I have been involved with the TBB ever since I moved to North Carolina in 1999. I played in the band for three years, and I have been directing the youth band for eight years. The Music Director for TBB is moving to Maryland and stepped down, opening that position. The band did a search and I won the search, so starting in August, I will take over as Music Director of the Triangle Brass Band.
When I applied in November, I gave myself about a 1% chance of winning the job, based on the level of talent they had auditioning. They had several really good choices available to them. I went through an interview, then an audition. The interview went pretty well. If was pretty much as I expected it to be, a lot of visionary type questions. I was happy to be invited to audition, and I ended up slotting as the last one to audition. We were given two selections to conduct and rehearse with the band, and an entire Wednesday evening rehearsal to do it. The first selection was Edward Gregson’s Plantagenets, beginning up to rehearsal number 5. We also were to select a tune from this list: Amazing Grace, Nimrod, Colonial Song. I selected Amazing Grace. After the first two candidates auditioned, I was given a score to the rest of Plantagenets and asked to rehearse from there.
The actual audition was last Wednesday and went really well. My plan was to just simply do what I do with a brass band. I listened to Plantagenets on my iPod a lot, and looked over the score to come up with a plan of attack. I started off the rehearsal with my tuning and choral routine, working on listening, balance, tuning and ensemble playing. I did not get too deep into this, but just enough, I thought, for the band to see that I will be working on that element, and how I do it. Then I started at the end of Plantagenets and worked backwards. I did a bit of balance and ensemble things in the music, as well as bringing out important lines. We picked apart the conclusion of the tune for about 45 minutes, and it was fast paced and detailed. There were times when I felt I was asking them to do thing they were not used to doing, mostly dynamically. I thought they adjusted fairly well.
Next, I hit a few pots in Amazing Grace. This is a tune the band plays a hundred times a year. I put a little different spin on the end of it, and then we ran it. No problems there. Next came a question and answer session with the band. I felt I answered their questions well. There was a wide variety of things, some general, and some specific to the band. I explained my vision for the band, and some goals to reach. I made sure to let them know that I can put TBB in a high place on my list of priorities and that I was not really interested in fast, drastic changes that might quickly upset the general order of the band.
Now, why did I win the job? I feel certain that two main things contributed highly to this. One was that I can make TBB a priority and they wanted to see me work for them. The other, was that they saw the growth and quality of the youth bands, and many just decided they wanted that for them. My audition was eight years long, in a manner of speaking. Even six months ago, I don’t think anyone envisioned that I would be the next MD, including me. I certainly did not get here by using the youth bands as a place for advancement. This fell in my lap, surprisingly. I really didn’t think I had a chance to win it until I finished my audition. The band seemed to respond well to what I was doing and it was a positive experience all around. I was very encouraged.
This may or may not be why, but it is what I think made the most contribution to their decision. I look forward to making the Triangle Brass Band, and it’s umbrellaed youth bands , the premiere organization of its kind in the US.