I had a lot of fun working on a story that delved into the fine art and craft of woodwind reed-making.
Be sure to watch PG photographer Julia Rendleman's excellent video of Pittsburgh Symphony principal contrabassoonist Jim Rodgers demonstrating the reed-making process:
Here are a few things that didn't make it into the piece:
• PSO principal oboist Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida has brought current and former music directors Manfred Honeck and Mariss Jansons, as well as perennial PSO favorite Gianandrea Noseda, into her reed-making "Dungeon," so they can see what it takes to prepare a reed.
• Ms. DeAlmeida's style of reed — along with much of her musical approach — hails from a tradition established by longtime Philadelphia Orchestra oboist and Curtis Institute of Music teacher Marcel Tabuteau.
• Mr. Rodgers has harvested his own cane in California before...talk about commitment to the craft!
• Jack Howell, PSO principal bass clarinetist, wrote a book on bamboo fly-fishing rods, called "The Lovely Reed: An Enthusiast's Guide to Building Bamboo Fly Rods."