December 17th was a long day. It started with an early morning call for the NC State graduation, then going straight to the return of BRASSMAS right after. We got set up and started registering people at noon so we could be ready for the 1 PM rehearsal. We ended up with just of 90 brass players, mostly school aged, but some adults came to participate. I was really excited about these numbers as it is the first year doing this after a three year break, so I didn’t want the numbers to be huge an tough to manage. Next year I will do more to get a bigger crowd, but this year the numbers were just right.
While registration was going on, I was paring up little kids with youth band members to help them out. There were some 6th and 7th graders that could have struggled a bit with the music, so I set them up with their own personal coaches for the day. This worked out really well, and I think is a big part of why all the kids had a good experience. We did have two really youngkids get frustrated, and I will work on making sure that doesn’t happen again in the future. We will be working to streamline the experience in the future for mass appeal as we grow this. Another cool thing was that we were able to accept payment for registration with credit cads on my iPad. We were also selling tickets to the TBB concert that night as well, which you could do on the iPad.
The rehearsal went by fast a smooth. Jesse and I conducted a couple tunes, and our Guest Artist Ryan Sharp played some and conducted some. After a bit, Ryan gave a clinic and answered some questions, then we did another short rehearsal. Everything went according to plan, and we prepared about 7 or 8 christmas carols to perform. We broke down the room and left it like we found it, and cleared out to head downtown for dinner. I parked at the hall and we walked across the street for dinner. It was nice and relaxing, but I needed a nap. No such luck. Pretty soon it was time to go get set up for the show. I went in to the hall to make sure the stage was set up the way we needed it. It is the first time the TBB has performed on the stage of Fletcher since I took over as music director four years ago. Then it was out front to get things set up for the Brassmas show. The front of house staff at Progress Energy Center was great,a nd took out some chairs for our tuba players to sit in. We hoarded the troops together, and then off we went.
We stood in front of the fountain on the plaza in front of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and serenaded concert goers as they walked in to the hall for the evening shows. There were several options. Nutcracker and Straight, No chaser, as well as the TBB concert. We passed out some flyers about our instrument Fund and played. You could hear it all over the place out there. I hope it was a nice touch to the beginning of the evening for all of the patrons, and added the right touch. It was rather chilly out, so our sacrifice was worth it, I hope.
Then everyone went inside for the TBB concert. The show went really well. The band sounded good and our soloist captivated the audience. It was great to have a big audience for us, and BRASSMAS was a big reason for that. This is looking to be a regular annual event, and I am going to try to make it REALLY BIG. I hope that as it grows, more people find out about the Triangle Brass Band and come to our concerts.
And here is a video of the performance: