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Old 12-30-2008, 06:24 AM   #166
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Awesome post! The new getup is SWEET man! Lookin' good for sure. But come on, you're making me way too jealous with such a cool setup now.
Did you ever picture all this happening or what??

Oh, and here's what my favorite set of twisties is looking like in Vermont. Took the dog for a cross country ski the other day through Smugglers' Notch, which is about two miles from my house. At least I can still get out and enjoy the turns!




Same set of road in October...

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Old 12-30-2008, 12:21 PM   #167
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Best ride report ever!

I am thoroughly enjoying your ride report - especially the audition stories. Seems little changes from student years and auditioning for regional/state orchestra/band to professional opportunities. I remember many a blind audition, standing behind a screen wondering if I could captivate the judges with my sound instead of my eyes and smile.

After 4 years of majoring & minoring in music (major = Voice, minor = Clarinet), I opted for the safer route of more regular paychecks in the corporate world. Your story is a fascinating look into the world many of my more adventurous college buddies took. Thanks for sharing.

Oh -and the motorcycle stuff is pretty cool too. LOL
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:52 PM   #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildabeast
Awesome post! The new getup is SWEET man! Lookin' good for sure. But come on, you're making me way too jealous with such a cool setup now.
Did you ever picture all this happening or what??

Oh, and here's what my favorite set of twisties is looking like in Vermont. Took the dog for a cross country ski the other day through Smugglers' Notch, which is about two miles from my house. At least I can still get out and enjoy the turns!
Dude, don't make it sound like you're not having any fun up there! That dog is awesome. Wow, skiing seems like such a foreign concept... I remember seeing some snow in Colorado in September! Thanks for the pics and especially the vid, I like the way you held the camera down low. But I have to ask, how'd you get back to your house after all that down???
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Old 12-30-2008, 04:56 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by InsuredDisaster
Certainly words to live by. I have a question for you, how would the viola have fared do you think if you had been wearing it? (I'm thinking you weren't for this crash.)
Indeed, I was not wearing the viola on my bike for the crash, but I'm sure it would've been fine. Really the only thing that could happen is that the bridge and sound post might get knocked over, but that's not a big deal. If the instrument was damaged beyond that I imagine I'd have bigger problems (like damage to me!).

Thanks for reading!
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:28 PM   #170
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Thumb Whew - I'm enjoying this, and halfway through...

...been out of State lately, so I just found this great thread. I only managed to read 6 out of the 12 current pages so far. But the dogs need to go out (they've been asking a while), and are getting a little gassy, so I better go so they can .

Thanks for the reports - I too, am a classical music fan - really a fan of all kinds of music, except R & B and / or Rap stuff, if anyone here calls that music. I guess I'm too square for that. I've played the violin, and piano for many years, but let other 'stuff get in the way of continuing. My loss - your gain

Keep the reports coming - they are apparently being read across the Country! And as a Street biker, turned Dual Sporter - I enjoy reading about your transition and can relate....I still like both, however.
Thanks!

p.s. I was little shocked you weren't a female. The "Viola-" in "Viola-tor" had me fooled, as first :^)
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:43 AM   #171
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I can't believe I just found this RR.

Those pegs! Pure lust!

That case! Drool worthy!

Man, it's been what, 10 years since I last played my violin on a daily basis. Had an orchestra teacher in high school that absolutely destroyed my love of playing music. However, those youth symphony pics took me waaaaayy back! There's just something about the camaraderie of playing in a group, ya know? Even if playing in symphony did mean having to sit near viola players.

I might be PM'ing you soon to interrogate you about your CF bow.

Thank you so much for sharing your story and your pics!
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:37 AM   #172
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Happy new year, YFFs! Thanks too for all the great feedback on my ride report! I'm having fun writing it, and those of you who've done one know how much time it takes so it's good to know that people are enjoying it. Here’s another big holiday installment to help with your New Year’s Day hangovers:

We all know that the gift of giving is one of the greatest rewards of the holidays, and even with the busy schedule of a working musician it’s important to “give back.” The principal violist of the San Antonio Symphony, Allyson, has for years organized groups of volunteer musicians to gather around town to play Christmas carol arrangements for people young and old that maybe aren’t having the greatest holiday season. We’ve performed for hospitalized veterans, ICU patients (the children’s wing is tough), the sick and elderly, but my favorite Christmas performances are in correctional facilities, prisons and juvenile detention centers.

