Farewell to a mentor.

15 08 2012

I learned today that Mr. Frank Farina passed away early this morning.

Mr. Farina was the band and musical director at my high school, North Allegheny.

You can say what you want about NA. I know I’ve heard awful things, had people walk away from me because I went there. But here I am, college degree and back in school for another degree. Whatever. It’s just a darn school.

Back to Frank Farina.

When I first joined the marching band, whoo boy, was he scary. He stood on the auditorium stage and yelled. Are you a load (someone late to call time.)? I seriously hoped I wasn’t… He put you to place. He was demanding, but understanding. That man had a great heart. And I learned so much from him.

To stand in line.

To march.

To FEEL the music.

To DANCE, kind of like the Ohio University band did…

(I swear on my life, the day that the OU band came through my quad at OU, I cried, remembering what we did at NA) Especially because I didn’t have the time to devote to that amazing band. I wish I had, but I didn’t.

To LOVE the music.

To be the person you were meant to be.

To succeed in music. And life.

To be in multiple honor bands.

To try to quit. Have your parents tell you NO. And on top of that, to have Frank Farina, tell you no, you cannot quit marching band.

To give you another instrument. One you’d amazingly succeed with. A baritone horn.The euphonium.  One that Mr. Farina would challenge you to try out for an honor band. And you make it. And you have a solo. An epic solo, in your mind…

I still can’t decide if I love the sound of the clarinet or the euphonium more… We’re tied…

The one you actually tried to play in the symphony band at OU, because you loved the trust that man gave you, but couldn’t find the hours or place for practice…

I will always regret that last part. That I could not find the time or place….

I still remember practicing my clarinet when my parents would have liked to run for the hills over the noise.

I remember so many band camps. Yes, I know, it happened at band camp… But for most of us, those who I know? it didn’t. It was fun. It was hard.

I’d like to think I never let you down. I love music of all kinds. Really. And I love to dance, when I can…. It will never end. I’m now dancing in my seat to things my lovely niece loves… It will never end…

I will miss you so much, Mr. Farina. I can’t even put it into words. But my tears will make you understand. I play music in my mind, for you. As I have for years.

Thank you, Mr. Farina, for giving my music a voice and a path to follow.

I will come pay my respects to you on Sunday. It’s probably going to be a very hard thing for me… Alone. Thank god I’m a strong woman.
You leaving this earth is going to take multiple trips to the symphony or NA band stuff for me to be ok…


28 07 2011

I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but my musical tastes are very random. Broadway, classical, country, hard rock…

I’ve been super lucky this year to see so many bands live, mostly because of friends who needed someone to take a ticket that could not be used…  See my “About” thing…

Last weekend I had the chance to see Clutch live in Pittsburgh at Stage AE, with some amazing friends!

It was awesome. I’m so glad I went, and I would go see Clutch again the next time they are in town.

Some of my fave songs are below… Clearly I like Blast Tyrant.

And WordPress is not happy with me and is refusing to allow me to imbed videos. So I just have to give you the names of songs and a link… Sigh. Anywho…)

Mob Goes Wild

(In the wake of the) Swollen Goat

La Curandera

Loved the show. So happy that I went – I nearly didn’t.  It was $25 better spent than the $50 or so I spent on Kenny Chesney (although, to be honest, I didn’t realize our tickets would be in the LAST ROW ever of Heinz Field…)

It was a great night, no matter what.

I may or may not have sat on someone’s lap on the ride back to My Living Room as well… That’s what happens when one girl and 5 guys try to fit themselves into a small car.

No Cornbread…

6 03 2011

This evening, I went to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops for the second time, along with two lady friends I met through Twitter. UncleCrappy and MrsCrappy couldn’t make this one.

We met for dinner at Buffalo Blues, and then went for a drink at Kelly’s (my FIRST time there! and I had an AWFUL Mint Julep) before the show at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty.

We walked in to find an first-come, first-seated arrangement. And I spotted three seats together, on the aisle, about four rows back from the stage. We grabbed them. (Grand seats, considering UncleCrappy and I watched from the absolute back of the venue last time and could hardly see the stage!)

The show was part of an event the Strayhorn puts on called the Sunstar Music Festival. A four-day event that showcases woman music-makers, thus why the ticket was $25. The musicians and performers before the Drops were also awesome.

