Confession of a Percussionist

Long ago I knew that music would be my future. I knew then that percussion specifically would be my passion. This all started in the fourth grade when I joined the school band. Through the years I’ve come to realize that percussion is underappreciated and often misunderstood. On my drive home from work recently, I … Continue reading Confession of a Percussionist

More Cowbell

  I have an extensive collection of a few hundred cowbells, ranging from tiny to gargantuan, which makes the famous Saturday Night Live skit “More Cowbell” ring a bell with me, so to speak. I even incorporated a Dharma Cowbell into the Woodstock Chimes line, so popular it’s out of stock at the moment! It’s … Continue reading More Cowbell

It’s a Laughing Matter

Diane and I recently attended a performance by the four comedians from the TV show Impractical Jokers. It was my birthday present from Diane but like many good presents, we both got to enjoy the gift. I knew they were really funny and popular but I was amazed at just how popular they are. There … Continue reading It’s a Laughing Matter

Unusual Instruments, Part 6 – Antique Roller Organs

I can’t help myself. I am addicted to music and collect objects of musical beauty. I am especially drawn to mechanical musical instruments and have been fortunate to add many to my collection over the years. In fact, you could say I invented my own by creating the first musically tuned windchimes, which are mechanical … Continue reading Unusual Instruments, Part 6 – Antique Roller Organs

Camping with the Madame

Diane and I have been campers ever since our daughters were very young, for 30 some years. We started camping on our honeymoon in 1977 in central Saskatchewan, using a small pup tent and traveling by canoe on a huge lake for a week without seeing a soul. When the kids were young, we upgraded … Continue reading Camping with the Madame

Concert Honesty Podcast with Josh Quillen

Josh Quillen of So Percussion asked me to be on his excellent Concert Honesty podcast recently. Not only did my group NEXUS Percussion recently record with So Percussion, but Josh’s other group, NYU Steel, is a longtime performer at my biennial Drum Boogie Festival in Woodstock, NY. I had a blast talking with Josh about … Continue reading Concert Honesty Podcast with Josh Quillen

Concerts, Sessions and Grandchildren

It’s been a busy month in Lake Wobegon – I mean Woodstock. Our group NEXUS performed several times and recorded three pieces of Steve Reich’s music with the members of So Percussion and other amazing musicians. One of the sessions was a four-camera video recording at Princeton University of Reich’s Drumming, which is over an … Continue reading Concerts, Sessions and Grandchildren

Peanut Butterfly Interlochen Boom

  Those were the words given to us by our “high school” orchestra conductor, Thor Johnson, when we were playing a difficult new work by a Japanese composer in the mid-1960s. If you say each word on four beats, fitting the syllables equally in each beat, it helps create a rhythm of 2 + 3 + … Continue reading Peanut Butterfly Interlochen Boom

Roll (on the timpani) Over Beethoven

The Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra recently performed Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto (“The Emperor”) and his 6th Symphony (“The Pastoral”). I feel very fortunate to play timpani with this orchestra in that, unless you hold one of the few timpani positions with a full-time symphony orchestra, there are not a lot of opportunities to play timpani. … Continue reading Roll (on the timpani) Over Beethoven