After a restful day off, the band returned to concert form last night. Saratoga Springs proved to be a hospitable town on our day off, as we took care of all the things that require a bit more time than we might have on a regular tour day. For many of us, that meant getting haircuts to maintain our standards, doing that last load of laundry or shopping for those essential (or not so essential) items. For others, it was a time to recover from sicknesses that may have crept in over the last two weeks. It was also a welcome opportunity to eat dinner at a normal time, and in a more relaxed manner, since we didn't have a concert in the evening.
Our concert last night was a bit of a trek from Saratoga Springs, as we played in Hudson, N.Y., at the Columbia-Greene Community College. The venue was very welcoming and the crowd was particularly spirited and patriotic. This particular concert took place in the college's gymnasium. It's always an interesting experience to play in a gymnasium, for a couple reasons. For starters, the wall behind the percussion and the mats over the basketball hardwood sometimes makes it even easier to hear your fellow musicians. As you might imagine, that can also lead to the band sounding louder than usual. Spirited tunes like "Russian Sailor's Dance" and "Popcopy" were especially vibrant in the gym tonight.
From the musician's perspective, concerts in the gym also provide the unique experience of being able to see the audience throughout the program. While we are focusing on performing the music, being able to see the audience reactions during and between pieces can be an enlightening and heartening experience. Entertaining and delighting audiences is one of our main goals, and an appreciative crowd makes it that much more worthwhile.
Musician 1st Class Dan Frazelle plays clarinet in the Concert Band.