19 April 2016

Music - #100DayProject - Day 019

I am a believer in music. I have played instruments since age 8 and continue to play instruments to this day. I have played in many different bands ranging from jazz ensembles and symphonic bands in schools to rock bands trying to live the dream. In fact, I will be performing this coming Friday in a very special concert for a dear friend and former collegiate level band director at his final symphonic band concert as director of bands at Dixie State University here in Southern Utah. Maestro Gary Caldwell will be retiring from his position as director of bands at DSU after 37 years and he has invited back as many alumni to join in the fun as possible, hence my involvement.

Jud Burkett at The Spectrum wrote an excellent piece about Caldwell's retirement and I love the following quote from Gary:

“We’re doing one big final blowout,” Caldwell said. “We’re bringing back a bunch of alumni -- we’ll feature student music compositions and soloists and we’ll be putting the emphasis on present and former students.”

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
I really am excited to be taking part in this amazing opportunity, but I am a little hesitant because I haven't played in a high-quality symphonic band since I was in college back in the early 2000s. Plus, there will definitely be something different about this coming experience as I will be playing an instrument I have NEVER played before; I will be playing the Contra Bass Clarinet. What, you're not familiar with the Contra Bass Clarinet? Here's an image to help you out. Notice just how large that instrument is. Now imagine what it's like to try and transport it from DSU to my home in my Nissan Sentra. Can you imagine it yet? No. How about a few pictures to help you out.

My trusty Nissan Sentra
View from the trunk.

Notice the passenger seat is all the way forward!
The back seat had to come down and it barely made it through the gap.
Looking back from the drivers seat.
The case standing on end. I'm 6 feet tall.

Pretty big, huh? Now it shouldn't be totally new for me since I have actually played the Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and Alto Clarinet in my time as a musician, not to mention Bass Guitar and even Tenor and Baritone Saxophone. But even though all of those instruments, minus the bass guitar, are played using the same fingerings, they are all played differently in the mouth. I'll be sure to report back after the concert on Friday night and may even be able to post a link to the audio or video of the concert.

I want to wish Maestro Caldwell a happy retirement as well as thank him for the many years of mentorship and friendship. Gary is an incredible musician and I'm glad he'll stick around as the conductor of the Southwest Symphony for a few more years yet.

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