Concert Review: A music school parody

Many times, in a studio class at music school, your peers are invited to comment on your performance. While this  encourages active listening and the ability to offer and receive criticism, the comments of fellow students frequently didn’t offer anything new, or that the teacher couldn’t say better. 

And mostly, you got confusion, and conflicting ideas, either contradicting your own preferences or another peer’s thoughts. My favorite peer comment, after a performance of mine: “Raise your stand. You look overly tall.” 

Perhaps your experience was better than mine; but even if it was, you can probably recall some hopeless peer comments and recognize the comedic potential for parody here. 

Last night, I went to a concert with the Seattle Chamber Music Society. I heard 4 groups of people play their hearts out, and what a wonderful job they did. It’s unsurprising; they’re all absolutely the bee’s knees, top of their game. But during the last piece, a Brahms Piano Trio with James Ehnes, my all time top favorite violinist ever… I remembered my studio classes. For your entertainment, here are some of the comments that group could have received from a room of their peers. Keep in mind, it was a spectacular performance and this is a parody. 


James, you’re so still Have more fun! Move around a bit!

Paul, hold stiller, your motions are distracting.


Guys, for real, don’t move your feet. 

I loved the way even your feet got involved when you got ready for big beats.


Alessio, I couldn’t hear you enough. Don’t forget you’re behind the cello. 

The piano was too loud, it covered up the cello in the tender moments.


Ummm like around measure 200, you nearly ran out of bow, so like, watch your bow distribution because like, Brahms? he’s like the hardest to not sound like you’re running out of breath. I mean, like, you really have to plan ahead, and like, not waste an inch? Yeah, so watch out for that. 


So, I didn’t love your choice of mute. Have you considered using a wooden one? I’ve found it offers a warmer tone than the rubber ones you’re using. 


I wondered how you’d handle the Presto non assai vs. Allegro Molto tempi. (tut) I think you played them both at exactly the same tempo. You should get together, and choose a metronome speed  and then practice with the metronome, until you have that all ironed out.

A Few of My *~Absolute Favorite~* Things

It being the Monday after Daylight Savings Time starts, I think it’s fair to say that work  weighs even heavier than normal on company employees today.

That being said, the following lyrics are not really about my job.  But they might well apply to your job.

With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as any children or readers with a more sensitive conscience than mine.  This post contains somewhat strong language, along with a sarcastic refrain, and you may wish to cease reading here.

For anyone else, join me in song:

Meaningless meetings that swallow up mornings
Random-ass deadlines that come without warning
Waiting for Red Bull to give me its wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Idiot systems for logging my hours
Longing for co-worker-Force-choking powers
Clawing my face off each time the phone rings,
Just a few more of my favorite things

Lead gave no feedback regarding my graphics
Please just accept that I’m not telepathic
Dreading each comment the editor brings
These are a few of my favorite things

When I’m crying in the bathroom,
When it’s all quite shit,
I think about nothing but our health insurance
So that I don’t up and quit

Clients: I can’t care enough to go woo them
Tasks went undone since no one said to do them
Tripped up by all these invisible strings
Just a few more of my favorite things

Failure of process: it’s sadly systemic
Nit-picking needlessly: also endemic
Waiting for 5 when the quitting bell rings,
These are a few of my favorite things

Training is but a disorderly jumble
One day I’ll choke as I swallow my grumble
Praying for patience before my fist swings,
These are a few of my favorite things…

Paycheck is smaller than what we agreed on
Tired of having my dignity peed on
Straining to bear Fortune’s arrows and slings
These are a few of my favorite things

When I’m crying in frustration,
When it’s all quite shit,
I simply remember my comp’ny insurance
So that I don’t up and quit!

Yogh and Ash and Thorn

Last week Back in May, I shared Peter Bellamy’s setting of Rudyard Kipling, noting that I’d stumbled over it thanks to the glory and munificence of the internet.

More specifically, I was contemplating Anglo-Saxon words that start with an ash or a thorn, and came across this parody by Catherine Faber:

Yogh and Ash and Thorn

Some time between the year fourteen-ought-five and -fifty-one
There was a strange and radical change in spoken English done.
These letters all but past recall should not be held in scorn;
The rose in May must go the way of yogh and ash and thorn.

Yogh and ash and thorn good sirs, mouldering vellum adorn;
Here do we see mortality in yogh and ash and thorn.

Yogh to me resembles a three a little bit flattened above
And sound denotes so low in the throat as only the Dutch could love
Yet now is found both letter and sound discarded and forlorn;
Remember you are mortal too, like yogh and ash and thorn.

A “b” with a tail, thorn didn’t prevail, but though it lost the race
It takes a pair of letters to wear the shoes to take its place,
And a and e an ash will be when back to back they are bourne;
Into dark the passing mark of yogh and ash and thorn.

