What Did You Do This Summer?

August 27, 2009 at 02:51 PM ·

I've been away for a while, and basically, I wanted to catch up with the regulars here and see who's been posting lately and what they've been up to.  Plus, I really want to know how everyone's summers went, and who actually practiced and who took a break.

So, how was your summer?

Replies (46)

August 27, 2009 at 04:38 PM ·

My summer was lovely, how was yours?  (Smile)

I taught, took 3 various weeks off, visited Aged Ps in Louisville, ate Graeter's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream in Louisville, and read a whole pile of books, the highlight being Heiles' America's Concertmasters. 

I (re)cycled through Gavinies, Bach and Pag per usual, learned Sarasate's Scherzo and Tarantula, which I'd never worked on, and Vivaldi's Summer, which I've played in orchestras a zillion times, but never learned the solo part.  Fun stuff!

August 27, 2009 at 04:49 PM ·

Wrong question, Emily!

It should be how "is", not was. Our summer holidays in southern Germany are always very late in the year, I still have 2 1/2 weeks without my dear students...

I share my time between bicycle touring and working on the Brahms d-minor sonata op. 108 (that is a dream come true for me, I wished to learn it since many years).

And Mendelssohn e-minor op. 44 and Haydn Bb major op. 76 for our quartet recital in October.

And I risked 340 € on eBay and got a fine 80 ys old french violin worth 2500 €.

Thats the way I spend my summer.


August 27, 2009 at 06:27 PM ·

My Summer was great. I got married, had a great honeymoon in the Bahamas and Orlando, and I found lots of time to practice. Too bad school is back so soon ;(



August 27, 2009 at 08:25 PM ·

Well, the leaves are turning gold at my house, so I maintain my right to ask the question in past tense.  Those who live in Australia and the like can just laugh while they get ready to shop for their new swimsuit.

I did not buy a new swimsuit this summer.

August 27, 2009 at 06:38 PM ·

Glad you had such a great summer, Marty!

August 27, 2009 at 08:03 PM ·



My summer has been very busy, which is how I like it:  teaching at a Suzuki Institute, some pops concerts on the beach, some wedding gigs, launching a new music accessory business, a music educator's conference, coaching an intergenerational chamber music workshop, and private lessons taught  with a more relaxed feel. Thanks to their being able to book lessons online now, more of my students got in some summer lessons than ever before. 

While just this afternoon I started working on the fall schedule, I still plan to enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer!  Jersey girls know summer doesn't end until after Labor Day!

Ruth Brons

August 27, 2009 at 08:46 PM ·

Worked, practiced, and went to NEW ORLEANS! It was great because I went to Cafe du Monde 4 times!

August 27, 2009 at 08:55 PM ·

I practiced...learned some Ysaye, some Saint-Saens....and have found and learned some music by Benjamin Godard.


I also sent lots of long pleading financial aid mailings which eventually got me what I needed/wanted, albeit it at the 11th hour. 

August 27, 2009 at 11:21 PM ·

Emily, is it snowing yet?!

I had a great summer, met up with some friends, heard the most fantastic, intense and meaningful Mahler and Elgar you could wish for and generally just enjoyed being in my absolute favourite city again.  The hardest part was coming home...  <sigh>

August 27, 2009 at 11:33 PM ·

First off, a big congradulations to Marty.

     With the students mostly gone during the Summer work got boring in my section which made helping other custodians in my zone a much look forwards to joy!  And I played the violin for one of three employee bar-b-ques which they gave me a really nice thank you card.  Had friends from both California & Washington (the State) visit.  They have never been to Wyoming before and got to see Moose, Elk, & Antelope.  And the Milky Way!  They had never seen so many stars in their lives!

     The 5th of August I fell off the Loading Dock at work and spent 3 days on crutches (I had a flashback thinking I was at a Heavy Metal concert and was diving into a Mosh pit! ;))!  Messed up my right big toe and it's bunnion, bruised the right heel bone, and my right knee.  Still going to physical therapy.

     I'm getting prepared for hunting season.  Will be putting up flyers in the Music Bldg. looking for a Music Major who would like to give me violin lessons and get back to the routine.

