Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kickoff

Today is the Fountain City Brass Band's first concert of the season.  Rather like athletic teams, we don't start our year in the "home stadium".  Instead, we're "on the road" in Topeka, roughly an hour or so west of here, on the campus of Washburn University.



In previous years, concerts at Washburn have always been fun to play because the audience is somewhat more sizable than we normally have.  I'm not sure why this would be, unless we do a better job marketing or we're buoyed by the fact that it's a free-will fund raising benefit concert (which charges no admission) for a group that provides health care to the uninsured poor.

On the fun side, the performance today is partially sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.  As an NPR listener, I'm used to hearing their slogan, that they "believe a great nation deserves great art."  It's a small connection, but it still feels important.

This performance also begins the downhill rush to our U.K. tour.  We've got another one (or two?) concerts in October, a blink-or-you'll-miss national contest on November 4, and then a bit more rehearsal before we depart on November 12.    In an effort to stem some of the grumbling about learning a pile of new music, our fearless leader insouciantly mentioned that this year, we weren't learning four concerts back-to-back in quick order (something we'd complained about last year).  Of course, this year we're learning four concerts all at once, so any benefits are purely imagined.

It all stems from trying to do two U.K. contests, two concomitant gala concerts, a smattering of other concerts AND recording a CD:  all this in less than two and a half weeks.  Half of those things can't have the same music as the other half, so we've got to have a deep music folder to make it through.

Today will be the first public showing of one of our three memorized "movement" pieces, where the band stands and moves around into preset shapes.  It's like marching band without the massive amount of space to cover.  We've already had a couple of collisions on the "field" due to trying to fit 25 moving people into a space slightly bigger than a two-car garage. 

Good fun!

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