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Miniature Orchestra

Letter From Shanghai

Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
On tour with my day job, missing my lady, preparing to head on to Beijing, after Taipei and Hong Kong. Although I have been doing this for way too long, this time around I am carrying my 10-string, which means I am never bored or wondering what I should do to pass the time until the bus leaves for the show or airport.

The air outside is horrible, but I am a happy camper, practicing my tunes in the hotel. An advantage in bringing the mando is its demure voice, not inherently loud, and satisfying at low volume. This is a great travel instrument, wide pitch range and capable of fully realized solo arrangements. And it always fits in the overhead compartment---it's like having a travel guitar, only better because it is not a compromise.

The solo aspect is a particular pleasure since it is so opposite from the huge sound of the big orchestra, not to mention the demanding emotional investment required by the symphonic repertoire. What a relief to play some jazz or Beatles songs with a glass of whisky, maybe playing along with streaming internet radio, (when the hotel lets me have a decent connection).

I will enjoy returning home to my house near Chicago, which may be cold but at least has clean air. It has been interesting, playing as an orchestral violist for Chicago. I have heard the top soloists, worked under famous conductors, been to four continents, but I have never forgotten the fulfilling challenge of playing in small band, doing original music or arrangements. The former is a good living, but the latter is a thrill hard to replace. My time in the big band is almost up, and after I leave this job (so that I can spend more time with the one I love) I hope to find opportunities for playing my own tunes and arrangements in public.

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