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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Good music should always be played loud!'s LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm
Thursday, January 21st, 2010
1:40 pm
Quick intro.
As I just joined this community, I felt I should at least post a quick introduction.

I started out in music as a cornetist many, many years ago.  Circumstance led me to switch to oboe after a couple of years.  I played oboe throughout my high school and college careers.  For marching band (because oboes "don't march"), I played various instruments including tenor drum, baritone horn, Eb horn, and alto saxophone.  I also played for a time with a community band for a couple of seasons right after high school graduation, and I took organ lessons for a couple of years as a teenager.

Now in my 50's, it's been years, decades really since I've played at all.  I recently came across a very nice used cornet at a very good price.  That got me thinking and reminiscing about my years in band.  I decided to buy the horn.  I'm sure it will take some time to redevelop any respectable level of proficiency, but ultimately I'd like to participate in a brass choir.  I met <lj user="heartnut"/> through another community we have in common, and she suggested I might also look for a local community music group.  While my work schedule is very prohibitive of participation in organized groups of any type, I do hope to eventually find a group that my schedule can accomodate.

All that said (and I know that's quite a ramble for a "quick intro."), I came across this community and thought I'd join.  I'll likely lurk more than post since I'm not currently actively participating in a community band, but may jump in from time to time if I feel I can contribute something to the discussion.

EDIT: to attempt html repair, but not sure if it worked.
         : (

Thursday, January 7th, 2010
10:28 am
ETCB rehearsal 05 Jan 2009
I am a member of the East TN Concert Band.  You can read more about us at www.etcband.org.  

Our regular rehearsals started up again on Tuesday evening.  And I'd forgotten how much I missed Band over the December hiatus.  It was almost an entire month between our last concert and our first rehearsal.  Wow.  And it felt so good to be playing again.  There were so many people back, too... and they all looked relieved to be in a band again.

Current Mood: chipper
Sunday, August 23rd, 2009
5:43 pm
Discussion topic: What is the best Summer Piece for Band?
What is your favorite Band piece to play in the Summertime?

You know that you have one (or two)... that you just love to play, but talking about it with your non-band geek friends just doesn't convey that emotion.

So, you're among friends here: what piece do you look forward to playing each Summer? Be sure you tell us what your instrument is in your comment.

Current Mood: curious
Friday, August 21st, 2009
5:06 pm
Hi, community, we're still here!
I've added heartnut as a maintainer. Let's keep on tooting and honking and perhaps even making music!

Current Mood: awake
Thursday, October 12th, 2006
5:09 pm
Upcoming concerts in Albany, NY
Hi folks . . .

If any of you are going to be in the Albany, NY area next week, we (the Memorial Concert Band of Colonie) are performing two concerts. The first is at Colonie Central High School (our "home" venue) on Wednesday, October 18 at 7:30 pm; the second is at Broadalbin-Perth High School (about 45 minutes west of Albany) on Friday, October 20, also at 7:30 pm.

Our program, among other things, includes selections such as Universal Judgement, Lerner and Lowe in Concert, Belle of Indiana, and others (that I admittedly don't remember right now)!

Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, September 27th, 2006
9:13 am
Help someone in need . . .

This email crossed my inbox yesterday. I know Jayme Rubenstein; he is a fraternity brother from my home chapter of KKΨ (for those of you not in the know, KKΨ is the national honorary band fraternity). I thought it would be appropriate to get the word out (I plan on donating myself). Feel free to do with it as you see fit.


Message begins:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dear Friends,

Our dad, David Rubenstein, is 52-years-old. If things continue as they are, he most likely will not see 55. He has systemic scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease that causes the skin, lungs, and other connective tissues in his body to harden. His lung capacity is 45% and falling.

Until 3 years ago, other patients with advanced systemic scleroderma had all passed away. Now, doctors have learned to use patients' own bone marrow cells to reverse damage and extend their lives. Our dad is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant this coming November.

Our health insurance company has denied coverage for the transplant needed to save his life, considering it is experimental. In order to have the transplant, our family must pay $90,000 to the hospital beforehand and an additional sum of about $50,000 for other expenses related to the transplant and follow-up care. If we do not raise the money, he will lose the appointment, and we lose our Dad.

Fortunately for us, the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) was founded 23 years ago. The NFT is a non-profit organization, which assists transplant patients directly with advocacy and financial support. All of the money donated to the NFT goes directly to pay for transplant-recipient's care.

