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This is a bit late, I know.  The disease infested teenagers of TYBB I was trapped on a bus with for 5 days won and I earned a nasty cold for all my work with this tour.  It hit me Saturday in Connecticut, but didn’t get too bad until we arrived home Monday evening.  Tuesday was the worst and I am still feeling it as of Thursday morning.  I am tired of this thing already.  I don’t really have time to be sick until summer.   I am in between naps, so…

The tour was a smash hit, in my opinion.  Thursday morning we left for Philadelphia. Other than the hotel seeming to be surprised when we got there, all went smoothly on the trip up.  We ate at a very crowded Golden Corral which for some reason did not comp our bus driver’s meal.  He was a little pissed, but is friends with the owners of the chain here in Raleigh, so he will get justice in the end I feel.  Next we went to see the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center.  Before the show, PO Principal Tubist Carol Jantsch came out and did a fast Q and A with the kids which was neat.  Brahms3 was on the first half.  I was late getting into the hall, so they sat me on the orchestra level.  I am not a big fan of Brahms 3.  The orchestra sounded wondeful, and I was most impressed with the contra bassoon blend with the cello and basses.  The third movement was very nice, but the conductor was bland and unclear creating some ensemble problems at times.  At intermission I moved uo to the nose bleeds wit the band for the second half… Selections form Gotterdamerung.  9 Horns, 3 trumpets, bass trumpet, 4 trombones and tuba.  Enough to keep brass heads happy.  Some ensemble issues caused by the conductor still, but great sound from the orchestra. Verizon Hall is a nice place to see an orchestra.  You can hear everything.  Only problem is it is too quiet.  Everything seems muffled and you get the sense you are not getting the true dynamics.  Great experience to hear this orchestra.  Carol sounds wonderful.

Friday we headed to CT.  It was raining and we couldn’t see anything as we drove across the GW Bridge into NYC.  Check in at the hotel was great… they were ready for us.  The rooms were awesome, and they put me in a huge room.  We headed to Avon HS for our concert, stopping at Boston Market for dinner.  I liked it… we should go there more.  Someone dropped the ball, and the band director there was not prepared at all for us.  There was a building supervisor there that saved the day for us… Casey.  He helped us with everything we needed.  This will get me off on a rant about Band Directors that I am going to skip right now… so we split this first concert with the Hartt School of Music Tuba Ensemble.  They did a nice job on their first performance ever.  We played the second half, for virtually nobody.  There were a few enthusiastic people, though.   I was OK, as we were a little rough that night after not playing at all on Thursday, and traveling a lot in two days.  It was good to blow the kinks out.

Saturday was a split concert with the Classic Brass in Willimantic, CT.  This town has a thing for frogs which is kind of weird.   This concert went very well, and everyone seemed to be impressed.  Classic Brass sounded nice, even though their conductor was out because of a funeral.  TYBB played much better than the previous night, and Ted’s tune was very well received.  Lots of compliments.  Took a while to find a place to eat, but we finally found a place after touring the town of Mystic, CT.  Jamm’s will never be the same.  Back to the hotel to watch the Carolina game… losers!!!

Sunday was the concert with the Coast Guard brass ensemble.  James Jackson laid out a nice spread of treats and snacks for us, and they treated the band really well.   We did a quick sound check and boom, showtime.  The crowd was nice, and very enthusiastic and the band sounded amazing.  We definitely hit our stride.  When we get to play together three days in a row, it gets really good.  Most memorable for me was the ending of Dundonnell.  We absolutely blew that place apart.  The Commander for the Coast Guard Band conducted Washington Grays which was neat.  Great audience reaction at this show.

Bus to Philly, then bus to Raleigh on Monday morning, tour over.  We played three concerts in three days, and got to experience what it is like to play a concert tour, where the only reason we were there was to play music.  James Jackson played a solo with us which we put together in short order and it came of very well each time.  James did a wonderful job helping to set up this tour, and we are eternally thankful to him.  It was very special for me to share this with him.  James an I go back a long way, and I respect him as much as any musician in the business.  He is a class act all the way.  Thank goodness we made it through the weekend without him telling any stories of the old days to the kids in TYBB.

The TYBB is an impressive group of kids.  As usual, we were complimented all weekend on their maturity, behavior, musicianship and sound.  Everywhere we went, we made a good impression.  It is my hope that the members got something positive out of this, and had a good time in the process.  I know I did, and I am paying for it now.

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