Tag Archives: housekeeping

The Sheepy Summer of Our Discontent

The summer I was in sixth grade, my mom painted the garage, while I took a ruler and a piece of chalk and drew a to-scale square on the sidewalk, captioning it “the size cage a battery hen lives her life in before she is sent to slaughter.” I had just learned about the existence of factory farms, and I was determined to share the bad news with as many passersby as possible.

Other mothers would have encouraged moderation in their daughter’s activism, but not mine. By never protesting my protesting, she telegraphed important life lessons: When you perceive an injustice, work to right it. And when your conscience compels you, use whatever means you have, to say whatever you have to say.

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Announcing A Partnership With Interlude!

I’m busy packing for Carnegie today (PACKING FOR CARNEGIE, GUYS) (PACKING. FOR. CARNEGIE.). But amidst the madness of spare socks and dress-wrapping, I’m excited to announce that I’m writing for classical music website Interlude HK!

I’ll be writing essays, 500 to 600 words or thereabouts, on topics having to do with classical music. If you have any favorite stories you’d like to see covered, let me know!

My first Interlude essay is called “Music by a Medium: The Story of Rosemary Brown.” It’s about a woman composer, yes, but with a twist: Rosemary Brown believed she was channeling the music of the dead.

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I will link to new entries on SOTL’s Facebook and Twitter pages as they’re published. For those who only check the blog, I’ll try to remember to post an entry at the end of each month containing links to my Interlude essays.

Be sure to explore the Interlude archives! There are lots of great stories there about the personal lives of great composers and musicians. Also, former Minnesota Orchestra cellist Janet Horvath is a long-time contributor, and she has written some great essays about behind-the-scenes life at Minnesota. Here’s her contributor page.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to vacuum the cat hair off my suitcase…

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2015 Roundup

Well, that was a year.

That existed.

That is now over.

Thank f*ck.

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Do I get a prize for surviving??

I don’t have much time to write – I’m entertaining today, and I’m going to the Minnesota Orchestra New Year’s show tonight – but I had a few tidbits I wanted to share before the celebration starts.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Y’ALL. Is there a better tune to celebrate with than Turkey in the Straw? I THINK NOT.

Sorry that things have been so quiet this month… But I’ve got a couple of great entries in the hopper, as well as some cool big bloggy news I’ll be announcing…soon; I’m just taking my time with those things because I want them to be super awesome, and also I’m slow. There should also be a (FOURTH!) (FOURTH) (BEHOLD THE RELENTLESS PASSAGE OF TIME) online SOTL Advent calendar that goes live on December 1st (if I get my act together) (I’ll get my act together) (I think) (lol).

In the meantime, enjoy giving thanks for all the blessings in your life. My blessings include a supportive community of readers and the greatest music in the world. And I can’t ask for much more than that. Thanks, all! Have a marvelous holiday season full of everything you love best, and keep in touch!!

~Emily

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A public domain turkey image I just found on Wikipedia

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SOTL on Performance Today

I was recently interviewed for “Performance Today” on the subject of music nerd-ism. The interview aired July 21.  I’m going to backdate this entry to make it look like I’m somewhat on top of my career. I totally posted this on July 22nd, guys. Totally. *shifty eyes*

*pastes in scrapbook*

*pastes in scrapbook*

Click here. I’m in Hour 2, minute 16:45, for about four minutes. Right now my bucket list looks somewhat like this:

  • shoot the breeze with Fred Child

When I was in seventh grade, and away at school during the day, I’d order my mom to tape an hour of public radio so I could listen to it when I got home. Clearly, not just the music nerd-ism, but the public radio nerd-ism runs deep. After this, there’s obviously not much left for me to accomplish, so I may just announce my retirement at twenty-six. (Just Kidding! How could anyone retire with all of the potential 2015 labor disputes brewing?) I’ll post more this August. I’m taking the summer to write some more experimental essays, before launching into the Minnesota Orchestra’s star-studded 2015-2016 season, as well as any out-of-town labor disputes that boil over. I promise cool content and fewer family-death-induced hiatuses.

*

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Farewell to 2014

Well that was quite the year.

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In the tradition of years past, here’s a New Year’s summary of what all happened at this address over the past twelve months.

Here are the year’s most popular entries in reverse order. Spoiler alert: it was an Atlantapalooza!

5. Doug Hertz Takes On The Crazy People. 4 October. Woodruff Arts Center board chair Doug Hertz gave the strangest interview of the year to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, where he called his musicians “crazy” and suggested that his music director could help the negotiations with “ideas.”

