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Thread: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

  1. #26
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I work as a facilities manager for a large church (probably technically a "mega church" by definition) just NW of Atlanta. We have cancelled all gatherings, bible studies, groups and services until further notice. Fortunately the church paid off all its debt about 2 yrs ago and leadership has been very diligent about budgeting and saving money, so even if giving drops off (which it hasn't yet) we will probably be in good shape financially. The programming team is doing services 100% online through a couple of different venues (FB, YT and Boxcast), and we all as a staff help to moderate the chats.

    Most of the staff is working from home for personal safety or because their kids are home from school. A lot of them are keeping in touch with the membership to check in on folks and help keep spirits up. Any day of the week, there are probably about 5 people out a staff of 25. I myself am type 1 diabetic so I fall into the high risk category. My boss has been super about it and I work about 2 hrs from home in the morning doing admin. and then go into the building after my kids are in bed and do maintenance projects, organization and clean up for 4-5 hrs. I manage 3 other guys 1 full timer and 2 part time high school kids. We told the PT guys that we don't have any work for them so they are staying home. My full time guy works in the building during the day organizing and cleaning. We are employed and keeping busy and paid, so we are thankful.

    We homeschool our kids so there is not much difference for them other that that daddy is home, so it's entertaining to see and hear about people experiencing home education for the first time and all of the fun that it entails (good, bad and ugly).

    I've tried to play my Mandolin at least 30 minutes a day. 3 of my 4 girls play violin and are continuing lessons via Skype. I play some days with my very talented 11 yo and yesterday I was able to spend time with my 8 yo working on several Simple fiddle tunes because she showed an interesting. She can sight read, so I was able to print them all from mandolessons.com (Thanks Barron) and that was loads of fun! She got good at "Cluck Old Hen"... it was a good time!
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  3. #27
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I am a healthcare provider, and still designated an "essential employee," so I keep working, despite being in the high-risk group (65 years old, mild asthma.) I wouldn't have it any other way - I am not ready to retire yet, and I would go stir crazy at home all the time. I am home more than I used to be, many stores closed and many activities cancelled, so I plan to play a bit tomorrow, but like someone else mentioned, I also need to get the garden ready for planting. Springtime - got to be outside!

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  5. #28
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I've been busy catching up on a number of inside projects I'd been putting off for a long time, mostly because I'd rather do just about anything else. But now I've got fewer excuses, so I'm finally getting around to them. I suppose that's a good thing.

    I lost a couple of St. Patrick's Day gigs, too. One was a private party the Sunday before it, cancelled due to fears, two weeks (as it turned out) before the first reported case in the country. The other was at a pub scheduled from 3:30-7:30. Our mayor issued an edict that morning ordering all bars and restaurants in town to close beginning at 5:00. Done in by bad timing.

    My day job closed for ten days beginning the next day. That got extended indefinitely. The company is the largest employer in the tourist industry here, and tourism is by far the biggest industry in town. There is hardly anything else going on here, apart from typical retail and service industries. So by now the place is pretty much shut down. All non-essential businesses are closed. Perhaps with some exceptions. I didn't know until now that liquor stores are essential. I guess ... The upside of this is that I may be eligible for unemployment. I was planning to quit soon anyway. So while that date has been pushed up a bit, I could well be getting something like severance pay instead of just walking away cold.

    By fortunate happenstance I went to pay the rent on my storage unit. Turned out they were getting ready to shut down for the time being. (That's how I learned about the order concerning non-essential businesses.) I got a few instruments out of there, including the 1908 A-1 I'd forgotten about. Put a new set of strings on here and adjusted the intonation. It's sounding pretty nice, though it's still thinner than my plain A. That pineapple tailpiece is a beaut, though.

    Another plus is, with all this free time, I've been spending more time than usual with my duo partner, 33 miles up the road. We've been doing some recording and video shooting. The videos started out as entries in NPR's Tiny Desk contest, but we've added more beyond those. I'll be posting these in the near future. If you can't wait, go here and here.

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  7. #29

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    ..and it will be stretched out since U.S. tax filing day has been moved out to July 15rh.

  8. #30
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    A friend of my wife shared this CS Lewis quote (Circa 1948) with her a little while ago and I think it applies well here:

    In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

    In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

    This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

    — “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays
    aka: Spencer
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  10. #31

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Over the last few months I’ve hoarded over 26 different Hymnals. So every day I spend an hour or more flatpicking my way through them. I know a lot of Hymns since I’ve been attending church for almost 60 years, there are still a lot that I don’t know, and a lot that I haven’t heard or sang in a long time, so I’m relearning them.
    I still work 2nd shift in a stamping plant, and my company ABB is trying really hard to maintain production. Our finished product is industrial electric motors.

