Monday, November 30, 2009

Press Clippings from the Tour

2009 Brass in Concert -- The Good, The Bad, and the Downright Odd
"Fountain City had an authentic screamer who played in a manner that didn’t sound like a man extricating a red-hot poker from up his jacksy.

The Brits sounded as if they were auditioning for a part in the next Exorcist horror movie  - it was excruciating."

Concert Review from St. Gilbert's Church, Glasgow

"The dynamic contrasts were excellent and the march allowed Andrew Schwartz on Bass Trombone to show off his impressive sound."

Concert Review from Palmerston Hall, Boscombe

"It is a long way following the Yellow Brick Road in Kansas City to the Salvation Army Hall in Boscombe, but 30 talented musicians made it there last Friday."

The fantastic photographer Ian Clowes took images of FCBB performing in the Brass in Concert gala as well as the subsequent competition.  He was also present and snapping for our Thanksgiving Day clinic at the Royal Northern College of Music with Garry Cutt (director of Foden's, the band who took first at BiC).  Mr. Clowes has put up catalogs of those photos, including the one heading this entry.  All image rights belong to him, naturally. 

Photos from Brass in Concert Gala

Photos from BiC competition

Photos from clinic

Tour's End

A welcome back, both to me and to you.

The Fountain City Brass Band concluded our U.K. tour yesterday with our arrival at KCI airport after 5:00pm.  Like any proper international traveler, I was struggling to stay up until 10:00pm and woke promptly at 4:00am ready for business.  Should take another few days to re-adapt myself to the GMT -6:00 system.

If I were to condense the trip to a single word, it would be phenomenal.  That's an unjust description, however, seeing as there's no way to condense 18 days of experience into a single word that does the layers of the tour any justice.  Luckily, I'm not limited to a single word in the context of this blog, so I'll be unpacking as many different kinds of experience as I can over the next little while.

Let's get some quick bullet points out of the way:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dis-connecting flights

It's right at midnight as I begin writing this.  All my bags are packed.  All the instrument stuff is taken care of.  Passport and money at the ready.  I even have my selected book: "The Portable Atheist".  Incidentally, the "portable" book could be a lot more so: it's about the thickness of the last Harry Potter story.

I think I'm ready.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday night thoughts

I rose bright and early this morning to meet FCBB's director at his day job.  He had graciously outlined his entire schedule for the convenience of me tracking him down and borrowing the four conductor scores to the pieces I lost.  I then hiked over to the university library and installed myself with blank staff paper, one of my favorite pens, and a "comfy" chair designed in the sixties, covered in squeaky S&M-approved vinyl.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

To the victor goes the spoiled

Back in Kansas City.  The headline worth cheering about is that Fountain City pulled off what the brass band news site called "the double hat trick", referring to the group's three years of back-to-back-to-back wins at both major American contests, NABBA and the U.S. Open.

Yet I have a personal shame...

Friday, November 06, 2009

U.S. Open Brass Championship - 2009

Waiting for my last load of laundry to exit the dryer.  In an hour or so, I start the long road trip to St. Charles, IL to compete (along with the Fountain City Brass Band) at the 2009 U.S. Open Brass competition.  First leg of the trip is to drive to Lathrop, a small town in Missouri north and east of Kansas City.  There lives one of my fellow FCBB-ers, and we're to carpool together across Iowa to the FAR western Chicago suburb.

Further details about the competition can be found on their website:

We're contesting against eight other bands, including an international band from Toronto.  Afterwards, we all put on our fancy suits, new FCBB formal ties (used extensively in our upcoming UK tour), and get scandalizingly drunk at the "banquet", conveniently held in a room with copious alcohol.

It's a good time, though.  Good people, too, which makes it certainly easier to play and work hard for the group.  FCBB won the competition in 2007 and 2008 (and won five national contests in a row), so we'll have to see whether or not we can continue our high standards before we board the plane for parts beyond the sea.

More details on Sunday!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Great expectations ... and humble realizations

In each relationship that isn't going to work out, there's a moment that can be clearly identified in hindsight: the apex.  The individual second when the romantic verve bursts the borders and paints a riotous color across the sky.  Inevitably, it is followed by the jerky descent towards aching bitterness and wasted expression of feelings.

At least everything's great before that, eh?