party squawkers, kazoos, cooly cups and gum. Bill & Zane also helped out with the PA. The Chris Talley Trio led the music from the truck that was pulling our float. Earl followed us in our newest Bluegrass Shack addition - a 1966 Ford pickup truck (can you find it in the pictures???). It is so inspiring to ride through the parade route and listen to people scream their support for the store and our music. Thank you so much! I owe a big thank-you to Cyndi for taking the pictures of the float for us this year. Here they are:

Bluegrass Shack 6th Annual Fiddle Contest

We had another great fiddle contest this year! This marks our 6th Annual July Contest, and it has grown so large that we had to move it to L&B's this year. We had a total of 40 contestants!

There are so many people that I have to thank. First of all, a big thank you to Marilyn, Verlan, Iggy, Chelsea and Janice for helping out at the doors. Our judges this year were Bill Barttelbort and Janice Nirscher, and Carla helped out the judges by adding all the scores and keeping track of everything. Bill took care of the sound system for me, and Iggy and Zane also helped out. LOTS of people helped us clean up afterwards -- WOW and THANKS! Also thanks to L&B's for hosting our event, and to the girls who work there who took care of all of us, especially Steph.

There were a few surprises, including having Geoff Seitz (of Seitz Violin Shop) come and enter the contest. Corrina is home for the summer and it was especially good to see her again. The Anderson girls and their mom (from Poplar Bluff, MO) also showed up. I met them at Grassy this year and it was a nice surprise to see them.

We had a quite a few new contest players this time around, with the biggest surprise being Flynn. Flynn has played less than a month on fiddle, and he won 4th place in his division! I really enjoyed watching Makayla and Allison. Kudos to Allison for coming out to play guitar. She did a great job, and it's really nice to see our youth get involved even when they don't play fiddle. We NEED good rhythm guitar players.

I cannot express to you how proud I am of each and every one of our contestants. So many of these folks I have known, even though they aren't all my students, and I am so impressed with their improvement and hard work. It makes everything worthwhile. Out of our 40 contestants, 30 of them were youth fiddlers. Our music is in good hands.

Here are the results and also some pictures.

9 Years & Under
1st - Millie Eisenhauer
2nd - Sophia Hasler
3rd - Brenden Wallace
4th - Nolan Neumeyer
5th - Nathanael Worthington
Most Entertaining - Libbi McClure
Youngest Fiddler - Josey McClure

10-12 Years Old
1st - Colton Dever
2nd - Paige Johnson
3rd - Rosemary Hall
4th - Caroline Stewart (Most Entertaining)
5th - Emma Neumeyer

13-15 Years Old
1st - Makayla Smith (Most Entertaining)
2nd - Dana Anderson
3rd - Emily Worthington
4th - Alex Skurat
5th -Aubrie Spinka

16-18 Years Old
1st - Rachel Neel
2nd - Charlie Hall
3rd - Joy Winkeler (Most Entertaining)
4th - Flynn Fauke
5th - Alyssa Lanham

1st - Geoff Seitz (Most Entertaining)
2nd - Corrina Logston
3rd - John Bell
4th - Chelsea Perkinson
5th - Sylvia Mills

1st - Fred Pringle (Most Entertaining)
2nd - Bill Weiss