This country has a “lock ‘em up” mentality which probably only breeds more violence, so the term “correctional” seems kind of misleading... It may seem strange that we would give the gift of music to the convicted criminal element of society, but the way I see it we’re taking something beautiful to some of the ugliest places I can think of, and doing that can only make the world a better place, at least in some small way. Who’s read or seen “Les Miserables?” It’s fictional of course, but the story is set in motion by an act of kindness that compels the main character (a hardened convict) to change his life and become a respectable leader in society. Who knows if or when that could happen in real life?

The opportunity is even greater for children offenders. The first stop is the Krier Juvenile Correctional Center.



It may be for children, but the metal detector, razor wire, and surveillance cameras are very real...





Ironically, apart from these major differences much of the facility is indistinguishable from many public schools... Kinda makes you think, eh? They do get an education here, so I guess that’s something.

We set up in the gymnasium and eventually the inmates (not sure if that’s the correct term for them... ) are marched in single file with their hands visible behind their backs under close supervision from the guards (dunno if “guards” is right either! Shoot.). Boys and girls are seated in different areas, and all are wearing tucked-in blue polo shirts and khakis.
We bring whoever can come that day, so it ranges from a small ensemble like a string quintet up to a string orchestra, and sometimes other instruments show up too.

Remember this smile from under a helmet? She was in this ride report a while back when I took her on her first motorcycle ride. Note the festive cello scroll decorations:



Setting up:





We play for at least 45 minutes and take a lot of requests (Christmas carols only, of course). Allyson has some great arrangements that are clever and challenging but still sight-readable, so it’s always a good time. We take questions periodically and naturally I talk about the Black Death, which all the boys think is pretty cool. “Stronger than steel, and blacker than the night!” Naturally many of the listeners are busy looking tough, cool, or bored, but there is a good percentage of boys and girls that are into the music and enthusiastic about making requests and asking questions.

When it’s over the students (maybe that’s the term, yeah! It sounds better) are led out single file and I let them drag a knuckle over the back of the viola to feel it as they pass, something I definitely wouldn’t do with my old Italian!

For some reason I felt a little guilty while taking this picture. Many of the girls are pregnant (but that’s not the reason I feel guilty, you sick FFs! Is that what you really think of me? ):

[Image deleted to protect the innocent and/or guilty]

After I snapped it the girls started shouting “Take my picture, take my picture!” It was touching in a way, many of them must be starved for healthy attention, I can only imagine all the difficulties the kids in this room have been through... Not that all are innocent angels, mind you! They’re in here for some reason. Not my best photo work, but you get the idea!

[Image deleted to protect the innocent and/or guilty]

Exiting:



I couldn’t help but chuckle because on the grounds is an obstacle course which includes a climbing wall. A climbing wall. In a prison. I wonder if they teach them to build ladders in wood shop.



The next stop is the county detention center.



On the way there I hit a big number on the odometer! And all this since July 24, what a ride! It looks like I'm out of gas again too...



Same show with slightly different personnel, and I think these kids are worse criminals. We were led in through a series of doors that can only be opened one at a time and are controlled electronically and by key. I would call these minors real inmates with real guards... They have uniforms that look like navy blue scrubs and all wear orange rubber sandals. Again, girls and boys separated, and these girls were not too happy about having their picture taken.

[Image deleted to protect the innocent and/or guilty]

Ohhhhhhh, I sure am hungry! I don’t venture to the south side often, and on my way out I noticed this street sign:



Bill Miller’s BBQ is a San Antonio institution with restaurants every few blocks it seems. I found myself here at the original Bill Miller site (the old building is gone, but the location is the same), so how could I not go in for a bite???



I also noticed a big sign for a gun store in the neighborhood. Somewhere here on ADVrider I read a tip for a great way to secure a helmet which is to get a cable gun lock and run it around the chin bar and a frame member of the bike, so I stopped in to see about getting one for my new Arai. Every vehicle in the parking lot was a large dirty pickup truck and all the patrons were wearing woodland camo, so I knew I was in the right place! I marched in with my orange space suit and jet pack on but was careful to remove my helmet and keep my hands visible as not to alarm anyone...

“What’s in the case?” One of the nice ladies behind the counter asks, “Is it a guitar?”

“It’s a viola!”

“Oh wow! That is great, and you look so cool with your matching suit, are you gonna play some Christmas carols for us???”

“Well, I’m a professional, but maybe we can work out a deal. I’m looking for some cable pistol locks...”

Yup. I busted out the Black Death in the middle of a busy firearm dealership and played Christmas carols whilst wearing my motorcycle gear. THIS has to be some sort of first too! Naturally part of the deal was getting some pics. I love this one: THE Black Death with SOME black death. Nice!