Back to THE show…

I noticed four chairs set up. Last time there were three. Hmmm… And when the Drops walked out, I noticed not one new person, but two. Turns out Justin started grad school and left the band. (Good for you Justin!) Now they have a new guy named Hubby, who also plays a mandolin! And then I saw a random white dude in the 4th chair… His name, I believe, is Adam. Who, after holding a tambourine,  seemed to be playing an imaginary stand up bass. I was so confused.

But, Holy Cow. If I wasn’t working Sunday night, I’d so be going to see Adam’s solo show at Garfield Art Works. But I am working. So anyway, his ability to beat-box, and to mimic (is that the right word? I have no clue!) a slide trombone and trumpet are amazing. I was seriously impressed. He even mimicked the sound of brushes on a drum and cymbals during one song. No, really.  I hope they keep him around. I have no idea what he does in his solo show, as my attempt to load the Garfield Art Works website failed… And I don’t know his last name.

Dom was crazy and dancing through part of the show, even tossing around his guitar at one point. He’s a showman, that one. I love it.

The show was awesome, as I expected. They played some things I haven’t heard before, and couldn’t find on You Tube. Sad. But, they played some faves, including some of mine, like Snowden’s Jig and Hit ‘Em Up Style… But they didn’t play some things I adored last time and that are on regular rotation on my iTunes. Namely, Cornbread and Butterbeans. That song is one I tell newbies to check out! I wasn’t surprised, when I saw Hubby, that they didn’t play it… That was Justin’s song, so when Rhiannon explained why they weren’t playing it, I totally understood. They also didn’t play Salty Dog, which I also like.

I watched Dom play the harmonica for an entire song (including with his nose! I know!) and he flipped it back and forth on his mouth, and never missed a beat. ZOMG.

But overall? It was totally worth the $25 and I’ll definitely see them next time they are in town. Absolutely.

I hope that my ladies that were with me tonight will be there, same with UncleCrappy and MrsCrappy… Oh, And you TOO AndreaDisaster! We missed you all!

Music is My Muse

29 01 2011

Remember when I did these posts? Music is My Muse? Yeah, me neither. It’s been a while. But here we go again…

Today, I woke up, and seeing as how I never leave home except to go to work lately, I decided I wanted – no NEEDED – to do something this evening. Cue Chachi and Gwenix having the perfect combo of suggestion and offering.

Gwen was offering a ticket to see Jonathan Coulton at the Rex. Chachi said he was going and that I should try to get the ticket. He said I’d like it… I did as I was told, got said ticket, and met Gwenix, her hubby Shadow and their friends for dinner at Piper’s Pub….

Dinner was awesome, (thank you Dave America and Piper’s!!!!) and I saw some of my regulars from My Living Room who work at Piper’s, but often hang out at my place of semi-employment.

When we got to the show, I chose to sit with Chachi, Sorgatron and TheSilentNinja. Gwen chose to sit at the bar. Shadow was up front. No complaints, all around.

The only complaint I have? Is that when I showed up, the announced the no-chair policy, and we had to put the chairs the nice men had saved for us away… They pulled chairs off of the hangers, set them out for us, in a great spot (off to the right side of the stage, by the wall) but then they announced it was a “floor” show. Chairs had to go back. Booo!!!!!!

However, I was determined to see at least most/part of the show from these musicians. I love me some music. And Twitter people have never let me down on live music (see @UncleCrappy and my post on the Carolina Chocolate Drops.) LOVE!

And this performance, Paul and Storm AND Jonathan Coulton, did NOT disappoint.

For your review… Paul and Storm

And then, Jonathan Coulton… (can’t find a good video on you tube to share… sorry)

Gotta be honest… At first, I felt like I was looking at a lighter-haired version of a friend of mine. I got over it pretty quick, and I dig it…. I WILL see Jonathan Coulton (and Paul and Storm) when they are in Pgh again….

The show he played this eve, he said we had to deal with 2 and 2…. Two old known songs, and then two new songs. I LOVED ALL OF THEM. Granted, I was not a fan earlier, and apparently he was acoustic earlier in his reign, but ZOMG, tonight’s show? AMAZING. I loved it. I will see this man play live again. And, from me, that is saying a LOT.

I am a music nerd, and a live music FREAK. There are musicians I prefer live, and then those I prefer otherwise… No rules… But just my preference…

Really, I’m done if it doesn’t grab me… And I’ll be honest, tonight’s show? Both bands? THEY GRABBED ME!!!!!!