“Vowel shift” said somebody miffed, “It’s more like a hey or a bransle
“Letter and sound keep swapping around and ‘hands about go all!'”
Some were stored and some ignored and some were mangled and torn,
Caught up in the rout as vowels fell out with yogh and ash and thorn.

Time must be an enemy that ever ending brings–
Even word-fame cannot be heard when words are mortal things.
Some clever cuss in studying us some distant future morn
Will find us surely strange to her as yogh and ash and thorn.

Rich and strangely words will change in warpage under use
But why in past it happened so fast Gude Godde only knoos.**
We work the sum of what we become from where and how we are born.
And hold these three in memory: yogh and ash and thorn!

Grading Lament

I have two full weeks of school left, and one week of finals. And at the end of finals week, I must have all the finals graded and entered.

Talk about crazy. My school is small, but grading 28 6-page finals (just for Intro Latin) in 2 days is already giving me nightmares and cold sweats. Not to mention the finals for the other classes.

Also, I am suffering from dull but persistent headaches, a stuffy nose, a severely sore throat, bleary eyes, and fits of sneezing. I think it is the stress and boredom of grading. Or the Texas Allergens. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.

Whatever the cause, I have gone through two bottles of lemon juice and my whole bear-jar of organic honey in this weekend alone.

So instead of doing the grading that I actually have this weekend, I am adapting Adelaide’s Lament into an Official Grading Lament. Behold:


It says here:
The average full-time teacher
At the end of school year
Due to some long frustration may react
With psychosomatic symptoms
Difficult to endure
Affecting the upper respiratory tract.

In other words, just from grading a number of tests and essays untold,
A teacher can develop a cold.

You can spray her wherever you figure the streptococci lurk
You can give her a shot for whatever’s she’s got, but it just won’t work
If she’s tired of seeing “a lot” spelled as just one word,
A teacher can develop a cold.

It says here:
The teachers possessing “free time”
Just in the legal sense
Show a neurotic tendancy, see note: (looks at note)
Chronic organic symptoms
Toxic or hypertense
Involving the eye, the ear, the nose, and throat.

In other words, just from spending all weekend grading on and off,
A teacher can develop a cough.

You can feed her all day with the vitamin A and the bromofizz
But the medicine never gets anywhere near where the trouble is.
If she’s getting up early to finish correcting the 80th quiz,
A teacher can develop a cough.

And furthur more, just from spelling, and grammar,
And the uncited quip,
A teacher can develop la grippe.

When she collects all the homework on Tuesday,
And grades it by Wednesday night
She expects a free day
But remembers the final exams that she still must write,
A person can develop la grippe,
La grippe.
La post nasal drip.
With the wheezes
And the sneezes
And a sinus that’s really a pip!
From a lack of sufficient sleeping
And a red pen clutched in a death-hold,
A teacher can develop a bad, bad cold!


So go on, sing away to the anthem of teachers this time of year! And I pray that you develop no colds of your own.

A Toast to Senator John J. Blaine

Prohibition Ends

Today is the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.  As a person who enjoys both liquor and smaller government (and who is horrified by some of the political corruption, gang wars, and general loss of Gemütlichkeit that Prohibition enacted), I think it worth celebrating.

This honestly turned out a bit more political than I meant it to be.  I guess that’s what happens when you parody The Who?  Also, you end up learning a bit more about history.  If School House Rock calls, send ’em my way.

[With apologies to Pete Townshend and The Who, except not really]

We’ll Imbibe Again

Volstead called our drink a bane
Pouring Out BoozePoured our barrels down the drain
And banned our palliatives in the glass
And the men who passed the Act
Have their sheds and cellars stacked
with the private stock denied the working class…

I raise my glass to the Blaine Resolution
The 21st Amended constitution
Smile and grin, since dryness was repealed,
Despite the Temperance Horde –
Let the drinks be poured!
Then I’ll get up and thank the Lord
We can buy booze again!

Those fourteen years were long,Al Capone
Corruption growing strong,
As the clergy, cops, and doctors flout the law
To say nothing of Capone
Doing business of his own
Taking shots the North Side Irish never saw…

I raise my glass to the Blaine Resolution
The 21st Amended Constitution,
Sip my gin that’s 40 ABV
Without the Sugar House;
No need to get soused,
Just relieved that the thirst is doused,
And not by bad poteen!
No rotgut poteen!

Blaine kept the fight although always denied; We Want Beer
here’s to biergardens that luck kept alive!
Since Congress was scared of the lobbying dries,
three-fourths of the states would ratify

{instrumental interlude long enough to mix up a Sidecar}

No more of white lightning
Though we’ve kept our grenadine
And bitters, citrus, syrup, crème-de-menthe
And the cocktails of the past
Are now cocktails of the hour
Huzzah for highballs, fizzes, flips, and sours!

