Monday, November 12, 2012

America, the Beautiful, Bohemian Rhapsody, and quidditch...

by Musician 1st Class Jennifer Krupa
Tennessee Tech University Trombone Choir
One of the best things about traveling around the country with the Commodores is the opportunity to work with students at local schools. Upon arriving to Cookeville, fellow trombonists Musician 1st Class Dave Perkel, Senior Chief Musician Matt Neff and I headed over to Tennessee Tech University to hang out with the trombone choir under the direction of Dr. Joshua Hauser. After breaking the ice with introductions around the room, we sat in on numerous arrangements by Dr. Hauser. We always like to emphasize listening to as many different styles of music and to play in as many varied musical situations as possible, but we didn't expect to see it in action in the same day.

The rehearsal started with the choir performing a challenging classical arrangement of Bourgeois's Scherzo Funebre. Next "sat in" and played the beautiful ballad "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", the technically challenging Chick Corea's "Spain", an original funky tune "Eu-Phunk", and last but not least Freddie Mercury/Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". I can't say that I've ever played all of those tunes in one rehearsal, but we certainly had fun!!

Quidditch at TTU
After the rehearsal, we walked around the TTU campus taking advantage of the crisp autumn weather. I expected to see a football practice or frisbee golf but instead was surprised to see my first quidditch match (a la Harry Potter). Although on "broomsticks" there was no flying or "golden snitch" to find, but enjoyable none the less.

Next we were drawn to the sounds of the TTU drum line. As we got closer, we saw the familiar faces of the members of the trombone choir (and the rest of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle Marching Band) playing, marching, dancing and running across the field. As we heard them begin rehearsing for their Veterans Day tribute halftime show (which they performed today) we knew we had to stay and check out the whole show. They performed the armed forces tribute and an arrangement based on Carmen Dragon's "America, the Beautiful" while the army reserve unit brought out the American flag. Always an awe-inspiring sight. {see picture and possible video clip}

Back to the music building to hear some jazz! Before our concert, the TTU jazz band (which of course included members of the trombone choir!) performed for the commodores while Rob Holmes led a clinic. I'm so impressed with the versatility of the program and all of the hard work by the students and teachers at Tennessee Tech. We had a great time and look forward to the next visit!

About the Author

Musician 1st Class Jennifer Krupa was born in Connecticut and raised in Hemet, Calif., and joined the Navy Band in 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Florida in 1994, an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School in 2003 and a Master of Music from the University of Maryland in 2010, all in jazz studies. Krupa has performed with Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Wycliffe Gordon Quintet/Sextet, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, and Christian McBride in addition to co-leading her own small group, JLQ.

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