After I left with a handful of various locks I realized the vulnerable position I put myself in: I was an easy target! How many people would just LOVE to off a violist?!? There’s definitely a viola joke in there somewhere... I also couldn’t help but note the irony that I was coming directly from two prisons to a gun dealer. Hmmmmm... Performing in there was a funny social experiment in a way: all the women gathered around and were loving the music while all the men in the store were trying hard to ignore the jester in the isle, with no eye contact or acknowledgment that I was even there. Weird. You’d think they’d sign up for lessons, I just attracted every lady in the joint!!!

The locks work!



Is the day over? No way! Like I said the Christmas season is when we pay the bills. A string quartet wedding job is next. It is amazing that people actually plan outdoor weddings in the middle of winter here and get away with it! The temp was perfect for this one. My tux, shoes, and music stand were rolled up in my saddle bags.



The downtown wedding location is beautiful, I’ve played here a few times.



Had enough? Not me! Now it’s off to the Holiday Pops concert a few blocks away, and with a different tux! The viola section often dons reindeer antlers or tinsel halos for the Holiday Pops, but I prefer to wear these to match my bow tie, and I think it complements the Black Death nicely too! Muh-ha-ha...



Here’s our official symphony Santa, a friend of mine who just got this beautiful new Harley Road King, his sleigh for the day.



Whew, this was a big day (which turns it into a big post)! When I finally pull into the garage I see that I’ve covered a hundred urban miles all from today. Thank you motorcycle! I’d be beat down and depressed if I was in my car all day, but I feel like I’ve somehow accomplished something important by flying in to perform all over town on my magical orange rocket-ship. I feel privileged to have such experiences. Many people think riding a motorbike is crazy, but more and more I think NOT riding one is nuts...

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Old 01-02-2009, 10:09 AM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor
When I lived in Dallas I frequented Moto Liberty (www.motoliberty.com), a fantastic gear-only motorcycle store (no bikes, just protective equipment! Rare...). I learned that a second store recently opened in San Antonio so I went to check it out. After researching extensively here on ADVrider I decided that I couldn’t live without an orange Rev’it Cayenne Pro jacket so I offered a challenge to owner Nathan to come up with one, which would be no small task. I believe in buying local when I can and Moto Liberty bent over backwards to accommodate my specific, demanding requests and came through for me, so I happily purchased head-to-toe protection BRAND NEW which is another first for me. This is almost as exciting as getting a new bike!
As you know, I live in the Dallas area and we're pretty lucky to have MotoLiberty here. They're a huge internet operation and its neat to have it in our back yard.

Very cool duds, BTW. I've only bought riding jackets and pants on sale when its off season, and/or in the close-out racks. But I've looked hard at Rev'it gear (at Dallas' MotoLiberty, I may add), and its darn nice stuff.





Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor
‘Tis the season... for Nutcracker! A big part of the classical musician’s income comes from the Christmas season, and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is usually the bulk of the work (affectionately called by musicians: The Nut, Nut Smasher, Nad Smasher, Nut Whacker, Nut Thrasher, ect., ect...) Every city stages Nutcracker, as do most ballet companies and university dance schools. We’re really good at it, which makes sense as we perform it many times every December. I don’t mind, it’s great music (and not easy!) and I get something from the experience each time I perform it, so that tells me that it’s a worthy masterpiece. I’ve probably played it hundreds of times over the years, and some musicians eventually resent it, but I haven’t reached that jaded level, yet... Handel’s Messiah, on the other hand, I can do with out. That job is really boring, long, and tedious from this violist’s standpoint. It’s a great piece and all, but a pain (literally) to perform. Somehow I got out of playing Messiah this year. Cool! I’d rather play Nutcracker any day...
I love The Nutcracker, but then, I love Tchaikovsky. The Messiah, too, but I prefer playing an abbrevieated version at a general Christmas concert (ie., the big three: Unto Us, Glory to God, and the Hallelujah Chorus). In one respect I view the entire Messiah like Ravel's Bolero: I far prefer listening to it than playing it. But I never tire of playing The Nutcracker.





Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor
I’m not poo-pooing the skill of dancers or singer/actors, they themselves are incredible artists in their own right, I’m just saying that after playing in the pit for so long I’ve often come to enjoy the auditory experience more than actually attending a performance as an audience member.
Agreed. Except I love a full and magnificent choir! I enjoy listening to them and accompanying them. I don't need a staged opera, just the voices. IMHO a well trained voice is the most beautiful of instruments.