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  12. #32
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I've made a couple of sales and a big trade that I wasn't expecting to make. And people are still buying strings. I don't expect to be making a lot of purchases, because I too will need to settle accounts with the tax man ... but that has been postponed until July because of the crisis, so who knows? I did find one instrument I couldn't pass up, although the seller is now dragging his feet ...
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  13. #33
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Thank you, SOliver (Spencer) for the timely quote above.

    I am busy pruning my orchards as I have always done at this time of the year. My wife and I work together at this task which takes many weeks. The plum orchard, the smallest of them, is the last one to be done and that will begin today. Next we will go on to thinning blossoms in the pear orchards, which will be in bloom by then. Because of this work, there will be fruit for winemaking later in the year, or perhaps to sell instead if this disruption persists and people are hungry.

    Lambing is very late this year due to delayed introduction of the ram into the flock. It is also spread out because the ram was a beginner. It is going on now so each morning brings delight or disappointment depending on how the ewes and lambs are doing. This, too, will provide food later in the year. Hopefully these will be meals of celebration that this illness has passed. People need to eat either way. The wine from our fruit will compliment these meals.

    I steal away an hour or so each day that I can, to work on a mandolin I am building. I do this in the large barn, typically with one or two barn cats watching and offering to help. Their help is not wanted but their company certainly is.

    And I play my mandolins into the night, later now than usual. Even with hard outdoor work, it is tough to sleep knowing what is going on not far to the north.

    So, my days are largely spent as people have done for countless centurys into the past. Growing food, tending the land and the animals. Worrying about whatever menace is on the horizon. Taking solace in music. Hoping for a better tomorrow.

    I wish the comforts that will come when this passes to all of you. Also to the people none of us know nor ever will. Life is and always has been finite, fleeting and troubled. Or not troubled, as the times and our minds choose. Music helps with that choice. Play as much as you can and for whomever you can. When this time passes and we come out of hiding, play for as many as you can. The next time of trouble will certainly come. We will remember the music.
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  15. #34
    Traveling Tracks Traveling Tracks's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Hey All....and special hey to Bob Clark up the road from me here in South Jersey.
    It's hit hard in the Northeast. As a professional classical recording engineer this has shaken my company to the core.
    I had every single job on the horizon cancel. Zero work from here on out....we specialize in live concert recording of choirs and orchestras.
    Spring is our busy season...summer is always very slow. Fall starts to pick up between October and then is busy by December.
    Since I have no work, I have decided to sell my most valuable microphones which run over $3k a pair new. They are for sale on here and on Reverb.
    I can't justify holding six thousand dollars worth of microphones that are going to sit in a box for nearly 9 months.
    If you happen to want some good German mic's...let me know. ; )

    On a high note: I am playing mandolin again and just broke out my Barenreiter score for the Bach Violin Sonatas & Partitas.
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  17. #35
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Playing everyday, but no gigs in sight, some have been postponed but most are just gone. Hat's off to Troy Shellhamer and other healthcare professionals. My brother and his daughters are all in that game. He had the virus and one of his daughters is pregnant. Tough times for a lot of folks. Music will save us all or carry us home.

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  19. #36

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    My band practiced 2 months for our biggest ever contracted payday, two large-pub gigs on Mar 17. We actually played one pre-St Pats show on Sat the 14th. Then got increasingly nervous and were rather relieved that the venues cancelled all events as of the afternoon of the 16th. On the morning of the 17th premier of Ontario ordered all bars closed specifically because of the hazard of the huge St Pat’s parties. Apparently not all venues had been responsible enough to make their own decisions to close. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that we were going to go ahead and play if we didn’t get cancelled from on high. (Promised payday of $450 each spoke rather loudly to us.)

    I finally unloaded the van a week after the show on the 14th. Too dispirited with it all to play more than a few phrases. Since then I’ve been at home and in the woods gathering sap and boiling maple syrup. Our eldest says “dad’s a lumberjack, folksinger and maple syrup maker—basically he’s a walking Canadian cliche.”

    Normally I would be working on bookings for my summer and fall in Cape Breton—that kind of planning is all shot to hell now. Oh, and my surefire backup gig there is waterfront busking for cruise ship passengers. Erm......

  20. #37

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    My grandson turned 7 last week. At ten in the morning, my daughter acting on a text message, put her laptop in front of him and one by one his classmates came on to wish him a happy birthday. His teacher had organized it. Before that, he was kind of downcast. It turned his day around. Teachers are the under appreciated workers in our society, as are most medical workers in normal times. Now, like the firefighters of 9/11, they are rushing to the hotspots to reinforce hospitals.
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  22. #38
    Fiddler & Mandolin Player Dave Reiner's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    My gigs for the next few months are cancelled. I am spending more time playing tunes on fiddle and mandolin with my wife, who plays clawhammer banjo and bodhrán. Playing music takes us to a good place :-).

