Ted’s essays

this Saturday: Darby Ham Jam & String Fest

The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) members built, support and operate several radio repeaters in Ravalli County. These greatly improve two-way radio communication and expand the distance operators can reach to share information … communications that could be vital in case of emergency. The event this Saturday is an attempt to afford repeaters in the South Bitterroot – that is, to reach up the East and West forks. These areas often do not have emergency phone service OR radio communications. BARC can solve that. The Darby Community Hall will have tables rented out at $10 each. Plenty of tables are still available. Bring your stuff after 10:30 Saturday morning. For Sale items could be typical Ham Fest fare, crafts or […]

trombone hangers

The best advice serious professional trombone players give regarding storing your horns goes something like this: I have never seen a trombone damaged by falling from inside its case. In other words, the finest trombone stands on the market today are less safe than putting your horn away whenever you are not holding it. But, I play them a lot less if I have to open the case, put them together, then reverse the process when I’m done tootin’ around. Here is my compromise. They are there for ready access and reasonably secure. Yeah, a 9.2 earthquake would likely wreck them, but they would be the least of my worries and probably wrecked in their cases anyway. Besides, even […]

Ham Jam and String Fest

The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and its members operate several radio repeaters in the Bitterroot. These enable people with walkie-talkies, mobile and home radios to accomplish two-way communication over a wide area from Darby to Missoula and beyond. While the club members have the ability and willingness to expand the repeater network, they are expensive to set up, costing significantly over $1,000 each for reliable off-grid mountain-top units that can do the job. This Ham Jam and String Fest is an attempt to attract donations that might extend the network of repeaters through Conner, up the West Fork and up to Lost Trail Pass. If successful enough, this network could reach Salmon and from there much of Idaho. […]

Martini arrives

Missy came home yesterday evening with her “Baby Martin”, 3/4 Martin or, as I offered up, Martini. Missy likes the name. It is likely to stick. She LOVES the guitar. It draws her to picking, strumming, studying and playing. It is a pretty little thing and sounds nice. Even Scooter seems to be happy to be nearby when Missy is picking away. Of course Scooter always likes being near Missy any time she isn’t bustling about and banging things around. If Martini is what it takes to get Missy to keep still, Scooter is going to really like Martini. […]

Celtic Woman

Good friends introduced us to Celtic Woman. The blending of traditional Celtic, classical music, quite possibly the finest performers of their art in the world, with great production and videography make truly awesome videos. The vocals are so clean, clear and pure as to defy description by simple words. Máiréad brings that same mastery to the violin with a physical energy and movement that absolutely defies the sound. I am sure the combination is impossible, but she consistently proves me wrong. Missy and I have seen three of their videos twice … completely awed by all three. The first, titled simply “Celtic Woman” is not available at their website. The second, Celtic Woman A Christmas Celebration while timely for this […]

cheatin’ dog beginning bass player

I have spent three Thursdays in a row plunking on my new bass in the neighborhood bluegrass jam. I am playing rather well by feel and everybody is politely welcoming, but it rather obviously is going to take me a long, long time to achieve the simplest, basic level of comfortable competence. Particularly the way I was headed. Missy picked up a loaner autoharp, and is researching, reading and studying it with a fervor. Her song charts, chord charts and key charts caught my attention. Hey, I think I could use those… but in a really simplified form… cut down to the very tiny bit of knowledge a entry-level bluegrass bass player MUST play. Nevermind the optional. I gotta make […]

maiden voyage

I have owned the bass for 5 days now. Last night I took it to the Conner Bluegrass Jam – normally Thursdays, Thanksgiving delayed it to Friday, started it at 2:00pm instead of 7:00 and ran it a little longer than usual… okay, quite a bit longer. I wasn’t great. I had no experience. But I HAD FUN. I was welcome. I got a lot of notes right. I got a lot of notes on time. That is, in rhythm. I have been running my fingers on the edge of tender since Sunday. I’ll keep them like that until they toughen up. No point in setting myself back with blistering. I’m tolerable at getting one note per measure about right. […]

Conner Combo

I’ve often said that my favorite musical role would be as 3rd trombone in a big band. Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) gave me that opportunity while I lived in Nampa. It was lovely, but didn’t last nearly long enough. My attempt to resurrect the Grangeville big band resulted in a nice little jazz combo where I had to play lead trombone and occasionally assist the tuba player with bass lines. Back down south I formed one and one-half combos in Kuna/Boise, again with me taking turns playing lead trombone. Now happily planted in The Bitterroot for a year and a half I spent one summer as 3rd trombone in a community band, but it was elementary band music, not […]