Last weekend was my first official overnight trip with the band. I went with the woodwind quintet (which I’m in) and the brass quintet, plus our boss (the band officer in charge of Fleet Forces Band). We traveled several hours south to South Carolina, to a little town called Pawley’s Island, which is just south of Myrtle Beach right on the coast. This was a first for me, I’ve never been to South Carolina! We were even able to take a walk on the beach!
The concert consisted of the WWQ playing a program, then a joint piece with the BQ, then the BQ played a program. The venue was pretty nice, it was at a church. It had a beautiful pipe organ that reminded me very much of the organ at CSU. And like most churches, this one was very live! You see, our rooms at the band hall are all very dead sounding or they sound like a bathtub, so it was a little jarring at first. We tried to prepare by rehearsing in one of the practice rooms, which have the virtual room technology. But that was nothing compared to this church!
For our (WWQ) program, we played a Stephen Foster Medley that was arranged by Michael Kibbe, A Bach prelude and fugue (can’t remember which one off the top of my head), Five Easy Dances by Denes Agay, and our one serious piece, Anton Reicha’s Quintet No. 2 (Op. 88). The Reicha has been haunting me for the last month or so! It seems to always get in my head, haha. Plus I had to practice it like crazy, for some reason the clarinet part is really insane compared to the other parts. The joint piece was the Concertino for Wind and Brass Quintets by Robert Washburn, and our boss conducted. That was a great piece to play, I’m glad I got to be a part of it.
We ended up getting a new “oboe” player about two weeks before the trip because our regular one was so unreliable (see my ranting post). I used quotations because our new “oboe” player was actually a clarinetist playing a C clarinet. It is really amazing how much a difference there was by switching out one person. We sounded really awesome, especially on the Reicha. It also helped that we had a lot of time to rehearse.
The audience was something else. They ate it up! I don’t think I’ve ever played for a more enthusiastic crowd. It ended up being a pretty long concert, but they loved every minute of it. And they were so appreciative afterwards! It’s nice to feel appreciated sometimes, especially as a military musician (we never get applause at ceremonies!). I’m really glad to have been a part of the concert.
So next on the agenda for me is to record excerpts for the ICA Orchestral Audition competition. I’m really struggling with the Mahler 7 excerpt, most notably the stupid chromatic run at the end. I just can’t get my fingers to move that fast! ARG. Also, the Brahms 4 excerpt is throwing me…where the crap do I breathe? On the recordings it doesn’t seem like the clarinetist breathes at all. Also ARG. Everything else seems to be falling into place though.
And Friday I’m hoping to make it up to VCU in Richmond for a masterclass by Julie DeRoche! Very excited for that!