Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Composer Heroes

I recently took three JH students to Eastern Illinois University for a truly unique honor band experience. If you want to read/hear about what the students did please visit, Titan Bands Online. This post of more about my experiences during the day.

Honor Band days always begin early, especially when travelling South to EIU. I got up around 4:30 to prepare and then I drove into El Paso to meet my students. We loaded up the van and boy were we a sleepy bunch on the way to Charleston. The students had their IPods going while I just focused on the road and the hum of the old van radio. I really wish the school van had a CD player.

Once we arrived and registered I headed off to Starbucks to play around on my computer. I don't even drink coffee. My addiction really is to technology! I played around on my Blackberry and my laptop for about an hour before heading back to do my favorite honor band activity...listen to the great clinicians teach!

I don't think Dr. Allen could've gotten better clinicians than Pierre LaPlante and Larry Daehn! I have been playing these guys pieces since JH and now I conduct them with my own groups. I know it's dorky, but it was like meeting my favorite movie stars. Well, maybe not quite as exciting as meeting Jenifer Aniston, but that's for a totally different reason! :)
We went to Pizza Hut for lunch then back for more rehearsal. The students even got to hear a chamberworks concert! I especially enjoyed the tuba solo, man that guys fingers were flying! Of course at the end of the afternoon was the concert in the awesome new Doudna Recital Hall. It was really cool to hear my students play in there and judging from conversation on the two hour ride home they thought it was pretty cool too.

Yes, I was the dork asking the composers to take pictures with me. These two men really are composer heroes for the way they craft music for developing bands. Many of their pieces are featured on my favorite CDs, Teaching Music Through Performance. I was honored to get to talk with them and I'm thankful that I have these pictures as memories of a great day.

The pictures are me with both composers(Mr. LaPlante on the upper left and and Mr. Daehn on the lower right).

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