Advice to someone who wants to start a band

I got an email complaining about a broken link on my site, and going
on to say:

While I have your attention, I would love to start a small band if I can
find others who share my interest in early music, and new music for the
recorder. I am a member of two Yahoo! groups for recorder, but so far
all my efforts to find fellow musicians in my immediate locality
(Lyndonville, VT) have drawn a blank, including contacting the music
faculty at Lyndon State College (LSC). Any suggestions you can offer
will be most gratefully received.

Music faculty are used to having a lot of the organizing done for
them, and aren’t always the best people to contact. If you go to
events at the college, look around you to see who actually seems to be
organizing something (handing out flyers is a dead giveaway, and
looking speculatively around the lobby as though comparing faces with
a list of names whose arms should be twisted is another sign) and ask
them if they know any recorder players. Also look at the list of
events and see if there are events that are organized outside of the
regular channels, i.e., not the official orchestra and chorus and
concert band.

(N.B. I would join the American Recorder Society if I had some
disposable income to pay the membership fee 😦

You can still use the information on their website even without
joining. I would suggest calling the contact people for the closest
chapters even if they aren’t close enough to go to regularly.

If you’re at all comfortable performing on your own, set up a
performance in a library or hospital lobby, and put an announcement in
the local paper. That will bring any closet recorder players who see
it out of the woodwork. If you’d be comfortable teaching, advertise
that — you may be able to form your own group with a couple of

I’m the wrong person to ask; I’m basically telling you about what
other people I know have done. I organize in a large metropolitan
area and only rarely get anyone who isn’t already interested in early

Two people who might be able to give you better advice are my sister,
Judith Conrad (, who has had a recorder
group meeting regularly every week in Fall River Massachusetts for
about 15 years, and Marcia Anderson (, who
has been organizing recorder players in Bridgewater, Massachusetts for
even longer.

Hope this helps. Thanks for writing.


Bruce’s announcement of St. Mary’s Gig

Hello everyone,

Here’s yet another message from me!

We have the chance to do another performance this year. St. Mary’s Churc
h (where we meet) would like us to do something at the Sunday Morning ser
vice on April 24th.

I don’t have any other details yet; I refuse to worry about it until I’ve
finished worrying about Medway and Neffa. But please mark your calendar
s now; later on I’ll have more information, and I’ll ask for names of peo
ple who can do this.

Don’t forget the first rehearsal for Medway is this Thursday, if it ever
stops snowing. I’ll be sending directions in the next day or so.



Report on the February 22 (non)meeting

Ishmael and I have a gig on Saturday, and I had told both Bonnie
and Barney when I saw them that there wasn’t going to be an alist
meeting this week, so that Ishmael and I could get together and go
over the stuff for that gig. Anne had mentioned that the 22nd was the day
she would be flying back from Spain, so she wasn’t going to make the
meeting. And I didn’t send out an email invitation, so I wasn’t
expecting anyone but Ishmael to show up. Ishmael locked the door when
he came in.

So we were about half way through our program, and Sunny started
saying someone was at the door. I didn’t believe him, but my doorbell
has been a bit flakey, so I went down to check, and sure enough, there
was Anne. She had decided she really should stay up until her normal
bedtime, and that would be easier to do if she were singing.

So we told her she could dance for us, and she did some dancing and
some listening, and we finished going through our stuff and got out
the Morley trios.

We started with “Good Morrow, fair ladies of the May”, which we still
tentatively have on the list for the Walk. It went fine with the
three of us.

Then we did “Hold out my heart”, and moved to the sad ones in part
two, with “Farewell, disdainful”.

That didn’t go so well that we thought we should end with it, so we
did “Quand je bois” to finish off with.

Then we looked at Anne’s pictures of Spain and listened to the rest of
“Bruce Randall’s West Gallery Quire featuring Laura Conrad on


New avenues for Zaurus sound

The good thing about having the blog up is that I’m actually
writing about what I’m working on, and people are finding it and
writing me questions, and then I write them back.

This is from an email to someone else who wants sound on
Familiar/Opie (in his case an old Ipaq).

The latest accomplishment described on February
was that
this page
I was able to record from the command line, and play back at
two different wrong speeds.