Here is where you come in. If you would like to get involved, please let us know and we will keep you on an e-mail list to get updates on any fundraisers we have going, and if/when we need any positions filled.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to make a direct donation, here's how:

1) WRITE A CHECK, payable to "Nat'l Foundation for Transplants," memo
line: "MA Bone Marrow Fund." Send to:

National Foundation for Transplants
MA Bone Marrow Fund
P.O. Box 5611
Marlboro, MA 01752

2) PAY BY PHONE. Call the NFT toll-free at 800-489-3863 and specify your credit-card donation is for David Rubenstein's Massachusetts Bone Marrow Fund.

3) NFT is working on setting up a PayPal account specifically for our dad's funds. I will send out an update when that goes into effect.

Every dollar counts! If we manage to overshoot our goal, excess donations will go into the NFT's general fund to help more patients afford this life-saving procedure. Whether you donate or not, please forward this e-mail to all YOUR friends, families, and co-workers. Dollars only come in when the word goes out.

Thank you all for your help and friendship. It means the world to our family the love and support we've been given through this process.

Jayme & Emily Rubenstein
Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
11:27 am
Memorial Band of Colonie
Hi folks . . .

I literally just joined this community, and figured I'd make my presence known. I'm the principal clarinetist for the Memorial Concert Band of Colonie (Colonie is a suburb of Albany, NY). I am a longtime member of various community bands. Nice to see that there's a community out here dedicated to community bands!

I'm also an alumni brother of Kappa Kappa Psi. Any other brothers out here?
12:04 am
Bassoon needed
The Montgomery Village Community Band, in Montgomery Village, MD, desperately needs bassoons. We haven't had any for a couple of years. You don't have to live in Montgomery Village, or even in Montgomery County, to play in the band. During non-rush-hour, it's only 20-25 minutes from VA, and less than 15 minutes north of the Beltway. (Montgomery Village is, in effect, North Gaithersburg.) We have members from everywhere from Baltimore County, to Pennsylvania near Frederick and Hagerstown, to DC, to VA.

Our conductor is Dr. Gordon Bowie, who is also a composer, and who is a terrific music director. Band dues are extremely modest: $20 per year. We play about 9 concerts a year, including some of the largest retirement communities in the country on a regular basis. Rehearsals are Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 9:30, and the next rehearsal is on September 20. (It's that late because we played all through August, and did a concert at Leisure World at the end of August, so we have a couple of weeks off for our "summer" break.)

If you can, please pass this message along to people who are in the right geographic area and might be interested. Interested parties can email me at mvcband at yahoo dot com. Thanks!
Tuesday, September 5th, 2006
11:59 pm
Baltimore Symphonic Band
As of this past evening, spouse and I are members of the Baltimore Symphonic Band, added to our existing list of the Montgomery Village Community Band and the Bel Air Community Band. So now we have rehearsals Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings! (And a shout-out to the Broadway Diner, a 24-hour diner conveniently located on the way home from both the Bel Air rehearsals and the Baltimore ones at Essex Community College!)

Baltimore had spotted me at Maryland COmmunity Band Day last June, and asked me to come play bari sax, since they didn't have one. As it turns out, at least as of the first rehearsal this evening, they don't have a tenor sax this year either. So now a dilemma for me: which to play, which to play. The tenor sax parts are usually more melodic, but the bari is so much fun!

Anyway, if you're somewhere out there in the general area and could get to the eastern side of Baltimore County on Tuesday nights playing one or the other of these saxes, please get in touch with me and I'll give you more info. Whichever one you want to play, I'll play the other.
11:05 pm
East TN Concert Band
Hi, just thought I would join this community band group. I recently joined the ETCB, which is based in Knoxville, TN. You can read up on the group at www.etcband.org.

I'm a newbie, but I jumped at the chance to conduct on our next concert. I've got the baton for Curnow's arrangement of Liberty Fanfare (1986), and I'm having a great time.

So far, I love community band--college band, high school band... they were preparing me for this outlet, I think. So, cheers out to the internet void... Community Band is a great thing.

