Monthly Archives: May 2020

Sakura Duet for Trombone and Viola

I think it is fairly safe to say you have never heard a Trombone-Viola Duet. The very few exceptions would be some members of my family.

I arranged this for my Aunt Mika’s 90th birthday 6 years go.

Aunt Mika and my mom at my aunt’s 90th birthday party

My brother and I performed it, and that’s been the only public performance…until now. Although my aunt’s birthday is in August, I’ve been thinking about her and this piece and didn’t want to wait.

My brother, Ken and I at the first and, until now, only public performance of this work

I originally had no idea how it would sound, and I was pleasantly surprised by the musical combination. I figured, if one viola and trombone sound okay, two trombones and a viola should sound better, so I was happy to recruit another horn. I’ve also added photos of cherry blossoms I’ve taken in Japan and here in Portland.

I dedicate this to my Aunt Mika and to anyone celebrating their birthday during this crazy time.

I hope you enjoy it.

Recommended Podcast: Choiceology

I’ve been really enjoying a podcast I recently discovered called “Choiceology.” You can find it on any podcast app, or listen to it online by visiting:

Choiceology describes itself as a podcast which…

“…shares stories of irrational decision making—from historical blunders to the kinds of everyday errors that could affect your future. Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab, explores the lessons of behavioral economics, exposing the psychological traps that lead to expensive mistakes.”

It may sound academic and dry. Admittedly, it does appeal to my degree in Psychology.

However, they take really interesting stories (the international space station, a Zamboni driver, Star Wars, professional gamblers, etc.) to illustrate various traits of human behavior and biases. Experts are interviewed to explain these in understandable terms.

Best of all, practical advice is give on how to avoid falling prey to these inherent human biases and irrational decisions. Fascinating and practical!

Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

This song was stuck in my head when I woke up this morning.

My father and I performed a piano and violin arrangement of this song this decades ago in a hometown restaurant. It comes from a book of Fritz Kreisler arrangements.

Performing with my father circa 1986 in a Coos Bay restaurant – just realized he was 5 years older then than I am today

Here I am playing it on the viola instead of the violin. It has a lot of double-stops (playing two notes at the same time), which are difficult on most string instruments, but especially on the viola – an instrument notoriously difficult to play in tune.

I hope you like it.

Singing the praises of

Although I am big fan of and support the US Postal Service, I am not a fan of visiting the post office. Especially with Covid-19 concerns, I wish to avoid post office waiting lines.

I found and I love it:

  • super easy website to navigate (just enter your package dimensions, weight, address)
  • no monthly fees (I’m looking at you, Stamps dot com)
  • easy to compare different shipping methods to find the best rate (I’m looking at you, – whoever designed your web interface should be severely punished)
  • low, corporate shipping rates
  • tracking numbers included
  • print out your shipping label on your home computer (your regular printer will do just fine)
  • just need a scale (a simple kitchen scale will do for many/most)

Even if you only need to ship one thing, it might take you less time to set up a new account and print out a label than it would to wait in line at the post office.

People who ship a lot may save a lot of money and time. You can opt to buy self-adhesive labels to put in your home printer, or consider upgrading to a dedicated label printer.

Do you have or are you considering running an eCommerce business? integrates with many/most eCommerce solutions.

Want to see how much postage will cost via You don’t even have to create an account to check. Just enter your package info here:

Does this seem like an advertisement? I don’t get any benefit from sharing this info other than the pleasure knowing I might have saved my friends some time and money.

A Nightingale Sang…

The 1939 romantic British pop song, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” by Maschwitz and Sherwin has been performed by countless artists. I was first introduced to it by an a capella rendition on a Manhattan Transfer album.

A month or so ago, long-time family friend and bassist extraordinaire and founding member of the avant-garde jazz group, Oregon, Glen Moore, posted a video of Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen & Michel Petrucciani performing it.

The song got stuck in my head and so I reached out to friends of mine to record my transcription for string quartet.

Here it is:

The lyric, “The whole wide world…seemed upside-down…” takes on a much different tone today.

I hope you like it.