The Basement

Vol. 1 Issue 4, November 1999

OK friends, it's getting cold and I'm updating things down here. First of all, my drums aren't in the basement as we speak. They're in my new funky practice space, which is an office in a building that a friend of mine owns. I'm doing some web work in return, so it's a good deal for all concerned. It's ideal for banging away late at night, as no one is around the building. Note my funky 24" aluminum chain drum. It is only filling in for my beautiful copper chain (see below).
practice space
Well I just got back from the Milwaukee timpani audition and it was a bit of a bust. I don't reallyknow what they were looking for but it wasn't yours truly. The old refrain is sounded again: "I played the way I wanted to play, but..." And so it goes. Were you there, fellow pounder? What was your take on it? Do you know who got it? Did anyone? As always it was good to see some old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time. One of them, Pete Cooper from Denver, advanced to the semis. He was the only advancer I heard of all day, in fact.

Last month I got to play at Carnegie with the St. Louis Symphony for three concerts. Ben Hermann of NYC was playing first timpani, as Rick Holmes was still recovering from hip replacement surgery. Ben played his Lang drums and they sounded really good to me.
Goodman drum Speaking of Goodman drums, I got my 24" bowl back from D. Picking and Steve Schiffer did a hell of a nice job of rehammering, lacquering and adding a brass lip and support ring. Now if I can get the hardware in decent shape it might sound as good as it looks. I'm working with a machinist to make a custom counterhoop that MIGHT be really sweet--we'll see.
This is my old buddy, Mark Sparks and me (I'm on the right) in the Carnegie Hall dressing room. We go back to junior high. He was acting principal flute with the SLSO in Sept. and October. Man, he sounds great! His day job is with the Baltimore Symphony and the Peabody Conservatory. Oh, and he teaches at Aspen, also. (Since I first wrote this, Mark has been named principal flute of the SLSO!)

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