Reactions to the 2010 Musical Saw Festival

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of NYC, honored the Musical Saw Festival with the following (click on image to enlarge):

Mayor Bloomberg's proclamation

What musical saw players said about the 8th annual Musical Saw Festival:

Natalia, I had a GREAT time today!Thank you for doing this- I WILL be back next year (and I’d love to perform). I had such a blast at this year’s Musical Saw Festival!! I’ve been practicing the saw every day since the Fest!
Take care, Werner (MD)

Had a blast. Hope to return someday.
All the best,
Henry (CO)

All participating musical saw players
26 musical saw players participated at the 8th NYC Musical saw Festival. Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi Natalia,
just wanted to say, congratulations! I know it took so much to put the festival together, and I think it was a wonderful success. The workshop also was amazing. Thank you for all your work, and I hope you get a break now!
All best,
Tine (NY)

Hey Natalia
I wanted to thank you for organizing such a wonderful festival, we had a great time. I especially like the Ameriklectics, what wonderful compositions and arrangements!
I’m sorry that I couldn’t stay for the workshops, I’m sure there was lots of great knowledge being passed along.
I hope the festival was a success for you as well.
All the best, I’ll see you next year if not before!
Jeff (NY)

Chorus of the Saws
Musical saw players performing in the ‘Chorus of the Saws’. Photographer: Pat Merino

I had a wonderful time at the festival…I’ve been wanting to go for 5 years since I started playing and this is the first time I was able to be in NYC for the summer. You did an amazing job of putting everything together and sharing your beautiful sawing.
Caroline (NY)

Natalia,
The 8th annual saw festival was, as others, a most enjoyable day. I saw it as a day of opportunity in which we had the chance to play or to listen to others play with their diverse styles. I liked meeting like-minded musicians from across the world and the US, and I learned a lot from the workshop where we could talk freely about problems with our own playing, saws, bows, etc. Also, it was enjoyable to walk to a local restaurant there and dine with you, your husband and our saw playing friends. It was a great day! Thank you and your helpers for the efforts you put into arranging a wonderful experience. I look forward to next year’s event.
Best regards,
Stew (PA)

Thank you so much for the opportunity to get to play at the saw yesterday, and thank you for the kind compliments!
Nicole (NY)

All musical saw players playing together
‘Chorus of the Saws’ – all musical saw players playing together. Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi Natalia:
You really did an AWSOME JOB in putting everything together. I enjoyed myself immensly & Stew couldn’t get done thanking me for driving & staying for the workshop & for Dinner.
Sincerely,
Steve (PA)

Hi Natalia,
Thanks for sending me all the information re: the Saw Festival and also inviting me to attend. I also want to thank you for the specific directions you gave. I was able to ride on the train, get out and walk directly to the venue without any problems. That was terrific. It was such a great experience to be there. I had the opportunity to meet you and other Saw players. The workshop was very meaningful and helpful to me. I am sure you recognized how excited I was when I struck my first note. I will be practicing daily so that I can improve my skills on the Saw. So you can expect a few emails from me when I have questions. It was also nice meeting your husband, say hello to him.
Thanks again. Have a great day!
Floyd (WA)

I thought that the Sawfest was terriffic.
Doc George (NY)

Hi Natalia
We really enjoyed this festival and trip.
We are so happy to join you.
We met many wonderful saw players.
Your band was so cool!
That was very exciting.
Hopefully,we wanna join your festival every year.
If next year’s date has been set,please tell me.
The sooner we can get cheaper flight.
Take care,
WooYoung (Japan)

Natalia, what an honor and a joy to have been a part of the saw festival today and to have finally met you and experienced your talent in person. You are an extraordinary person, full of life, love and enthusiasm!
Thank you for creating this event. Thank you for the workshop and the chance to get some great coaching. And thank you for posing for a picture with me!
I am already looking forward to next year’s festival and any other events that may be going on in between now and then. Enjoy the rest of your summer and I look forward to the next time I see you.
Fondly,
Jeff (PA)

