Thursday, March 31, 2011


I don’t think this is what Dire Straits had in mind in 1985 when they wrote:

Get your money for nothing
Get your chicks for free.


You do hear it said that playing the guitar is supposed to be a chick magnet. Come to think of it, back in 1966, when I first started to teach the guitar, I had a young lady who I thought was really (REALLY) cute. It turned out that she also had a crush on me. Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure. Anyway, in 1971, I married that girl, and she’s the one who took this photo. We’re coming up on our 40th wedding anniversary this year!! So…well, I guess it DOES work.

The chicks are all part of Woodchuck Acres self-sufficiency program. Some of these chicks will stay and some will be sold. Dare I say it, some might become dinner; but not today.

In the words of one chick I know: peep, peep, peep.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


On April 2, 3 , 4, 7, 8, and 9 I will be playing guitar in Morrisville College’s production of “The Robber Bridegroom”. This is a Tony-Award winning musical from 1974 that starred Patti Lupone. It is based on a story by Eudora Welty, and is completely in old-time country and bluegrass musical styles. This should be a lot of fun.

The music director, Doug Keith, sent me the score and I have started to work on it, thanks to a handy CD that came with it. As always in Broadway scores, there are some strange rhythms, some oddball time signatures, and an occasional weird key signature- what guitar player in his right mind plays in Ab minor???? That’s 7 flats…that’s the most you can have.

Well, my plan is to walk into the first rehearsal at least 85% performance ready. This saves a lot of time for everyone. Since the music is fairly simple, this should be no problem although there are always surprises.

The performances will be in the theater in the student center on the main campus. I hope to see some of you there.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Charles Dickens was not a musician. You might have already been aware of that little piece of trivia. The fact is, though, that Dickens had a very musical ear. He also had an incredibly cinematic imagination, which is all the more amazing since the motion picture camera wasn’t invented until 25 years after his death!! [FYI: Louis Lumiere is often credited as inventing the first motion picture camera in 1895.]

So what’s all this got to do with the Musician in the Middle of Nowhere??

Over the years, I have read all the novels of Dickens (there’s around 30 of them), and am now reading through them all again, along with a lot of extra material, such as the travel books, short stories, magazine articles, etc. And as I was reading, I noticed several passages that would make terrific texts for music. So I started to extract them, adapt them, and versify them. The result is that I have composed a set of seven choral pieces (SATB) with piano accompaniment that I am putting under the general title of “The Best of Times”.

The seven passages are from The Old Curiosity Shop, American Notes (2), Pictures of Italy, Martin Chuzzelwit, A Christmas Carol and (of course) A Tale of Two Cities.

I didn’t plan on a rendezvous with any particular event, but the odd fact is that 2012 will be the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth. It’s a nice way to celebrate one of my favorite authors.

Here are a couple of pages from “A Small Tyranny” (taken from the first chapter of Martin Chuzzelwit)