Thank you, Gwen, Shadow, Chachi, Sorg, and TheSilentNinja.

I had a WONDERFUL night seeing musicians I never even imagined.

I love you for it.


(I’m already downloading both on iTunes…)

See also #luckytohaveamazingfriends

Pretty sure I win today for that.

Thanks, friends. 🙂


30 11 2010

Before I went to Florida, UncleCrappy tagged me in this iPod shuffle thing.

You put your iPod on shuffle and record 25 songs that come up.

I’ve been tagged on Facebook for this many times, but I figured I’d comply this time since I had time when I was traveling. So here you go.

Song – Artist – Album.

It started out okay, and then, just like me, went a little wonky.

  1. WYSIWYG – Clutch – Blast Tyrant
  2. Single Ladies – Beyonce – I am… Sasha Fierce
  3. Drifting Along – Jamiroquai – Traveling Without Moving
  4. Mudshovel – Staind – iTunes Originals
  5. Jesse’s Girl – Rick Springfield – Sounds of the Eighties
  6. All I’ve Got – The Hellacopters – By The Grace of God
  7. Where It’s Got You – Atomic Drops – The Atomic Drops
  8. You Know What – Craig David – Born To Do It
  9. Down – Static X – Where the Hell Are We And What Day Is It
  10. Cemeteries of London – Coldplay – Viva La Vida
  11. Beer in Mexico – Kenny Chesney – The Road and The Radio
  12. I Love This Bar – Toby Keith – Shock’n Y’all
  13. Don’t Act – Rhonda Vincent – All American Bluegrass Girl
  14. Spend A Lifetime – Jamiroquai – Traveling Without Moving
  15. No Sugar Tonight/Mother Nature – The Guess Who – The Best of The Guess Who
  16. Scarlet Fever – Kenny Rogers – 42 Ultimate Hits
  17. Living of Love – The Avett Brothers – Emotionalism
  18. It Had To Be You – Frank Sinatra – Greatest Hits
  19. Tiny Broken Heart – Alison Krauss & Union Station – Live Volume 1
  20. Don’t Think I Don’t – Darius Rucker – Learn To Live
  21. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
  22. Roxanne – The Police – The Police
  23. Redneck Yacht Club – Craig Morgan – My Kind of Livin’
  24. Talkin’ 2 Myself (feat. Kobe) – Eminem – Recovery
  25. Endless Love (Glee cast version) – Glee – Glee The Music Vol. 2

So there you go. I guess that’s a good representation of me. All over the map.

I can’t lie. I’m super happy Clutch showed up in there. I blame Peaches.

I’m surprised two Jamiroquai songs appeared, I haven’t listened to them in years.

I’m not surprised so much country showed up.

I’m sad my iPod wouldn’t update when I tried to sync it, because I just downloaded more country and Mason Jennings new album also.

Oh well. Maybe next time.

Hit ‘Em Up Style.

11 03 2010

Last night I stumbled on UncleCrappy’s post about a band he and Mrs. Crappy were going to see tonight. I liked the video he posted, so I asked for more info.

He sent said info and then I realized, oh yeah, you don’t have a job, moron, you can’t afford to do these things. So I told him I couldn’t make it.

Have I mentioned lately that I hate not having a job? No? Well, I hate not having a job. There.

Anyway, later in the evening I look at my phone (which is on silent because the beeps from texts/Tweets and the ringer drives me batty) and realize I’ve missed a call from Mrs. Crappy and some Tweets/texts about the show.  Turns out Mrs. Crappy can’t go…

Before I go on, Mrs. Crappy, I LOVE YOU. Thank you sooo much from the bottom of my hate-being-jobless heart. 🙂 I’m sorry you couldn’t go, but I’m now a Carolina Chocolate Drops fan!

So with mere minutes to spare, I text Uncle Crappy and tell him I’d join him. I’ve skipped out on at least one other show – maybe two? – with him, and I felt bad that he would be going alone. Plus, it was in Larryville, just down the hill from my apartment.

We ended up next to the bar upstairs, wedged way in the back, in a corner near a door used by employees to run food up to the balcony. For most of the show, to see the band I had to stand on my tippy toes!

