My Full-Boehm Buffet

What!? You had a full-Boehm Buffet.?Yes indeed, I did.

Here is the story and perhaps an excellent argument for the maturing clarinetist to teach rather than make the leap of faith to become an orchestral player.
You see, after playing Principal in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, I continued playing, but decided that teaching in a University would be preferable than playing principal in what was a mediocre orchestra.

And so I did a Masters Degree and than I taught.The results are all through this blog. They added up to many years. My final job was in Concordia University in Montreal. I was hired to teach Baroque Music History, and the History Survey Course, the Orchestra and the Choir and Basic Skills, their first fundamental music course given in that curriculum.
Busy Schedule? Yes, almost insanely so, because my schedule included teaching on both campuses (should that be campi?) The shuttle from one to the other took 20 minutes and naturally, or un naturally, I was always late for the History Course.
As far as the Choir and Orchestra were concerned they were non-existent. But the conductor of the Communty Orchestra was going back to Tornoto and he asked me if I wanted it?
I needed to be asked only once.
I built that orchestra from a group of disenchanted amateur musicians, students, and deaf mutes into a group of amateur musicians, students and deaf mutes.

Took me 17 years, and more fun than I can remember having, ever.
I had never conducted before, only took one course in conducting and conducted a few times where I had been a guest in some festival or another.
What was the difference?

Easy.

We played only the best music I could find for the group, Beethoven, Mozart, and a couple of the Brahms, many Beethoven Overtures and Haydn as well. By the time I got through, Egmont was coming out of my ears.

But, in this particular job,I became Chair, I got to play whenever I desired and whatever I desired, got a grant in order to play four concerts a year,all of which were proadcast on Radio Canada, and despite the ridiculous course load, I began to have a truly wonderful time.
Of course, as Chair of the Department, I was treated with respect by every music dealer in Montreal.
So, that brings me back to my Full Boehm Buffet.

I used to go to Arduini Music on Bleury St. in Montreal to get reeds and all kinds of other things, for myself, and and for the department. Naturally, whenever they had a new horn or one that they couldn’t get rid of, they asked me if I wanted to try it. I always said yes, and it was a geeat way to try everything there was to be played.
That is where the Full Boehm came in. Norman Arduini asked me if I wanted to take it and try it. My answer was always yes and home it went with me.
Brand new in the case, from perhaps the end of the 50s. early 60’s or so.
It played beautifully, except for the articulated g#. I brought it back, telling Roland that the thing didn’t play the g# articulation very well.
He took it back there to where the magic happens and brought it back out to me in maybe a minute and a half. “Try it now”. he said.
Oh my! it was spectacular! What a beautiful horn. I think I played it on one chamber concert and brought it back. Why? Because they had another one to try, a Leblanc L27, another wonderful horn , which I should have kept.
That is the story of my full-boehm Buffet, and a reason it is so much better to teach in University than to play in an orchestra in th boonies.. And perhaps good for a few laughts, or a smile, perhaps.
Keep practicing.
Best always, Sherman

All of the above is or was true. Montreal is still a great city, but Arduinis is gone, and so am I , and the Milwaukee symphony after 40 years is an acceptable orchestra.

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One Response to My Full-Boehm Buffet

  1. dhinton says:

    That horn must be almost identical to mine, if it was a Buffet — I bought mine in 1976 here in Vancouver. It’s been a super horn and I’ve played it professionally (and now amateurly!) ever since. The pitch isn’t perfect, particulalry in the high clarion, but I’m used to it and would never willingly go back to a standard!

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