My wife is a dance teacher and, as you'd expect, watches The Nutcracker very differently than I. She's actually looking at choreography, dancing technique, etc..., and I'm often sitting, eyes closed, with a smile.

I suspect many people agree with the idea of listening to the music rather than watching a staged performance. I love Aaron Copeland and have played Billy the Kid many times, but never as an accompaniment to a ballet. I can't even recall hearing of it being staged. But every orchestra plays it.


Marvelous thread! Keep it comin'!
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:35 AM   #174
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You're a cool guy.

A very enjoyable read; always interesting to learn about another person's life, especially when well-written and conveyed so well pictorially. PLUS, I covet your bike!!!

Happy New Year Viola-tor.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:49 PM   #175
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happy new year, like elsinore said, your a cool guy. p.s. love the pic in the gun store of the two black death's
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:20 PM   #176
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You've certainly found a niche.

Very enjoyable reading but time for bed sheesh
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:14 PM   #177
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Nice Job

Excellent report here. Its great to be a part of your daily routine, thanks!!
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:06 AM   #178
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My ride report is now up-to-date, and Iíve reached that personal goal just before the next stage of the VIOLA-TING AMERICA is to begin. Now itís gonna be in real time!!! (almost...)

Hopefully TODAY Iíll be heading out on the road, destination Florida (if I can get to bed before dawn, sheesh!). Iíve been contracted to perform with the Sarasota Opera which has a spring season for all the retired snowbirds. I guess Iím okay with spending the winter at the beach...

Before I can leave I needed to do a big maintenance on the Big Orange (which still doesnít have a name), so I went in up to my elbows.



It turned out to be mostly exploratory surgery, but Iím certainly okay with that! I got a big box of farkles to add from KTMtwins.com, so this was the time to install, plus Iím rigging up a few do-dads of my own.

I found this little guy on the floor to keep me company:



Iíve been wanting to reconfigure the luggage situation for a while, so hereís what I came up with: An OEM KTM/RevíIt Pelican 1450 top box and twin 3Ē PVC tool tubes that parallel the exhaust as an addition to my ďEl CheapoĒ saddle bags. The great thing is that neither takes up any extra space than before, and I think they add to the tough/functional look of the bike. In viola-tor style I used matching reflective tape to accent the Pelican for day and night visibility, which also coordinates with my viola case. NERD!!!





I made a spanner/wrench thing to access the tool tubes (Iím getting in touch with my inner KLR feelings ):



My rear brake reservoir protector somehow became fractured (shrug. Who, me?), so I found a local welder to re-enforce it for me. Itís not pretty, but probably better than new!



As I was making the tool tubes and scheming on how to mount/make/place them I remembered that I had these paintball viewloader canisters which fit nearly perfect into the PVC. Rock! Theyíre tough and are clear so I can see what tools and parts are hiding in there.



Heated grips were also on the list:




Iím pretty sure I wired it up correctly (first time using a soldering gun). Iíve only done a couple short test rides, but it seems that I canít turn them completely off! It feels like I have Low, Medium, and High, but no ďOff.Ē Hereís the diagram:



Did I do that right? (Iím guessing not, since itís not turning off in the off position...) Am I reading it correctly that I was to take a positive wire from each grip pad and put them into one, then split to two wires to feed to the ďoffĒ and ďlowĒ tabs on the switch? Thatís what I did. Curious. Iím not so good at understanding the electrics...

I made a handful of super-helpful modifications that may seem like no big deal, but I think will make a huge ďquality of lifeĒ difference on the road/trail:

Fat foot (this thing is awesome. If youíre on the fence about getting one, GO FOR IT! Such a simple thing, but so much satisfaction...):



I got my hands on a prototype Garmin 4567823x7c8vQ847 Navigation Unit, preloaded with AAA maps, the mount is also a one-off prototype from Tourtech with anti-vibration adhesion surfaces:



Since Iím going high-tech and cost is no obstacle I also went with a Timex Daylight Calibrator and a genuine Mercury Expansion Chamber Display to accurately forecast weather patterns which has a Magnetic Field Detector Indicator built in:



Swing arm sliders (I donít think thereís such a thing as too much crash protection):



My custom two-stage soft bag retention/compression strap system. This lets the bags be taught against the rails while riding, and I can release stage one to easily get in the zipper tops. The stage two clips keep the straps from hanging down in the spokes when I WILL eventually forget to clip stage one back together. They also keep loose ends from flapping, bonus!





