On the Road with Diva

On this cool, overcast morning in Providence, RI, I find myself staring at the screen, the letters making their way slowly into some sort of order as my mind spills with an overabundance of thought. Where do I begin? This trip began three days ago, and I feel a bit numb from the superfluous amounts of information presently scrambling my brain. Of course with me, the thoughts are not without emotion attached, and so the sorting takes a little longer!

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Working Together

Sometimes when we work together as a group, coming to a decision together can be lengthy and difficult at best.  Keeping our wits about us and our emotions in check is a huge challenge.  I believe this to be especially true for those working in creative fields such as the arts.  So why is it that difficulties arise?  Why aren’t we free to just say what’s on our minds?  We have no problems telling the ones we love just how we feel, and we have so much more invested in those relationships, generally speaking. Continue reading

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Back in New York

Rising at 2:30am is something no one likes to do, especially when they lack sleep on any given day. But yesterday, I was excited to do just that. I was going to travel from my home in Maryland, along the Northeast Corridor, to the northern suburbs of New York City. Awaiting me was the opportunity to play with some wonderful colleagues from the life I led before signing on Uncle Sam’s dotted line, nearly 13 years ago. I rose, assembled a pan of lasagna for a good NYC friend as promised, then hopped in the shower while it baked. After taking the dog out in the dark, unseasonably warm and gusty final January morning, I gathered my belongings (including the lasagna), and loaded up the vehicle. At 4:10am, I woke my son to remind him to leap out of bed when his school alarm went off in two short hours, hugged and kissed him goodbye, then set off into the darkness.

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Looking Ahead

Now that the Inaugural has come and gone, it’s time to get back to work preparing for our upcoming Spring tour with the Jazz Ambassadors.  The time spent as participants in the Inauguration was truly memorable, and I’m incredibly blessed to have been a part of history for the third time in my nearly 13 year career in the US Army.  I love my job! Continue reading

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Inaugural 2013 – US Army Bands

This is a piece put together by my former colleague and fantastic videographer Les Owen of The US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own”. It captures the participation of all three musical units of the Army that participated in yesterday’s second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

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The Rain…

Last night, I spent quite a while in my living room with my headphones on, an act I usually reserve to tune out of my present surroundings in order to be overcome with the distraction and emotion of music. Earlier, I had no need to tune out as I spent the evening actively working in my house. The rain spilled across my roof and down my windows as I scurried about, cleaning carpets, doing laundry and wiping down countertops. General busy work. But I kept coming back to the rain, it’s sound, soothing, yet reminding me of something. I continued with my household diligence, the rain relentlessly droning in the back of my mind. And then I realized what it was. Continue reading

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All is calm.

Tonight, I’m enjoying a leisurely Saturday night with my son and the Baltimore Ravens.  With the holidays luring copious amounts of money from American bank accounts, I think people are staying in tonight.  The result is a night with no wedding reception, corporate party or other celebration, a night off for the freelancer – me!

Next weekend, we will inaugurate President Obama for a second time, and DC will don its party wings once again.  The US Army Field Band will participate in the inaugural parade, as they do every year.  This will be my first inaugural with this unit – my past two inaugurals were spent with the US Army Band.  Both bands play different rolls in the procession, and I’m looking forward to a new experience with my new colleagues and friends!  Later, the inaugural balls will take place, both officially and unofficially, and I will join another group of musicians as a civilian performer.  It will make for a long, yet fulfilling day, and I will take it all in stride.

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I began writing while on the previous Fall tour with the Jazz Ambassadors as a way of organizing my thoughts as they flourished wildly through my mind.  It quickly became a way of coping with the road while simultaneously creating an archive of my travels.  Originally, I wrote to a close actor friend of mine in New York City as a way of sharing details of just what it was that I did from day to day (sometimes, from hour to hour).   The response I received from him, time and time again was, “Liesl, you should write”.  So that’s what I’ve decided to do:  to share those thoughts created back in the fall as well as those I have yet to put down on paper (or in this electronic medium, if you will).

This blog is a work in progress, and I’m sure I’ll revamp its layout over and over again.  My plan is to simultaneously present the past experiences of the 2012 Fall Tour with some daily thoughts and/or recaps.  So try to hang with me as I go.  I’m sure that after I’m able to “catch up” to present day, the posts will make more sense as they become more or less chronological.  I could excuse the past writings, but truthfully, I don’t want to!  I think many of you may enjoy reading about what it was that we, the Jazz Ambassadors, were experiencing as we toured your area, what we did in our free road time, as well as how we prepare and execute future tours.  I also plan to include various missives of my civilian gigs – they can be quite entertaining and fruitful as well!  Road life is very challenging but also, extremely rewarding.  Likewise, home life is a constant balance of families with freelancing.  Perhaps there are those of you out there who are considering a career in jazz music, in the Army, or on the road.  Maybe you’ll find these recounts helpful as you mull over just what you’d imagine your career’s progression to be.  Real life feedback is a valuable tool.

So I hope you will enjoy my thoughts here, and feel free to follow – the more, the merrier!

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29 DEC 2012 – New York City

I’m sitting in a small, one bedroom apartment on the West Side of Manhattan.  Snow is blowing by the window, giving the room an even cozier vibe.  I’m under blankets, in my jeans, truly just hanging out.  I just finished drying my hair after venturing through the weather in the name of nourishment.  I found a small Irish pub owned by an elderly Irish couple.  I was the first and only customer, as I’m sure this weather has bound many people to their living rooms.  I made a little small talk with the owners, sipped a pint of draught, and dined on her homemade chicken and vegetable soup, all in the glow of a dark room, lit only by the black and white movie coming from the TV behind the bar.  It was a truly cozy hour spent in the company of a lovely couple and Jimmy Stewart.  A real time! Continue reading

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