Pianist Arkansas Ohrenstein

Pianist Arkansas Ohrenstein Teams up with Shootin’ Sharon

Pianist Arkansas Ohrenstein Teams up with Singer Shootin’ Sharon. P.S. that’s our names for just one section of our 80 minute concert. Arkansas Ohrenstein is my nickname for the country western music Shootin’ Sharon  and I wrote.   Stories, fun, humor are all mixed with music to make a memorable “cowboy cocktail” of an evening. Of course, we also love and do the music of Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Jacques Brel and others.   Our concert, with incredible guest artists is timed at 80 minutes. It will be broadcast out of NYC worldwide out of Metropolitan Zoom. Tickets (only $10.00 for an entire viewing area) can be purchased at this link.

Please share!!!!!

 https://metropolitanzoom. ticketleap.com/ohrenstein/

The Catskills Resort From 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lists for $6 Million  | Departures
I was the piano player at Scott’s for about 15 summer seasons. This photograph of the award winning Marvelous Mrs. Maisal was taken on Oquaga Lake in front of Scott’s Playhouse. Theater and games, including bowling, pool and ping pong are on the higher level. Patti’s Pub is on the lower level. Nonstop Summer fun with life the way it was meant to be lived.

Pianist Arkansas Ohrenstein played 15 Years in the Catskills at Scott’s

Humor is part of the Catskills. Some of the most legendary names in comedy, like Mel Brooks, originated their careers in the Catskills. 

Milton Berle another comedia, told this joke:

“A man is hit by a car while crossing a Beverly Hills street. A woman rushes to him and cradles his head in her lap, asking, “Are you comfortable?” The man answers, “I make a decent living.”

The joke is attributed to Milton Berle, though variations of it have been told over the years, along with similar humorous quips by decades of  Catskill comedians. Big name comics like Buddy Hackett, Don Rickles and Henny Youngman were famous for a style of comedy that defined much of American culture of their time, with quick-witted, rapid-fire one liners that were often self-deprecating.

American needs humor, now more than ever. We performed at a fancy house party recently. Shootin’ Sharon brought the house down with our comic song, Spendin’s a Chore. Basically it’s a song about inflation with hilarious comic twists. If you can laugh at your problems, you feel better. Our title song, The Santa Fe Nashville Express, is all about America’s  passion with train travel. I’ll played an energetic entitled hoedown  Dance for Joy. So put on you stompin’ boots and enjoy the fun on Nov 8, 2020. 

 

 

engage

Engage November 8, 2020 with this Dynamic Quartet

Engage November 8, 2020 with our Dynamic Quartet in the featured picture. If you could have more fun anywhere else, please tell us where. Our Music for the Night is listed as an upcoming event immediately to the right. Literally, for $10.00 as many people as you can fit in front of  a TV set can enjoy the show. Yes, we do have a poet! Our book writer, Sharon, also wrote the lyrics. 

Engage
Here’s a quote from our opening selection of the concert: “No one drinks alone. We are all friends here. Vodka warms the bone and a keg of beer.”

Thousand Mile Journey on a Comfortable Couch – internal link

Engage in Laughter Including Songs  From Our Own Musicals About Famous Ladies

Our sung through musical is being  produced Carlo Thomas whose credits include being in the original cast of the Phantom of the Opera in NYC. This NYC Metropolitan Zoom spectacular will be broadcast live; however, you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home (see internal link above). 

Engage As Also follow the Lead of the German Bach Family 

On Sunday nights the extended Bach family would get together and entertain themselves with music. They loved singing quodlibets. So what is a quodlibet? A quodlibet (/ˈkwɒdlɪbɛt/Latin for “whatever you wish” from quod, “what” and libet, “pleases”) is a musical composition that combines several different melodies—usually popular tunes—in counterpoint, and often in a light-hearted, humorous manner.

Kathryn is our daughter, while Baron has been in all our musicals. He is part of our own Bach family. Our son Daniel, not in this show, plays cello and composes. 

File:Bach family morning Rosenthal.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
If you can think of a better example to follow than the Bach family, let us know.

So what are some of our quodlibets?

