Divertimento Spring Concert

(This is an old post from March 29, 2016, recovered via the Wayback Machine…)

Please join me and the other members of the Divertimento Orchestra for a wonderful Spring concert:

Donizetti! – Overture to Don Pasquale
An exciting, rip-roaring overture with some brutally fast playing.

Beethoven — Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 “Pastorale”
This is a deeply moving, powerful Symphony that paints beautiful images, from a shepherd tending a flock, to a ferocious thunderstorm. The more I play this piece, the more I discover in it.

Grieg — Symphonic Dances, Op. 64
Originally written for piano duet, and then orchestra, this is a cycle of four pieces founded on Norwegian folk dance melodies.

The concert dates are:

April 22 & 23, 2016 at 8 p.m.
L’Eglise St. Thomas d’Aquin
1244 Kilborn Avenue

Tickets prices are:

$20 for adults
$10 for Students and Seniors
$5 for kids under 13
Free for kids under 6

I hope to see you there.

Divertimento Fall Concert

Just letting you know that the Divertimento 2013 Fall Concert is in just over a week:

November 8 & 9, 2013, 8pm
L’Église St. Thomas d’Aquin
1244 Kilborn Avenue

This is the orchestra that I play cello for, and I certainly hope to see you there. The pieces we are playing this time are:

  • Cardy — Kissing the Joy as it Flies
  • Wolf-Ferrari — Suite Concertino, Op. 16
  • Tchaikovsky — Symphony No. 4 Op. 26

The Cardy is a nice modern little piece built around the cycle of fifths. The Wolf-Ferrari is a bassoon concerto, with Ben Glossop as the soloist; it’s also reduced orchestra, which means I’m not playing in it, but that is fine with me given that the Tchaikovsky is definitely taking all of my energy — seriously, there are parts in it that that my cello teacher claims she would have difficulty playing.

Anyway, as usual, I can get tickets for $2 off the price at the door, but unfortunately if you want me to get you some I need to know by Thursday (i.e. tomorrow). [Apologies for leaving it so late]. The price at the door is:

  • Adults — $20
  • Seniors/Students — $10
  • Children under 13 — $5
  • Children under 6 — free

If you’ve got a printer handy, and you’d like to help us by putting up a poster, here is a PDF…

divertimento fall

At last! Now, no one can hear me.

I stopped at Long & McQuade one day this week and noticed that they had a Yamaha Silent Cello sitting in a box. I have always wanted to try one of these instruments, so Friday I managed to coherce Ken and Steve — no, it wasn’t that difficult — to go on a road trip at lunch time to see if it had been put on display yet. It turned out that it hadn’t been, but the salesperson who worked in that section was happy to set it up while we waited. I was pleased to see that he knew stringed instruments well, going from removing the packing material to having it fully set up and tuned in about five minutes.

While waiting for it to be prep’ed, I looked through the cello bows they had in stock to see if there was something interesting to play. For grins, I ended up trying a fiberglass bow. Um… no. It seems that fiberglass bows have considerably more flex than pernambuco, and there’s something about the lack of grain / direction to the flex that felt very weird. Oh well.

Since the silent cello is (nearly) silent without amplification, the salesman asked if I wanted to try it with headphones, or go for an amp, and I (being the brave soul that I am) went the amp route. After a little initial awkwardness I found that it was quite natural to play. Ken helpfully snapped a candid shot with his iPhone, then used his psionic powers to annotate it with exactly what I was thinking…

McQ tries the SVC-50

Anyway, the summary is, money-or-no I decided to get it. Hopefully, somewhere between a year-end bonus and a tax refund I can clear up the $1500 damage. (Of course, any cellist will tell you that $1500 for an instrument is cheap, but that doesn’t make it any easier.)

The thing is, it really is exactly what I wanted. Even though the SVC-50 is the cheapest of the models Yamaha makes, and is missing some of the sensors that are in the more expensive ones, it still sounds quite good — better, in fact, than the sound I got from the piezo pickup on my “real” cello. It has a built-in headphone amp and a line in jack that I can use to connect my iPhone, so it will be the perfect tool for practicing at work[*], while listening to the pieces for the orchestra.

It’s also perfect for connecting up to music software, since you can hear the processed result without having to block out the original sound of the instrument. I’ll try to get something recorded soon, so you can hear what it sounds like.

It’s very cool!

Here’s one last image, from the official Yamaha site:

Yamaha SVC-50

[*] Since everyone I have said that to has replied “Aren’t you supposed to be working instead?”, I’m compelled to note that I mean at lunchtime.

Korg DS-10

This was one of the things on my Christmas list this year that I didn’t get[*], so, during boxing week, I wandered down to my local EBGames and picked one up. It’s a cart for the Nintendo DS that provides software emulations of a pair of Korg MS-10, semi-modular analog monosynths and an analog drum machine. It also provides a simple step-sequencer, and has both a traditional keyboard and a “kaos pad” input device. Here’s a couple of screen shots:

Korg DS-10
Korg DS-10

I haven’t had it long enough to do anything interesting with it, but if you want to see what it’s capable of, just search for “DS-10” on YouTube — last I looked there >1000 videos of people making music on them. Among other cool features is the ability to sync up to four DS’s running over wifi, so if anybody else picks up a copy, let me know.

Anyway, here’s my first attempt at making some sounds on it; it’s dreck, but it gives you some idea of what it sounds like:

2008 12 31

(wait for it, it starts slow.)

* Note: I did get a kick-ass, ice crushing blender, a GPS, a bottle of the 2000 Dun Bheagan Islay and numerous other cool gifts, so I’m not complaining at all.

Bill C-61. Ugh.

I saw Pookzilla’s post about C-61, and that reminded me that I hadn’t blogged about this yet. I too think that C-61 is an epic fail, and for the first time ever, I felt sufficiently strongly about it that I wrote my MP. Here’s what I wrote:


I am writing to express my strongest possible displeasure with the new bill C-61. This bill is a sledgehammer, where deftness is required. In a misguided attempt to prevent a small number of illegal activities, it will introduce new, significant constraints on the legitimate activities of all Canadians. As one small example, imagine a world where, as a parent, you could no longer load one of your children’s MP3 players with songs you had legitimately downloaded — that is a very real, likely outcome of this bill. The impact will be far reaching, and serious.

Please research the situation as thoroughly as possible, with particular reference to those who do *not* have a vested interest in profit over the rights of Canadians, and vote appropriately.

For context, I am a 48 year old member of your constituency who is:
– a software architect (see http://www.eclipse.org/eclipse/team-leaders.php)
– a published author (http://safari.awprofessional.com/0321256638)
– an electronic musician (http://mikew.ca/wp/?p=336)
– and a member of an orchestra (http://www.divertimento.ca)

Despite being an obvious potential beneficiary of some of the provisions of the current bill, I feel that it should be strongly apposed. This is the first (and may in be the only) time you hear from me. Please do net let this effort be wasted.

With complete sincerity,
Mike Wilson

The new album

First, I have to apologize to everyone for the lack of updates on the site for the last while. Since I got back from EclipseCon my life has just been too fracking busy. There is one bit of good news though…

Cover of the HBDI three album

Yup, that’s a new HBDI album. If you click on the above image, it will take you to a page with individual links for all of the songs, but you can download the whole album (as a ZIP, including a high-res image of the cover and a printable CD insert) by clicking on the link in the top left corner of that page.