Although our 2011 national concert tour began today, part of my heart is still at home with my wife and two children. It will be a great tour, but a little sad to be away from them for three weeks.
Our first concert was not too far away. After a pleasant drive through Pennsylvania Dutch country, we went to West Reading, Pa., to play in the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The hall was packed with many enthusiastic locals. We played a challenging program that began with an all-brass piece by Giovanni Gabrieli. We also featured singer Chief Musician Tia Wortham in three gorgeous songs by William Grant Still and harpist Chief Musician Emily Dickson in a hauntingly beautiful piece by Claude Debussy.
One of the pleasures of our tour concerts is the collaboration with other groups, such as the local Sea Cadet color guard that presented colors for the national anthem that got us underway tonight. They were very young but were confident with their presentation.
Always amazing, and perhaps especially so in Reading, is the number of veterans who stand up and cheer their respective service songs at the end of our concert when we play our closing piece, “Armed Forces On Parade.”
Chief Musician Stan Curtis plays trumpet in the Concert Band.