Tag Archives: band

Interlochen Day 5 (Chuck)

Four days.  That is the thought running through my head this evening. I cannot even to begin to adequately describe what I saw and heard this evening.

Tonight the various classes and small groups had a chance to show what they accomplished this week.  We had four days to prepare and present music that we first saw Monday.  Individuals from all across the country jelled into a group, from the Intermediate Clarinets – where several members first picked up their instruments a year or so ago – to the Advanced Jazz Band, that could rival any big band in the nation.

Every group was practically flawless, and every band member proud of what they accomplished.  The evening held a few surprises. The Conch Shell Class did a great job on “Amazing Grace” and who would have thought you could get melodic sounds out of shells like those heard on “Ain’t She Sweet”?

One of the highlights of the Advanced Big Band performance was watching Greg Pope, the drummer from our band in Canton reading the lead sheets. Greg played with some of the Motown greats when he was a youngster, but never learned to read music. Tonight, he was practically sight-reading.  Watching him this week was like watching a kid in a candy store. The week at Interlochen was a dream come true for him.

Tomorrow morning, the Intermediate and Advanced Bands will perform.  It will almost be like a graduation.   We’ll be playing music that we stumbled over Sunday night; that after Tuesday evening’s rehearsal we all walked away shaking our heads thinking we had only two more days to get it right.

Four Days!!!! Four days to accomplish something that most bands spend weeks or even months to perfect. We were strutting our stuff tonight, and we were all proud.

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Interlochen, Day 3 (Chuck)

I took my first stab at conducting this afternoon, did ok on preparing the group for the downbeat and release. However once I was finished conducting part of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony in 2/4 time there was a nice pile of firewood for the meeting room.

It’s still an informative class and former Wayne State professor Joe Labuta does a good job of teaching.  Joeis also director of the Saline, Michigan New Horizons Band.  It’s just another chance to put a face and meet some of the legends of Detroit’s music history as well as some of the best band teachers around the country.

Some of the music we have been playing is starting to come together. The saxophone ensemble has been working on Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll”, a great version of “Jeri co” and an “Amazing Grace” arrangement that gives each individual in the group a chance at the lead.

The Intermediate Band has been supplemented the last couple of nights by members of the Advanced Band, which has helped a lot. I’m finding myself keeping up with the “more experienced” players. I even held my own with a solo on a version of the Shaker Dance.  The Tango (La Comparsita) is coming along nicely the St. Louis Blues. I’m not sure what part I’ll end up with since I’ve played both first and second, I ended up doing the sax solo during the sectional.  We are also starting to get a feel for  Sousa’s Northern Pines March.

Another full day of music, more tired lips, the night’s finale, 1812 Overture, running thr0ugh my head, the good news is we all finished at the same time.

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Interlochen, Day 2 (Chuck)

Today was the first full day of band camp. In many ways it was a feeling of back to school. The beautiful campus at the Interlochen Center for the arts, people scurrying in all directions heading to class, instead of a backpack of books, instruments in hand, folks getting to know each other during meal time in the cafeteria. I’ve met midlife musicians from California, Montana, Florida, North Carolina, as well as members of New Horizons Bands from around the state.  They all have pretty much the same story, they either played when they were younger and  began playing again after 30 or even 40 years, or decided it was something they wanted to do after they retired.  Many of them have been only playing a couple of years, and a few have attended several camps each time coming away learning something new.

Bears statue at Interlochen

This statue of a mother and baby bear is a favorite meet-up point at Interlochen.

I’m taking a fairly basic schedule this week: there is a saxophone ensemble class first thing in the morning. There are six of us in the class, two are good, the rest of us are fairly green, but we manage to get through the music without too many major mistakes.  The Intermediate Band is fairly small, the woodwind section is fairly green (there were two alto’s at the sectional rehearsal) but with practice I think we will sound okay at our concert Friday morning.

After the morning sessions, I need to rest my lip a bit, lunch, and a free period. Today was spent in one of the practice huts working on Intermediate Band music. Tomorrow may be used to work on technique for the only afternoon class I have, beginning conducting.  Gotta work on what comes after the downbeat.

Other courses being offered this week include, conch shell  playing, introduction to percussion for wind players and a class that seems a bit intriguing, “Way Back and Far Out”…(Bach and after Beethoven). There is also a strolling band class, and classes on jazz styles.

Then there is dinner and another chance to meet my fellow campers, and an evening session for the Intermediate and Advanced bands. Then maybe a little time to unwind, and maybe a little more practice if the lip holds out.

So far lots of walking, enjoying the wonderful Northern Michigan weather (sunny, highs in the low 70s) and casual conversations with some great people.

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New Beginnings for Aspiring Musicians

Sunday morning.  Slept late.  Groggily pulling myself out of bed, when Chuck sticks a newspaper under my nose.

His picture.  Huge.  In the Farmington Observer and Eccentric. Playing his saxophone with the New Horizons Band. Continue reading

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Motor City Festival of Bands #2

Some of the area’s top community bands are gathering at the Dearborn Center for the Performing Arts again this year, for the Motor City Festival of Bands 2.  The event is taking place Sunday, March 13th at 3:00 p.m. and will feature the Oakland University Brass Band, the Farmington Community Band, the Plymouth Community Band, the Washtenaw Concert Band, and the Motor City Brass Band.

Last year’s festival was spectacular, and this year’s promises to be another great afternoon.

Full details and ticket information are available at http://www.mcbb.org/pdf/MCFB_2011.pdf

 

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Musicians Wanted!

For many, it’s time to get back to the instruments for the fall rehearsal and concert season.  Here’s a couple of options if you are looking for a place where you can dust off your instruments: Continue reading

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New Links!

Thanks to Raymond Murphy from Motor City Brass Band for providing these new additions to our *Places to Play* links: Continue reading

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Band Festival Announced in Southeast Michigan

The Motor City Brass Band distributed a news release today about an upcoming Festival of Bands.   This event does two things I think are important.   It  helps facilitate communication and coordination between different organizations, and it pulls the Detroit Symphony into a leadership role with community and amateur music groups.

Here are the details: Continue reading

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Concert Time!

The last several weeks have seen a large number of community music groups holding concerts.  Continue reading

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