  • Wife Sharon sings “Take the A Train” by Duke Ellenton while I play The Honky-Tonk Train by Lux Lewis on the piano. Trains were and still are a big part of life in  NYC.
  • Sharon sings S’ Wonderful by George Gershwin while I play excerpts from the American in Paris underneath her rendition. 
Duke Ellington - Wikipedia
I think the  Duke would be happy with his Meade (Lux) Lewis partner pictured to the right.
Meade (“Lux”) Lewis and Duke Ellenton will join ranks in our concert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In Closing we’re talking 75 pure minutes of fun with 15 more for a live question and answer. 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from the Oquaga Spirit

Happy Halloween from the Oquaga Spirit: Poetry and  piano are my passions. Piano and composition speak to me anywhere; whereas writing poetry seems to happen in either the Catskill or Adirondack Mountains of New York. Washington Irving was also inspired by the mountains of New York. He wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Audiobook by Washington Irving
Delight in Fright it Seems!

Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) wrote as an essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” (1819) and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820).

Happy Halloween 

The Oquaga Spirit, in the Catskills, dictated a plethora of poetry during my sojourn of 15 years on this lake. My family and I spent 15 Summer and Fall seasons on this lake where I was the “house piano player” at Scott’s Hotel. Sharon and I played did two special themed shows weekly. In the mornings I’d stroll and the spirit would be afloat.  “So much she needed an ear, she ignored my tranquility.” The female spirit was an American Indian from the Lennie Lenape tribe. If you enjoy the spirit’s poem, feel free to share with others. I think the spirit would approve. 

Oquaga Lake, where the water is crystal clear and always somewhere between quite cold to frozen. The lake has  a thick layer of ice in the winter.   Here is where my family and I spent 15 summer and autumn seasons and my daughter was married on a chilly October Day. The Playhouse, where I played the grand on the stage,  is the long white building, enclosed by the right end of the rainbow. What memories and fun, fun, fun!
Here's what's planned for Maisel Weekend at Scott's Oquaga Lake House
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisal was recently filmed at Scott’s Hotel.

Autumn’s Party

Autumns throwing a party
On a massive scale
With acorns, chestnuts, pumpkins,
Wine, cider and ale.

Everyone’s preparing
For that special night,
Ghosts, goblins and witches;
Things that cause a fright.

But on that darkened evening
In the air is glee
As children don their costumes
Making revelry.

Boo! Yells a ghost
Barely three feet tall.
“Careful, you reply,
Or down the stairs you’ll fall!”

The barren eerie trees
Against a brightly light Moon.
Black cats dashing by
As overhead bats swoon.

What a scary party.
Delight in fright in seems.
Orange and black banners,
It must be Halloween. 

In the spirit of Halloween, please  share. The book of poetry is called The Oquaga Spirit Speaks. 

 

 

personified seasons

Personified Seasons by an Indian Spirit

Personified Seasons by an Indian Spirit. Ah, the Catskill Mountains. So many poets and artists got their start there. Most recently several episodes of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel were filmed at a Catskill resort where I worked.  My extended employment was over 15 Summer seasons. The resort, Scott’s Oquaga Lake House, is definitely enchanted:   

personified seasons
Personified seasons by an American Indian spirit is to be found at this remarkable place. The Summer of filming at Scott’s of the Marvelous Mrs Maisel was magical. You can watch the series on television and see Scotts including a big fireworks display.

Seasons Personified  By an Indian Spirit

“The poet’s on the prowl, looking for his prey, seeing which subject he’ll write about today.” – These words pretty much summarized what happen over two summer seasons. This spirit, a female of the Lennie Lenape tribe, talked my ear off. Her poems had a definite format, quatrains in triple meter. At one time this tribe had dwellings around the lake. As a matter of fact, hearsay says the owner, Ray Scott, is part American Indian! The Scott family had great respect for the pristine land and lake. It was a pleasure to work for them. Also, they loved their entertainers. At the end of the day, around 11:00 pm, they’d always always indulge their entertainers in Perry’s ice cream in the parlor. They always made you feel special.

From “Fingers of Fog”

This spring fed lake is enchanted
As such water bodies are.
I actually saw its essence
While viewing the morning star. 

Scott’s has a sign as you entered from the steep mountain drive into the parking lot.  It reads:  You haven’t experience Scott’s until you’ve experienced the fun. The fun is non-stop. People actually fall asleep with smiles on their faces. Here is the excerpt from the featured poem and picture: This tree can be easily be found  in early September on the east side of the lake.

