He Is He, Don Quixote: The Lord of La Mancha!

Folks have been asking what I'm up to outside of work.  Way too many things for one blog entry, so I'll focus on the most recent.

As you may know, one of the things I'm quite passionate about is music and performance. I'd started with church choirs, but I'd say I got really passionate about music in 5th grade, when I had to choose an instrument for the school band.  I can't believe how practical I was back then:  I asked myself what instrument(s) will allow me to do the most types of music.  (pretty impressive for a 5th grader, no?)  The answer was obvious:  Percussion.  Rock, soul, jazz, classical, latin, marching, tribal, etc., etc., etc.

Here it is, \*mumble-something\* years later, and I'm still at it.  Played on 6 continents so far.  (Note: If any researchers/penguins in Antarctica are reading, I'll be happy to come bang out a tune.)

Brad in the pit surrounded by instruments.My latest gig is playing in the pit (orchestra) for the Saratoga Drama Group's production of "Man of La Mancha".  The music actually calls for three percussionists, but we're covering with two.  A good friend of mine who is also a percussionists likes to say that "We're busier back there than a one-armed wallpaper hanger."  Snare, tom toms, and bass drums, cymbals, castanets, wood blocks, timpani, orchestra bells, finger cymbals, tambourine:  The only reason we don't have a xylophone back there is that we're out of room!

(By the way, is there an English spelling book that doesn't use "Xylophone" for the letter "X"?)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot why I chose the title for this blog.  Everyone is raving about how tall our Don Quioxote (Walter Mayes) is.  He's 6' 7-1/2" (201 cms) tall.  Yet, I don't hear anyone emoting about how tall one of the percussionists is.  ;)  Ah, jealousy is a fickle beast.  But at least 6' (183 cms) Michael Johnson finally got to play one of his favorite roles, Sancho Panza.  It wouldn't be right to have Sancho taller than Don Quioxote.

I've been really impressed by the overall quality of this show.  As the orchestra is onstage in the wings, I haven't seen the full show.  But from where I sit, the cast seems really strong, the orchestra solid, the lighting and sound great, and the reviews have been comparing us to professional productions.  Even my wife, whose honest opinion I respect, said it's probably one of the best SDG shows she's seen over the years.  Community theater can sometimes be hit or miss, this was a definite hit.

This next weekend is the last weekend of the run, so if you feel like a seeing a great show, please come on down.  There are a few tickets available still.

Comments:

Back in India, lots of our text books had "X-ray" for X. It's not a proper word, but way more familiar. Who's seen a xylophone outside of spelling books?

Posted by Sumit on June 03, 2008 at 10:15 AM PDT #

Hmm, but what on earth a xylophone is? The one on your right side, I guess?

Posted by Edward on June 12, 2008 at 05:07 PM PDT #

I would never quote Wikipedia in a scholarly posting, but what the heck, it's my blog and they do pretty good job of describing it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylophone

Last December I traveled to a very small village in NW Cameroon, and got to see several used in tribal ceremonies. They were very different in sound than the chromatic ones used in Western music.

Posted by Brad on June 13, 2008 at 04:18 AM PDT #

Quick Examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODayjZirHIc

Western Style:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFzmYXc8kwM

Posted by Brad on June 13, 2008 at 04:30 AM PDT #

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Brad currently works in the Java Security and Network Group, Java Standard Edition.

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