And to our Friends in the Southern Hemesphere, Have a Great Summer and let us know how it was!

R. Faina

August 28, 2009 at 03:59 AM ·

good...a successful participant in the Cash for Clunkers program; first NEW vehicle in 15 years...2009 Ford Focus...$7,136.00 INCREDIBLE

bad...major plumbing disaster...water downstairs and now battling the residual mold; get out the Clorox bottle

 beautiful...lots of deer munching away on vegitation in my yard; they do not even request salad dressing

good SAM-aritan...rushed to the aid of someone with a broken tail gut on her violin...did not even charge her one thin dime

the usual...Bach & coffee every morning

nopity.gif No Pity image by TGrosjean

August 28, 2009 at 02:35 AM ·

 Attended daughter's college graduation

Married off same daughter the next day; played Sunrise and Sunset at her wedding reception 

Got oldest son situated in his first professional job as a school teacher

Practiced occasionally

And so on


August 28, 2009 at 03:25 AM ·

Taught at a music camp for most of July.  Practiced violin and viola.  Witnessed the birth of my daughter, Evangeline Grace Gardner.  Truly miraculous.  She is my Opus 3.

August 28, 2009 at 03:56 AM ·

ATTN: Thomas Gardner 

Congratulations on Opus #3

August 28, 2009 at 04:12 AM ·

Congraduations, Thomas!

August 28, 2009 at 03:46 PM ·

Heartiest congrats, Tom, Corwin, and Marty! 

Emily, I spent part of my summer in your home -- again -- and didn't get to meet you because you were away in the wild....  again! Will you ever stay on the Kenai for the summer so we can meet you?

Heading up to the trip to Alaska, I spent a little time in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, visiting my wife while she was coaching at a chamber music program for adult amateurs called the Vermont Music and Art Center. If you want to get away and play some chamber music -- all instruments are welcome! -- you should look into it. What a beautiful area of the country... almost (but not quite) as pretty as Homer, Alaska!


August 28, 2009 at 06:15 PM ·

I was playing hooky from the summer music festival again, Michael!  I heard so many wonderful things about you and your quartet, and I was told how awesome Maria Allison was.  I really wish I could have been there, but I couldn't keep my feet still long enough to sit inside all those hours.  We could still meet up for coffee next time, and I'm all about taking you guys hiking or fishing, if you get a chance.

Maybe you could come up for a winter music festival...  :)

August 28, 2009 at 06:19 PM ·

Congratulations on your new baby Thomas!

Congratulations on your daughter's graduation and marriage, Corwin!

August 29, 2009 at 10:39 AM ·

It's good to hear everyone having such a great summer.

This year I attended the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin.  I'm trying to learn the baroque fiddle but it's harder than it looks.  I studied with an amazing violinist named Marc Destrube, I can't say enough about him.

The rest of the summer I spent in Greece.  I spent a month on the beach not playing the violin. 

August 29, 2009 at 12:54 PM ·

Great thread, Emily!

My family and I (wife Joyce (soprano), two daughters Clara (piano) and Fleur (cello)) went to Dartington, UK, for the International Summer School of Music.

During the days we attended classes, rehearsals, and chamber music sessions coached by Evelyn Tubb, Leigh O'Hara, Ian Comboy, the members of Stile Antico, a small choir consisting of 12 singers, members of the Carducci String Quartet, and renowned cellist Lowri Blake. The violin class had been canceled due to lack of interest (??). I kept complaining about that, and finally got a private lesson from Matthew Denton, the Carducci's first violinist. A great musician and a most generous person.

In the evenings the coaches and teachers all gave concerts.

It was all most enjoyable and instructive. If we can, we'll go again next year.

August 29, 2009 at 01:56 PM ·

Bart & Marina-

Wow! You all had a nice summer!  marina, posting any pictures?  Do you have family in Greece?  Bart- What a privlege to have the lessons with a great teacher!!!!!

August 29, 2009 at 02:17 PM ·


It was a privilege. I'm well aware of it.