Current Mood: enthralled
Thursday, August 10th, 2006
12:25 am
You call it nagging; I call it organizing
This evening was the first rehearsal for the 2006-07 season of the Montgomery Village Community Band, and I seem to have been elected band president this year. For the most part, the president of this band doesn't have a whole lot to do other than make announcements each week. The Montgomery Village Foundation provides our budget, the conductor/music director makes all the decisions about what to play and many of the decisions about where to play (the rest of the decisions about where to play are either the MVF or completely ad hoc), and the section leaders do a bunch of the paperwork. But everyone needs a mission, so my mission as band president this year is two-fold: (1) asking the MVF to please put a “Caution: Step Down” sign on the door before someone breaks their neck leaving the building late at night when the parking lot lights are out, and (2) harrassing everybody in the band until they ALL have pencils in their folders.

What, you may ask, does that have to do with musicianship? With playing a band instrument? Well, the first one is obvious: someone with a broken neck, or even just a broken arm, ain't gonna play their instrument too well. Even someone who just turns and sprains their ankle is gonna be crankier than usual, and therefore not play as well. And (2) has a LOT to do with musicianship, especially in a band where more members are over 50 than under, where most people are working at least one full time job all day before coming to band rehearsal, which is to say, we all need a bit of exosomatic memory. When the conductor says let's make that line a crescendo and then a decrescendo - write it in! When we announce that next week's rehearsal is in a different location - write it down! When you miss an accidental - circle it! When someone announces a web site for some musical cause, write it down! It's a lot easier to write stuff down compulsively than it is to grow new neurons to remember more stuff without writing it down!

Exosomatic memory: that's squirrel_magnet's term for PDAs, address books, or even just pencil and paper. For those of you who don't recognize the word, the roots are soma, meaning body, and exo, meaning outside. That is, memory that occurs outside of the inside of your skull.

Current Mood: awake
Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
6:30 pm
Another Sousa day come and gone
As I mentioned last year, in the life of a band musician, Fourth of July is Sousa-till-your-lips-fall-off Day. And indeed, a 4th of July was had by all.
We left the house before 8 a.m. (with me not really awake, needless to say) with the tuba, 2 saxophones, 4 gallons of iced tea, sunscreen, change of polo shirts, and other supplies. Got to Montgomery Village before 9, to drop off the iced tea for the party at the community center and then park the car at the end of the parade, before lining up for the beginning of the parade. Since it was icky hot already, band uniform was relaxed: the usual band embroidered polo shirts, but black shorts allowed rather than slacks, and footwear whatever rather than black socks and shoes. The MVCB parades on two pickup trucks towing two small flatbed trailers; trombones get to sit in the front row of the trailers so that they have enough room for the slides. Bari sax - that's me - gets to sit on the right hand side of a trailer with only a couple of seats in that row, instead of 3, so that there's room to the side of the seat for the horn; barring the presence of a contrabassoon (which doesn't happen a whole lot in concert bands anyway, let alone at outdoor parades), the bari sax certainly takes up the most room to one side of the player of any wind instrument normally in a band. The other seat in my row was taken up by a leftover trombone who sorta played off to the left side in order to have enough room. The 3 alto saxes were two rows in front of us; the row in front of us was the tenors and a leftover clarinet (the rest in the other trailer). Right in back of that, me, a bass trombone, and then the row in back of us, three tubas. I think it was a pretty novel experience for the poor clarinet player, who does not usually have quite that much bass :) blasting right in back of him... Anyway, we played the same 2 marches - National Emblem and an R.B.Hall, "Tenth Regiment," over and over. The two trailers actually paraded side by side, so that everyone in the band could see our conductor and play at the same speed and take the same endings, a novel experience!

Once we got to the end of the parade, about 10:40, we quickly unloaded our stands and chairs to set up for the concert, which was mercifully under a large tent/awning/whatever you call those large sideless tents. However, it had gotten even hotter, so the shade was only minimal help. The conductor on the podium had his head brushing the lower edge of the awning. Anyway, once the awards for parade floats and costumes were given out, we started up and played for an hour or so - maybe a little over, and a little too long, given that we had run through the ice water provided for us already in the interval between the parade and the concert! We played through some of those marches awfully damn fast, trying to get through it!

After the concert, we headed over to the Stedwick Community Center for the band party - both an end of season party, and a goodbye party for the oboe player who's moving back to Italy. Double reed players not being thick on the ground, this is a real loss! Anyway, we went through about 20 pizzas, zillions of salads, lots of desserts, a few short speeches, and great enjoyment of iced drinks and air conditioning. Then spouse and I changed from our Montgomery Village polo shirts to our Bel Air polo shirts, and headed out for the 80 mile drive from there to Bel Air.