    Together with my family, I've started a weekly "Fiddle Hell Jam Hour" online, for people to jam along (or just listen). If you're interested, there's more info at the Fiddle Hell Massachusetts Facebook group. You can replay last week's jam, with my son Andy Reiner and his wife Joy Adams, and find out about upcoming jams on April 1 and 7. Someone commented that the first jam was "a comforting hour in frightening times."

    Stay healthy!
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  24. #39

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    People are going to have to sell instruments. What we all can do is if we see something we want, and it’s priced fairly, pay the price. That two hundred bucks you might be tempted to save could feed a family for a week.
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  26. #40

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I'm about to sell my 12 string US made Guild for just this reason, br1ck. Times are wildly tough.

  27. #41
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Sorry I'm late to this. Was staying low for a few days. Both my wife and I are fortunate enough to still have jobs. She has to be in one to three days a week. I'm probably going to be close to full time work from home for at least the next two months. Been doing some practicing, but it has really slowed down in the past week. Maybe one to two hours rather than two to three a day. Have a couple of gigs listed for June. Assuming they will be cancelled. If that is the case, everything through August will be postponed/canceled.

    OTOH, have participated in a couple of Zoom gatherings. One jam and a practice. It works okay, but would rather gather (at safe distances) outside and try to play. We'll see if that will happen in a month or two.

    Do feel sorry for my friends that rely on playing for all their income. And my friends that own music stores (or instrument repair stores). Hoping they can all make it through this.
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  28. #42

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    We've lost around 2k. Likely to lose some more.

    The bigger thing is we are "sheltering" at home with 3 kids two of whom have severe autism. They rely on routine and well....not so much of that left. I'm not here to blame them. They are doing the best they can. They go into fight or flight several times a day usually after trying to set up a "normal" schedule.

    It's not their fault and it's probably worse for them than us but they are teenagers and have injured my wife. Bumps bruises and bites.

    One day at a time I guess.
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  30. #43
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    If John Hartford was a mandolin picker he might have said...

    Mando can get you through times of no money but money can’t get you through times of no mando

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  32. #44
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    As I posted in the "Playing Live" thread, I'm down 21 (oops, now 22) performance gigs for the months of March and April, losing around $1.6K in revenue. Haven't been playing my mandolin, or other instruments, much since St. Patrick's Day.

    On the other hand, both Joan and I are healthily retired, eating out of the freezer as much as possible, taking walks every day when weather permits, keeping up with friends and family through phone and e-mail. For some reason we feel more depressed/anxious than motivated to take on projects, but we're getting by. If this is as bad as it gets for us, we can get through it OK. And we have plenty of toilet paper.
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  33. #45

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    We have been close to running out of TP a couple of times, since we've only been buying our usual amount. I went to buy groceries today and, to my wife's dismay, returned without TP as the stores are empty. She seemed a little concerned, which must mean that we're just about out again.

    Chuck, I know how challenging this is for you. I have one child on the spectrum myself, and while only mild, he is still quite challenging without the routine of school. I've had very little personal time since spring break. One day at a time indeed. I'm assuming you have social networks and perhaps contacts with other parents of children with ASD...not that you have any personal time for it though!

  34. #46
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    Not much difference for me, since I'm retired. My investments have lost a lot, but I will hold what I got and eventually they will come back. Health is fine.

    I am getting some practice in. Just before all this started, I joined a mid-1800's period band. We do Steven Foster and similar tunes and Old-time instrumentals. We generally play county fairs, historical sites and old folks' homes. I play mandolin and GDAE tenor banjo. The band has a tune list online with chord sheets and reference recordings to practice along with. It's not hard to figure out the melodies. Our twice monthly practices, our gigs and all the local jams have been put on hold indefinitely.

  35. #47
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    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    I have worked out of a home office for the past 5 years, and barley left the house as it is anyway - so not much has changed, I manage healthcare IT so still working and actually more than usual, so actually less time to practice...

    I did sneak in a lesson with Frank Solivan which was very productive indeed,

    Our band had some pretty exciting gigs cancelled, and we live to far apart to do an on line show, so not really a band at the moment- I did catch a couple of Solivan shows and they were glimmers of hope in dark times.

    I did have reoccurring dreams and premonitions in mid January to about mid February about a slow moving dark event( it had no form or definition, one thing I recall, l it made no sound, but you could tell it was vast) that would hit like a wave- surge and dissipate, but also like the waves it would reoccur sometimes stronger sometimes weaker.....
    So I can only say we will experience this in waves and it will be sometimes bad and sometimes not so bad

    I have a strange feeling all this will be reversed and I will be they guy commuting while everyone else works from home...
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  36. #48

    Default Re: The virus, the economy, mandolins and you

    After three weeks, it's not the actual change, I'm retired and maybe went out twice a week, but the psychology of can't that's getting to me. That, and everyone you see is a potential killer.
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