I had the best time 2day & can’t wait 4 next year where I will play a solo!
Jenn (NY)

It was such a wonderful experience, thank you for inviting us!
Jeffrey
the Venn Diagrams (NY)

Hi, Natalia. I hope you remember me from the festival and the workshop. I asked you to pose for a photo with me downstairs at the end of the workshop and of course you did!
I have only being playing since March 9, 2010 and was too shy and not confident enough to do a solo in August. Since the festival and the workshop, I have been playing my heart out amost every day. I have improved so dramatically that I cannot wait to register for a solo next summer. I really have YOU to thank for my inspiration…..so thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeff B. (PA)

Musical saw trio
Musical saw trio. Photographer: Pat Merino

Audience reactions:

I loved it Natalia! Your festival was a very happy event. I am sorry I haven’t went sooner.
Heidi Y.

Hey Natalia! Enjoyed the festival. Had a great time yesterday. To finally get to see what I have only read about is an experience I will never forget. Living out here on the island doesn’t give me many chances to see you as much as I would like to which makes each time very special and that I will cherish it for a lifetime. You are a catalyst to a brighter future for N.Y.C. Thank you for everything.
My friend that played the saw with her father’s saw is already planning for the next saw festival. Bravo!!
Bravo Natalia!! You have performed above and beyond all expectations making everyone feel like they were the star of the show. No talent was too small. Again congratulations.
Jeffrey D.

Great Festival !! Enjoyed it very much
Pat M.

Ameriklectic
Ameriklectic – 10 piece band featuring the musical saw. Photographer: Pat Merino

Kudos to Queens Council on the Arts for support of 8th annual NYC Musical Saw Festival: SawLady + gang is amazing
Clyde F.

Hi –
I went to the Saw Festival last weekend and was really inspired to learn to play the saw. Do you have any suggestions on how to get started? The festival was awesome. I’ve seen you play a number of times in the subway and have been very moved each time. It was a great surprise to see that the Festival was taking place and just a couple of blocks from my apartment as well! Thanks for putting it on!
Best,
Charles

Musical saw players playing together
26 musical saw players performing together. Photographer: Harris Graber

Dear Natalia,
Just a word to say that I very much enjoyed the Saw Festival yesterday in Astoria. As a composer I learned a little more about the saw just by listening, especially to the trio at the beginning of the program but also to other parts of the program. I was also pleased to get acquainted with Scott’s work as a composer and arranger– his stuff is first class all the way, a “good listen” and very well put together for the band, including the saw as a lead. Bravo to both of you! (and what hard work to put the whole program on….)
Again, great fun yesterday, and nice to see you and Scott,
Cheers,
Mark G.

Hi Natalia!
just wanted to tell you how much I really appreciated the 2010 Musical Saw Festival. Thanks so much for bringing everyone together. What a wonderful day of such great SAWING!
Cheers!
– Matt

Ameriklectic
Ameriklectic – band with musical saw as the lead instrument. Photographer: Pat Merino

Reactions of musicians who participated in the Musical Saw Festival, who are not musical saw players:

Natalia and Scott,
Thank you for inviting me to participate in the wonderful concert yesterday. I’m very impressed with the high quality of music, and I am one of many who now see the musical saw as a more serious instrument. I’m looking forward to the recording and future projects with AmeriKlectic.
Rob S.

Hi, Natalia:
It was very nice to be part of this festival this year!
Amazing to see so many Saw Players at the same time.
Great for you to have all this media coverage. It’s great motivation and exposure for the Saw Festival.
Congratulations for this successful 8th Annual Saw Festival.
Thanks!
Sandra

Thank you for asking me to play!! I had a GREAT time! Congratulations
Amy

Ameriklectic
Ameriklectic band featuring the musical saw. Photographer: Pat Merino

The Musical Saw Festival was so fun today! Scott Munson’s new group Ameriklectic was amazing!
There were some really good players this year too. Very impressed with the ladies from Japan! I don’t think I ever heard Scott play before. Man his group was good!
Judy

Hey Natalia,
I had a great time at the festival Saturday, and many thanks to you for letting me do my thing on stage. If there’s an audience anywhere on Earth that poem was meant for, it was right there.
Mason G.

