General Stuff

Liberty Bell

Posted on

While doing some research on youtube for the Liberty Bell March, I came across these gems performed by the Marine Band in Washington DC. No one can play Sousa marches like the President’s Own, especially Semper Fidelis. So, enjoy these awesome videos of the world’s best band. I love how they stand up at the end of each video. Hahaha.

It Begins

Posted on

Rehearsals continue for the quintet today for our upcoming concert on September 6 at Edenton Street UMC in Raleigh.  We are playing a cool concert with brass and organ.  We have rehearsals each morning this week for that, plus I am sure we will have some next week as well.  Info for the concert can be found here…

Triangle Brass Band starts rehearsal for this season tonight.  We are working on a program of  British music like Holst 1st suite, Dambusters, MacArthur Park and much more.  That concert will be September 14 at Bond Park in Cary.  Info for that can be found here…

Its been a busy week of lessons and band rehearsals and the way the schedule is looking, it will be a very busy few months until Christmas.  Summer is over.  Time to get to work.

Band Camp and Other Things

Posted on

The last few weeks have been mostly teaching brass sectionals at marching band camps.  I have been doing this since July 22nd and its been pretty good.  I work with two bands and I am really enjoying working with the kids.  I am excited for the seasons these bands will have as I think we are off to a good start and should be making some really good sounds this year.  I know that as I get older, I get less enthusiastic about marching band, but I am really happy that I am working with these kids, and the other staff people with the two bands.  I do feel it is really easy to work with these people, and it is refreshing in this activity.  I hope they feel the same way towards me.  I know I am a pain in the butt, but I am trying to be more amiable.

On other fronts, I am working out a few school concerts for my brass quintet, the Boylan Bridge Brass.  We are setting aside two weeks right when school starts to go into the school band programs and play chamber music for them, and talk about brass playing.  The quintet has been around for about a year and a half, but we really spent the first few months just rehearsing and getting to know one another.  We are now ready to get out in public and play.  We are really excited to start our new partnership with Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh.  We will be performing many times there during the year, starting with a recital with organ on Friday Sept. 6.  We have plans for starting a brass chamber camp next summer, and will be performing weddings and recitals at several locations.  If you would like us to come to your school and play, let me know.

On the brass band front, I am still looking at programming things, and should go by the shed today and look through the files to see what tunes are there that want to be played this season.  I have a few spots to fill.  I just had a good conversation with another Director about Christmas programming.  Its funny that he is in the same situation I am.  Its tough to program for holiday shows every year and to keep it fresh for the payers and audience.  The rep is a little limiting.  We bumped around some ideas and it is helping me get over the hump a little.

The summer is coming to an end, and it is looking right now to be a very busy fall.  I am excited to be playing the tuba a little more than usual this time of year, and it looks to be getting really jammed from now until Christmas.  Good luck to me in keeping it all together.

Strange Day Already?

Posted on

I am not sure why, but I woke up at 5:30 AM and could not get back to sleep.  I did have a bit of a scratchy throat, which is also strange for this time of year.  I did use the extra time wisely.  I caught up on some TBB Board stuff that I let go too long and I feel bad about.  It’s also been a few days since I put some time in on selecting repertoire for the TBB season.  Here is a little bit about that process…

I am used to planning the entire season out because we did a season long program.  We are doing it differently this year with separate programs for each show.  Now there is not as much pressure to have each concert exactly planned, but for advertising reasons, I still need to have it mostly planned out.  The biggest part of this process for me is just thinking.  I start out with a list of tunes I want to play. This year, I asked band members to give me a list of tunes THEY wanted to play, so that is where I started.  I look at what the different concert venues and audiences might be, and try to fit rep in the appropriate way.  I set it aside for a while and think.  And Listen to youtube and search for things.

Today, I made a huge leap forward in planning the rep.  I went from about 25% to 75% complete.  Thats pretty good for now, and a huge chunk is pretty set.  Top priority right now is getting our first two concerts set, then I can let the rest marinate a little before I have to decide for sure.  This is a fun and creative process, but it gets difficult at times.  I am getting really close to needing to rethink how I program completely.  Not sure what that means right now, but I am going to be working on that all year.

