Today is my one day “off” in relative terms – no concert tonight. Went to Ramay Jr. HS this morning to work with Lewis Clark’s group on Bloom. They sound good – in some respects this might be the hardest of the three pieces happening this week (it has fewer exposed moments than “Dusk,” but is the longest of the three and requires a maturity of phrasing and sense of long-range musical arc that might make it more challenging to really “get inside of.”). There are some of the normal intonation problems (I didn’t make it easy on any ensemble – having all the flutes sustain a Bb for the entire opening is never going to be easy to pull off), but they seem to dig the piece and are with me the whole way on tempo and shape. I’ll get a few more minutes tomorrow morning with them, and then we’re up for the third and final concert of the week!
After lunch with Lewis, we headed over to Holt Middle School, where Dean Coale and Richard Wiseman (missing from yesterday’s picture) were working with the 7th-grade beginner band. I have to say it was amazing to watch them work – 158 7th-graders with instruments/weapons in their hands, and they pulled music and a (at times) steady tempo out of them by sheer willpower. I admire and respect all of the directors here (and everywhere) – you spend an enormous of time and energy in an activity that can best be described as ‘herding cats’ – all so eventually, somewhere down the line, they can make some real music. Your dedication makes what I do possible, and I can’t thank you all enough.
Ok – taking the rest of the day off. More tomorrow, plus pictures of the Ramay group!