Yesterday morning I had the privilege of working on Dusk with the Fayetteville HS Band. Their director, Barry Harper, generously let me have the entire hour to sightread the piece with the group.
There was an audible amount of fear and trepidation when we started, but by the end of the period I could tell the band had begun to get into the piece a bit. I’m not sure whether or not the crazy faces I make when I conduct the huge climax helped or not, but hopefully they got some sense of how big I want that to be.
Now it appears they’ll be programming the piece on their May 9th concert, and have invited me back to conduct, so I think it went over well!
After rehearsal, I was ferried by Richard’s brother-in-law, C.E. (Claud) Askew, the drummer with the USAF Airmen of Note for 20+ years, and who now resides in NW Arkansas, to the neighboring Rogers HS to hear their jazz band rehearse and chat with their director, Dale Marlow. C.E. sat in one kit on one tune, and samba’d our socks off. I completely forgot to take a picture while he was playing, but got one of the band on the next tune:
It was fun to mix up the day with some jazz, and just reminded me how much I want to pen a big band chart one of these days (most likely based around RedLine).
After some lunch, I ended up meeting with Dale Warren and Jeremy Pratchard from the U of A for some coffee and music-talk. I had an espresso, which is only remarkable for the fact that I don’t drink caffeine of any sort, and haven’t for over 12 years. I was sort of wired by the end of the conversation… Enjoyed seeing you guys again – many thanks for the encouragement on the project I mentioned for the coming year…let’s hope it works! Dale – I’m going to hold your feet to the fire about your performance promise! 😉
I want to give a big thank-you to my host, friend, and former Jr. High band director, Richard Wiseman, and to the Fayetteville HS band staff – Barry, Lewis, Brett, Dean, Tom, and Cathy (I think I got that right), and to the entire band – keep up the good work with the program! It’s wonderful to start to do some work here in my home state of Arkansas – thank you for inviting me. I’ll see you all again in May!