Hi Natalia,
I really had a great time playing at the festival.
Cynthia

Chorus of the Saws
The sound of multiple singing saws. Photographer: Pat Merino

Reactions of people who saw the Musical Saw Festival on TV:

Hey, Natalia!
I’m already gathering money so I can go and join you next year!
I saw a report in portuguese television about this year’s festival… I see it all went well! Congratulations once again!
Yours truly
Edgar

Musical Saw Players Reactions to the 2009 Festival

Hello Natalia,
I am glad I was able to meet you in person! I would have come earlier to introduce myself, but you were so busy handling the logistics that I waited for a later opportunity..
WHAT AN EXCITING FESTIVAL!!
The attendance was unbelievable, the interest was on a level that I have not seen even in many professional meetings that I attended in my previous career – everybody willing to learn something new.
The workshop was interesting, congratulations to Adam Wirtzfeld for being able to strike the right combination between theory and practice!
Congratulations for an excellent Festival!
Paul (NY)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi!
What an extraordinary thing you did for us all. Thank you! I am so fired up by the Festival! What a great day. Thank you for making it happen.
Bravo again!
Gregor (NY)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Natalia-
I had a wonderful time and can’t stop talking about it. What a treat to perform with 52 other players. I hope it wasn’t a ‘once in a life time experience’ so we can do it again. I have watched the videos that have been posted to You tube and I look forward to the ‘official’ video.
Thanks for the photos
saw on,
Max (TX)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Hello Natalia,
Congratulations on another great saw festival and organizing a new world record. This festival was a blast. It was great to see familiar faces that I remembered and felt friends with after only being around them for a few hours a year ago. There was such a diversity of playing styles , techniques and aesthetics. It was really inspiring to be around other people who are putting their own stamp on saw playing. The workshop in the afternoon was great not only because of the workshop content but for the opportunity to exchange ideas and information with other sawists. The work shop is really valuable to me.
Thanx again for an amazing job putting the fest together.
Terry “SawTrouble” B. (GA)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Dear Natalia,
Hello. This is Kazu. Thank ou very much for all your dedication for the 7th NYC Musical Saw Festival. It was such a great fun. I enjoyed a lot talking to and with many sawists from different places both inland and overseas.
Congratulation for the success of Guiness record! We have to wait a little more to be accepted by the Guiness record authority, but it’s just a issue of time, I believe.
I would like to attend NYC festival maybe on its 10th anniversary, which is gonna be in 2012!
With warmest regards,
Kazu (JAPAN)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi Natalia,
I did enjoy the festival very much. Everyone was very friendly. For me personally, it was great to hear the Cello/Saw duet from Delicatessen. That was the movie that convinced me to pick up the saw.
-Nathan (NY)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi Natalia and Scott, Just wanted to say thanks for all the work you guys did and it showed for a perfect and well planned fest.
Let us know when videos can be purchased.
Dutch (NJ)

Photographer: Harris Graber

WONDERFUL! I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have been a part of making musical saw history! I loved it all. Congratulations!
Katrina (NY)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Natalia;
My wife and I want to Thank-You for such a wonderful program. This was our first Saw Festival.
We are from Pennsylvania, I came up to you, dressed in a red & white shirt with white pants, and
asked you when the work-shop was going to be.
Sincerely,
Steve (PA)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi, Natalia,
The festival was GREAT! Kudos to you for all you’ve done. Thanks.
I did get to talk with other saw players. Quite a range of experience and approaches to
saw playing, indeed.
Being part of the Guinness record-breaking event was too much fun. Thanks
for all the effort you are putting into this. I’m sure you’ll let us all know when it’s “official.”
In the meantime, thanks for the photos and thanks for the festival.
Regards,
Ivan (PA)

Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi Natalia,
Many thanks for the email and the pictures, I apologize for not writing sooner and telling you what a good time I had.
It really was the high point of my saw playing career and I was the only one that you asked to give a little background.
Tuesday at Rotary I mentioned to the others at my table that I had helped establissh a guiness world record over the weekend and as the scheduled speaker didn’t show up, the asked me to tell them about the festivle which I gladly did and at church on Sunday during the service when our minister decided to play something on his harmonica, I stood up and related about the woman from the TV station asking what our preacher thought about my playing the saw in. church every Sunday and my reply that sometimes he would play along on his harmonica.
It was a great trip.
So I’m looking forward to next year. California is to far away and even though my son in laws parents live just a few miles from Santa Cruise and I stayed with them the one time I went, it didn’t tave the personal feeling of everyone playing a solo thet your festival had. There was some real good saw players at yours and I enjoyed listening to them as well as listening to the beginners. I learned something there.
I’m hoping there will be a video that I can purchase
Thanks for the pictures, I like the one with my mouth open
Best of Everything
John (PA)

Dear Natalia,
you put a massive amount of work into organizing that Saw Festival and I certainly appreciate your effort. May you be well blessed in consequence. I really appreciated your uplifting spirit and positive affirmations throughout the event.
John K. (Canada)

Dear Natalia,
I attended the recent saw festival in NYC. It again was a memorable event, as it was before. The music was inspiring and uplifting; that alone was worth the trip to NYC. It certainly was a once in a lifetime chance to play for the world book of records, and also enjoyable to talk with my fellow saw players afterward. I’m sure, on your part, it was a labor of love to plan that part of the event and to see it actually come about. Thank you. It’s certainly a time that I will never forget. I did find that the comments by Moses about excellence and practice was a lesson that I was able to carry away and reflect upon since then.
Thank you again for planning the festival and for an inspiring day!
Best wishes,
Stewart W. (PA)

Natalia,
Encouragement is a strong medicine.
My grandson Peter and I both had a grand time at the festival. Thank you for organizing it.
Ken (TN)

Natalia,
Thanks for the photo.  I’ll periodically visit the website to see what all you post over time (I haven’t recently).  I had a fine time, and both my wife and I enjoyed the occasion.  I may not have appreciated all the types/style of music played, but I can appreciate the musicianship/musician behind the efforts.  I think my piece was well-enough received (or maybe they just liked the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra).
Thanks for organizing and executing the festival.  It was one of the very pleasant events of my busy summer.
John (PA)

Hi Natalia,
Things are finally settling back down here again after the chaos of preparing for our little tour out east. The saw festival this year was so great–I’m already excited for next year. I’m so glad people enjoyed the workshop. Take care!
Adam (MN)

Hello Natalia,
the saw-festival this year was very nice. I have get so much input, that`s great. Thank you very much for organisation and for all. You work very professionel and I like the way you performed your playing with the musical saw. The bow right up directly to heaven, that is great. Do you have a date for 2010?
I`m very proud to be there. Thank you very much. I know my english is not the best, but please give an answer to me.
Best wishes.
Ralph (Germany)

Hello Natalia!
This is Susan from PA. My sister Janet and I had a marvelous time participating in the 2009 Saw Festival to break the Guinness Book of World Records. I know our dad, who was a saw player, would be very proud of the accomplishments of his girls. We especially enjoyed sharing our harp/saw duet
with all in attendance. Thank you for all your hard work in putting the festival together. We hope to see you next year.
Susan (PA)

Hi Natalia,
Thank you for all the organizing and a great festival! It was a great experience, and wonderful to meet so many sawplayers from around the world. Keep up the great work!
John (IL)

Audience reactions:

