We performed on the hottest day of the year in San Diego! This musical "Highlights from Jersey Boys" has Big Girls Don't Cry, Rag Doll, Walk Like a Man and Can't Take My Eyes Off of You. Words and Music by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio and arranged by James Kazik. Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical, "a stage or film musical that uses previously released popular songs as its musical score." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Boys)
It's a fun song because at "Walk Like a Man" some of us clapped our hands with our pick in our mouth. When I first did it, I put down my pick on the music stand and couldn't find it afterwards. Emmanuel who sat next to me suggested holding the pick between my lips (and not to swallow it :-)) and it worked better. This piece reminds me of the musical movie Grease with John Travolta in it. My husband Joe is from New Jersey and my in-laws would probably love to be here to hear us play. Emmanuel said my two sisters who were in the audience clapped the loudest. I enjoyed the clapping and the variety of this song so much I think I'd suggest to Jim Trepasso, our conductor, that the orchestra should sing next time when we play Les Misérables.
The San Diego Mandolin Orchestra performs free to the public (some performances are closed events -- for spouses and the venue's guests only) and this year we played at the Festival of the Arts (see one of our songs vimeo.com/66905849), Casa De Mañana (this performance and a few more later on) and at the Festival of the Bells (July 13, 3-3:45pm). Our orchestra consists mainly of mandolins (1 and 2), mandolas, mandocelli, octave mandolins, a bass section with guitars and a standup bass, a concert zither, an accordion, and bells. Occasionally we have a guest musician. This time, Ian was our guest musician who played the electronic percussion instrument, especially for two pieces: Les Misérables and Jersey Boys. After the performance, we came out of the building to enjoy a great sunset with nice cool breeze.
I always have a lot of fun playing in this orchestra where I just joined in February this year. I love the variety of the songs so much that I would practice for hours without rest. In retrospect, I remember being so bored practicing the piano by myself. I skipped practice as much as I could. But with the mandolin, even I don't practice every day, when I do, I would practice for hours. Kevin and his wife Eileen ̣̣̣̣(an occupational therapist and plays the accordion) have been super helpful with suggestions to prevent injuries such as icing and shaking my arms and hands between songs, etc... Emmanuel also offers lots of help and encouragement. These musicians have many other hobbies and activities. Emmanuel bikes, is a teacher and works as a French interpreter/translator and at a library. Kevin plays tennis and teaches guitar. Jim is into growing vegetables and fruits, among other things. I have yet to learn about other musicians in the orchestra besides my Mandolin 2 section.
Our rehearsal is on a weeknight and it is for two and a half hours. We do scales in the beginning and Jim challenges us to alternate notes in a scale by splitting the room into groups, a fun exercise to keep our brain working! I record the rehearsals so I can review them and I find that half of the time I don't even hear some of the things Jim says during the rehearsals. It is amusing when he says something like "that's a lazy dotted eight sixteenth note! Let's do it again. Think 'piece of pie' " and he put accent on the word "piece." Or "play this note like it's a last note you've ever played." Some of these words really stick in my mind. After hearing piece of pies and apple pies, I get really hungry. We then enjoy delicious cookies and even loquats at our break, brought in by members of the orchestra.
Next year our orchestra will be playing music around the world. I asked Jim if I can entice the orchestra to play some Vietnamese songs, especially some of my father's poetry that I put into music a long time ago (if I can find it now). Jim not only is open to it, he looked online for various Vietnamese websites with songs and lyrics and offered to help me with arrangements for instruments of different ranges. Way cool! Thank you Jim.
My husband Joe League always accompanies me to my performances and he videotaped this song on my iPhone4. My nephew Khoi (http://www.proeditproductions.com) fixed the shaking and improved the lighting. Thank you Joe and Khoi.
The San Diego Mandolin Orchestra:
Conductor: James (Jim) Trepasso
Instruments: mandolin, mandola, mandocello, octave mandolin, guitar, standup bass, concert zither, accordion, bells, and percussion.