A strange weekend for me for sure, but an amazing one. I drove to Charlotte, NC on Friday to play with the Brass Spectacular (Pics will be up up on the website soon), which is a pick up band used as a benefit to raise funds to start a music conservatory in Charlotte for at risk children. After checking into the hotel and catching the shuttle to the rehearsal, we started playing. There were several players missing, mostly because of delays with the airlines for the group joining us from overseas. There were several players from the Kirkintilloch Band in Scotland, including half the bass section, 2/3 of the tenors and the Eb sop. even with some holes, the band sounded really good Friday night. Upon arriving back at the hotel, the overseas travels were settling in at the bar, so I got a chance to talk to meet them. They were all very nice and brought a great attitude with them, even after a long flight.
Saturday was the long rehearsal day, close to eight hours of rehearsal. With the entire band in place, and a full bass section, it got even better. So now the make up of the band is players from the Kirkintilloch Band, Fountain City Brass Band, various Salvation Army Bands, and a few others thrown into the mix. Almost all of the players play in a brass band regularly, and knew how to do it at the highest levels, so it sounded amazing right from the start. After the long day of rehearsals, we went to dinner at the Army headquarters and had a fire/power outage light show that was neato. Back to the hotel for some rest. I went to my room and crashed. I was worn out.
Sunday had an early start. We played the morning service at Calvary Church in Charlotte, which is the largest I have ever seen. The service went well and the congregation was huge, several thousand. They say they can fit ten thousand in the sanctuary. We did William Himes arrangement of Amazing Grace, and since Himes was there for the event, he conducted it, which was really cool. Himes narrated the evening concert, and was very funny. I enjoyed listening to his stories in between tunes. The hall for the evening show was really nice, and perfect size for a brass band concert. We played all Salvation Army tunes with a variety of styles, from the jazzy to the serious art music. Some of the tunes were down right hard to play, but we handled them very well. The band was tight, soft, loud, and very loud.
A little about some of the players. Steve the Eb sop was simply amazing, and Allan the Solo tenor Horn was awe inspiring. I truly have never heard a tenor horn played like that. It was unreal how he played… so lyrical, awesome tone, perfect vibrato, and always musical. The basses where terrific. Steve from Houston, TX was on Eb and he played great and was super nice. The Scots were Andy and Dave. Andy has a career path like mine, he teaches and freelances where he can. He has subbed with Scottish National Orchestra which makes him my hero now. I love that Orchestra. I sat next to Dave, a true BBb bass player. He only plays for fun in the band, and was solid as a rock, and hilarious to sit next to. Paul came from England to play tenor horn and was awesome, and I had some nice conversations with him. The Fountain City guys were all awesome as well. Lee Harrelson is funny as well as a monster euph player, and I was sitting right in front of Joe Parisi, the FCBB conductor. We had some good laughs. I enjoyed the entire weekend and all of the new people I met. not only that, but i feel like a learned a lot and grew a lot in my brass band education. I will not ever forget this one.