I know I have been posting a lot of band stuff lately but it has been our lives lately. School is winding down so band is slowing too although lessons and playing are definitely not! Anyhow, I have been remiss in posting about our kids’ participation in All-County Band for Kanawha County!
Abigail started lessons a few years ago as a younger-than-normal flute student. She had her ups and downs with it initially, but has developed into quite a flutist. Jump ahead to this year, the first year she is actually old enough to play in band. She was ahead of the curve some from experience which set her up well to try out for All-County Band. As I understand it, she was the only 6th grader in the county to make the band and to boot, she made 9th chair out of 22! I am so proud of her and she really stepped up her game. She rose well to the challenge and plays all the time now around the house.
Isaac also made the high school All-County Band for tenor sax. He’s such a funny kid…he did his audition but felt like he didn’t play as well as he had hoped. He was disappointed and never bothered to even look at the list of students who made the band when it was released. By dumb-luck, one of his friends made a comment along the lines of “See you at practice tonight.” He had to query what the friend meant who of course, let him know that he was in the band…the day of the first rehearsal! Isaac had no idea that he had made the band as second chair! Anyhow, he also played very well and I am so proud of his playing as well. Band truly does mean a lot in our house and we enjoy watching the kids develop into really great musicians!
It’s the season of band! Well. it seems like it anyhow. Last night, Isaac played in 2 separate concerts. First, the George Washington High School band played their final concert together as the 2015 band last night. Seniors are hitting the road so this was a nice opportunity for them to get together one last time as a group and play a killer concert.
I think what made it especially nice was that it was outside and that the weather was perfect! We enjoyed their music as always and especially liked the opportunity for a little vitamin D!
Like any good kid, Isaac refused to look up at his parents so I sort of had to sneak a few pics. Meh. I’m good with that. More excellent were the selections they played…of course, it was outside with my cell phone sitting on metal bleachers where kids played and adults shifted about so please excuse the extraneous noises:
After that concert, a number of the high school band members ran over to the middle school which was performing their annual arts showcase. The middle school jazz band director had arranged with a few former-middle-school-jazz-band-now-high-school-band members to return to perform in an alumni jazz band as part of the larger concert…and of course, they were great!
Tonight we celebrate the end of high school band season with a banquet. After that, we have one middle school band concert, a banquet and an end of the year trip. It’s been a little wild around our neck of the woods lately, but I am so proud of my kids in particular and the entire bands in which they both play as well!
It seems like things have been pretty slow around our place lately but we remain busy with stuff…some of the stuff I can identify, while other things are less clearly identified. Anyhow, last weekend, we had the pleasure of hearing Isaac and a small group of his fellow band members play at the Solo and Ensemble ratings at WV State University.
This ratings event is not a head-to-head competition per se, but the bands compete for highest ratings. It is possible for multiple bands to have the highest ratings so no one gets trophies or certificates exactly although I suspect there is a good opportunity for bragging rights involved. Individual students can perform solos and small groups can perform as ensembles. Isaac’s school had a representation in both areas.
We took videos of the two performances in which Isaac was involved. We didn’t have an opportunity to hear other performances as a lot of people shuffle in and out, but I am so proud of these shows and am certain that there was much greatness to be heard from the other groups from our school as well as other schools in the region. I don’t know how many groups played exactly, but I would guess around 50! That’s a beautiful thing, I think, for the arts to be so well represented! Yeah band!
I can’t believe that Isaac is another year older already! All parents say this I know, but I can’t believe he isn’t still the tiny little baby who had such a horrific start. It seems like yesterday we were learning to ride a bike and here he is about to drive a car! Although he has had some issues, he has grown into a fun and wonderful young man of whom I am so very proud!
Last night we heard his Christmas band concert, and it was a thing of beauty! He is the first chair tenor sax player in his concert band which makes me very proud. He loves to play his horn and with a band that can make music like they can, who wouldn’t love it?!
Anyhow, we celebrated Isaac’s birthday among family the other night and had a great time celebrating both Isaac and his uncle who share a birthday. It’s such a fun and wonderful time as they both get into the party and make it a lot of fun for everyone.