Hi Natalia,
What a wonderful event! Thanks for assembling the saw musicians of the world once again!
Thanks again, congratulations on successfully organizing and achieving that new world record, and have a great summer!
Stay gold –
HANDEL

The 18th was, as your festivals always are,….
AWESOME!!!!!!
Setting a world record for the largest saw ensemble in such a big way pretty much made a statement that the saw is alive and well herein the states as a musical instrument. I enjoyed listening to all the wonderful creative expressions and explorations of the musical saw; and simply seeing how people have progressed from the previous year is always inspiring. I still can’t get over how much Dale’s students have grown since last year!
Hope your continuing to have a productive and fun filled week, and may you always find a reason to smile!
The Mad Soundman of AMS Systems

Excellent – it was awesome. I’m sorry we didn’t bring our cameras, but we got there kinda late so not a great vantage point…
Pax

Congratulations on a successful festival! I thought it was a great even and people I saw were buzzing with the excitement of it. I especially enjoyed the “Over the Rainbow” performance.
– Justin

Hi Natalia,
We had a good time in NYC, much to our surprise. The saw festival was definitely the high point! The only thing Kim and I didn’t like about the festival was that we never got to talk with you. Other than that, it was AMAZING, and we hope we can come back next year, too. Thanks so much for all that you do for the musical saw!

Be well,
K & Q (MN)

My friends and landlady went and said it was great! Kudos!
Carol S. (NY)

Musical Saw Players Reactions to the 2008 Festival

Dear Natalia,
It has been 1 1/2 weeks since the saw festival and I’m still excited about having attended it and about participating in the group songs. The day with all its activities was more than I expected. Thank you for putting the festival together. You did an excellent job. Your accompaniment with the vocalist and the musicians in the first part of the program was truly inspiring and is an example of what can be accomplished with the saw. Each of the participants gave me some insight about style of playing and the type of songs that I might attempt to play. I enjoyed talking with other players about their saws, their bows, their cases, their rosins, their books, etc. Each was willing to share information and seemed excited talking about all of that. Although i was unable to stay until the workshop ended, I gained valuable information on how to play better and get improved sound for my saw with using less bow action. Her suggestions for me were useable and have given an immediate positive impact on my playing.
Thank you again for a wonderful day. I will plan to attend again next year.
Best wishes,
Stewart W.
Lebanon, PA

 

hi Natalia……………this is Paul….met you at the festival and played Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring…………………….thanks for a great experience….i realize i am definitely self-taught……….thank you very much; Natalia. Happy Sawing; my friend,
paul k./northeast PA

 

Natalia:
BRAVO!!! The Festival was both entertaining and inspiring. What a wonderful atmosphere. The church really expressed the beauty of the saw as a musical instrument.
You really did a wonderful job.
Bob H.
Cinnaminson, NJ

 

Hey Natalia,
Thanx again for going to all the hard work and effort for putting on this festival. It was so great to finally meet you in person and also be amongst the other saw players. It was a real treat to meet a few like minded players and just talk saw stuff and compare notes with people who have the peculiar interest of the musical saw. I was really impressed at the level of playing by a lot of people and it was cool to see how other people approach it.
I really enjoyed all of your performances especially the collaborations with Scott but I have to admit a weakness for that Satie piece you did. With the handbells it was really enchanting.
I appreciate your kind words about my solo part. I can’t say I’m completely satisfied with what I did but I’m glad I did it. It gave me something to think about.
And thanx also for send the pictures. I guess I need to learn to smile while I’m playing.
We just got home from New York yesterday evening . We drove back by way of friends and relatives in Virginia and North Carolina. After a week and a half of pounding the pavement in New York and sleeping in strange beds followed by three days of driving we were beat. Then I had practice tonight with my band. We have a show this Saturday. So I haven’t had time or energy to download..or is it upload the pictures I took at the fest but they will be coming your way soon.
Thanx once again for the festival,
terry “SawTrouble” b.

