In almost every field there are ways to poke fun of your colleagues in an innocent way (anyone remember the episode of Seinfeld where they make fun of podiatrists not being "real" doctors?). We have this too in the band, and the easiest instrument to make fun of (in my opinion) is the saxophone. This weekend we celebrated the saxophone by hosting the North American Saxophone Alliance (yes, that's right... NASA). I actually had a lot of fun, all joking aside. We had a guest artist, Claude Delangle, from Paris play with the West Point Concert Band. It was a great experience, he is truly a master of the saxophone and a welcome inspiration to even the non-saxophonists in the group.
Guest Artist Claude Delangle rehearses with the West Point Concert Band at Eisenhower Hall:
Friday night, the concert band performed with Claude Delangle and we also featured the talented saxophonists in our band (MSG Wayne Tice, SFC Brian Broelmann, SFC Chris Rettie, and SSG Stacy Wilson). Stacy performed a concerto for saxophone and band, and she was awesome! We also presented a piece that featured all four saxophonists and illustrates the different scenes of a city.
Saturday night I performed the music of Raymond Scott with Quintette 7, which was a lot of fun. We passed out candy cigarettes in honor of Scott's music (his music was used in tobacco ads). We also had fun dropping balloons and interacting with the audience.
From left to right: SFC Broelmann, SFC Dill, SSG Mather, and SSG Garcia test out the candy cigarettes before the show.
After the concert Saturday, I came home and met my fiancée's brother for the first time. He lives in Barcelona, and was visiting the States to attend a fitness conference. My fiancée is from Brazil and his family does not live here, so it was really nice to meet one of his family members. It was also an interesting visit because his brother was travelling with his business partner who is from Catalonia... so there was a little cultural awareness class in the house this morning. I learned there is a region in Spain where they drop a goat from the top of the church. This is not a joke, and apparently the government tried to ban the event only to have the citizens stage a protest by throwing two goats from the church. Here is a video from Spain's version of PETA showing the event and asking for support to end the tradition. Now that I've shared this with you, you can tell your chain of command that you've done some independent cultural studies over the weekend and to add it to your quarterly evaluations.
We're off to another busy week now at the West Point Band. Next weekend we will perform with a guest conductor. This week's rehearsals will be in preparation for that concert. Have a great week everyone, and I will talk to you again soon!