4. Stanley Romanstein’s Massive Bonuses: 2012 Lockout Edition! 18 September. Former Atlanta Symphony CEO Stanley Romanstein raked in $45k in bonuses during the first musician lockout in 2012, and people were pissed.

3. Naked Nymphs and the Atlanta Symphony. 3 October. Arguably the weirdest entry of the year, in which I took a wide-eyed look at the Atlanta Symphony’s bewildering 2014-15 season brochure, which boasted massive naked ladies and lots of strategically flung red scarves.

2. Stanley Romanstein’s Massive Bonuses. 8 September. The #2 entry in 2013 was Michael Henson’s Massive Bonuses, so it’s only fair that the companion piece “Stanley Romanstein’s Massive Bonuses” received the #2 slot in 2014.

And the most popular entry…

1. The Atlanta Symphony Facebook Page Loses It. 11 September. It’s not often that you get to watch a major American orchestra throw a temper tantrum on their Facebook page, but 2014 was a truly special year. It also included my favorite reaction GIF of 2014.

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I spent a lot of time in the early part of 2014 volunteering for Save Our Symphony Minnesota. (As you can imagine, during the Henson / Osmo showdown and resulting administrative churn, there were a lot of things that community members needed to do to make their voices heard.) Mainly because of all that volunteer work, and also because of some sad losses in my personal life, there were only 41 entries in 2014, as opposed to 97 in 2013, and traffic declined by 36%. In other news, readers visited from 155 countries this year, as opposed to 149 last year.

***

As for personal favorites…

Favorite Blog: Scott Chamberlain had some great entries at Mask of the Flower Prince. He was extraordinarily prolific this year, and he provided lots of food for thought about the Met Opera negotiations in particular. Scott’s now president of the Minnesota Chorale board, so that’s cool.

Favorite Microreview: the November 14 concert

Favorite Ousted CEO in the Non-Profit World: Impossible to choose

Favorite Non-Ousted CEO in the Non-Profit World: Kevin Smith.

Favorite Interview: Actually, my only interview…a chat with Emily Green, founder of Young Musicians of Minnesota

Favorite Essay / Favorite Concert / Favorite Life Experience: the Sibelius 1 and 4 concert in March. It will never be repeated. It will never be surpassed. My essay about that concert is here.

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And in case you missed it first time around, here’s the 2014 SOTL Advent calendar, which surveys the year and includes 24 wintry-themed music videos. If you haven’t stopped by yet, and you enjoy that kind of shameless nostalgia, be sure to check it out!

2015 will be a crucial year for the Minnesota Orchestra. I hope you’re ready to donate, to support, to brag, and most importantly, to buy tickets! The possibilities are truly endless, but first we all need to step up to the plate together.

And I’m sure you will. You always have, because you’re the best. Catch you in 2015.

Some notes I'm working on

Some doodles I’m working on

***

 

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Lockout Stuff

Hey, friends!

Say, did you hear that the 2014-2015 Minnesota Orchestra season has just been announced? The lockout era of 2012-2014 is now over, and it’s time to move on. In the recent words of Osmo Vänskä: “I think that there was a time to whine, but, it’s time to cry and then it’s time to stop crying and start to work again. And I think sometimes working is the best therapy for the mind, and I think that is right now happening.”

He’s right. In that spirit, I’m finishing and then archiving this “Lockout Stuff” directory. A link to this page will always remain under the Reference Posts page, and of course the articles themselves will always stay up, but the link to “Lockout Stuff” is coming off the main SOTL header. It doesn’t mean that the past will be forgotten, but it does mean that our energies should be focused on the future. New and better things await us all! So if you want, take a moment to breeze through this, relive old times, and then set your GPS for The Future!

Thanks for journeying along with me for the past two years. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.

In solidarity, Emily

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Introducing Lark Notes!

Once upon a time, in the halcyon days before September 2012, I thought of myself more as a historian and wannabe musicologist than as a commentator on never-ending orchestral lockouts.

Crazy, right?

Well, it’s been a year, but my heart’s still in the whole history thing. I’ve ignored it and I’ve missed it. I’m not giving up analysis of orchestral politics – by any means – but I do want to try to shoehorn some history onto the blog.

Consequently I’m embarking on a new series…

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So what are Lark Notes? Great question. I’m not even 100% sure yet. (Let’s hear it for flying by the seat of your pants!! Woohoo!) I do know that the Notes will be my exploration of a particular musical topic, and that exploration might come in the form of essays, Youtube videos, interviews…who knows! We’ll have to see how the Notes evolve as time goes by. For the foreseeable future, they’ll likely tie into the programs of the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra.

