Last week was my birthday and, in the spirit of simplicity, I sent out a single invite through Facebook to my nearest and dearest friends to drop by my place for drinks.
Several drinks into the evening, somebody said “Play us something on the tarógató” and the crowd chanted “Jason, Jason, Jason”. Last year, I had a tarógató hand made for me in Budapest. A tarógató is a Hungarian form of clarinet with a melancholy sound somewhere between an English horn and a soprano saxophone (nothing like a clarinet).
My background is classical music (although I’ve been exploring improvised types such as jazz, blues, and Balkan music in the last few years), so playing spontaneously isn’t something I’m accustomed to. Nonetheless, I had several little ditties to play along with stories of their origins:
- “Kuruc dalok”, a Hungarian recruiting song used to entice young men off to war.
- “Margot Labourez La Vigne”, a humorous medieval French song that admonishes Margot to keep working the vines and to stop flirting with local soldiers.
- An old dance written by none other than King Henry VIII
It’s music performance the way I like it best—warm, intimate, and in the company of friends. There was much cat calling and hilarity too, especially around how Henry VIII could find time to write music whilst chopping off the heads of his wives. “He didn’t chop their heads off himself—someone else did that. That’s how he had time to write music”, one of my friends said.
I was happy that I had a few tunes that I could play (and stories about them) on a moment’s notice. Later, I got thinking about how great it would be to have other “party pieces” ready that describe who I am and what I do. If anyone asks me about what I do as a marketing/technical writer, I should have a story to tell him or her.
Last year, I wrote a winning award application for Webtech Wireless. The fallout from that was a stream of related documents and the CEO saying, “Now, we can now call ourselves an award-winning software company”.
Now, I have a handy one-pager to share about how I helped Webtech Wireless win its first-ever technology award.