March 17, 2006
Well, the picture is small (click it, it gets bigger), but yes, it's true, I conducted a band. . . all by my self! Chalk this down as a happy moment for the Snively. Let's start from the beginning, shall we?
Every year my school hosts a band concert for all of the elementary and middles schools that feed into it. That includes the (this year massive) 5th grade beginning band, a band from each middle school that feeds into my school (three), and two bands from my school. 6 bands, one gym, a lot of chairs. This isn't about the chairs though, so we'll skip that part. Remember, there are multiple bands from the schools, so there aren't enough directors to cover them all, so this year our director said that if anybody would like to try out that they could conduct a band in the combined closer. Combined closer=everybody in the gym (400ish) playing the same song at the same time. Well, I haven't mentioned this in my blog yet, but I wanted to be Drum Major SOOOOOOO bad last year that it wasn't even funny. This next year I'm absolutely determined to make it. Any opportunity to conduct and show leadership is one more apple in my basket, so I jumped at the opportunity. About 15 people auditioned for three spots. Most of the people auditioning had no conducting experience and went in fairly unprepared. I, however, attended a Drum Major leadership camp last summer and spent 4 hours a day conducting to such classics as Bohemian Rhapsody and the soundtrack to Crimson Tide. I was fairly confident. My audition went very well, I conducted to a recording of the combined number and our assistant director (who rocks) adjuticated me. His only comments were not to bob to the beat, reach my arms out farther, and turn my hands in a bit. I didn't make any conducting mistakes, I hit all the cues, I changed styles for the snare solos and the slow part, and I nailed the cut-off. Nothing I could have done better really. This was 2 days ago. Today they posted the results and sure enough, I made it! Our two Drum Majors and three of us would be conducting tonight. This may just be me being happy, but the list wasn't in alphabetical order, nor was it in "order of audition" order, and I was at the top. I'll just tell myself that that means I did the best, true or not, it's an ego boost. At the concert our director introduced all of us and we got to stand and bow, and then we went to our respective bands. The other folks went to various middle school bands, but I got picked to conduct the Wind Ensemble, the top group at our school. Yay! So, we conducted the song (see picture, I'm the one in the tux waving his arms around). It went really well and the bands only pulled away from the tempo once, but they caught on to the slower tempo we were giving, so it turned out ok. We finished, stood up, bowed, and everybody clapped.
I have decided that I really enjoy conducting. It's something that's still musical, but so much more rewarding and just plain neat. Leading 50 people and creating live music however you want. . . .haven't you ever been listening to the radio and just wanted the song to speed up just a bit, or slow down and take more time, get louder or softer? Conducting is like the ultimate live and adjustable radio! I hope to conduct more, but I'm not sure when. Our assistant director said he'd tutor me and help me prepare for drum major tryouts so that I stand a better shot. I'll update you on how that goes. That's all for now, ciao!
at 1:05 AM