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Duluth Days 2 & 3

November 3, 2008 Uncategorized

(posting from a fogged-in Duluth airport, where I await a bus to Minneapolis since my 7am flight (and all flights) in and out of Duluth are not happening…)

The remainder of the weekend here in Duluth was great. Saturday (Day 2) the two High School Honor bands rehearsed in the morning, and we gave the concerts in the afternoon. At the 1pm dress, Rich Mowers (director of the Maroon Band) and I decided I’d conduct Interruption Overture with his group, so went through it a couple of times with them. More for me than for them – I hadn’t looked at the score in a couple of years, so was interesting to remember on the fly. It went great as well as Dusk and MetaMarch with the Gold band. It was quite a new experience for me to take band from first rehearsal all the way through the concert, and in a way, it was the most comfortable conducting gig I’ve ever had. By the time we reached the concert, I knew the band well, and knew where to anticipate problems in performance and how better to fix them on the fly. So, a great experience for me, and they all seemed to enjoy it too!

Day 3: Met the UMD Concert Band for rehearsal at 1pm to go over Dusk and MetaMarch, and then we gave a combined concert with the Symphonic Band doing Suite Dreams again. The Concert Band is big – 80-100 people I believe, so the music was LOUD. They adjusted well (my tempi in Dusk are slow and very fluid, which threw them a little at first, but they adapted quickly), and gave a really nice performance of it, and of course MetaMarch, which is just good fun. The final performance of the weekend was Suite Dreams with the Symphonic Band, and I think this was one of the best conducting and musical experiences I’ve had. I went well on Friday night, but Sunday felt truly extraordinary. They played fantastically well, and this particular hall (Weber Hall) seems perfectly suited for the piece. It’s rather reverberant, but not excessively so, and it can be quite loud and full sounding, which was PERFECT for the big tutti section of Suite Dreams. I can’t wait to get the recording and find out how subjective my memory is, but it felt like a truly great performance. They did a bang-up job on the whole concert, too – they closed with Mackey’s RedLine Tango, which sounded great from backstage (though I was on the other side of the wall from the Piano and percussion, so it sounded like a Piano and Marimba concerto sometimes). The director of bands, Mark Whitlock, sent me out for an additional bow after the whole concert, which meant I came out while they’re still applauding for Mackey’s piece. Kinda felt like I took a bow for RedLine Tango. Which I didn’t mind. 😉

So, a fantastic weekend, conducting 6 of my works with 5 bands in 3 days. This is definitely a record. And I’m happy to let it stay as such – that’s a lot of work!

Now, if I could just get home…