Cadets in Town Rehearsing

Posted on

Your browser does not support the video tag

Your browser does not support the video tag

Your browser does not support the video tag

Your browser does not support the video tag

Your browser does not support the video tag

Your browser does not support the video tag

Dead Zone

Posted on

A big part of my life is working for the Triangle Brass Band.  Until recently, I have been running two brass bands, the Adult band and the Youth band… both bands for the last 5 years and the youth band alone for 8 years before that.  While this particular time of year is very slow work wise, it does afford me the chance to plan the upcoming brass band season.  Although I have already taken care of a lot of the planning for the youth bands for next year (with the help of the new Director, Jesse), there is much to do before November and t is a huge relief to not be the one doing it.  I will have more time to focus on other things like playing the tuba and planning for the adult band.

In a few days I will start up with weeks of marching band camps.  It is always a neat time of year because the work I do in the next month will lay the groundwork for the entire marching band season.  Getting a good start is important to these programs to ensure a smooth season.  While I am working with the brass sections, and teaching some lessons at home, I am also working to put nearly a dozen brass band concerts together.  This will require a substantial amount of literature, and a bit of research to come up with interesting programs for the band and our audiences.

The program the gives me the most trouble…Holiday music!!!  The December Holiday concert is driving me nutzo.  For one, I am not a huge fan of christmas music.  Two, there is only so much music available to do, and we have done it already, so it is hard to keep the interest of the band playing the same stuff from year to year.  Very Limiting!!!  I will get it all figured out, but this is the most challenging show to piece together.

Some of the fun parts are collaborating with soloists, and working with them to find solos they can play with the band.  Over the years, I have to admit, it has been a lot of fun working with the guest artists we have invited to perform with us.  really, its the best thing about this gig.  I am really looking forward to this season as we will feature a local musician who has been on the music scene here in NC for decades, and is one of the most respected trumpet players in NC.  Tim Stewart.  We will also be inviting our good friend Demondrae Thurman in to play with all of the bands.  Demondrae will also be guest conducting the band, showing off more than just his amazing euphonium skills.  I am super excited about working with these guest artists this season.

Anyways, I will be making an effort to update the blog more frequently.  All you folks out there that have missed it…well, it’s back.  I will talk more about the deadness of summer, and the planning process for the brass band in other posts.

New Blog

Posted on

I am advertising french horn player Pam Burleson’s new blog, which looks awesome.  Pam plays in a brass quintet with me and she is awesome.  Horn people should check it out.  Here is the link… HORN BLOG

This is actually a little bit of motivation for me to get more active with my blog.  I have been working on staying way from Facebook.  Even though I think my blog posts automatically show up there, I am not actually posting on FB very often.

One Day More…Enough Said

Posted on

I trade you 1 Nick Jonas for 1 Samantha Barks, then….

This is what Hollywood can produce:

This is what the BEST actually DO:

And the good clips from the 25th have been taken down from youtube because of this monstrosity of a movie…

Brass Concerts

Posted on

It has been a cool, but busy month for brass bands here. First, the TYBB played at the trumpet festival in Greensboro and did a great job. Both Youth Bands just performed at Meymandi over the weekend and presented oneof the best concerts we have done in a really long time. Both bands played really well, and the TYBB was over the top good. I was so proud, and had such a good time making music that night.

This week, the TBB plays a concert Friday night with the NC Saxophone Ensemble at the Cary Arts Center. Andy Smith will play a big solo with the band that is really cool, and I am looking forward to it a lot. Its going to be pretty busy in brass band land for the next few months, about up to July 4th, where we will end our season playing for the fireworks in Downtown Raleigh.

Some other cool things I was involved with include the Wagner NC Opera concert which was simply amazing. I sat half the time with the Wagner Tuben which was surreal for me, as I have never, in all the years, ever played on that side of the stage in that hall. I really had a lot of fun playing that gig. In April I will do Aida with them, and Rite of Spring with NC Symphony in May. Early March will have me playing a week of Kids Concerts, too.

I can already tell that the summer will get here very fast…