Brass Notes #3 by George D’Iorio

Brass Notes #3 by George D’Iorio

This is the third version of Brass Notes, an update for the brass section of the Arbella/Salem Drum Corps Tribute Corps. It is intended to summarize progress to date and provide info on next steps.

We want to thank you for your continuing efforts on this project. Our last two rehearsals in Woburn have been very productive. We completed learning ‘La Fiesta/Celebration Suite’, and also added ‘The Navy Hymn’. Now, as we head down the stretch, we need to ‘clean up’ our performance.

What is the performance level we hope to attain? Ideally, we would be performing similar to how things were played ‘back in the day’. To achieve that we have some work ahead of us. The quick review below describes where we are with the repertoire.

‘Fire on the Water’: This piece is being performed fairly well. Once we are able to practice this with full attendance we will know how close it is to being ready for our audience. A sound file of the full arrangement was sent out recently.

‘Evergreen’: We have made progress on this and it is starting to take shape. More work is needed on expression and dynamics. This work needs to happen with the full ensemble. If you want a ‘clean’ copy of your music to this please let us know.

‘Jubilo’ :We recently digitized the score and distributed the updated music and sound files for this. Some minor changes were made to the low brass parts only affecting a few measures. At our most recent rehearsal this was showing some improvement. More attention is needed on tempo, dynamics, and articulation. We are behind on this but with some ensemble work it could be good. We sent audio files out on March 29th for each individual part and for the full score. There are places where there is sort of a ‘call and answer’ between upper voices and lower voices. If you are having any difficulty with this piece, listen to the sound file of the full score. It might help you understand how your part fits into the overall piece.

‘Yesterday’: This is the piece that is closest to being ‘audience ready’. There is a little more work needed on expression. Once we hear it at a rehearsal with full attendance we’ll be more confident.

‘La Fiesta/Celebration Suite’: This is the most difficult part of our repertoire and it needs a lot of work. In addition to being in 6//8, the tempo is intended to be quick, and there is a tempo change as we switch to 4/4 time that increases the tempo even more. Every section of the brass line is below par in performing this right now. It is being played a bit too slow and quite weak in some sections. We will need to devote significant time to this to have it clean enough to play on May 18th. ‘The Navy Hymn’: Arbella played ‘The Navy Hymn’ in their first year (1976) as part of a patriotic medley for color presentation. The version we are playing is in the same key but rearranged for this group. It adds another nautical piece and is simple. This was taught at the March 30th rehearsal. A sound file of the full arrangement was sent out on April 7th. Some people are having trouble figuring out where they start playing. If you listen to the sound file it should help address that problem.

Next Steps!

We only have 2 full rehearsals remaining – April 13th and May 4th. These rehearsals are critical. We cannot afford to be ‘sweating it out’ at the dress rehearsal on May 17th. We need to be performing the entire repertoire well before that so that the dress rehearsal is just ‘fine tuning’. It is important that people review their parts before rehearsals and we recommend listening to the sound files, as needed.

Needless to say, good attendance at the next two full rehearsals is our best path to performing well as a group. We also have practice sessions every Tuesday, 6:30 – 8:30 in Danvers and everyone is welcome to attend. Of course, these are not a substitute for the full rehearsals. If an entire section (or almost entire section) is interested in a special sectional we can also arrange for that. Talk to people in your section and see if you can pick a date to bring your section together for a special rehearsal. This is especially important for people who have not been able to attend rehearsals lately. Anyone who is missing sheet music or sound files should contact Phil Dennesen ASAP.

The bottom line: We are at a crossroads. What happens in the next few weeks will determine if our performance will be ‘OK’ or ‘really good’. I ask everyone to make an extra effort to attend the next two rehearsals so that we can excel on May 18th. We have the talent. It is crunch time. Let’s unify and heighten our performance together. We can do this!

See you on Saturday!  🙂

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