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Thread: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

  1. #1
    Professional Cat Herder Phil Vinyard's Avatar
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    Default CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    This will be my first CMSA. How do I prepare--what do I expect.

    I'm in touch with Jim Imhoff about some mandocello activities. I'm signed up for the mass orchestra and have downloaded my parts.

    If I bring mandolin orchestra tunes, will there be times when people want to jam on those with me?

    Any Bluegrass or Old Time jams happenign during the convention? I could bring my banjo and play clawhammer. (I know, a vulgar banjo, but I can't help myself).

    One of my heroes, John Goodin, plans to be there. I've checked with Victor Kilophides and he isn't going to make it. Not sure yet about my buddy, Carlo Aonzo.

    Will our Fearless Leader be there? If not, does he need a reporter?

    Who else is coming???
    Phil Vinyard
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    Registered User dulcillini's Avatar
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    I wish that I could, but alas, not. I am sure it will be a great event.
    Michael A. Harris
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  3. #3
    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    Phil,
    Iíve attended 4 CMSAs, I enjoy my time there. Prepare your music the best you can ahead of time & attend the rehearsals & sectionals. Be ready to make lots of notes.
    As far as Mandolin orch music, you could find some takers, but there usually is a sight reading gathering. There may be some of that material there or bring it & maybe it will be picked up on. Bring multiple copies. I donít do those gatherings myself, but check it out. Attend workshops, they are part of the experience. Just pick a few & do it.
    Generally the after hours jam is very random. CMSA is not usually an all nite jam fest. Sometimes there will be a few of us players who know Jazz tunes, thatís fun. I have found itís rare for Bluegrass. The thing is itís mainly Mandolins, a few more guitars would always help. If you donít mind traveling with the Banjo, bring it. You driving from Kansas? If a guitar shows up, grab your Banjo, something might happen. My experience is itís hard to predict. Iíve been in Jazz, Blues, & Bluegrass jams there. Just donít expect the festival all night parking lot picking.
    A couple of us are doing a Blues Mandolin workshop, history & demonstration. We were thinking of trying a Blues session one night. All TBA. If so, you might find it fun. A Banjo would be fine, claw hammer or single string. Who cares? Just listen & play. If a few players show up & we get a few Mandolins, a Guitar, a Banjo, a trumpet, a harp, could have some fun. Could be Blues from Chicago to Jazz to Monroe.
    Carlo is not on the schedule, so donít expect him to just drop in. At one of the conventions he was one of the guest artists & he attended a few jams. I played some Jazz & Blues with him. Carloís a blast. Iíve done a few of his camps.
    I hope to meet & play with you. Iíd play some BG & Fiddle tunes with you.
    Joe B
    Last edited by mandopops; Sep-10-2019 at 6:29am. Reason: Typo
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    mandonucs John Uhrig's Avatar
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    Joe, Looking forward to your blues workshop this year.
    John in SE New Mexico

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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    Phil: as a longtime CMSA participant, I second the advice of preparing the En Masse music in advance as best you can, going to sectionals and rehearsals, and attending workshops. FYI, I will be posting shortly the draft workshop schedule over in the Classical section of the cafe.
    Robert A. Margo

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Vinyard View Post
    I'm in touch with Jim Imhoff about some mandocello activities. I'm signed up for the mass orchestra and have downloaded my parts.
    One of my heroes, John Goodin, plans to be there. I've checked with Victor Kilophides and he isn't going to make it. Not sure yet about my buddy, Carlo Aonzo.
    Thanks for the plug Phil; Yes, John will be at the MC session--I hope he will be playing his new suite for mandocello, he's probably a better player than me. Victor will not be there, but I am singing a new aria he composed at the open mic. Looking for accompaniment in case you're interested.

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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    Phil, this will be my 21st CMSA convention. My first was in 1990 when our Louisville Mandolin Orchestra was the host. I can say that over the years the friendly atmosphere has been remarkably consistent.

    I agree that preparing the music in advance is great and attending rehearsals and sectional meetings is extremely helpful. You'll be surrounded by people who love to play the mandolin and being in the middle of that huge sound is a wonderful experience.

    Two things that haven't been mentioned yet are the open mic sessions on Thursday and Saturday. This is always where you'll hear some of the best music of the week, performed by your peers.