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Tickets to the Sibelius Concert…and a SOTL Reception

Do you want to go to the Minnesota Orchestra Sibelius show? Tickets are going on sale at Monday January 14 at noon Central Standard Time in the Year of Our Lord 2013. Details here. Even if you’re not sure if you’ll be able to go, buy them and turn them back in. Because this thing is going to sell out fast. I’ll go out on a limb and say this will be the single most historic concert the Minnesota Orchestra has ever put on. I honestly don’t think that’s hyperbole. So be there.

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I’m attempting to throw together some kind of informal reception for my darling readers in downtown Minneapolis before the concert.

If you think you would come, either

  1. comment on this blog entry
  2. email me at songofthelarkblog [at] gmail [dot] com, or
  3. like the SOTL Facebook page and then like this status update about a reception.

I need to know approximately how many I might be planning for. Details TBA. Nothing formal – just a drop in, drop out kind of thing. Maybe with drinks or dessert.

I’m also trying to cook up some kind of popcorn-based fundraising event. So there’s that.

POPCORN!!

Mr. Michael Henson is, of course, warmly invited to our fabulous Song of the Lark soiree! Even if he does not come, I am planning to print out a picture of him and tape it on a conspicuously empty chair, so that all of us can remember the reason we’ve been brought together.

Thanks, Mr. Henson!

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Happy New Year

My favorite performance from the Song of the Lark Advent calendar. Ella Fitzgerald in “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”

2012 is over!

Thank crap!

GUYS! WE MADE IT!

I have some housekeeping stuff…

2012 STATS!

Every blogger worth his salt is writing something about his 2012 stats today. So I will, too, but with a twist… Following the example of the Minnesota Orchestral Association, I will release a number to you, completely out of context, which has been independently audited, by WordPress:

Traffic at Song of the Lark has increased by roughly 1600% from last year.

Here’s what this statistic looks like on a satirical graph I made to advance my pre-ordained narrative that this blog is doing fabulously.

Graphs are fun

Seriously, though. Traffic did increase by 1600%, and my readership has grown beyond my wildest dreams. There are a lot of people reading this blog. Want to know how many? Drew McManus is currently running a poll, asking readers to guess about various statistics about Adaptistration. Under the question “Which culture blog referred the most traffic to Adaptistration in 2012?” Song of the Lark is one of the options (along with Slipped Disc). I won’t tell you if it’s the right answer, just in case you want to take the quiz yourself, but the fact that Drew even considered using SOTL as an option… Craziness! Craziness, all of it.

So anyway, thank you thank you thank you, all! And how about a special shout-out to Michael Henson? He’s a huge reason why this blog is so popular!

In the continuing vein of British GIFs…

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MOST POPULAR POSTS!

In case you want to take a trek down memory lane… (Entries are listed in reverse order for optimal countdown excitement.)

5) Great Female Violinists: A List. Proof that before the Orchestral Apocalypse, I mainly wrote about Victorian violinists. If you’re remotely interested in the history of music, and you’re a reader who came aboard after August (and most of you are), you should check out this page. I’ve written about some really amazing inspirational women who are very unjustly neglected.

4) A Layman’s Guide to the Minnesota Orchestra Lockout. What the title says. As an update, yesterday I wrote and posted a sequel: A Layman’s Guide to the Minnesota Orchestra Lockout, Part 2.

3) Violinist Jill Olson Moser Writes About Minnesota Orchestra Subs. Proof that my readers like it when I shut up once in a while and bring aboard amazing guest writers. A big thank you not just to Jill, but to all of my 2012 guest bloggers. You brought perspectives I don’t have, and I’m so thankful.

2) Is Minnesota Orchestra management lying to us? Ah, yes, the good old days before we knew they were…

And of course…

1) The Key And the Lockout: Minnesota Orchestra Musicians In-Concert, Oct. 18. Well, of course. This is the essay that led to the great Alex Ross Recognition of 2012.

Possibly the best tweet of all time.

Possibly the GREATEST TWEET OF ALL TIME.

NEW FACEBOOK PAGE!

I’ve had one for a while but I only revved it up yesterday. Here it is. You can also like it by checking out the link on the right-most column of the blog. There you can connect with other readers, share stuff, and message me privately. It’ll be interesting to see how the page evolves. Just a quick reminder to be respectful to everyone. Remember that important people are reading what you write.

Once the lockouts are over, and I go back to blogging about historical female violinists nobody has ever heard of, you have my permission to un-like me. ;)

OPEN THREAD!

Feel free to talk in the comments about what you want to see in the blog in the new year…ideas for mobilization…what exactly you want to see state representatives do in the new year… Anything, really.

Thanks for being my readers. You’re the best. xoxo

– Emily

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