• This former school is haunted by the ghost of a clarinetist

    The quaintly named Valentine, Nebraska is a small town near the South Dakota border with a population of only a few thousand people. It holds the honors of housing Centennial Hall, Nebraska’s oldest standing school, built in 1897. According to local legend, a student at the school was murdered in Centennial Hall in 1944. The young unnamed girl was a clarinetist, and her friend poisoned her clarinet reed. When the girl put the clarinet in her mouth to play, she died from the poisonous reed. Before the school was converted into a museum, teachers would report seeing a ghostly apparition and feeling a feeling of dread or unease. Now, you…

  • Crypto-musicology books to read this Halloween

    It’s no secret that I enjoy exploring the dark and spooky corners of clarinet and music history, such as the bizarre deaths of historical clarinetists, final resting places of famous clarinetists, or the curse of the yellow clarinet. If you’re looking to discover more strange tales from music history (which I’ve officially dubbed crypto-musicology), here are a few of my favorite books to get you started: Beethoven’s Skull by Tim Rayborn. This book explores the “Dark, Strange, and Fascinating Tales from the World of Classical Music and Beyond.” These are the tales you probably never learned in music history! Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius by Colin Dickey.…

  • Books written by Artie Shaw

    If you’re a clarinetist, you’re probably familiar with the great Artie Shaw. (Even if you’re not a clarinetist, you’re probably familiar with the artistic talents of this incredible musician!) While you probably know about his hits like “Begin the Beguine” and “Frenesi,” you might not know that he was also an accomplished author. Besides clarinet, Shaw was interested in writing, math, and other intellectual hobbies (he was also apparently an expert marksman and fly fisher – who knew?). Here are the published books Artie Shaw wrote during his life: The Trouble with Cinderella: An Outline of Identity (1952) – an autobiographical account of his life, music, and other endeavors I…