The Thunderbird in Larryville is a strange place to see a band, and being a creeper hanging out in front of the PNC Bank while waiting for UncleCrappy was interesting. And it turns out even if I was flush with cash, I wouldn’t have been able to make the show as it sold out!

Turns out Brother Anthony was also joining us, and Oh My Goodness am I glad I went. And I am NOT surprised it sold out.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are freaking amazing!! I realized this about two songs in when I heard a kazoo and jug being used…. along with a banjo. Really? That’s so freaking fracking awesome. A Kazoo, people! Kazooooo!!!

My fave song was, and I’ll need UncleCrappy’s help for this, Snowden something or other? Right around when they mentioned the Hilltoppers or some other band? (I can’t remember and couldn’t find it online.)

But I did find this one, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and is different than the awesome song UncleCrappy posted.

Super Bowl

7 02 2010

Ok, so this is where I’m going to tell you something that will be bad. Prepare yo’ selves.

I don’t think I’ve watched an entire Super Bowl in a kagillion years. Every Steelers Super Bowl appearance as of late, I worked at My Living Room and left early so I could make it to work the next day.

I don’t remember the commercials from any year what-so-ever.

This year is different. I don’t have cable, so I am watching the game. And the ads.

And I don’t think it’s ever happened before, but my favorite song EVER made it into a Super Bowl ad… Boys & Girls, I give you Ravel’s Bolero and Coca-Cola. Two of my most fave things ever:

I swear God opened heaven and the sun shined (shone? I dunno) down on me while I watched that ad…

And then I returned to Twitter. And to two new Tweeps telling me about this:

I know I’m snowed in, and nearly killed someone with my shoulder earlier today, but that’s just in the past few days, so how in the name of all-things-under-the-sun, and my super love of Bolero did I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?! Blast!? Doing Bolero? My inner band-geek self’s dream? Who do I blame about this? Taking suggestions now on who to blame, BTW.

and these? My inner band dork is going to hurt someone….

Also, I’d like to point out that while @Chachisays was NOT behind this ad, I might have been the first to question his involvement. Everyone I know on Twitter suspects his anti-pants obsession is behind it.

As of this post, there have been no fewer than FOUR, yes 4, anti-pants ads on TV. I swear that the ad peeps are secretly watching @Chachisays and his tweets.

Something I have to see…

2 12 2009

Michael Buble is going on tour for his new album.To the ‘Burgh. And many other places.

And I really want to see this show. I have no idea what makes me want to see it more than any other show, but I HAVE TO SEE THIS ONE.

God help my sister, because he’s supposed to go somewhere near or in Ft. Lauderdale… No exact location yet… But if he’s going to be anywhere near here, and I can combine that with a trip to see and/or babysit My Little C? Well, welcome to Christmas for Aunt AA. That’s all I’ll ask to have for Christmas. Me seeing Michael Buble live and to drag Lili and the Nana to see him.

The last I heard, the Nana isn’t to keen on him. She gave me his last CD she bought. IMHO, she’s nuts. But I don’t think she gave him enough time.

And I have no clue what Lili thinks.

But I’ve got to see him. Especially after this new album. I love it. And I’m sure I can convince them. Yes. Indeed. Right?

If the Lili & the Nana plan fails, I’ve got to see him here, in Pittsburgh, with some friends at the Pete. But I only know of 2-3 people who might actually tolerate him. Who’s going to join me????


25 11 2009

To keep you through the next oh 24 hours or so where I land in Florida, see my Little C, forget about Pittsburgh, rugby, Yinz Team and my blog in entirety…

Bwahahaha. Lordy. Enjoy.

Old school.

10 11 2009

(This should have posted for 11/8. Apparently I didn’t correctly set the auto-publish since I wrote it the night before. Oops.)

So, I think we’ll all agree that I’m old, and that I might actually go a little more “old school” than the rest of you in terms of music. Before a game, I might listen to my guys from Shiver, but I also might pull some Ravel Bolero, or Eduoard Lalo. Or country. Or crazy Static X, Metallica, 80’s, dance, whatever…

I’m okay with it. Music IS My Muse. I wasn’t kidding when I started those posts. (They’ll return this month, starting with this one.)

I was given a copy of the new Michael Buble CD – Crazy Love.

And it’s what I listened to before the games on Saturday.

I give you Michael Buble’s “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” from his new CD “Crazy Love”

Hi, I’m a band dork that is a hard core rugby player. Do you have a problem with that?