Verbal hijinks (or: Concert Review: Crafton)

So Thursday the AWCB played a concert in Crafton, a suburb out west of the city. The concert was well-attended and in an intimate park setting with the audience close to the band and a baseball game going on in the distance. The weather was also absolutely gorgeous.

The venue left something to be desired for a band, though. It was almost like a disembodied piece of a warehouse, with anti-anti-glare stage lighting on either side. (We say anti-anti-glare because the lights pierced both of our anti-glare glasses coatings.) The lighting was distracting and the acoustics were bizarre – Lauren confessed that she could only hear Jon when he was playing above C; anything in the staff was completely inaudible to her, sitting about two feet away from him. Jon confessed to never really listening to anybody, but quickly retracted that in light of Lauren's previous post, and said he could barely hear Lauren and the horn player right in front of him.

The concert – what we could hear of it, anyway – sounded good, with some nice playing on all accounts. The trombone section boasted two amazing verbal solos. One was pre-arranged – a solo “scream” part in an arrangement of Phantom of the Opera that fell to Lauren tonight because no one else would do it. Before the concert, she whispered to Jon, “I was practicing the scream in the car on the way here. I figure it has about a 50/50 chance of coming out as either blood-curdling… or tentacle rape.” (Dear reader, please don’t Google “tentacle rape” if you don’t know what it is. Just take our word for it that it’s not in any possible way an appropriate scream for Phantom.)

By all accounts, the scream was indeed more blood-curdling than tentacle rape, which pleased Lauren immensely.

The other verbal solo was not pre-arranged – well, not really. If you’ve ever played the silly arrangement of tunes called Instant Concert, you know that in the middle there’s a cue for the whole band to go “Ugh!” as sort of a verbal punctuation to a line. (Unfortunately, neither of us know what tune is being played when the "ugh!" happens, so we can't explain how to look for it.) Well, the gentleman in the trombone section who we will call in the most loving way imaginable “Cantankerous Jazzer” (CJ) felt that this percussive verbalism needed “some extra texture”, so he let out with this falsetto fall that started at about two octaves above the rest of the band.

Extra texture indeed! We were lucky that we had rests after that little shenanigan, or else the first trombone line would have been nothing but a bunch of giggles.

So, all in all, it was a successful, fun concert – even if we couldn’t see or hear anything.


  1. The audience seemed to really enjoy it, too- I think that's the first time I've heard anybody clapping along with the marches, although it's often hard to hear the audience from where we are.

    Also also, the Andys (Gregori and Susick) did a really nice job on Chicago, as usual.

  2. And screaming and cheering too! I've never seen folks get so excited about Sousa in my life.