We got to Bel Air at about 4:15 - rather early - and sat in the parking lot of the staging area watching the pouring rain. However, by 5:00 the rain had cleared, and the decision to go ahead was on! So spouse dropped me and instruments by the side, drove off to park at the end of the parade and then walk back (again). The Bel Air band uses a very large flatbed trailer, and decorates it with bunting and flags and stuff. It's also a very TALL trailer, requiring a 6-foot ladder for people to climb into the bed. A neat trick for the larger instruments - requires quite a bit of help and cooperation. In that band, I play tenor sax, so at least it was a little less weight. Also in that band, the saxes sit right at the front, facing back toward everyone else. We had a reduced sax section - two altos and me - so we got to play forte most of the time. For this one, we did "Americans We" and "Semper Fi" over and over - a longer parade, lots more repeats. (More politicians. More stop and wait. Bigger audience, too.)

Once we got to the end, at the high school, we actually had nearly an hour before the concert start time. So people were able to drink lots more ice water, buy hot dogs from the vendors, etc. Also, to look at the music - which we needed to do, because we were flying blind! The band rehearses Monday nights, and we were supposed to rehearse all this music the night before the concert. However, someone on the school board seemed to have forgotten that they had promised us the use of Bel Air HS for the rest of the season, and we were locked out. So we had tried going over to the band shell - but couldn't use that, because all the chairs that are normally there had been taken out and moved over to the high school for the next morning's pancake breakfast! After some attempts at alternate arrangements, we had to give up. So, we came to the concert with some of the new people having never seen much of the music, especially those pieces from the "ceremonial folder" that happened to be alternates for the ones we played last year. Of course everybody in a band can play "Armed Forces Salute"* and "Stars & Stripes" with no rehearsals, but some other pieces... Well, let's just say that we hit a few snags in performance, and there were at least 2 occasions where the drums and tubas played rhythm for a couple measures and nobody else played much of anything until we approached a recognizable double bar or rehearsal number and could regroup. Interesting. All's well that ends well, and we timed the ending of "Stars & Stripes" for one of the biggest bursts of fireworks, quite spectacular.

Spouse and I, along with several other band musicians, did not stay for the rest of the fireworks - we did our best to get out of there before the crowds, so that we didn't have to spend 45 minutes just sitting in the car trying to get to the next intersection. Ate supper at the Broadway diner, got home around midnight, whereupon I fed the chinchillas, showered off the sweat, fell into bed, and asleep, not to awaken until 2 this afternoon. Whew!

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, June 14th, 2006
1:48 am
Maryland Community Band Day
Band Day on Sunday went pretty well! There were 6 bands playing, starting at 1:00. One of the bands was from Delaware, which does not have a whole lot of infrastructure for putting on a band day of its own... So, Columbia, Diamond State from Delaware, Montgomery Village, Bel Air, Olney, and Baltimore, with Baltimore being the host band. Baltimore did a good job of the details: a tent and platform for storing cases and stuff, with people to watch them; quick and efficient changes on setting up chairs and stands for each group; everything starting on time.

The performances were outdoors, at The Avenue at White Marsh, a sort of upscale fake-old-downtown shopping center. The acoustics were better than we were afraid of, although some sound did tend to get lost just going up into thin air - no shell to reflect sound. The shopping center management turned the fountain off so that we didn't have the water sound white-noising out our playing. On the other hand, about midway through the afternoon, every Harley Davidson in a tri-county area decided to use the parking lot around the outside of the center to tune up, and kept it up for a couple of hours. Luckily, Bel Air, at least, is a large enough band to drown them out. I think Bel Air was the largest group there, though I didn't count heads for everything. Being outdoors also meant sunburn - one tends not to realize what odd parts of one's arms and ears get exposed when holding a large instrument, watching a conductor, moving around the clothespins that were holding all the music, etc. (One of the skills they don't teach you in college: how to deal with outdoor music that isn't on marching lyres.)

As far as I could tell, coordination among groups was good enough that there were no duplicates in any of the programs. Of course outdoor music will always be heavy on marches and musical, or Sousa and show tunes if you prefer that alliteration. Montgomery Village did music from "Pirates of the Caribbean" for example, which of course I enjoyed because it's got a couple of genu-wine bari sax solos, played by yours truly. But we also did "March and Procession of Bacchus" by DeLibes, a fairly good transcription. And Bel Air (in which I play tenor rather than bari sax) did music from "The Incredibles" which was great fun, and very popular with the audience - it combines all the cheesiest aspects of Get Smart, James Bond, and Batman. We also did a "Fantasy on 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'" with a piccolo soloist, and frankly, I feel that that was a mistake outdoors; the piccolo was nigh inaudible, even with a microphone, because it was just a mike on a stand placed near her, not one that could be clipped on, and it wasn't that great a mike.

