Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Wayback Machine #5: Eberle & John’s Musical History, part two

For Thursday: some more glimpses of our musical history—in this case, shots from 1999. This was an interesting musical year looked at retrospectively. Eberle & I again joined forces with our good friend violinist Lois Fry & our good friend Judy Anderson, drama teacher at McCall-Donnelly High School, for more theatrical background music, this time for the spring production of Under Milkwood. The play actually stirred a bit of controversy at the school, because some parents found the play too sensual, at which point Judy marched into the principal’s office & pointed out—among other things—the fact that Oklahoma, one of the most commonly staged musicals in high school theater, includes the song “I Cain’t Say No” sung by the character Ado Annie:

I'm just a girl who cain't say no,
I'm in a terrible fix

I always say "come on, let's go!"
Jist when I orta
say nix.

There was also some discussion of specific speeches in The Taming of the Shrew & Hamlet, & with some editing, Under Milkwood was staged as planned. Our musical mix was a bit more diverse than for Alice in Wonderland, & in this case we provided a soundtrack that was continuous rather than a number of set pieces, as we did for Alice in Wonderland. My memory tells me the music was quite good; I do wish we had a recording, but so it goes. Eberle & I switched off on keyboard—we even played one duet—& she also played electric bass. I remember playing the Orff marimba quite a bit, as well as a little bit of uke & 5-string banjo. Lois played violin. There also was a fair amount of percussion & sound effects—we used a kitchen canister for a tin drum in one scene, for instance, & I believe there was slide whistle also.

Hope you enjoy the pix!

Top Pic: Eberle’
s upright bass, which we bought in the winter of 99 at Telford’s in Boise, a very good shop for instruments of the violin family. I recall laying down in the back of our Subaru Legacy wasgon to make sure the bass would fit—I figured if I’d fit, the bass would. & did.

Yours truly at
the McCall Winter Carnival parade. Eberle & I used to march with the Citizens for Valley County group, & our bunch always had a grand time, generally playing the “Mickey Mouse Theme.” We had horns & drums & banners—a real marching band. The cymbals of course were great fun, but I must say that marching at zero degrees F in a Bugs Bunny mask is challenging!

Eberle with bass drum at the Winter Carniv
al—she was in 7th heaven!

Eberle playing the upright bass in the front room of our old house

A scene from the dress rehearsal for Under Milkwood

Guy with guitar on the porch of our o
ld house some time in the spring of 99. I played that Takamine guitar exclusively back then—funny, because as I’m thinking recently of culling the instrument herd, the Takamine is high on the list of candidates to be sold.

& yours truly with tenor recorder, playing some little ditty for the guinea hens. I really like the sound of the tenor recorder—deeper, of course, & more “breathy” than your garden variety soprano recorder. Those plastic Yamahas are really quite good instruments. I later gave this tenor recorder to Alice in Wonder Band mate Art Troutner, & he used it on our recording of “She Sells Seashells” (which Eberle & I co-wrote).

Eberle as part of the Goldie Band at the 1999 McCall Folk Festival. That was a fun band, with a repertoire ranging from “Chicken Soup & Rice” to “A Day in the Life of a F
ool.” The band was formed solely for this Folk Festival performance, however, so it was a one-shot deal. For locals: this was back when the Folk Festival was held in Ponderosa Park, before it moved out to Roseberry.

Stay tuned for more Musical History next month!


  1. It's great reading about your musical background because the posts always give a much broader picture. It's like sharing a drink a talking of times gone. Thanks

  2. Hi Alan: Thanks you! Glad this comes across as you describe; that's certainly part of my intention.

  3. Eberle and her drum! Fantastic.

    And Oklahoma - I love that musical not because of the plot (not really much of a story is it?) but because of the music. So many great songs.

    Did you see the more contemporary version of the film with Hugh Jackman? Really good.

  4. Hi Reya:

    Eberle is a gal who likes her drums, & she loved playing the bass drum. Haven't seen the Oklahoma remake, but we rarely go out to the movies--the closest movie theater is a 150 mile round trip, & the closest good movie theatre is closer to 250!

  5. Good looking upright bass! This was -is- my first instrument (did I ever mention that?). Fond memories of playing The Elephant at school concert 40-odd years ago. Did I say fond? I meant terrified.

  6. Hi Dominic:

    The upright bass is a great instrument--I didn't know that's how you got your start. Thanks!


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