Friday, my brother and I took a quick trip over to Memphis to visit my old friend Mac, and for some BBQ and music at the Beale Street Music Festival (happened to see Bryan Adams and Train, the latter featuring an unexpected keyboard solo using Clavinet run through a “wah” pedal followed by an abrasive-as-hell mono-synth lead patch, which was worth the price of admission alone).
Headed back to Little Rock, repacked, and came up to Fayetteville yesterday afternoon for a laid-back gathering of the school district’s band directors and better halves at Richard and Ginny Wiseman’s house (who also happen to be my wonderful hosts). This was all in preparation for “Band Week 2006” up here, featuring three nights of concerts, with me as guest conductor and composer on all three! This morning, I began the day at Fayetteville High School with Barry Harper’s group, where I worked with the band on Dusk. This is the same band that had sight-read the piece several weeks ago, and while they did a good job with it that morning, it was light-years better now. Props to the horns and low brass for bars 34-35 – they sounded PERFECT – I love that moment, and the balance and blend of that final cluster chord is exactly what I’m looking for. It’s going to be a great concert Tuesday night, and I look forward to refining a few little things at rehearsal tomorrow before we put on the show.
Here’s the back of the band, with me flapping my arms in a good imitation of a conductor:
But first, we have the Woodland Jr. High School band, under the direction of Tom Stout and Cathy Delozier. After the HS rehearsal this morning, I headed over to Woodland to rehearse the 9th-grade band there on Interruption Overture. The band sounded really solid, especially once we worked out who was playing the vibraslap and triangle parts! The big thing I wanted to communicate to them is that this piece is supposed to be FUNNY – it’s got some really goofy moments (see “vibraslap” above), and I think I made it clear that it’s supposed to sound totally ‘over the top.’ I didn’t put a kick drum and brake drum in there for nothing….
I think they’re ready to rock tonight – I know I am!
Here we are after rehearsal. I completely forgot to get a shot of us doing “starburst” formation with “jazz hands”… maybe next time…
So, if you’re in the NW Arkansas area, come out to the Walton Arts Center tonight at 7pm for the concert, and if you can’t make it tonight, tomorrow night (same band-time, same band-channel) will showcase the HS bands, and Thursday night will close out the week with the Ramay Jr. High bands (which I’ll get to meet on Wednesday).
So far, I’ve had a great first day with these bands, and I look forward to the rest of the week!