    I've been a vendor more than a player the last few conventions so I certainly recommend a visit to the vendor's area. (Shameless plug: in addition to my own books and CDs, this year I will be thinning my herd of "other" books and recordings and selling them at low, low discounted prices.)

    Over the decades the post-evening concert jam scene has been all over the place. Sometimes things are slow to get started and the host hotel's layout can have a lot to do with how people find each other. I like to wander around and see what the options are. Joe B. is correct in saying that things don't go on for as long as they used to. The average age of CMSA convention goers is getting up there, me included.

    This is the one place in the U.S. where you will have over 100 mandolin players and the majority of them will not be primarily bluegrass players. If bluegrass and old-time jams have been your comfort zone then you will likely have the chance to hear, and join, some groups playing other styles.

    Please be sure and introduce yourself when you spot me at the convention. I think you'll discover that I'm not worthy of hero status but I tend to be friendly. I'm also sure you'll enjoy the great music you'll hear and the interesting people you will meet.

    John G.

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  13. #8
    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    I think you'll have a great time! I usually seem to make it about every other year. I have made friends there; played at Open Mike; and love the orchestra.
    working with Jim Bates, the conductor, is really special. Jams are possible; I remember at Santa Rosa, last November, the last night we had a great jam.

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  15. #9
    Layer of Complexity Kevin Knippa's Avatar
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    A popular "jamming" activity at CMSA is sight reading sessions, so bringing your mandolin orchestra arrangements is a great idea. CMSA has a number of tunes they usually bring out, too.

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  17. #10
    Professional Cat Herder Phil Vinyard's Avatar
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by John Goodin View Post
    Phil, this will be my 21st CMSA convention. My first was in 1990 when our Louisville Mandolin Orchestra was the host. I can say that over the years the friendly atmosphere has been remarkably consistent.

    I agree that preparing the music in advance is great and attending rehearsals and sectional meetings is extremely helpful. You'll be surrounded by people who love to play the mandolin and being in the middle of that huge sound is a wonderful experience.

    Two things that haven't been mentioned yet are the open mic sessions on Thursday and Saturday. This is always where you'll hear some of the best music of the week, performed by your peers.

    I've been a vendor more than a player the last few conventions so I certainly recommend a visit to the vendor's area. (Shameless plug: in addition to my own books and CDs, this year I will be thinning my herd of "other" books and recordings and selling them at low, low discounted prices.)

    Over the decades the post-evening concert jam scene has been all over the place. Sometimes things are slow to get started and the host hotel's layout can have a lot to do with how people find each other. I like to wander around and see what the options are. Joe B. is correct in saying that things don't go on for as long as they used to. The average age of CMSA convention goers is getting up there, me included.

    This is the one place in the U.S. where you will have over 100 mandolin players and the majority of them will not be primarily bluegrass players. If bluegrass and old-time jams have been your comfort zone then you will likely have the chance to hear, and join, some groups playing other styles.

    Please be sure and introduce yourself when you spot me at the convention. I think you'll discover that I'm not worthy of hero status but I tend to be friendly. I'm also sure you'll enjoy the great music you'll hear and the interesting people you will meet.

    John G.
    You're the main person I want to meet at CMSA! I've enjoyed your music for so many years--be glad to finally meet you in person!
    Phil Vinyard
    Gibson Jam Master F Standard #12 May 13, 2009
    Gibson Model A #67336 ca. 1921
    Trinity College TM-325 Octave Mandolin
    Freshwater Mandocello

  18. #11
    Professional Cat Herder Phil Vinyard's Avatar
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    Default Re: CMSA Newbie: Advice Needed!

    I think I'll definitely try to bring some binders with our Mandolin Orchestra of Kansas City tunes. Might even bring my banjo (been learning claw hammer style) and see if anything Bluegrass or Old Time breaks out. I'm used to Kaufman Kamp where we jam every night until 2:00-3:00 AM. Sounds like a bit tamer bunch!
    Phil Vinyard
    Gibson Jam Master F Standard #12 May 13, 2009
    Gibson Model A #67336 ca. 1921
    Trinity College TM-325 Octave Mandolin
    Freshwater Mandocello

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