September’s maple tree
Has spiraled leaves in red.
So intense in tone.
It looks as though its bled. 

 

 

Five clucking hens

Five Clucking Hens Became my Friends

 

Five Clucking hens made my acquaintance by Schroon Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. We stayed in a Bed in Breakfast while staging our new musical/opera, Patra. Yes, it’s nice to make friends with people in a new place. Sometimes, it’s also nice to make friends with the animals. The Seagle Music Colony is famous for staging new works. We (my wife and myself) were chosen to do our new musical-opera entitled Patra. Others have written about Cleopatra and her relationship with Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony. My lyricist, wife Sharon, looked for a new angle about her life: Her meeting and possibility of a relationship with Octavian. Later he becomes Augustus Caesar. Sharon found the link of cause and effect in a memorable meeting Cleopatra had with Octavian. That becomes the highlight of our opera. 

As a poet, I had the time, after rehearsals, to write some poetry. While unwinding one evening after a trying day, I wrote the following verse. 

 

Five Clucking Hens Became my Friends

The blanket of night is coming,
Covering creation below.
Eyes are becoming droopy.
The seeds of sleep does it sow.

As I sit under covered gazebo,
Watching the daylight retreat;
I breathe fresh forest air
As fragrant as any treat.

Five hens are strutting nearby;
Behind their fenced-in cage.
As they forage for their favorite bugs,
I enjoy the show they stage.

The hens have their hangout,
Complete with pecking order.
Happy behind barbed fence,
Encasing  their rectangular border.

As I return to my Breakfast in Bed,
They follow me, loudly clucking.
As far as their fence will permit,
With full blast squawking and chuckling.

What a special moment in time;
Relishing my five fowl friends.
I’ll miss them when I leave:
But I’ll be back, to make amends.

Seagle Music Colony is the premier opera and musical theater producing organization in the Adirondack region of upstate New York, as well as the oldest summer vocal training program in the United States. In 2020, Seagle Music Colony will celebrate its 105th Anniversary Season. Also, check out our Patra website:

PATRA – Opera Comique by Sharon and David Ohrenstein

We work-shopped our Musical/Opera, Patra, at this picturesque location in the Adirondacks. Our singers and production crew were the finest. Earlier, many had taken auditions with the finest opera companies in the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

virgin flower birth

Virgin Flower Birth by a Black-Eyed Susan

Virgin Flower Birth by a Black-Eyed  Susan.   Emerson, Thoreau…all communed with nature. They were part and parcel of trancendentalism: This was a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in the eastern United States.[1][2][3] A core belief is in the inherent goodness of people and nature. [1]  Belief was that society and its institutions often corrupt the purity of the individual.   However, people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent.

I spent 15 summer season in the Catskill Mountains of New York. My title was “the house piano player”  for Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. Scott’s was hauntingly beautiful. Yes, old resorts in the Catskills often had haunted houses. Sometimes the ghosts were quite real, other times you knew they were people just having fun. The great thing about Scott’s was that I was not only in their employ, but my entire family was invited to spend their summers at this fairy tale-like place. What

virgin flower birth
Scott’s Oquaga Lake House was our home away from home for 15 summer seasons. If there is a place where you can have more fun than we had there, I’d like to know about it!

Here is my poem about the virgin flower birth of a female black-eyed Susan. I believe a spirit, which I call the Oquaga Spirit, dictated this and many other poems to me. In my latter years I plan on being a wandering bard and reciting these poems wherever there is an ear to listen.  I believe the spirit was a female Indian from the Lennie Lenape tribe.

Virgin Flower Birth in a Poem

Black Eyed Susan

On my daily walks
I passed a single flower.
A black-eyed Susan it was
Alone to guard a tower.

It marked a forest entry
And daily greeted meet;
With a bright and yellow smile,
Under shaded forest tree. 

For weeks it stood its ground,
Always looking new.
How long will it last
Until its season’s thru?

