A Life of Music and Engineering

Hello, Sherman (if I can be so informal),

 

(After writing to you, more memories surged forth. As I held my Buffet, I remembered that I had taken it to Hans Moenig to tune the instrument. For some reason, he was reluctant to deal with the Academy model, so he had Kasimir, one of his workers, do the job. Kasimir did not play very well, but due to age deference, I sat second chair to him in the Stenton Hills Symphony Orchestra. He had an A clarinet (R13?) that was one of the most magnificent sounding instruments I had ever heard.)

Mr. Friedland,

I was doing a bit of reminiscing about my clarinet experiences of long ago…long, long ago, and looking at clarinet sites on the ‘net when I came upon your site. For some reason, your site resonated with me and I took my Buffet Academy Model down from the shelf where it had sat for many years. I placed a #4 reed on the mouthpiece and could hardly get a sound. I tried an old 3 1/2 and it still was too hard. I ultimately settled on a 2 1/2 and tried to play. Within 10 minutes, I had the dreaded vibrato due to the muscle fatigue in my jaw. It was almost funny if it wasn’t so embarrassing. Lots of skill and fine motor skill can be lost in 25 years of not playing! Still, it was very pleasant to hold the clarinet in my hands again. And, it was all triggered by reading articles on your site.

I am a professor of environmental engineering at an engineering university in Colorado, having given up on becoming a professional clarinetist back in about 1967 or so (when I was drafted). Still, I played through the 70s with amateur groups like the Stenton Hills Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Club of Philadelphia as an avocation. In the 80s, in Virginia, I played clarinet and sax in amateur big (swing) bands. Believe it or not, when I came to Colorado in late 1985, I switched to playing Bluegrass banjo! Thus, my clarinet began its long-term residence on its designated shelf space until I picked it up again in the late 80s to start my son out on the instrument. His interest didn’t last long as his life focus was on ice hockey, not classical music. Then, my Buffet sat again, forlorn, on the shelf for so many years.

Perhaps my studies with Guido Mecoli, Joseph Gigliotti and a few lessons with his son Anthony did not go for naught. My performing desires have faded, but my love for classical music and clarinet that they instilled in me have not. Maybe even at the age of 61 I might even start playing again. I still have my Klose and other books I learned from back then. Maybe the local Jefferson County (Colorado) Symphony Orchestra will have a clarinet position open after I have started to practice regularly.

Thank you for the educational and inspirational site.

Best Regards,
R C

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