August 29, 2009 at 02:18 PM ·

I went to Europe, first to Germany to visit my husband's family, and then on a cruise on the Mediterranean.  Then I spent most of August catching up at work from having been off for 3 weeks, breaking in a new au pair, and going kayaking and geocaching with my husband and kids.  Now I am in Seattle for my uncle's memorial service visiting my side of the family, and when I get back my kids will start 1st and 5th grade and I have to help get them ready for that. 

I played in musical "soirees" with two different string quartet groups of people I know from orchestra, and arranged the unaccompanied Largo of the Vivaldi double cello concerto for two violas.  Tried it with my teacher and a violist friend, and think it sounds good enough to play in church in October.

Then, orchestra starts in a week and a half, and I got copies of the music for the Schubert Rosamunde Overture and the Schumann 3rd symphony and worked on Schumann bowings on the plane ride yesterday.  That's been an interesting thought experiment--working on bowings listening to a recording but without having the violin there.  I changed my mind completely several times about bowings for the Rosamunde after I wrote down some bowings and then played it through later . . . I was thinking of blogging about that.

I'm too busy.  School starting may be a sign that things are slowing down!

August 30, 2009 at 02:31 AM ·

June:  Had a graduation Open House for my youngest daughter for about 150, with my entire  family staying--16 of us at the house.   Taught a week of Musical Theater Camp for Elem. kids while my sons family stayed the week so that my two granddaughters could attend camp. Had a week-long visit from my sister is CA. which had me driving all over the state.  Did a week-long graduate workshop on Conducting at WMU (which was fabulous).  Had a week long visit from my father and his new wife from Ca.

July:  Relaxed and spring cleaned for two of the 4 weeks.  Taught another week of Theater Camp, attended a show that my daughter was playing.  Began rehearsals for Cosi. Helped my daughter begin a Triple-Irish Chain quilt.

August: Played 1st violin in Cosi fan Tutte, with only my daughter for company, which was significantly stressful. Broke my violin. Went for a week with all my kids at a cabin, where the highlight was the 4-hr. tube ride down the Au Sable river. We were, once again, packed in like sardines.  10 adults, 7 kids including one baby, and 3 large dogs in a small cabin.  It was great.  Played 3 weddings and a reception on Mackinac Island.  Got my daughter ready to head off to college, including all things monetary, medical and practical.  Spent several agonizing days trying to mesh my fall teaching schedule.  Spent a week at a chamber music camp...Heaven!  Am now visiting all 3 married kids while preparing to move youngest chick into her dorm.

We haven't had much summer here, but we've tried to take advantage  of it as we can.  I'm not ready for it to be over, and really not ready for my youngest to leave the nest, but feeling ready for normalcy and structure to re-enter my days.  Orchestra begins next week, and our teaching semester begins on the 14th. 



August 30, 2009 at 07:19 AM ·


hearty congrats on all the marriages and babies.

I bicycled all over Japan ,  guerilla camping and surviving on grass and tree bark when the going got tough.  Met hundreds of interesting people who wanted to chat with looney on bicycle.  Measured the quality of my life only in terms of getting up mountains in fairly high gears without getting out of breath.  Lost 20+ kilos. People ask me about my diet and I explain that for the last two months I have been eating roughly three times the calories I normally eat.  It causes a lot of confusion....My face and lower legs are almost black while the rest of me remains lily white.  This is a sort of reverse Michael Jackson effect.

Back to the real world.




August 30, 2009 at 07:56 AM ·

Dottie, how the heck did you break your violin?  Is it better now?

Buri, your summer most matches mine, only I am too cheap to own a bike.  Question: are you back on your violin, and if so, does everything you play remind you of your bike rides?

August 30, 2009 at 10:23 AM ·


one makes my ears hurt,  the other my botty?

