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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000238.txt from 1996/01

From: Don Gross <DGross1226@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Playing Music as a Gift (fwd)
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 19:19:29 -0500

(Connie, please forgive me...)

Several years ago, in celebration of Connie Josias' 60th birthday, four of
his "friends" commissioned Ray Burkhart, a wonderful trumpet player and
composer in the Los Angeles area, to write a theme and variations on "Happy
Birthday" arranged for Eb, Bb, A, Eb alto, and Bb bass clarinets. The
evening of Connie's party, we set up the hall with 5 chairs and 5 stands and
opened the no-host bar. Connie arrived with his wife (who had secretly
brought his horns), duly noted the musical set-up, greeted his guests, and
went straight to the bar. Knowing that he would not be asked to play, he
proceeded to keep his elbow well bent. After about an hour, the four
"friends" sat down, got out their horns, tuned up, invited the composer to
conduct, and asked if there was an Eb clarinet player in the house. Finding
none, we asked Connie to sit in. Connie delicately declined, but when his
lovely wife appeared at the door with his horns, great cheers of
encouragement from the assembled audience were just too much for him.
Connie sat down, tried unsuccessfully several times to assemble the right
horn (he had four to choose from in the case), finally picked the Eb, got the
bell on the bottom and the mouthpiece on the top (with a reed!) and looked to
the conductor for the downbeat. I will not comment on his performance.
Suffice it to say it will go down in history as the definitive example of to
how to relax before playing. He remembered very little of the gig -- only
that he wanted another chance -- which he got when we reassembled the crew
with a sober Connie to perform the work at yet another celebration in honor
of Frank Sabin's (clarinet teacher and long-time friend of the group) 70th
birthday at Connie's home.

Cheers Connie!!

Don Gross (a former? friend)

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