December 4, 2008

Polar Bears and Tailwind: Shenanigans @ District Jazz '08

I got out of school before lunch yesterday and got in a van with the band director and a few other musicians to audition for District Jazz in Youngsville, PA. The ride there was not quite two hours long and involved a lunch stop in Edinboro where we met up with some students from other schools who were auditioning. After lunch we went our separate ways, even though we were really all headed to the same place. Driving there involved much hilarity, discussing random subjects and often making even more random statements that would lead any normal person to believe that we are completely crazy, which is partially true. When we finally got there (and by "there" I mean a school in the middle of nowhere), a fairly large line of people had formed to sign up, and the group of just four from our school looked small in comparison to some of the other schools' groups.

But we fared well. After hanging out in the auditorium while the last few people signed in, they announced which instruments would be auditioning in what room, and directed us to follow a specific person to that room. Me and eleven or twelve other percussionists stood in a classroom while one of the adults who was auditioning us explained what we were going to be asked to do, and described exactly how old and beat up the drumset they had was.

Then we all got sent outside and stood against the wall or sat on the ground waiting for our turn. I was close to the beginning, and the whole thing went very well, the audition piece sounded good to me and I thought I played some fairly convincing rock, swing, and latin beats.

Then there was some waiting to be done. Jake (trumpet player) and I circled the halls a couple times and met up with Demarius (Saxophone player) while everybody else finished. We got a change to meet up with Mrs. Manning (Director) again in order to acquire keys to the van. Once we had those, we could all play cards and eat food while the directors finished tabulating the scores.

The announcing part was the most stressful. They started with band 4, calling names by section. They announced saxes, trumpets, trombones, bass, guitar, drumset....not me. DAMN! Then, "Auxillary percussion, from Meadville...." That WAS me! YYEEAA! We were told earlier that the drummer placed fifth would be given auxillary percussion for all four bands, meaning that five drummers would be accepted in all. I remembered this when they called up my name again for band 3. By now I'm pretty pumped. I'll be getting plenty of music and be able to play with some really great musicians, even if I'm not on a set. Then they announced band 2. "Auxillary Percussion...." Some guy from McClane? WTF??? I was calling shenanigans on that one, for some reason they took another drummer.

It turned out that for some reason, they took six drummers, giving me two bands worth of congas and vibes, and putting me in sixth place. Not to bad, and I must have done something right for them to fit me in anywhere, when I wasn't supposed to get a part based on what was originally said. My trumpet playing friend grabs 3rd chair in band one, and it was an exciting day for all.

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