Saturday, June 30, 2007

Patriotic Pops

Wow, Americans really are pretty patriotic. Well, most of them down here anyway! Last night was Cedar Rapids Symphony's Patriotic Pops concert for the "Freedom Festival" in Cedar Rapids. We have nothing like this in Canada. We have outdoor concerts and a few patriotic songs of our own, but nothing on the same scale as the Americans. I've played Stars and Stripes twice in my life, and for the past two concerts I've just sat there on stage listening, as there's no English horn part (I could sight-transpose, but it was the end of the concert and I was happy to watch the fireworks.) A little early for July 4th celebrations maybe, but it was a really fun concert! Lots of old-timers in the audience, and it was fun to look out while the orchestra played an old sing-along--of course, I only knew one or two songs...well, the melodies, not even the words--and watch dozens of people (the ones I could see from the stage) singing all the songs! One guy in the front row in particular looked like he was really belting them out! (Outdoor concert--I couldn't hear the audience at all--good thing too, as the clapping out of rhythm could easily throw an orchestra off.) My favourite moment (besides the fireworks--really awesome actually) was when Tim (our conductor) had all the servicemen and women stand during one medley of armed forces tunes whenever their particular tune came up. I just didn't see any Coast Guard people stand up. You'd think there'd be land-locked Iowa. For all the other branches though, it seemed like half the audience was standing at one point or another. Wow!

In the first half, I had one solo for 10 seconds, and no more playing for the entire half. That's always fun! It was an outdoor concert, but the weather was beautiful--overcast but not cold and not even a breeze! (We musicians get so worried playing our instruments outside--English horns and oboes are not marching band instruments!...espcially our nice wooden ones.) No instrument problems though. And...drum roll...rrrrrrrr....rrrreeds were fine! I won't say great because I ended up playing an English horn reed I played two concerts ago...I think in February?! It's been that sporadic for CRSO concerts this Spring. None of my new reeds worked, so this one decided to jump out of the case and onto my bocal without a word of protest.

As many times as I've played the 1812 Overture, I still love playing that English horn/flute duet in the middle. Pomp and canons? Pshaw! The duet is the best part of the piece! And it always seems to come out of nowhere. Does anyone know? Is it a folk tune of sorts? What was Tchaikovsky going for there?

Thanks for all the encouragement with the reeds. I'll still need it as I don't think a February reed will cut it much longer.

Some photos:

Me, Dave and Laura (friend from Minneapolis passing through on her way to Texas) pre-concert

CRSO playing against a pretty sunset.

Totally unrelated to music, our cat Fanny today. That is one huge cat. She is so long! She'll be as tall as me soon!

Happy Anniversary to my darling husband, Dave!! I love you! :)

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