It is very hard to put into words what playing the oboe means to me. For one thing, I am not as involved with music as I was at one time. My major at Western in Bellingham was music, so during those years I spent many hours every day both studying and playing music. Since then, I have gone on to do many things, including teaching music at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada.
During the PBI years, I met and married my husband - a fine clarinet player. :-) We spent many years in Chile, South America as missionaries. Our only daughter was born there and thinks that she is a Chilena.
Music was always an important part of our ministry, but we did not have time to devote ourselves to music per se.
After we returned to the US, I returned to teaching music for several years. Our travel schedule at this time does not allow me to teach. What I have been able to do is return to actually spending time playing my oboe. About 3 years ago I was able to purchase a new oboe. The one I had served me well, but it has a couple of cracks in the upper joint. It is over 40 years old, now.
I began to look at new oboes to buy, wanting one that at least had a plastic upper joint. I did not want to suffer the disappointment of a cracked oboe again. I looked at Yamaha's instruments, which are very nice. Then, since they come highly recommended at least here in the US, I decided to try out a Fox oboe.
I fell in love with the Fox. It plays freely, which I need. I suffer from asthma, which makes blowing hard at times. Growing up with smokers, and then the years of living in some pretty polluted air took its toll on my lungs. The sound is beautiful. I lose some of the projection of sound that my old oboe had, but at this time, the playing I do is in church with my husband and in a local orchestra which is pretty small. I get lots of complements on how beautiful my playing sounds, so I guess that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Also, I hope to take it with me in Nov. when my husband and I, along with a larger team, go into Cuba for conferences. We would like to play some music. I have been able to help some of the Cuban church musicians that we know with their supply needs. Every time I go to Cuba on a mission trip, I take reeds for the sax and clarinet players, drum sticks for the drummers, and strings for the guitarists. I have also been able to provide a trumpet mouthpiece for one guy, and other repair items for the woodwinds.
My oboe is a Fox 300. The tropical climate may be a bit hard on it, but I know that the climate changes will not crack it.
So, even though music is still more of a sideline in my life now, it is still an important part of my life and ministry. God is good!
As far as reed making goes, I pretty much gave up altogether. I am able to get decent reeds at a low price. Even so, I have a bunch of reeds wrapped and ready to carve on, so maybe I'll go back to making my own reeds - and maybe not.
One fun thing that I got to do this year so far was send a back pack full of oboe supplies and music to a young player in Honduras. I met him through Face Book. It just so happened, in God's providence, that my husband and the new Latin America director of our mission were heading for Honduras to visit our workers there. They would go through the city where this young guy lives.
Since I am not teaching anymore, and since I am not studying oboe anymore either, I had a lot of books and materials just sitting around the condo not being used. I remember how it was being a young player and having a hard time finding music and materials. I had a good teacher, but everything had to be ordered from somewhere far away and was all pretty expensive.
So, I was able to pass on my blessing of ample supplies and music to another oboist just starting out. Isn't God good that way? I am still amazed at how that worked out.