Thursday, March 31, 2011

Go Nittany Lions!

The Concert Band arrived at State College, Pa., yesterday for its penultimate concert. While we've played at a number of colleges and schools on this three-week tour, nothing has been quite like the experience of staying in a hotel right off the campus of Penn State. This vibrant college town was crawling with students going to and from class and patronizing the numerous establishments nearby. Many band members knew of the famous Berkey Creamery on the campus and made their way there to try the ice cream at the historic establishment.

A number of Navy Band musicians used the extra time in the Happy Valley to teach masterclasses and speak to music students at Penn State. These outreach opportunities are part of the Navy Band's mission, and it is always exciting to be able to work with students who are pursuing music professionally and are committed to becoming better performers and teachers. The rather pleasant weather early in the day gave way to snow flurries later, as once again the band found itself in snow, despite April being just two days away.

Last evening's concert took place on campus, as well. The Eisenhower Auditorium at Penn State is a gigantic hall with a capacity of 2,500. The hall was nearly full and the resulting applause sounded tremendous, particularly as the audience called for two encores. The audience reaction at the end of concerts is always appreciated, though it had a bittersweet taste tonight. As our second to last concert, this marked the last performance of one of our two programs. This was especially notable tonight, as it included the solo performance of our longtime bassoonist and vocal soloist Chief Musician Tia Wortham. Wortham will be retiring soon and it was rewarding to see her featured prominently once again on one of our national concert tours.

Musician 1st Class Dan Frazelle plays clarinet in the Concert Band.

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