Saturday, March 29, 2008

Up River Road on YouTube

My old friend Joe Burch in Louisville has recently uploaded this video to YouTube. It's taken from a concert titled "Mando Magnificat" that we were involved in as members of the Louisville Mandolin Orchestra back in the summer of 1989. The concert was part of the Lonesome Pine Special series and was a sequel to a similar concert that we had been a part of in 1988.

That earlier concert had been the public debut of the LMO and led to us being invited to perform, along with many of the finest mandolinists in the country, in a second "Magnificat", this time to be filmed for public television.

Shortly after the LMO began rehearsing in 1988 I brought in a short piece that I had attempted to arrange for mandolin orchestra instruments. Conductor Jim Bates looked it over and offered a couple of suggestions. I returned with an improved version that I called "Up River Road". The members of the LMO enthusiastically made the piece something special for all of us.

I have a videotape of the original TV broadcast which I haven't seen in a long time. This YouTube clip reveals that the group really had the piece ready to perform. Everybody in the group, especially Mike Schroeder in the first chair, is playing like a pro.

With the encouragement of the LMO and, especially, Jim Bates and Keith Harris "Up River Road" became the first part of my "Louisville Suite". The suite was published by Trekel Musik Verlag in Hamburg and has been performed by many mandolin orchestras around the world.

Since moving to Iowa in 1994 I've greatly missed playing in the LMO but they are still going strong. Along with their original website, linked above, you can also find them on MySpace and, now, on YouTube as well.

I've made a couple of small changes to this blog this week. One that might be of use to you is the addition of the Feedblitz email subscription widget in the Links sidebar. If you don't use a feed reader but you'd like to know when I add new entries, you can sign up to receive an email notification this way. It seems to work well but let me know if you have any problems.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 2008

One Hundred Year Flood (mp3) (pdf)
Alice's Garden (mp3) (pdf)
Last Call at Hawley-Cooke (mp3) (pdf)
Spring Forward (mp3) (pdf)

Three waltzes and a reel.

The snow is finally melting around here and thoughts turn to flooding. Above is a photo from Louisville, Kentucky during the 1937 flood. My folks both remembered that flood well.

Alice's Garden was a roadside produce stand that was located up Highway 52 near the Minnesota state line when we first moved to northeast Iowa. The stand is still there but hasn't been open for many years.

The Hawley-Cooke bookstores were the best bookstores in the Louisville area for over 25 years. I was frequently there at closing time still trying to decide which bargain to buy.

Spring Forward refers to last week's time change. It's a really simple tune but it works for me.

All three waltzes are fairly recent and "Flood" only dates back to last May. Contratopia tried out "Alice's" and "Last Call" at Tapestry a couple of weeks ago. I imagine we'll play them again at our mostly waltz afternoon this weekend along with a couple more new ones. Try them yourself and see what you think.
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