Actually it`s an interesting question.  When I took up biking it was something of a revelation.  I immediately felt that in restricting myself to a car I had fallen into a kind of trap that had caused me to miss out on so many things:  when I ride along the Nagara river as the sun rises I can hear the music of many different birds ;  I can wish a cheery good morning to people and surprise them into a smile;  I can share a sense of community with others on bikes or foot;  learn to take the bad days with the good so that when things are going well it`s a rush and when this last mountain seems too much I know the rush will come later when I stand at the top knowing that it was just my refusal to give up that got me there; confront fear and emerge knowing that nothing out there is frightening, it`s all inside.  And best of all though I can`t explain it,  experience that weird freedom of oneness with the world that comes from not cutting myself off from nature by stepping into a house every night and locking the door.  This last is one of the most profound things I have felt over the last few years-  we hide within walls which define `us` and `ours` and somehow learn to be defensive against `other.` This effect,  I believe spreads outward like a ripples in a lake to help fuel much of the worlds ills and violence.

That`s all pretty much a metaphor for the process of playing the violin....



August 30, 2009 at 12:27 PM ·

My summer was a crush all the way through. I exhibited at the New Directions Cello Festival early in June, and the next week I was in State College (PA) as a presenter at the International Society of Bassists Convention. It is a totally amazing experience to be in the same building with 800 or more bass players!

I returned from that just in time to start my second annual Summer String Orchestra program. This 16-piece group is a little different because it plays entirely on instruments of the New Violin Family, most of which I made myself. It requires months of preparation because the additional voices require all the pieces to be arranged. Awesome sound! We had a great nine weeks, gave two benefit concerts at the end, and raised some money for worthy causes, all food banks and community pantries this year.

The day before the final concert, I received word that my violin acoustics teacher, Carleen Hutchins, passed away at the age of 98 (she was the one who developed the original New Family). If you use a violin made in the last 20 or 30 years, I can almost guarantee that at least a bit of her research is in it somewhere. In a few days I will be heading to her memorial service in New Hampshire. While there I'll probably meet with colleagues to decide where the New Family will go in the future.

I'm now preparing for next year's summer orchestra, finding a conductor and selecting repertoire. Summer goes on all year for me, it seems.

August 30, 2009 at 01:04 PM ·



Sorry to hear about your lost.  I had similar this Summer.

I wish I was at the concert!  It sounds exciting!

Buri- What make of bicycle do you ride?  Other than my Mongoose I like Trek Bikes.

August 30, 2009 at 01:42 PM ·

Emily, I broke it by dropping on a cement floor just moments before beginning the opera.  It is not better now, I've made the decision not to repair it.  This is a subject of a blog which I wrote which got lost in cyberspace.  One day I'm going to re-write it and post.


August 30, 2009 at 02:21 PM ·

 I went to the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.  Two months of heaven.  Every single player there of any instrument was musically leagues beyond me, and the teachers were amazing,  The chamber music, the orchestra, the solo opportunities, and everything else really taught me so much.

Now I am home, enjoying my last weeks of freedom before school starts, and I am using it to practice.

August 30, 2009 at 03:13 PM ·

 Having endured an excruciatingly hot summer (67 days of 100 degrees F or higher, which is 50 more than our norm), I had my first vacation in 3 1/2 years.  I went to Laramie, Wyoming for five days.  Mornings in the 30's, too chilly for me.  Played a gig my first full day there, went to the mountains, very little practicing beyond the one gig rehearsal.  Nice to get away, have to do it more often.

August 30, 2009 at 05:43 PM ·

Thanks for the thread Emily - it's fun to read what everyone has been up to.  I vacationed on Captiva Island and visited family in June.  My summer highlight was Princeton Play Week Virginia in July.  It was beyond my expectations and I feel I really grew musically.  Being immersed in chamber music for a week, experiencing terrific weather on the lovely campus of Washington & Lee Univ., meeting lots of new friends and fabulous coaching made it a wonderful week.  I highly recommend it and plan to return.  The rest of my summer was spent riding my bike, walking and reading fun stuff.

August 30, 2009 at 08:29 PM ·

I went on one of the best  vacations ever in Whistler, BC, which included a ziplining, "...  down  2200ft awe inspiring monster line that drops over 20 stories" And ....while I was home I wrote about 8 pieces of original violin solo music I want to publish in about  2 months. 

August 30, 2009 at 11:08 PM ·

Summer is not over yet here in Victoria, British Columbia. More BE than DO for me this summer: at work, at music camp, in my garden, in my practice room, and with my sewing machine.