My spouse and I missed Olney, as we went to eat dinner with relatives who had come to hear us play, but we were back in time to hear Baltimore play. They closed things up with some good numbers, including Camphouse's thingy for Rosa Parks (can you tell that I am too lazy to get up and get the exact title, and also going crazy itching at my sunburn?)

I'm not sure about 2007, but Montgomery Village has requested the honor of hosting the event for 2008, and, assuming I'm still alive and kicking, I will be band president for that one. So I am taking notes already to add to the "what to do and how to do it right" list!

Current Mood: chipper
Saturday, May 6th, 2006
11:16 pm
The ACB convention
The Bel Air Community Band played at the Association of Concert Bands convention, in Williamsport, PA, on Friday. S and I took the band bus, along with 40 other members of the band; the rest of the band drove up. It's about a 3 to 4 hour drive from Bel Air to there. The drive up there took 3.5 hours, including a second stop north of Bel Air to pick up some people. Once we got to Williamsport, it took a few minutes to figure out where to unload 40+ people and their musical instruments. We had a rehearsal at 5:15 or so, after a certain amount of confusion about finding the dressing rooms to store our cases, and about rearranging the seating from the previous band's rehearsal.

After the rehearsal, we grabbed some of the inexpensive food they were selling - sandwiches and dessert, mainly - in another part of the hall - and then went to listen to the band that played before us, the Macungie Band, a 150-year-old organization from the town of the same name. They were quite good; they wore spiffy, Sousa-Band-style uniforms. Actually, all the other bands playing at this concert were from PA; we were the only band that came from out-of-state to play. (The attendees were from all over the country.) There was enough time between that concert and ours for everyone to dash from the audience to the dressing room and grab instruments, find bow ties, touch up make-up, etc. We played from 8:15 to 9:15, and if I say so myself, we were good.

No concert is perfect, but this one had very few problems. The main problem, from the point of view of the band members, was that our seating arrangement was almost entirely different from the one we use in rehearsals. The saxophones, all of us, were seated in front of the trumpets, in the center, instead of tenors in front of the trombones, on the conductor's right. (And the bari sax is usually back row, next to the tubas, and the altos are over by the clarinets, on the other side of the french horns from the tenors.) The french horns, instead of sharing a row between the tenor saxes on their left and the alto saxes on their right, were now directly in front of the saxes. This arrangement meant that suddenly I was sitting next to an alto sax, and that pretty much all I could hear was the bass drum and the trumpet section, and couldn't hear the trombones at all. Since one of the ways a band keeps together is to listen to each other, it's a bit unnerving to not be able to hear the parts one expects, and to hear instead parts one has never really been paying attention to before. This led to a bit of confusion in a couple of pieces, where for a few moments some of the brass were a beat off from others, but that happened only for a second, and wasn't really noticeable out in the audience. One other slight problem was that the stage was extremely warm, leading to sweating and uncomfortableness.

One of the pieces we played was by Patrick Burns, and we had Patrick Burns conducting us. That was popular with the audience. The last piece we played was "Joy" by Joseph Curiale, and that has such a catchy tune that as we climbed back on the bus 25 minutes later, most of the band members were still whistling or humming it. Early reports from the audience were positive, and I can't wait to hear the CD.

Current Mood: pleased
Monday, January 9th, 2006
11:44 pm
Free Tuba-Euphonium Conference end of January
The Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 25th through Saturday, Jan. 28th, in VA, at Fort Myer, right near Arlington National Cemetary (that is, it's basically just outside Washington DC). This event is free; if you can't get off work or out of school for the day sessions Thursday and Friday, at least consider the opening concert Wednesday night, and the events on Saturday! Fort Myer is an active Army base, so you will have to go through a security checkpoint to get in; they will ask to see picture ID and to inspect your car, so try to not have any suspicious hunks of metal other than your tuba or euphonium (for the reading sessions open to everyone).

The conference includes reading sessions, recitals, concerts by military groups and by invited guests, an exhibit hall with vendors, and some clinic sessions.