I think as much as anything, I was happy to see Isaac, both at his birthday party and at the band concert, just having fun and making people laugh. His name is Hebrew for laughter and he has always been one to make people comfortable and happy through his laughter and sense of humor. He is one of my true joys and I am so proud to be his father!
I love band kids! They are just some of the coolest, non-jerky kids I have ever met. I am especially proud of my band kid and the fact that he recently killed it in the all-county band as well as the all-county jazz band performances. You see, Isaac plays tenor sax and he plays it pretty well. Well enough to earn first chair in both bands!
These kids get together once a week for 2 hours at a time over the course of 6 or 8 weeks to practice. They work very hard and it comes together in a fantastic performance that we enjoyed a few weeks back! Isaac had a number of solos and he did a great job!
He didn’t show too many signs of nervousness (at least until we were getting ready to drive to the performance…maybe a little tension then) and he pressed right through and played so well. I am very proud of course. Take a listen and see what you think. As always, this was recorded on my phone which was somewhat swamped at times by their sound and by random knuckleheads talking, the occasional cough or two and my stomach growling. I still like their sound and hope you enjoy!
It’s been awhile since I have posted anything and I cannot decide if it is because I have the winter blues or if we have been busy or if it is the effects of the water chaos and snow. Speaking of snow, we are covered again and stuck inside with the latest polar blast…like the other 250 million or so people in the country who are affected by it.
Anyhow, one interesting thing we did get into recently was Isaac’s involvement with the Marshall University Honor Band. The Honor Band is an honor for middle school students. Each school’s band director nominates their best students for a one day seminar with the Marshall University School of Music staff. Students from the tri-state area come together in one day and get excellent instruction throughout the day that pinpoints their specific instrument. Later in the evening, the students put on a concert.
What makes this concert especially impressive to me is that the band kids have never seen the music prior to the start of the day. They learn the music and somehow pull together as a group in a single day. It’s amazing but really so awesome to see and hear! So, take a listen if you please…maybe you can forget about the polar vortex and poison water for awhile!
My folks were in town last weekend to watch Abigail play soccer and Isaac’s middle school band play at the high school football game with the high school band. They came in Friday night in time for the football “game”. We had to be to the field an hour early but that meant we got good seats. Unfortunately, we later discovered that those seats were right next to the student section. Perhaps it’s all student sections, and I hate to speak badly of my neighbors, but those kids were real knuckleheads.
Anyhow, Isaac’s middle school band played the Star Spangled Banner and the high school’s fight song (is there only one fight song? It sounded like all fight songs sound) and really sounded pretty good. The middle school band is pretty large and doubled the HS band. They played great together although the student section’s highest ranking idiot corps made it somewhat hard to hear. I called the game a “game” above because it wasn’t really a game. The football team beat the opponent 69 – 9. It wasn’t much fun to watch but then, we came for the band anyhow.
As I said, my parents were here for the weekend. Since our house is in a constant state of construction, they stayed in a nearby hotel…a hotel with a pool. I think the highlight of the visit was the opportunity to swim in a cement pond! The kids and my Mom and I had a great time two nights. We swam and just had a lot of fun. Isaac tried unsuccessfully to dunk me. I threw both kids around the pool and we all got chlorine eyes! That’s swimming pool success!
Both my Mom and I worked as lifeguards in our younger years so we are capable swimmers and we try to teach the kids to swim whenever we can. My mom in particular has taught my kids very well and she helped them refine their strokes this weekend too. Both Isaac and Abigail are becoming much better swimmers and seem to enjoy it. My mom and I both learned in the same water source, 30 years apart. In my hometown, we swim in the outflow from the local Corps of Engineers’ dam.
It’s cold, fast moving, dark water where one learns quickly to sink or swim. I stole a pic of my mom when she was a kid at “the beach” so you can get an idea. My kids are learning in a pool and I am sure it is safer but there is something inspiring about learning to swim in apparently bottomless water. Still, their lessons are going swimmingly and I am so glad that they have learned to swim as well as they have!