Spring Concert — Sir John Franklin School

It was another amazing and fantastic year-end concert, performed by bands from Sir John Franklin School.  And interestingly, this is the last year that my daughter, Josie May, will be attending.

Normally, in years past, I would record the audio portion of the concert, but instead, this year, I decided to take copious or (rather write) ‘lots and lots’ of notes and comments instead on a clip board and 4 pieces of (unlined, blank) paper, double sided in my cursive handwriting.

Okay, I will type my notes (here), and eventually refine them if necessary for clarification.  If there is a double quote, (generally) ‘it’ was said by Ms. Jane (Reed) McLauchlin.  And for you musicians (who like to joke) out there, I would rather take a double Reed, than a double Tongue any day!  (Apologies to Bassoon, Oboe, and English Horn players, who were curiously absent, from these Bands — ah, maybe next year, eh?) ((And Apologies to Ms. Jane for disclosing and joking about her maiden name and suggesting that I could ever clone ‘her’, and the tricky ‘tonguing’ project piece of the Grade 7’s — but it made a nice funny, no? — and of course, apologies to the late P.D.Q Bach (R.I.P.) also known as Peter Schikele (Not R.I.P. thankfully or (…) yet! 🙂 ) . ))

Grade 8 (Concert) Band

Snake Bite — nice opening, confident, and deja-vu (for me about remembering previous concerts and dream, interesting…)
– reverberant bass drum thump in the gymnasium

Crystal Moon — project piece – 6 yrs ago, 2 yrs ago, couldn’t get it together.  Now – Yes!
“lots of tonguing and tricky”
– pleasant comforting theme — woodwinds tonguing well, nice low brass, sax melody
– contrasting movement – slow, almost hymn like chorale
– crisp ending.

Uprising — learned in 2 weeks.  WOW!
Kid was crying, carried by Dad, Ms. Jane M. was smiling and acknowledged this (inside joke?)
-Clapping – duples, then “Heys”
-(Curiously) almost like the tune by the group Blondie — Call me Anytime.
-saucy, strident march
– drums a bit heavy for my taste

Junior Jazz Band
While the Junior Jazz Band was setting up, mention of 60 volunteers to thank, was made.
-Ms. Jane said that she was “thrilled to see so many brave souls” and mentioned that she got some mic stands — so [they] will need to hold them — more awkward (perhaps).

Blues Machine
-nice steady groove — forward motion
-trumpet voices – begging conversation
Soloists:
1) funky flute & piano (struggling a bit together [but not bad of course]! 🙂 )
2) trombone solo — bell pointed up, easy slide
3) bari sax — nice. growling (sort of bit)
4) trumpet – glissando down – ATTITUDE! 🙂
5) Alto or Tenor Sax — [like] sticking toes in water
6) Bass Trombone – long cool notes
7) Drum set solo – nice riffs
8) Sax – (a bit off kilter — ended up okay.  Derailling a bit)
-nice ending chord

Gimme Some Lovin’
“Every grade […] in section — to fill in & have some fun”
da da da da dat (my rhythm ‘scat’ attempt capture in words)
-swanky trumpet with cowbell — more attitude — down to business
-nice steady beat-
-‘brave alto sax’ – upper register [REALLY] nice.
-abrupt, yet definite ending

Overall, my impressions are one of excellence in progress, learning, and execution.
It’s a pity that these students perform in a gymnasium though — it would be nice, or rather important that they perform in a properly designed stage or sound theatre.

Grade 7 (Concert) Band
Impressive setting up — well done on the transition seating (and between bands)!

Majestica
-Well Rounded Sound — comfortable with parts
(Even with ear plugs, the sound still gets through and moves me.)
-Bold, strident quarter and eighth notes
-Woodwinds a bit weak –
-All ended together

Across the Serengeti
-Wide spreads, punctuated with metal blocks
-Nice.
(I almost imagined taking a Safari in Africa (but was distracted by my note taking, maybe closing my eyes would have helped?) — and — nice (and thankfully without Timon and Pumba from Lion King!))

Superheros R Us – Gr.7 project piece, in 6/8 time
Let’s see if I have guessed them right.
-Superman Theme
-Raiders of the Lost Ark
-Spy theme – Bond? / Goldfinger? (snaky — cool jazz)
-Another [I didn’t get this one at the time]
— Austin Powers? (found out that its a Bossa Nova composition, something out of the 60’s)

Ms. Glenda Nixon, who sat by me, said “I recognized them anyways”.
I said that I didn’t get (or guess) them all, Glenda laughed — the missing one for me was Batman (somehow I filtered this one out for some reason! 😉 )

I could tell while listening to this tune, that the students really worked hard putting this together.  Although it was a crowd-pleaser, it had some serious musicality and phrasing.  Well done, Grade 7’s!

Grade 9 (Concert) Band
Interesting tuning strategy — A Dischord, then Chord (Bb flat maybe?!)

