Tomorrow night, Friday April 3, NYGASP will be doing "Mikado" at the Community Theatre at Mayo Center for Performing Arts, Morristown, NJ. This will be my last NYGASP Ko-Ko for, well, indefinitely. I am listening for your involuntary "Thank God!"
In other urgent news, last night I went to the New York debut of Edinburgh's REALLY TERRIBLE ORCHESTRA. It was pretty good. I went with PETER HIRSCH. As we were walking up 43rd to Town Hall we heard BAGPIPES, which never ever sound any good however well they're played. I guess these were played OK but it still sounded like the worst possible oboe-playing combined with screaming cats. It was from kilted guys standing outside Town Hall. Because the RTO is from Edinburgh.
It was a good-sized audience, with some empty sections. Quite a few people followed them over from Scotland. The orchestra was 45 - 50 white people, all dressed nicely and sometimes a bit eccentrically, but not at all uniformly. The principal cellist was a bald woman. The flutes were a beaky-faced middle-aged woman, a girl with fabulous knockers, and an old bald coot with wild bushy eyebrows. An ancient crone was one of the percussionists. There were two euphoniums, one played by a woman who was either blind, deaf, or probably dyslexic. She had a girl sitting beside her the entire time conducting her, counting out loud, and pointing at her music. Everyone in the orchestra was a character. They very obviously enjoyed themselves all the way through. It's the thing I love most about community theater productions. Their performance stinks but you never get tired of watching the individuals.
The music they chose was frequently kind of a drag. They did stuff that was SUPPOSED to be funny. They had a real Scottish Major-General sing a not particularly ingenious rewritten Major-General song, there was a pointless Sound of Music singalong, a Scottish thing with solo bagpipes, some original pieces composed for the RTO - a brief African-ish tone poem and an arrangement of "Over the Rainbow" for musical saw. Along the more entertaining lines for which I had hoped they also gave a miserable performance of "Pizzicato Polka" in which no one could get their attacks together, a couple of noisy marches, and the last 4 minutes of 1812 Overture, because the first 10 are much too difficult. We were given paper bags to inflate and explode for the canon cues.
There was also a lot of talk, mostly pretty amusing, from the conductor and the famous and prolific author Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, 44 Scotland Street, Isabel Dalhousie), who is a founding member and first euphoniumist (I've got him on the list).
You should have seen the orchestra's faces when we gave them a standing ovation! They were thrilled to death.