Thursday, March 15, 2012

The view from my practice room window

by Musician 1st Class David Babich

I would never have thought to pack shorts for our Midwest tour, but I definitely needed them yesterday. The past several days have been unseasonably warm with the temperature reaching near 80 degrees yesterday in Evanston, Ill., on Chicago’s north side.

Our hotel is adjacent to Northwestern University’s campus, so I headed over to the music building to get in some practice time. The temperature in the building is still set for winter-time conditions and has not been adjusted for the warmer weather. My saxophone neck strap was soaked through with sweat after an hour and a half of practicing.

I graduated from Northwestern in 2009 and it has been very inspiring to be back at my alma mater. Despite the warm weather, the practice room is calling me louder than the beach. Besides, I can still pretend I’m at the beach because the practice rooms have incredible views of the beach and Lake Michigan. The warm weather coupled with beautiful campus views made for an exhilarating morning.

The Navy Band saxophone section had lunch with Northwestern University saxophone professor, Dr. Frederick Hemke. Dr. Hemke is retiring at the conclusion of this school year after 50 years of teaching at Northwestern. Musician 1st Class Patrick Martin and I both studied with Dr. Hemke, so it was great to reconnect with him and wish him good luck in retirement.

Last night's concert was in Naperville, Ill., about 30 miles west of Chicago. Prior to the concert, the Naperville VFW Post 3873 treated the Navy Band to a remarkable dinner with salad, dinner rolls, roast beef, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cherry cobbler, apricot cobbler, and brownies. The band departed the VFW Post stuffed and headed to our concert site at Wentz Concert Hall at the North Central College. Several notable guests were in attendance including members from Navy Band Great Lakes as well as Vice Adm. Michael Rogers, Commander U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, U.S. 10th Fleet.

About the Author

Musician 1st Class David Babich, originally from Amherst, Ohio, joined the Navy Band in May 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Music in education and saxophone performance, summa cum laude, from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Music in saxophone performance from Northwestern University.

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