 

Hi Natalia:
It was a work of art. I posted a review in my blog. Here’s part:
“BTW, the Saw Festival was a GAS!!! The audience was relatively large for something like this (and responsive), Natalia Paruz (AND Scott Munson) put on a musically interesting and professional event, and I met a bunch of very interesting, eccentric “Sawists” (but with my head, I’ll never remember their names, so if we talked and you see this, drop me a line.)” BTW, I heard the 5th Annual chorus of saws on Youtube, playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, and I can’t wait until somebody posts the 6th Annual so I can compare them! I did speak to the guy who was recording the concert and he said that he would give me a copy of my performance. I would gladly reimburse him for a record of my performance, (lame as it was). Happy sawing!!! Talk to ya…. Doc George

 

Dear Natalia:
This was my first musical saw festival and it was great! It was great because of your super planning and skills of communication. Your directions from Oakland, New Jersey were excellent and I found a parking space only one block from the church. And, the most exciting part was that I met, after 25 years, my first and only musical saw teacher, Moses. Moses looked well and he still plays a great saw. Moses only gave me one lesson but it started me on an enjoyable musical saw past-time. Now, I should take a few lessons from a New Jersey saw player to pick up some sawing techniques. After observing players like Moses , Irving, Nick, and yourself, i am now committed to improving my playing. Again, Natalia, you are to be commended for your effort and coordination in bringing together some great saw players for all of us to enjoy. You and others have encouraged and motivated us to continue playing and improve. Many thanks and God Bless You.
Roger M.
P.S. Your articles and pictures in the Saw Players News has helped me to learn, not only about great saw players throughout the world, but important techniques and hints on how to play. Thanks again.

 

Dear Natalia,
It was fun to see you again today – thanks again for all you do. I heard some comments similar to what I was thinking last year – that because the saw is mostly a self-taught instrument, an occasion like this is one of the only ways many of us see how other people play and negotiate some of the playing “challenges”. It’s fun and instructive to see how others approach the same situations differently, but successfully.
By the way, I arrived late, so I didn’t hear any “beforehand” comments or instructions (I hope it never takes me 2 1/2 hours to get to Astoria again…), and I forgot to ask later about the status of the e-book you mentioned earlier in the season. How is the progress on that? One more thing: I was asking Francoise about something, and I thought I’d ask you also. I’ve been playing around with trying to minimize bow-noise, and one of the things that works for me sometimes is to bow “at speed” (to do a quick bowstroke on the already-vibrating saw) and also use the edge of the bow hairs. Have you worked on this at all and found success? Francoise was saying that it also helps to “play out” and that this can deaccentuate the bow noise in comparison to the full sound. I also prefer a full sound, like in singing, so maybe that is also helping me at the times I’ve been successful in keeping the noise down. What do you think about it all?
Thanks always,
Gregory N.
NJ

Non-Musical Saw Players Participants:

I enjoyed the festival – must say, have never been involved in anything quite like it!
hope yu have a great summer!!!!!
Ilya S.
soprano singer

 

Natalia and Scott,
    I wanted to thank you again for being such wonderful and supportive colleagues! I had a great time performing with you, and look forward to hearing more performances and more new music.
I hope you’ve been having a wonderful and interesting summer, and that all left arms are back to full working order. I’ll keep an ear out for you, and I wish you all the best.
Sincerely,
Seth
bariton singer

Reaction of a person in the audience (not a musical saw player):
WFMU Radio DJ Brownwyn’s list of best 10 things of 2008 featured the NYC Musical Saw Festival as number 2!
“The NYC Musical Saw Festival. I’ll say it again: Hearing Satie’s ‘Gymnopedie’ played by a musical saw and a handbell choir was one of the highpoints of my life. Seriously. The piece for musical saw and Japanese music box by Scott R. Munson was outstanding, too. ”
http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2009/01/pretty-good-the.html