Buri's point on hiding behind walls reminds me my recent experience of leaving the backyard gate open over night and discovered the next morning our electronic lawn mower "walked" away.  Well, I've been forever trying to shrink our lawn but we need some for our little dog and cats to play on. So, as a result, we've got an old fashioned manual mower and we are happy about the change. I think it's good to have walls, but it's better to treat it as a mere gesture.


September 1, 2009 at 01:00 AM ·

I started taking violin lessons. :-)


September 1, 2009 at 10:22 AM ·

Philanthi- Rock On!

September 1, 2009 at 02:59 PM ·


I intend to...Just wait till this time next year!! (;-)))

September 15, 2009 at 02:18 AM ·

I went to an awesome fiddle camp with lots of people I know and some new people.  We had some awesome instructors (Gordon Stobbe and Calvin Vollrath and some other pretty good ones) and learned great tunes!  I was also in England and I went and saw a concert of Vivaldiès 4 seasons, played on Baroque Instruments.  We cornered the cellist afterwards and I got to play her cello.  Its a 1714 cello made in London.  I LOVED it

Also got rid of my terrible old strings and got new, awesome ones!  That is always good!



September 22, 2009 at 03:14 AM ·

Hmm.  Music-wise, it was okay.  Otherwise, I guess you could say I had the brought-it-upon-myself blues-- I quit my job, dumped my girl...if only I had a dog to shoot, it would be complete. :)  Been a pretty nice summer, actually.  Work went well and I started a new project cataloging fossil species, which I'm sure no one here is interested in-- that's why I've not been around lately. :D

September 22, 2009 at 04:24 AM ·

Still working on my summer; not ready to give it up yet.

Most of my summer has been trying to find time go get outdoors with the puppies and grandson. Unfortunately, work seems to try and get in the way all the time.

My violin playing started dropping off, but I never gave up hope, even when I would practice once a week or less; I'm now practicing every day (almost!).

Spent any time I could get away from town in the mountains, where I get up with the sun, and go to bed with the sun. Getting up means getting kinda dressed, and taking a 1/2 mile hike in slippers with a cup of coffee and two dogs, so they can splash in the creek. By the time I get back, the grandson is up, so I have to get him breakfast, then repeat the walk. By then, my wife is almost up...Not much better than that for a morning!!!!!
Here's where we go to get away.
If you look at the images, you can see the grandson with his first fish.

September 22, 2009 at 05:03 AM ·

I took the longest break I've done since I started on the violin. I had about 6-7 weeks without even touching the instrument (spent my time fishing, reading, taking photos...) I thought it sounded awful when I picked it up in the beginning of august, but since then I've played and practiced for hours every day, and I'm loving it more than ever. I've never had this much fun playing or practicing, now I really enjoy practicing and have set up new goals for my playing. I think the summer break was a much needed one, I feel more enthusiastic about playing the violin than I've ever done before!

September 22, 2009 at 07:35 AM ·

So good to hear that, Pontus! 

Roland, thanks for sharing that link.  Your neck of the woods is so beautiful.  (Nice fish!)

And Rob, don't make assumptions about your audience.  From 1st through 3rd grade, I wanted to be a paleontologist.  More specifically, I wanted to dig up fossils, assemble them, and use collected data to reconstruct them into lifelike sculptures, maybe complete a series of dioramas for a museum.  Unfortunately, by third grade, I was still limited to constructing triceratops out of pipe cleaners.  With such primative resources, my hopes faded.

September 22, 2009 at 08:58 AM ·

 now if you`d had Steinbeck`s knife....

September 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM ·

Buri- LOL Hahahahaha!

Yesterday, we cellebrated the last day of Summer with lot's of Snow!!!!!!  Wonderful Wyoming!  Colorado too!

September 22, 2009 at 12:28 PM ·

Took a physics course ahead of time.  (electric mmmmmm : ) and to forget it, I went one week to the sea near Boston Massachusets lol.  I still shiver from the iced water!  People screamed just to put a toe in the water!!!  But the weather was gorgeous and the landscapes so beautiful.  I just warn all violinists to not swim in the Bostonian see just before a performance...   iced hands guarenty or your money back  ; )     

Also practiced like crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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