The weekend was just perfect for me (well except for the hour stuck in traffic in Syracuse yesterday) .. So many beautiful touching heartfelt musical moments, all banging around in my head this morning. I could not fall asleep last night, thinking about all of the wonderful performances. This coupled with such a spirit of camaraderie and fellowship. Very often at sax workshops, day of saxophone, etc. by the end of the first day, I get "saxed-out". Not so this past weekend...I was sad when Sunday ended, and I long for MORE! Wow.
Musically, I will concur with everyone that Harry White's performance was stunning. Such control and command. Chi-town stole my description of his sound. LIQUID. Extended range? What extended range? In White's hands the notes above f sounded as natural as a middle c.
I was really impressed by Jonathan Bergeron's performance of the Elegie et Rondo...One of my favorite pieces...The Elegie performed with such control AND passion, and the Rondo was dynamic and exciting! Bravo, Jonathan! (If you read here Jonathan, I am the fellow who caught you in the hall after the dinner and complimented your performance)
Wows all around to Wildy Zumwalt. His performance on the concerto program was tremendous! Technical execution, beauty of sound and expression, his performance had it all! This after a full day of meeting guests, seeing that the day was running smoothly and well over a year of planning. Thanks to Wildy and his students for pulling this weekend together.
James Houlik. This was just beautiful. His performance interspersed with letters from Mr. Rascher was perfect. Moving, emotional, funny, touching. His performance was as usual just delightful. As an interesting aside, Graysax noted that while he played, John Moore was on stage turning pages for the accompanist (who was fabuloso
as well!). Two of the best classical tenor players in the world.....
The ensemble read through was fun...But it was more than that. 80+ saxophonists breaking musical bread together. The hour flew by. Dr. Taggart was great to have as a conductor. I sat in the tenor section near Dr. Mauk of Ithaca College and John Moore. I was humble, to be sure. Next to me sat an 18 year old freshman girl from Oberlin (I am sorry I did not get your name). In front of me sat 89 year old William Willett, who as Chi-town noted, was the first professor of Saxophone in the US, some 59 years ago. Coincidentally, he was Concert Band Director and head of the Music Education Department at Hartt when I was an undergrad there 25+ years ago. It was wonderful to see him! He told me he still plays every day! 18 year olds playing music with an 89 year old? WOW!
Near the end of the ensemble reading session, Dr. Taggart asked for a moment of meditation and silence for the purpose of thinking about what we take away from the weekend and go forth to honor, preserve and spread Mr. Rascher's legacy. Immediately after, we closed the reading session with "If Thou Be Near". I am sure I was not the only one who felt strongly emotional during that work....
There are more...but I have to get to work!
On a personal note...
Meeting Dr. Willett after 25 years was so nice!
Same with Tom Gorin! I played on his senior recital! 25 years ago!!! And hadn't seen or heard from him since! Great to see him!
Meeting and hearing SOTW'ers BKauth and Dannel was great! Putiing a face to the well written thoughtful posts was so neat! And these guys can play too! Bravo Brian on the restoration and inspiring performace of the Palester...and Dannel wrangled the Bari in the FSU quartet's performance with authority, confidence and with great beauty. YES!
Meeting Chitownjazz albeit briefly and spending time at dinner with Saintsday and Lisa was really cool...And to set the record straight, Saints...I teach my kids with square chambered mouthpieces from the dark side..( after this weekend however...I am going to spend some time with Rascher and Caravan mouthpieces, again)....but I actually play horseshoe chamber old soloist style selmer mouth pieces with the chambers opened by our own EZ .... Not quite Rascherian
Saints and Chi...if you're ever in NY, give me a shout..
Regrets...not meeting a few of the other SOTW'ers at the weekend...joyofsax, and Kevin...I am sorry I did not seek you out and say "Hi".
And to my driver
Graysax.....Thanks buddy, for everything! Meeting your family was fun and such a trip! Their hospitality was fabulous. I could tell stories...but suffice it to say, I now understand you a bit more my friend. And man, can Graysax's mom cook! MMMMM, Apple sheetcake! And on a bit of an inside joke: