2006 - 2008
Part of our 2008 rehearsal and performance
"Since when does Tuba Christmas get a standing ovation??"
That's what Dan said to me in disbelief as we were standing to acknowledge the wild applause. So we gave 'em an encore: "Jingle Bells" starting at the wind-up to the "National Emblem" march.
Dan had some interesting and funny tidbits to share between numbers, including his line about earning a living playing the tuba...to the shock of many, "including my parents." Directing was shared by Mike Gillan (our host; it was the GRCC concert on which we were piggybacking), Ted Bazany of the Grand Valley State University bands (with a lovely, artistic, and theatrical conducting style; dynamics and tempi aplenty), and Captain John Aren from the Salvation Army Band (who told a fun story about their plethora of outdoor gigs this time of year).
The audience (probably 200 people) broke into wild applause for the teenage players, the oldest/decorated/most unique (all the same 72-year-old guy, playing a 1900 York sousaphone), the gal not attending her college graduation in Milwaukee, the fellow who traveled from Royal Oak (visiting in-laws; he played the Grand Haven TUBACHRISTMAS on Saturday and plans to hit Howell next week...and he's really a percussionist), and the foursome from the Salvation Army Band. They also went a little wild shaking their keys for "Jingle Bells." (Dan faced them and conducted an impromptu rehearsal. They all clapped along with the march section.)
We attracted about 40 players, with some turn-over from last year since one of the community bands moved their concert to our date. And we seemed to sound a lot better; I'm not sure why. The musicality was impressive.
It's always something. Early on there was confusion, so rather than stand around in the parking lot waiting for the door to be unlocked, we went two blocks up the street to one of Mike's rehearsal rooms. (At least we didn't get any trombones!)
This year Mike ordered up some remarkably fine pizza from a local coney island: BBQ chicken fajita, Tuscan, other fancy names. There was a lot left over (and it followed us to the performance hall's reception room).
This was probably the most fun I've ever had at a TC (despite the early frosty session outdoors). Our second GR TC attracted some 40 players in 2007.
Some 33 players came out for our first GR event, held in conjunction with the GRCC instrumental holiday concert at St Cecilia Music Center. Horn decorations and festive attire were in abundance! We had a musician from Detroit, three middle-schoolers, at least one home-schooler, many high school and college students, folks from the Rockford and Kentwood community bands, a member of the Michigan 1-2-6 Army band, and "the world's largest sousaphone," a 1926 Conn 46K Jumbo Sousaphone Grand. (And one trombone. Mike Gillan let him in.) Dan Clouse directed.
And we got some coverage in the local media.