THERE’S MUSIC IN THE AIR – The Waynedale Information
You probably didn’t notice, but Tuesday May 18, 2021 was a very special day in Fort Wayne for many musicians. At 7:30 p.m. that evening, members of the Fort Wayne Area Community Band (FWACB) gathered for a rehearsal for the first time in 413 days!
The band’s last concert was on March 3, 2020 in the Auer Performance Hall of the John and Ruth Rhinehart Music Center on the campus of Purdue University, Fort Wayne (PFW). The concert, titled “Art of the Dance”, was an ongoing celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary that officially began on November 29, 2019 and included a special pre-anniversary concert on October 22, 2019.
One week after the concert on March 3, the FWACB members gathered on March 10 in the band room of the Auer Performance Hall to begin rehearsing for the next concert on May 5, 2020. The band also planned guest artists for all of their concerts in 2020 as well as commissioning a new piece by Anthony O’Toole, aptly named “The Crossroads”, which will be performed on October 27, 2020, the concert to commemorate -year anniversary year.
All music was muted after the March 10 rehearsal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were told that hopefully the cancellation wouldn’t last too long and that we could meet again to resume rehearsals and stick to our concert schedule. But no matter how well you plan, there is no guarantee of success, especially during a pandemic. I had a strange feeling during this last rehearsal. I looked around at everyone in the band and thought, “I’m not going to see these people for a long time!”
Being a musician is not a job. It’s something you live for We all missed the human connection, not only with each other, but also between the band and our audience.
The last rehearsal on May 18th was definitely a day when the music started again. But it was a little unusual. The rehearsal did not take place like the last trial training on March 10, 2020 in the Auer band room. Due to the still existing COVID-19 restrictions by PFW, the trial training took place on the third floor of the Rhinehart Center car park. Musicians were asked to wear a mask, bring a chair, music stand, battery-powered light, and wind clips. Oh yes, and something else: your instrument!
We even had a makeshift audience when curious students and faculty were drawn to the sound of 67 instruments blowing in the wind from the parking garage. That is two thirds of the former 90-person ensemble. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces again and even seven new ones. Several musicians had lost weight and others had a new hairstyle: gray! And we sounded pretty good, despite some cobwebs on instruments that haven’t been played in 15 months. But many dedicated musicians had continued to practice during the absence. They helped cover up any sour notes from those whose delicate lips were out of shape or who had forgotten the fingering for a few sharp or flat spots in the music.
The first piece we practiced accordingly was titled “Sweet Sunset” as the sun set in front of the campus parking garage.
“I can’t wait to play again,” said Sally Hinkle-Teegarden, FWACB President, before the rehearsal. Associate conductors David Blackwell and Susan Jehl were back in the summer to lead the band. “It feels like we’re starting all over for the first time,” Jehl exclaimed.
“Tuesday night has been ‘Band Night’ for 40 years,” adds Rod King, who is a founding member and plays the tenor saxophone. “When the whole thing came up, it took a while to get used to staying home instead of going to rehearsals. It’s great to play again and to see band members again. “
As a founding member, former president and co-announcer of the band, I definitely wouldn’t miss this rehearsal! I was really excited to finally take my trumpet out of my case and play in an ensemble again. Practicing scales, drills, long notes, and arpeggios at home is not the same as playing with other musicians, even if it’s only in a parking garage!
What are arpeggios? Ask your teen or grandchild this question and listen to what he or she has to say. But before you can consult your cell phone, you can impress him or her with the answer: “Arpeggios are the creation of the notes of a chord in succession and not simultaneously.”
The exercises and those that follow weekly have a purpose as we try to straighten up and start moving forward. Two concerts are planned for this summer in the Föllinger Theater in Franke Park. It’s “Together Again” on Tuesday, July 13th and “Music for a Summer Night” on August 10th. Both concerts start at 7.30 p.m., are free and public. The band will also perform on Saturday, July 17th at 8:00 p.m. on Friemann-Platz before and during the final fireworks display of the annual Three Rivers Festival.
“There is music in the air, it makes the sadness disappear. Let the music lead you there, far away from the world you know. ”(Artist: Letta Mbulu25
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