August 19, 2009

Jason Mraz is the man

So I am pretty much an avid concertgoer now. I know my way around Americas stages and stadiums. I went to see Jason Mraz on Monday. Anybody who knows a thing about me knows that I'm real tight with my man Jason. I've known this guy since "The Remedy" first got radio airplay and I have pretty much memorized all of his recorded work since then. The first time I saw him was down the street from my house at Shaffer auditorium at Allegheny College. This time was at the Time Warner Cable Amphitheater in Cleveland, Ohio. With a few friends and a whole bunch of snacks in our "party van", we headed to the city tickets in hand, ready to have a good time. The only major disappointment was that I made the mistake of ordering general admission tickets, which seemed to be a good move at the time based on my prior knowledge of the seating arrangement at TWCA (when I saw the Killers, there were no seats). But alas, they had rearranged the seats to that the people who were generally admitted could only stand in the far back (behind rows of seats) or on the sides, not even under the tent. After being deeply saddened by the situation in the far back, we sought a bit of redemption around the sides, leaning over the fences and looking past the beams and pillars that held the great tent in place. This view was a bit better, quite suitable for the opening acts, but since we paid nearly as much as those with the seats, we generally felt as though we deserved to be a bit more involved in this party. The thing to do was to go around to the other side. And lo!! A gap in the fence did appear!! I was on the inside by the start of his third song, found a seat for myself, and later, the rest of the group. We were practically making small talk and joking around with the guards while they checked others' tickets. The quality of the experience increased dramatically. Jason's energy and enthusiasm was extremely engaging (alliteration!), and of course hearing the music live somehow made me appreciate it even more. With the addition of operatic interludes, lyrics translated into other languages, and freestyle rap (featuring Jason's opening artists K'Naan and G.Love), even the most recognizable of his repertoire became something completely new. Not to mention the brass section that was smokin' all night long! And to top it all off, Jason presented a new view on the customary encore performance, running through the crowd onto a smaller stage in the center of everything, nightclub style. And guess who snuck in to the very front of that little ordeal? Me. Though I was on the very outside, I somehow made a move that got me within a few feet of the man himself without much trouble. It was as if it was meant to be. His final songs were some of the best, and nobody in the audience could doubt that a fantastic time was had by all. So here's to you, Jason Mraz, in the hope that you will continue to make great music and put on unforgettable performances, you are the man.

August 15, 2009

Second week of band camp

I think most of my bandies would agree that the second week of band camp was even more exciting than the first. We got to take the gong and the large concert bass drum onto the field so that we may hit them as hard as we possibly can and create some epic amazingness for the beginning of our show. Then we got to working on the rest of the show. It was impressive how much we got done, at least some days. Other days were not so productive, spending most of the morning on a few sets of our opening song, nobody really focusing or thinking clearly. But for the most part the whole band did very well. By the end of the week our director was very excited about how well the show was going and I think most of us agreed with her. I personally feel that once we get the drumline tightened up and more in sync with the rest of the band, it will be a huge step towards making our show great. Then of course there was the annual band pool party, which was more fun this year than any other year I can remember! Not only was there some great chicken-fight action, plus we threw lots of people into the pool, one of them got nearly three quarters of the way across!! Another one of them happened to be the band director. Everybody was totally worn out the next day, but a fantastic season kick-off party has got to indicate a fantastic season to come.

August 8, 2009

Let the marching begin!!!

So I'm finished rocking out in Los Angels, through gallivanting around the bay area, done being puzzled by classical music in Oberlin, and am now back in Meadville for the remainder of the summer. What happens now? Marching band is what happens, of course. Yesterday marked the last day of the first week of band camp, a five hour a day marching extravaganza in which we aim to finish all of the drill for our show and learn the music along with it. This is often exciting, and never fails to be thoroughly tiring as well. This first week was a serious workout, but we are well on our way to finishing the first two songs and it is all looking good so far. Being the section leader of the drum section, I was especially concerned about how well the line was holding up with so many new people. I am happy to say that we are off to a good start. With much help from drumline guru Duane Banks, we have made it quite far in a week and will keep progressing all season. I am especially excited for next week because so many people have been gone this last week, and they will all hopefully be coming back for the end of band camp. There is no way that we'll pull everything together and make the show look great with nearly half our members missing on a daily basis. This is one problem that the MASH band still needs to overcome this year and in the future. One thing I know for sure is that the entire drumline will be present and ready for action next week, and I can wait to perfect our cadences and learn some sweet moves to put in the show. I know its gonna be big, loud, and rocking!