Then one day in August,
I wondered if it was there?
A miracle, two Susans greet me:
A mother and daughter pair!

poetic escape

Poetic Escape to Forget Your Concerns

Poetic Escape to Forget Your Concerns. Poetry must make a comeback! There is no better way to forget about your problems, than to recite meaningful poetry. William Wadsworth Longfellow summarized the importantce of poetry in this regard. This post serves as an introduction to the following post on DSOworks.com. A spirit dwells around Oquaga Lake. I believe it to be a female from the Lennie Lenape tribe. My next post will off such a poem. It is entitled; “A Walk Far Back in Time.” Like Longfellow, her poems offer poetic escape. I should have it up within a couple of days. Enjoy!

Poetic escape
Poetic escape happens on Oquaga Lake. It’s spirit loves poetry.

The Day is Done 

The day is done, and the darkness
      Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
      From an eagle in his flight.
 
I see the lights of the village
      Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
      That my soul cannot resist:
 
A feeling of sadness and longing,
      That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
      As the mist resembles the rain.
 
Come, read to me some poem,
      Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
      And banish the thoughts of day.
 
Not from the grand old masters,
      Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
      Through the corridors of Time.
 
For, like strains of martial music,
      Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
      And to-night I long for rest.
 
Read from some humbler poet,
      Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
      Or tears from the eyelids start;
 
Who, through long days of labor,
      And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
      Of wonderful melodies.
 
Such songs have power to quiet
      The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
      That follows after prayer.
 
Then read from the treasured volume
      The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
      The beauty of thy voice.
 
And the night shall be filled with music,
      And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
      And as silently steal away.
poetry signals change

Poetry signals Change is About to Happen

Poetry signals Change is in the Air. Said another way: When there is no poetry of quality then musical quality takes a nose dive. This is not only my own observation. As my resource I quote  Music by Frederic V. Grunfeld. The book I read it in is published by Newsweek Books out of New York. Place and year- Mondadaori, Verona, Italy,  1974.

Poetry Signals Change – Poetry (magazine) Cover Copy Below

Poetry (founded as Poetry: A Magazine of Verse) has been published in Chicago since 1912. It is one of the leading monthly poetry journals in the English.  Poetry is founded by Harriet Monroe and now published by the Poetry Foundation. It is currently edited by Don Share

Those who decry the primitivism of today’s music along with its limited scope, need to look for another Heinrich Heine type figure. Indeed, so many “songs” use about three or four repeated notes or thrive on platitudes and vulgarity. I have already mentioned him on DSOworks in the internal link below. The problem is where is our Henrich Heine for this present day and age?

Poetic Import in Signaling Historic Changes

We Must Return to Beautiful Poetry

As a writer of poetry, I am inspired by the same place at which the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was filmed for this coming season: Scott’s Oquaga Lake House on Oquaga Lake. The beauty and enchantment of the lake knows no limits.

Here is an excerpt from my poem called “Fun.” It describes this setting in some detail.

The diving platform is located
End the end of the extended dock.
Canoes and kayaks are nearby
The woods where the birds do flock.

The swimming area is marked
By yellow balls on rope
Fastened to a rubber raft
Beyond which the lake has slope.

A second dock is to the left
With a speedboat at its end.
On its left we find a showboat
Built just for voices to blend.

A playhouse is to the rear
Grand piano is set on stage
Near bowling ping-pong and pool
Games all quite the rage!

Do yourself a favor and make a pilgrimage to Oquaga Lake and visit Scott’s Hotel. A number of doctors from India did just that! All this beauty and memorabilia can be yours to enjoy.  Revive that ancient poetic feeling so many once had. And please share this post!

Here is a fun external link to our other website, Reviving Antiquity.com. Four Flatted Scorpio Refers to Key Signature

 

 

Rubinoff Friendship

Traditional Employment Includes Types of People and Places

Traditional Employment includes types of people and places.  Any new year is a time for reflection: What happened or didn’t happen last year? What might happen this year? Since this new year  (2019) is about to begin, I thought I’d reflect on previous jobs. I seem to have a predilection for working with: (1) Successful older people. (2) Spectacular older places.   By traditional I refer to: (1) Great places built over 100 years ago. Or, (2) Successful men who, at the time,  were old enough to be my grandfather or possibly great-grandfather at the time of employment.

Traditional Employment by Rubinoff and His Violin

I learned the musical craft of arranging and accompanying from Rubinoff. He conducted the Paramount Theater in New York and Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. What a perfectionist!  After working for 8 hours during the day, at night he’d change his mind. The next day we did a different 16 bars.  Dave’s Stradivarius violin was purchased for $100,000.00 in 1929.  He made about $500,000.00 annually in the 1930′ by conducting and performing. It seemed like the “His Violin” was his marriage contract with music.