See you there!

Current Mood: musical
11:37 pm
Report on the Navy Band Saxophone Symposium
This is a free event, open to all ages and skill levels, sponsored by the Navy Band, held at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. This was the 29th year of the symposium. It's the first time I've ever been; I had been living in Texas 1500 miles away for the past quarter of a century.

We drove down Saturday morning, not in time for the first concert at 9:00, but got there in time for the 10:00 concert. (The GPS unit I got Spousal Unit as a Solstice present certainly makes it easy to find things; it directed us not only to George Mason U, but even around the inside-campus drives to the precise building!)
Finding the room that the concert was in was a challenge; while most things were taking place on the ground floor, there was one concert room and the vendor room on the third floor, for which one had to follow an unlikely path through basements and up stairs and through doors that looked like fire emergency or janitor-utility doors. The symposium staff were still busy taping up arrows and stuff to help people when we got there.
The concerts by the service band groups were great, of course. The 10:00 concert by the Marine Band Saxophone Quartet was mostly modern music, though - a piece featuring pre-recorded samples of spoken word stuff on a ghetto-blaster, with atonal saxophone accompaniment, for example. Not my cup of tea.

At 11:00 I attended a session on "An Overview to Writing for the Saxophone Section" which was great. Only 4 of us showed up for that, so it was like having an hour-long semi-private lesson in graduate-level arranging. Some of it is reminiscent of the undergraduate stuff I did with counterpoint and figured bass, of all things.

The lunch available in the lobby at noon was, um, edible, I guess. We got down there ahead of the worst of the lines. You'd think that at a conference for people who are going to be playing reed instruments, they'd provide more non-sugar drinks, but all they had was water, regular soda (and not many kinds) and some truly horrible canned diet iced tea.

At 1:00 was the rehearsal for the Community Saxophone Choir. If any of you were there, I was the woman on tenor sharing a stand with the two middle school kids who wouldn't shut up even when the conductor was talking. I kept shushing them, to no avail. It was at this point that we realized some of the serious problems in the printed program, namely, that it didn't list the performance time or place of said Community Choir, so many people didn't know there was an actual performance and couldn't stay for it, since they already had after-supper plans or they had made arrangements to go home at 5:00 and had no way to get back. The main printed schedules in the front cover and back cover of the program also didn't show in any way shape or form the concert of the Navy Band Commodores at 8 pm - if you didn't happen to read through the whole program during the day, and run across the page describing the Commodores, and see that it listed a concert, you would have no way of knowing about it.

The printed program had other problems - inconsistencies between the text schedule in the front cover, the detailed program inside, and the chart/table schedule inside the back cover. We discovered this when the Interservice Sax Ensemble was listed as 2:00 in the front schedule, 1:30 in the back schedule - and actually started at 2:30 as things turned out. By 2:00 pretty much everything was running late, in all sessions. Anyway, the Interservice Sax Ensemble was undoubtedly the best daytime performance of the whole day (excluding the Commodores concert in the evening) in my opinion. They had a bass sax! And a sopranino, played by the guy who had conducted the Community Sax Choir rehearsal.

The vendor room was small and crowded. There were only half a dozen vendors there, the usual suspects. I said hello to a friend who works at L & L Music, in Gaithersburg, which was one of the vendors; stopped to fondle a bass sax on display at the Selmer tables, and bought a new swab for my new used bari from a small table of a vendor who does pad repair and key repair. Whose card I can't find at the moment, so I can't tell you who it was.

At 4:30 we went over to the Grand Tier to hear the last of the College Sax Quartet Series; that was running late too, however, so we were forced to hear the second-to-last, which was playing current music. I have a saying, "Not everything that can be done, should be done" and that certainly applies to writing a piece that makes a saxophone quartet deliberately sound like an atonal bagpipe. The world has more than enough actual bagpipes already, thank you. There were a whole lot of odd squeaks, a total lack of recognizable melody or rhythm, in that piece - "Fantasy Etudes" by William Albright.
When the last quartet of the day, the Norfolk State University Quartet, finally came on, they thankfully did wonderful, traditional, MUSICAL pieces. A Bach fugue, a Handel concerto, a very nice arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue, and a really fun arrangement of Tiger Rag. The quartet wasn't perfect, performance-wise, but they were good, and enthusiastic, and melodic, and we gave them a BIG hand.

