So on Saturday, May 1st, I had the delightful experience of participating in the Three Rivers Community Band Festival for the fourth year, and my second year being a part of the "Festival Band". I wrote about this last week, and I'm pleased to report that I only messed up half of my vibraphone line, but believe I got the important bits right at least. The recording will reveal just how terrible I really was, so I'm not sure I want to listen to it.
I must say that our band really performed nicely; we rocked Equus, and even though a couple of parts were off a little bit, I don't think anyone noticed and the rest of us were counting like fiends so we were able to recover without a missed step. The Treasurer said that he thought we sounded excellent, although we were lacking a little spirit in Silverado, but I, for one, was chop-exhausted by that time.
I spent the morning rehearsing with Denis Colwell, Professor of Music at Carnegie Mellon University and former conductor of the River City Brass Band, and the rest of the Festival Band. This was quite an experience. Professor Colwell was very relaxed with us; instead of directing us on every little piece of the music, he let the band do its thing and find its sound. We rehearsed large chunks of music rather than tiny pieces, and the best part of the morning was when he told the baritone section "Miss notes if you have to, just give me the feel of the line". They didn't miss the notes, and we got the feel. Amazing what a few words can do!
The other guest bands sounded great, of course. We had the Youngstown Community Concert Band in attendance, and they were a treat. Their sound was very good and solid, and they had a gutsy brass section. I talked with a few of their members afterwards, and they were all very excited to be there, and "it was only an hour and a half drive!" They've got stamina, that's for sure. The Community Band South played Shostakovich's Festive Overture, which always gives me fond memories of cruising down Route 161 in Columbus, Ohio, with the windows rolled down and the music blasting. The West Hills Symphonic Band played a piece I had never heard before, Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna by von Suppé, which was a charming overture to a stage comedy with humorous melodic lines. Of course, there was much more music than this, but I present only the highlights... you should have been there if you wanted the whole show!
There are always CDs produced of the Festival, so in a few months when they're finally produced, perhaps we will be able to post some excerpts.