Clarinet Thing 'Agony Pipes and Misery Sticks'
There is nothing like blowing a horn. It oxygenates the body, clears the mind, and causes mood responses from meditative to giddy, ecstatic, to contemplative. I come from a long tradition of groups of horns blowing together in harmony and dissonance, both in and out of tune. From my marching band at Fredonia High School, (go Hillbillies!) to symphonic bands at Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY and Michigan State University in East Lansing; from the 1980 Olympics Awards band in Lake Placid (54 national anthems!) to the large clarinet choirs at San Francisco State University; I've been blowing with the best for many decades. This led me to form Clarinet Thing. In 1990 I sought out four of my favorite Bay Area clarinetists, Ben Goldberg, Ralph Carney, Sheldon Brown, and Peter Josheff, for their unique sound and approach to the instrument, for their musicalitiy, friendship, and sense of humor. It was essential to me that the group have a lot of variety in compositional styles. Each member is a composer and ensemble leader in their own right. Thus scheduling is a nightmare and we've only performed sporadically. This is a smattering of those performances in cafes, bars, churches and concert halls from the past 14 years. Enjoy! And blow your horn. -Beth Custer