My guess is that what I’m getting with that is a raw audio file
format, and that with the right magic words, sox, running on my
desktop computer, would add headers and convert it to something more

I’m also guessing that xmms-embedded is what changed the playback
speed from too slow to too fast, and that if I play around with
options to that, I may be able to get it to play back the raw file at
the right speed.

I have some other lines of attack that I will try when I get the time:

  • the linux-audio-user mailing list does not have any Zaurus or
    Familar experts on it, but it likely has lots of people who
    could figure out how to do the sox-type tricks if I can’t easily
    find what I need to know on the net.
  • OpenZaurus 3.5.3 is coming out next month, and may have some
    improvements, although from the responses to my queries on the
    list, it’s likely that nobody is working on sound recording.
    But the opie-recorder problem probably has nothing to do with
    sound, and might be an OS-related problem that might get fixed.
  • The tkcVox app worked
    ok when I was running the TKC ROM, so if I could figure out how
    to make the compatibility libraries work, I could probably use
    that. However, it’s pretty useless, because I couldn’t figure
    out how to convert its format to anything useful on any other
    machine. (They sell a windows-only converter program, but I
    haven’t booted my only windows box for several months, and don’t
    intend to start doing it more often.)

How to install Konqueror-embedded

Someone else asked how I actually got konqueror-embedded
installed. This is typed from memory, and it was actually a lot more
floundering and I may have something wrong this time, too, but here’s
what I wrote him:

The C library is actually called libstdc++6, which I think isn’t what
Mickey said on the mailing list.

Also, if you’re installing to your sd card, you have to ipkg-link
everything you install. (And you can’t ipkg-link some of this stuff
if your sd card hasn’t been reformatted to be an ext2 filesystem.) If
this is greek to you, you either aren’t installing to your sd card or
you’d better figure it out before you start.

So you have to:

  • edit /etc/ipkg.conf to add a line like the others, but with devel
    instead of opie or base or whatever.

  • ipkg -d sd install libstdc++6 libpcre0
  • ipkg-link add libstdc++6
  • ipkg-link add libpcre0
  • ipkg -d sd install
  • ipkg -d sd install konqueror-embedded
  • ipkg-link add konqueror-embedded


Message from Bruce about NEFFA

Hello, everyone,

As promised, or threatened, here’s another message from me. NEFFA
isn’t happening until April, but we need to attend to this Wicked

I need to submit names for NEFFA. As you probably know, we’re leading
a West Gallery Music workshop at NEFFA on Sunday, April 10, at 12:00.
We’re listed in the schedule as “The West Gallery Quire.”

Anyone who comes and helps will be considered a member of “The West
Gallery Quire” and will get free admission to the entire festival (3
days of fun! oh boy!). BUT they need your names Real Soon.

To help, I’ll need people to do these:

  • A few people to make copies of booklets in advance;
  • a few people to
    hand out booklets;
  • four people to hold up the signs that show where to
  • and a big lot of people to sit in the crowd amongst other people
    and “Sing (or Play) Lustily And With Good Courage” to help out the
    newcomers (this is the way we’ve done it before; no new surprises).

Having your name on the list will also help them schedule stuff in the
future; they won’t schedule you opposite something else which you’re
also part of. So even if NEFFA already has your name as part of
another event, you still should give me your name.

If you’re hoping to do this, please send me your name NO LATER THAN
Feb. 27th. That’s a week from this Sunday. I’ll submit the names to
the Neffans that evening.



Advertisements goes to a 3 column layout

I haven’t changed the blog yet, but the static pages on the site are
now a 3-column css layout, instead of the old two-column table based

Update February 19: The blog is now changed,
too. I seem to be getting a fair amount of correspondence based on
people finding interesting things I’m doing by googling and hitting
the blog.
I also regenerated the music html pages, which
get a fair amount of hits from both google and cpdl.

This should accomplish the following:

  • the Google ads will be “above the fold”. In the old layout, there was no way for both the ads
    and the major navigation aids to be above the fold.
  • It will give a reasonable length reading line for the site content
    without the css margin stuff that some browsers (as far as I know,
    only IE 5.x, where x is a small number, on Mac OSX) couldn’t deal
  • The actual html is more reasonably organized, without a lot of td,
    tr, table, etc., and the content is above the navigation and ad stuff.

If this doesn’t work in your browser, please let me know. I did ask a
bunch of friends with a wide array of browsers and os’s to test, and
the ones that replied didn’t have any major problems.