I ordered the right mirror relocator clamp. After my spill a few weeks ago I think this is a great idea since from the factory the mirror mounts directly to the front brake reservoir. Someday soon Iíd like to get the folding mirrors, but I didnít feel I could justify the cost this season.



AND I wired up a better plug for my vest:



Whew! Working on this thing is a full time job! All that took me a week during a surprisingly busy musical time for me too. I havenít had time for much else, even ADVrider!

What a bad ass machine... All buttoned up (doesnít look that much different, but I know the truth!):



I had no leftover parts, and I only did one dumb thing by taking a test ride without having ALL the pieces on (I wanted to do some more work later), so those washer/bushing/spacers that attach the lower-front of the gas tank rattled out, one is MIA in my neighborhood somewhere... So I got to fab one from the Depot, lucky me!

I plan on taking two to two and a half days to get to New Orleans, then another two to make it to Tallahassee where I meet a friend whoís the violin professor at Valdosta State (GA) to rehearse for a couple of days; and THEN play a recital at his university on the Black Death on January 21st. Any inmates in the area are invited! After that I head on down to Sarasota to begin rehearsals with the opera company. Tosca, Elixer of Love, Don Carlos, and others are lined up for the two-month spring season, and Iíll be living a quarter mile from the beach... Not a bad way to spend the winter!

This is getting good guys, Iím actually doing it! Professional moto-music... Iíll be on the road and computer-less until I reach Sarasota, but Iíll be checking email and such, so reply in this thread or send me a PM if you want more info on any performances, or if you want to offer advice about routes, stops, food, or company between Texas and the gulf coast of Florida. I havenít planned anything really, Iím just gonna hit the road and make it up as I go with only the approximate dates guiding me. Iíve been so busy...

Itís kinda phenomenal how long it takes me to ďmodifyĒ my bike. Iím so meticulous with every little thing, and my friends kinda laugh at me. ďIs it really necessary to do all that? Canít you just ride it?Ē I reply: ďIn a car if something breaks you can pull over to the shoulder and are probably just inconvenienced by the whole affair. If something breaks on a bike it could KILL YOU, so yes, I have to do all this.Ē

Just tonight I went for a little party with my friends who I wonít see for a few months and we played a game of Telephone-Pictionary, which is where you pass papers around a circle alternating written descriptions and drawings of those descriptions until the pile goes full circle. This one was fun and Iíd like to share:

1. The start, the original subject initiated by a friend



2. The picture representing that description drawn by the next person (I was sitting on the couch next to a girl)



3. Itís starting to get a little more vague, but somehow person 3 still guessed Florida!



4. Getting weird! And strangely sexual...



5. Odd, but somehow still on track. Now Iím in there by name AND Florida is still correct!



6. So now itís my turn! I drew this one based on that description:



7. And then things go WAY off track for the big finale!



See you in (or from) Florida!

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Old 01-15-2009, 03:05 PM   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor



Did I do that right? (Iím guessing not, since itís not turning off in the off position...) Am I reading it correctly that I was to take a positive wire from each grip pad and put them into one, then split to two wires to feed to the ďoffĒ and ďlowĒ tabs on the switch? Thatís what I did. Curious. Iím not so good at understanding the electrics...
The wire from the hot grip pad should be combined into one, then from there run to the off switch. The diagram is a little confusing, but that "square" looking thing is actually trying to show one wire (from 12v power to the low on the switch) crossing over, but not connecting to, the wire from the grip pad.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:09 PM   #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbolt
The wire from the hot grip pad should be combined into one, then from there run to the off switch. The diagram is a little confusing, but that "square" looking thing is actually trying to show one wire (from 12v power to the low on the switch) crossing over, but not connecting to, the wire from the grip pad.

Hope this helps.
Hey, thanks. Yeah, that's the part I found confusing, and guy at the autoparts store apparently was confused too... I'll have to get in there and set is straight when I get a chance.

So I'm in Florida, it was a great ride (but chilly, I'll post up the details later) and now I'm preparing for my recital at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia. The performance is at 5:30 on Wed. Jan 21st in Whitehead Auditorium (in the Fine Arts Bldg) on campus. ADVriders get in free! (ummm, and so does everyone else... ) Come see and hear the Black Death in person!

The program is the Telemann Concerto in G Maj, Bach 1st suite, Mozart vln/vla duet in G Maj, and the Mendelssohn Sonata for viola and piano to finish up. It should be a short but fun program to listen to and for me to play.
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