Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Turning Point

At the midway point in the Concert Band's tour, we headed back south from Bangor, Maine.  The morning began on a bit of a somber tone, as the news of the downed aircraft outside Libya, and the subsequently rescued airmen, played on the cable news at breakfast.  It was a stark reminder of the operations the Navy Band supports through its public outreach on national concert tours.

Although four inches of snow fell over the course of the night, Maine is far more prepared for inclement weather that might disrupt events at our home in Washington, D.C.  The band left Bangor a bit earlier than usual to take advantage of an early check-in in Portland.  The extra time during our one-night stay in Portland was much appreciated.  The unique shops and restaurants of this harbor town made quite the impression on the band, not least of which were the various seafood restaurants that provided the last opportunity to eat lobster in Maine.  By late afternoon, the employees of the nearby J's Oyster were identifying band members as they arrived for clams, oysters, and lobster.

Our concert last night was at South Portand High School.  South Portland High School has a history of hosting military ensembles  at their school.  The high school and the community were exceptionally welcoming and gracious.  Once again, we had the opportunity to welcome young local musicians on stage to join us in John Philip Sousa's "Washington Post March."  The spacious auditorium stage also allowed us the opportunity to again feature Musician 1st Class Jason Niehoff on the third movement of "Affirmation" by Andrew Beall.  Audiences are always receptive to the techniques and improvisations of Niehoff's solo.  Chief Musician Tia Wortham continued to endear herself to crowds with her elegant singing of three songs by William Grant Still.

Although we won't have as much time as we'd like to stay in Portland, today did represent our turn home as we make our way through the second half of our tour.  With any luck, the second half will go as successfully and smoothly as the first.

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

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