Traditional employment
A young Rubinoff in this picture. I worked with him when he was in his 70’s and 80’s. I was hardly 20 at first.   On the poster you’ll find my name.

Traditional Employment at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House

For better than 15 summer seasons I played piano for shows at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit, New York. The resort was born in 1869. What a wonderful time our family had.  Our children literally grew up in the Catskills at Scott’s.   Playing many shows as well as our own  (with wife, Sharon) were part of my duties. Most recently, the cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselle got to experience the same resort.

Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", speaks in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics' Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Half of this year’s series (2019) were filmed on beautiful Oquaga Lake.

To the right, Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, speaks in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss | Invision/AP)

What fun on those unforgettable summer nights of dancing, singing and shows! Its natural beauty is haunting.

Scott’s Oquaga Lake House, Inc

 Is Traditional Employment Also in our Future?

My wife and I wrote a new opera comique entitled Patra. It certainly is quite traditional. Our models were Bizet’s Carmen and Bernstein’s West Side Story. We will have a full production workshop in New York at Schroon Lake scheduled for September 2019. This will be with the Seagle Music Colony. The Colony is under the artistic direction of Darren Woods and The American Center for New Works Development. Schroon Lake has quite a cultural history. Here is an internal link to this Schroon Lake’s glorious past. It inspired me to write a poem. Share if you wish.

 

Amphitheatre in the Woods at Schroon Lake Park – DSO Works

Traditional employment
Patra’s premiere will also be by Schroon Lake. This picture was from Shakespeare in the Woods at the North end.

Conclusion

What’s the best way to acquire rewarding and long term employment?

  1. Work hard at mastery of your talent or craft.
  2. Then, work with a well establish person, group of people or company.
  3. Happy New Year!

 

Never never sit still

Never Never Sit Still – Be Like the Wind

Never Never Sit Still – Be Like the Wind… I am a location poet. Poetry comes to me only on lakes in upstate New York. Try as I might, it evades me anywhere else. The featured picture on Wikicommons is entitled “A Windy Day by the Sea”. I thought it would best portray wind in a poem given to me by the “Oquaga Lake Spirit.”  Oquaga Lake is in the United States . [1]  It is to found in Broome County  of the state of  New York.

Never never Sit Still is found in this book of poetry.
On certain lakes everyone can feel a special kinship with nature. Oquaga Lake has been my special place.

Never Never Sit Still – the poem

So what is my connection to Oquaga Lake? There is a resort on the lake. It is called Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. I was their house piano player for about 15 years. Their “season” lasted from Memorial Day until Columbus Day. This was almost five months of solid piano employment annually.

Image result for picture of Oquaga Lake on DSOworks
I got to accompany the finest entertainers in show business- The Sgro Brothers and their Harmonicas.

My duties began with the tour around the lake on Scott’s Showboat of Song. This was at about 4:30 pm. Then I would play an afternoon Show. This was followed by the dinner hour, ballroom dancing, up to 2 feature shows and after show dancing. Last dance call was often about 11:30 pm. This assignment was seven days a week. Here are the words of the spirit’s poem- Never never sit still. 

 

Be like the wind to renew:
Circulate and blow through.
Keeping in motion is youth’s potion,
Never, never sit still.

Air that sits in mass
Stifles and doesn’t pass.
It grows stale and makes one pale:
Never, never sit still.

Swamp decays on stillborn days,
The stagnant calls for storm.
Keep the heart pumping
Keep the mind thinking:
Never never sit still.

This poem has numerous hidden meanings and teachings on the subject of breath. They will be covered in future blogs. Below are a couple of internal links about my current employment.

The Oquaga Spirit – DSO Works

Aura Lea: Theme and Variations for piano – DSO Works

Above is a sample of my piano playing at the Gasparilla Inn.  I ‘ll be there for my 10th season this coming year. It was built in 1911 and is in the Department of the Interior’s National Historic Registry> Details in the event link.

Tenth Year Entertaining on the Steinway at the Gasparilla Inn

December 20, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – April 20, 2019 @ 9:00 pm