Then it was a break for supper; Spousal Unit and I found a Thai place across the street from the university, as did several other people attending the symposium, so when we came back for the Community Sax Choir performance, there was a certain amount of curry-and-lemongrass breath in the crowd. Because the performance time hadn't been in the schedule, and because many of the people at rehearsal were middle-school kids, the number of people who showed up to perform was only about 1/3 the number who had rehearsed. The soprano sax parts were performed on a clarinet and a borrowed soprano, as well as a backup tenor; we did have both baris who had come to rehearsal show up for performance. But the number of tenors, for example, was down from 18 at rehearsal to 7 at the performance. Nonetheless, we all had fun amidst the panic. And if at one point, I was the only person who found the place after the DS and played 2 bars by myself, and at another point the guy I was sharing a stand with was the only person even faintly managing the 16th notes while the rest of us faked it, well, overall we covered everything between us all. We all ended at the same time. Note to conductor, however: next year, do NOT choose pieces with complicated DS's that cross pages, followed by jumps from bar 23 to bar 40 on the DS, followed by jumps across another 40 bars to a coda, when the group playing the piece gets to rehearse them only ONCE and then play them standing up, 3 on a stand, in poor lighting. Not ideal conditions for evoking a good performance. Let's keep it simpler next time, shall we?

The Commodores performance at 8:00 was superb, needless to say. They ran 2 full hours without an intermission. A fabulous group. Although it's a full jazz ensemble, they concentrated more on pieces that featured sax than they might have in a regular performance, and there was a guest bari sax soloist. A wonderful time was had by all.

Note: the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 25th through Saturday, Jan. 28th, also in VA, at Fort Myer, right near Arlington National Cemetary. This event is also free; if you can't get off work or out of school for the day sessions Thursday and Friday, at least consider the opening concert Wednesday night, and the events on Saturday! Fort Myer is an active Army base, so you will have to go through a security checkpoint to get in; bring a driver's license and they may want to inspect your car - they inspect most cars coming in.

Current Mood: cheerful
Friday, November 11th, 2005
9:00 pm
Holiday season concerts
Well, the winter holiday concert season is almost upon us. Who's doing municipal tree-lighting concerts? Toys for Tots or Blue Santa or other toy-collecting concerts? Community Christmas-carol sing-alongs? Post them here! High school/college band concerts where the public is invited are also welcome.
Thursday, August 4th, 2005
7:19 pm
National Community Band
NBA National Community Band 2006

(What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas)

Join a world-class conductor and adult instrumentalists from
around the country who love to make music together in the
National Community Band 2006.

This year we will recreate a John Philip Sousa Concert on the
beautiful campus of UNLV - just blocks away from the famed Las
Vegas Strip. We've got an exciting time planned for you and you
don't want to miss one note. We will have two options for
lodging, one for $60 and the other for $100 per night. The more
expensive one is a bit closer to the Strip, has a small casino
and other amenities than the lesser priced one. I'll have more
details in January in plenty enough time for you to make your
own arrangements.

The NCB2006 rehearsals will begin at 7:00pm on Friday, July 21
and continue Saturday late morning and afternoon, with a dress
rehearsal on Sunday midday and the concert scheduled for 3:00pm
on Sunday July 23, 2006. All rehearsals and the performance
will be held on the campus of the University of Nevada at Las

The conductor of the National Community Band next summer will be
Robert Foster. Bob is Professor of Music, and Assistant Chairman
of the Department of Music and Dance at the University of
Kansas. He is also the conductor of the award winning Lawrence
City Band in Lawrence, Kansas. He served as director of bands at
the University of Kansas from 1971 to August, 2002. I know you
will all enjoy Bob's skill and wit on the podium and the program
that he has selected will certainly be a crowd pleaser.

Everyone is invited to join the National Community Band 2006 and
enjoy the spirit of community music with "SOUSA ON THE STRIP"
under the direction of a world-class conductor. Fill out the
application below and send in your registration fee and enjoy a
weekend of great music making...and other activities associated
with LAS VEGAS:-).

Feel free to share this information with fellow band members in
your local community band.

