New Students, New Dog, Summer Plans

Deb and Lundy in the woods

Deb and Lundy in the woods

These past months have been marked by the welcome addition of several new aspiring youth and adult students, all eager to embrace the cello and tackle the first challenging months of learning. It delights me to hear just how many people arrive at my studio saying that the cello has always been their favourite instrument!

My studio has been much improved by the recent timely installation of super efficient and nearly silent air conditioning. Along with the studio/house humidifier we now have perfect climate control for everybody; students, me, my new dog, cellos and the piano!

Yes! I do have a charming new dog, Lundy, adopted back in January from Klamath Falls Rescue.He came with a broken front left leg encased in a hefty cast. Being supposedly 1/2 Golden Retreiver, 1/2 Cocker Spaniel, he is officially a “Golden Cocker Retreiver.”  (Seriously, look it up: It is an official hybrid! Try saying it really fast….) Lundy, named after a traditional family haunt in the Sierra Nevada, quickly settled down to cello playing, cello lessons and was a superbly behaved, people magnet at our spring recital. (He loves everybody; people, dogs and especially cats.)

Portrait of Lundy

Portrait of Lundy

This dog with a broken leg had nine weeks of constant nursing and plenty of time for the two of us to fully bond. I think we experienced love at first sight followed by great companionship and understanding. His broken leg mended perfectly and this has enabled us to go for increasingly lengthy walks twice a day, up to 5 miles as I write. (I never knew a dog could lift its leg so many times in one hour!) He is currently disappointed that it is just too hot to take the second walk later in the day, even though I take him out to show him just how hot it actually is!

In about a week Lundy and I will be going backpacking in the Wallowas, then a second trip to a yet undecided location. He’s got his custom-sewn sleeping bag, his booties and many more small backpack-specific items, all of which I will need to carry for him to prevent possible strain to his long back and short legs. Since being close to me is his main motivation in life, sleeping in a tent together will be his idea of heaven. As for the wilderness: Dog bliss. Squirrels galore! (Also, of course, deer, bears, endless variety of rodents, possible mountain goats, stealthy wolves and not-so-stealthy coyotes, to mention a few.) My dog has one unique, high pitched squeal reserved solely for squirrel sighting and alert. I think it is an F sharp 1.5 octaves above middle C. Squirrel having been sighted in tree, he must be restrained from attempting to climb said tree.

We recently visited friends in California and I was able to see just how brilliantly my fully web-toed dog swims–something resembling a Golden-haired Otter, sleek and smooth. Down in California, in a friend’s private pool, he cruises without causing any ripple in a sort of synchronized swimming display, accompanied by a 130 lb. St Bernard! While I was holding him above the water all four legs were already initiating the dog crawl.

As ever, over this past year I have been very busy creating cello arrangements. These are always included in performances at our recital and have proven to be popular hits for both student performers and audience. These arranging projects will continue to be a part of my work week and will hopefully become available on my website once fully road tested, dusted and steam cleaned.

I am truly enjoying the variety of students who now study with me. They range in age from 11 rs. to into their seventies. Amazing people! All committed to their study, all making great progress, all having a loads of fun.

I know that I will return from my annual mountain treks refreshed and with renewed momentum  for my forthcoming teaching, playing and arranging. Barbara Johnston (my sister-in-law) and I are planning to re-ignite the Johnston Duo with some autumn performances which will hopefully premier some of my arrangements. It is always a great pleasure to play and perform together.

As I close, my thoughts are with all my friends, family and students. I wish you all a safe, healthy and life-renewing summer break. Have fun! Oh… and practice, practice, practice!


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