I raise my glass to the Blaine Resolution John J. Blaine
The 21st Amended Constitution
Smile and drink, since dryness was repealed,
Despite the Temperance Horde –
Let the drinks be poured!
Then I’ll get up and thank the Lord
We can buy booze again!
We’ll imbibe again!


This is the Time

It has been a quiet month for me, posting-wise.  This little Billy Joel parody is the reason why.  Well, part of it.

I sat in the flat in the humidest July
unable to stir myself, and God knows why
I haven’t put away the things I should have done
Unable to stand and face the rising sun

This is the time to be packing
or next week you’ll rue your slacking.
These are the days to fill boxes
With your books and files and sockses
This is the time,
But time is gonna fly
You’ve taken over nine or ten
Now hurry with the rest of them…

D’you know that before my roommate left the state
This task looming o’er me didn’t seem so great?
I can only look back on the month and shake my head
At the days that I squandered (could’ve packed instead)

This is the time to be packing
Grab some frames and plates for stacking
These are the days to cart off clothes
– take your scarves, you shouldn’t need those
Empty your desk
And empty all the drawers
The bloody thing still weighs enough
Without thirty-eight pounds of stuff…

I know it’s so easy to let your nights slip on by
Without even taking some papers away,
but the deadline of August is rapidly drawing nigh;
Better clean lest you give your deposit away.

And so there’s a fever now, with three days left,
to recapture the time of which you’re now bereft
Ah, but Dayton Drive’s waiting and your life is too
So stay with me, baby, I’ve got plans for you…

This is the time to be packing
Find the strength your will is lacking
These are the days to fill boxes
With your teacups, booze, and sockses
This is the time
The time of shifting change
Farewell to Elostirion
and greetings to the days to come.

It’s So Easy to Hate on William Carlos Williams Sometimes

When people who are inevitably not me (nor any of the other Muses, to date) get Freshly Pressed, then I might ignore them and their turn in the spotlight.  But I also might read whatever it was that the WordPress crew found to be worth everyone’s time, usually concluding that I fail to impress them with my snappy titles.  Sometimes I’m drawn in so far that I read the blogger’s other posts, indicating that hey, he’s posted more than one worthwhile thing (and, you know, mayhaps I’ll stand out in his mind and he’ll link to me or something.  And then shall I win the love of dozens, nay, scores of readers. …A girl can dream, right?  Someone has probably written a book about a girl dreaming a dream like that).

Which is how I came to read Byronic Man’s This Is Just To Say and also This Is Just For You To Say.

Which brings me to my not-exactly-novel-but-VERY-true-to-life rendition of the same.

“This Is Just To Say”
From Terpsichore to Thalia

I have eaten
the Phish Food
that was in
the freezer

and which
you were probably
for some future stressful day of moving and classes and insect-laden violins and general madness or melancholy

Forgive me
it was delicious
so I bought
two pints more.

You know
you love me

even if you
are far away
from said freezer


A brace of sonnets: In Memoriam

In early spring and summer, especially, I remember. I had a friend, a bold, morose, brilliant and lovely friend. We had plans, but then he died. This year, it’s four years. Trying to express the joy and the loss and the peculiar nature of memory which eliminates the day to day but leaves sharp, bright moments, I’ve attempted a sonnet. In some measure, I’ve succeeded.


I, careful miser, that I am, shall hoard
These diamond memories in a sacred vault.
And while I watchful stand, their jealous guard
I’ll take them up to handle and to hold
Between my fingers. Raised against the sky
I’ll catch, imprisoned, refracted in the deeps
The suns of yesterday’s light in memory.
In this sequestered way, I fondly keep
The careful count of treasure here. But now
The bloodshot miser’s lot is left to me
As I, enshrouded in my grief, am found
More deeply buried in grave misery.
My hoard, tho’ undiminished and undimmed,
Shall ne’er increase. I am bereft of him.

D.G.M. 1986-2008

The only trouble is, the subject himself would laugh immoderately at my sentiments. His was an elegantly refined sense of the ridiculous that preyed on sentimentality. And that was something I loved about him! I would have to defend my feelings; they’re not sentimental! I argue, but really, to no avail. Such melodrama only ever made him laugh.  Here is my dashed off attempt at his profane (as in, trouncing on the holy ground of my finer feelings) version of the same. This one he would certainly prefer, and so, to be frank…do I.

Ah, Crap.

I, deluded madman that I am, shall hoard
These bits of carbon in a dusty tub.
And while  I stand, inevitably bored
I’ll  pinch one ‘twixt my fingertips and rub.
Unsurprisingly, I’ll have to curse
For now, my hands are covered all with black
The situation out from here gets worse
There is no water here to wash. Alack!
And so disgruntled, dirty and alone
I sit here, keeping track of other’s jewels
What I wouldn’t give for a cell phone
I’d call my Ma and tell her I’m a fool.
Oh well, too bad, it’s too late for me now
She doesn’t love me now, she loves her cow.