For the remainder of these posts, I’ve elected to keep them short and sweet. This is mostly because Life has been remarkably busy the last few months, and will continue this way until after Midwest. Consequently, I won’t have as much time to focus on writing articles until January. ( Sometimes Composing and Teaching are full-time jobs in and of themselves, let alone combining the two, as has been the case lately.)
In the First half of October, I was able to see 2 concerts in Anoka MN, aka, the Halloween Capital of the World.
I planned to attend the First concert on 10/7 after seeing a Facebook post from my Friend Heidi, who happens to play horn in the band. Additionally, I have been waiting to see the Lake Wobegone Brass Band since moving to MN, as they have garnered quite a reputation for being excellent. Unfortunately, every opportunity I’ve had to hear them before this was prevented by life getting in the way, as well as a global pandemic. Was the wait worth it though?
This band had amazing dynamic control and a wonderful blend. I could tell that the band is composed of some incredibly accomplished musicians and that they have been playing together for such a long time that they could almost read each other musically during the performance. There were some goosebump worthy moments. My favorite piece though was the ending. They consluded with an arrangement of Macarthur Park which left me singing the lyrics to Jurassic Park, the parody by Weird Al in the parking lot. Maynard Furgason ( or at least his spirit) paid a visit as well, in the form of the Coronet player who nailed those high notes!
At the end of their concert, they shared about a performance that was happening the following weekend that included the conductor and several Brass Band Members, so my S.O. and I decided to attend.
Performance 18 was on 10/14 and was given by the Northern Symphony Orchestra at Anoka High School. Although this one wasn’t as exciting musically for me as the brass band concert, It was still a worthwhile experience. I think that was beacuse all of the composers, although they made an attempt to be inclusive which I appreciate, were long dead. The first half was a bit homogonous in timbre which, as a listener , felt draining . Perhapse placing the Debussy Petite Suite after Fanny Mendellson’s Overature in C Major and opening the second half with Joseph Balogne’s Symphony No.1 in G would have remedied this. However, it was worth the wait to hear the group perform Appalachain Spring by Aaron Copland at the End. The group was definately more awake by the end of the concert!