Gerald Guilbeaux
Chair, NBA National Community Band
"Music is much too important to left entirely in the hands of

Please print application below


July 21-23, 2006 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Registration Fee: $75 made payable to NBA
Conductor - Robert Foster, Former Director of Bands, University
of Kansas
Rehearsals begin at 7:00pm Friday, July 21, 2006
Concert is on Sunday, July 23, 2006 at 3:00pm

Mail $75 check and this application to:

If you wish to be considered for solo or first parts, please
submit a tape demonstrating your playing ability with this
application. Please DO NOT send a tape of your band


REGISTRATION FORM (please print clearly)








NAME OF COMMUNITY BAND__________________________________________

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005
11:02 pm
what a band musician does on 4th of july
Poll #527497 independence day musical cliches

OK, the national anthem is a given, and Stars & Stripes Forever is a given, and the 1812 Overture is for orchestras, not bands. So, other than those, what single piece do you feel most exemplifies playing a band concert for the 4th? That is, you play it every year, and if lightning struck the conductor and the wind blew the music away, you could probably still keep playing the piece just on automatic reflexes.

American Civil War Fantasy
Armed Forces Salute
Carmen Dragon's arrangement of America The Beautiful
that George M. Cohan medley
National Emblem
anybody's variations on Yankee Doodle Dandy
the medley of old-timey tunes, such as Themes Like Old Times
something else (describe below)

If you said "something else" is the piece that most means "4th of July band concert" to you, what piece is it?

So here's what our day was like: leave apt. at 8:00 to make sure we got to Montgomery Village by 9:00, before the streets were closed off. Haul instruments uphill from parking lot to band trucks. Two pickup trucks, each towing small trailer, with a few people in each truck bed and more on each trailer, about 30 altogether doing the parade. Parade actually started at 10 AM. Conductor standing in the truck in front of my trailer, conducting us with a double-belled euphonium. We played "Officer of the Day" and "National Emblem" over and over again for a parade route just over half a mile. Much of the town turned out for parade, and followed it to the end spot, a large park with lots of picnic tables, shade umbrellas, the town pool, etc. - and a band concert which we played from 11 AM to 12:15 without a break. Did I mention that band musicians' lips often feel like they're going to fall off after something like that? The really nice thing is that for the 45 musicians or so (some who weren't on the trucks joined us for the "stage" concert) there was a giant tent which gave us all shade. The band, by the way, is 100% funded by the Montgomery Village Foundation, which is cool. The concert included 2 pieces by our conductor, Gordon Bowie, including one called Carlisle. It was written for teh US Army War College at Carlisle, and includes lots of neat musical references to things in the history of the site and in the day to day operations. And a few marches by R.B.Hall, who happens to be who Dr. Bowie did his grad work on. And a piece called "Instant Concert" by Harold Walters, which is one of the funniest things I've ever played, and even funnier was listening to Gordon trying to say the names of all 30 classical works excerpted in it in one breath - he didn't quite make it, had to take a second breath... When we finished up, and were walking to our cars, lots and lots of people stopped us to say how much they enjoyed it.

Found lunch, took short nap, and headed out again by 4:00 to get to Bel Air by 5:00 PM before they closed off the streets. Parked near band truck, a large flatbed to hold over 40 people on one bed. The saxes turned out to be the front row, facing the clarinets (and behind them, the rest of the band.) Conductor and percussion in the middle of the truck; one flutist and one drum marching on foot alongside, to be able to see the motion of the parade and what groups were still playing. For that parade, we played "Americans We" and "Semper Fidelis" over and over and over and over... longer parade route, and even more people. The state governor attended this one. (I heard that he had attended 4 parades in the course of the day.) He was right behind our truck. Again, what seems like most of the town turned out - estimate was 40,000 people, which is far more than bother to attend parades in Austin, a city 10 times that size. Independence day is a much bigger deal up here in the states that took part in it! (Fort McHenry is in Baltimore. You remember - where Key wrote our national anthem? Yes, that was a slightly later war, but it still counts...)
After that parade, we set up at the high school, and had about an hour and a half break. Among other things, we watched the 11 baby ducks and their mommy who are living in the courtyard of the school. Funny things. Mallard ducks make a noise that sounds a lot more like "squirp" than quack - it's this pitiful little squeeping rather than a loud noise. Anyhoo, the concert was outdoors, first a barbershop ensemble singing a few things, then the band, about 65 people (again, some who hadn't been in the parade.) We did nearly an hour and a half's worth of music, ending with Stars & Stripes Forever just as the fireworks started. Then a huge scramble by the band members to get the heck out of there before the fireworks ended, so as not to get caught in an hour-long traffic jam.

That's what 4th of July is like.

Current Mood: tired
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