Tales from Band Camp III

Another “reading” for the McAllen Symphonic Band on the 22nd of April. I wasn’t as nervous this time around, but I probably should have been. Again I showed up early to help with the chairs and music stands, but they were already prepared (I guess I need to show up an hour early to be able to help with that). I went ahead and got my things setup and did a bit of mouthpiece buzzing and picked my parts out of the stack of trombone music. I also over heard there would be a new trombone player joining us, so I felt a bit more at ease, another newbie to share my jitters with. Well, I was wrong in that department.

The “newbie” turned out to be a band director from Roma High School. Probably the fact that he was carrying an Edwards trombone with a Thayer valve should have tipped me off that this guy was a real player. But I really didn’t realize how good he was until he started doing some warmups. He was breezing through lip slurs that I try to do myself, then hitting pedal tones I could only dream of playing, and following that up with lip trills… maybe I should pack up my horn and go home…. Wow, it was impressive. Then watching him pretty much breeze through every song we sight read, getting the rhythms right, alternative positions, not fluffed notes. I was amazed! And I did not let the moment get by and not learn something from this guy. And I hope to learn more from him in the future. Just hearing and watching him play I can learn things.

Again this “reading” I struggled through, but I think I was able to actually play more music this time. It did help having someone else playing the 2nd trombone part as well (last week I was the lone 2nd trombone player). At this point I think the sight reading is my weakness. Checking the key and time signatures, watching for changes and catching those odd rhythms like dotted 1/8th notes. Luckily I have several method and etude books to practice with at home.

There is no practice next Monday and then we have one more reading on May 6th. Then we break for the rest of May and start up rehearsals for the next on June 3rd.  We have several practices for a concert coming up on the morning of July 4th in Archer Park. It will be so much nicer when I can practice the music before I show up for rehearsal :)