Solstice
-Omnious –curdling reeds, primitive drums
-little ‘estampe’ of sorts – with long lyrical strains-
-rejoining again
-xylophone solo, clapping, tamborines
-fluteys, ‘solid’
-(really) quick rising (standing up) of band after performance! 🙂

Confessions — while the Senior Jazz band was setting up, or just about to start, the Band Tour was talked about — Apparently Tom and Jane “had to limbo!” — (??)

Senior Jazz Band

Backrow Politics
(Interestingly, I sat in the Backrow of the gym, and started getting tired, and noticed and wrote about visuals — ie. certain unusual hair colours — green, purple — alas, I digress.)
-Ultra confident, bright brass, alternating between [or with] the saxes
-Sax section — ‘loopy’ or as I mispelled ‘loupy’
(This is the kind of sound that keeps you awake!)
-Suencenics (sorry, I couldn’t decipher the previous word — ) trumpet solo! — Extremely coherent — nice smear!
-Nice ‘denouement’ (not sure why I used this word, except it seemed to fit) — and (reply)

Blue Moon
Senior Jazz (continued) — Vocalists ‘Paige’ tonight, ‘Taya’ (spelling unsure) tomorrow (luck of draw)
-Slight tremolo / vibrato in Paige’s voice
-nice accompaniment of band — really bright, lyrical saxes
-Paige — a bit or moderately subdued, with occasional bursts
-balance could have been better — more vocalist (would have had to ‘project’ more), especially in lower range, less band (tricky to achieve in gym without person to mix)
-overall, good job — quite the demanding piece.

Swing Machine
-top/low separation and contrasting balance and colours
-Jive feel, and later with Bedrock – Baby!! — Smears !
-good opening, sax solo
-trumpets – frolic(k)

Previous teacher (from Winter Concert) was in attendance.
As I observed her, she was quietly listening with intentness.

Enter Sandman
Before the other Metallica piece started, Ms. Jane said —
“So much more fun when the Bass Player joined us!”
Also, Mr. Reed (if I heard his name right), joined on Electric Guitar
-more cowbell / block — does this make this PG-rated?
Silos on drums, Summer mixup — (Jane error, Tom correction)
(Although not my preferred genre, it was gutsy, grooved heavy, as one would expect)
(Colours of different hair, Purple Buns, Blond ‘Over-comb’ (on flute), notice, esp. on Tour Band change, started being noticed and written more…)

Mention of purchase of Vibraphone of $5,500 from casino funds. Ms. Jane was thankful for the instrument.

Tour Band
Band Tour — “All really hard [pieces]…Really rose to occasion.  [Only] Some of selections (this evening) [or else the cows would come home]”
Typical High Schools, aim for Gr. 4, maybe 5.  All Grade 3 pieces for Gr. 9 — a “Big Achievement”

Star Trek
Original theme — (uni/nice) tympani roll
– lol-la-ping – Lollaping*  theme, exchange
-tears to [my] eyes
-turbulence measures
-clock works — disjointed mood music
-epic music
-blob [like the Blob — B grade 50’s movie, Burt Bacharach] music — thump
-Triumphant, sordid themes
-final blats
* – (a word from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ — Mr. Potts story — the Brown Bear Comes Lollaping)

The Incredibles
– another epic crowd pleaser
-much the same quality as before
-for me, somewhat lack(ing) luster — ‘Dig More!!
-rhythms — tricky, more demanding
-nice smear, glissando ending

Lady Gaga
-picking audience < (less than) jr. high age — [checking if] percussionist ready
-antiphonal da da / da da
-Green shirt Birthday Boy, conducting along, on arm waving, down
-another boy up — 3/4? next one up
-2 girls up / 1 boy –> percussion, tamborines, blocks
-more volunteers — from audience
-girl in red
-(lots of) kids ‘ran’ back (at the end), excitedly, to their families and seats.

Farewells to Ms. Dennis
Students with quotes (missed the first one)
2) “Goes the extra step” and “Has Charisma, care, and free attitude — will be missed”
3) “So many memories — helped make our dreams true, a shoulder to cry on…”
Ms. Jane said “I don’t know what to say.  [There is] another month to cry tears together.”

“Spectacular year — Gr.9’s [will be gone soon]”  (My comment — Why cry?  … And then, on second thought — why not (and good riddance in the nicest, polite terms)?)
(I refrain from making any Lady Gaga jokes for the sake those who like her stuff!)

Pop Culture
Bonanza — nice French Horn solo
Flintstones — clarinets ‘squeaky proper’
Pink Panther – sax, tubas / low brass (smiling — one girl in middle back)
Peter Gunn – a bit muddled — lots of notes
Ah Baby – Be My Girl – sung (NICE!)
(Green Hair, sax, look play?)
Colonel Bogey (or someother march by John Philip Sousa) — Wow! — Piccolo!

And so, I have finished typing my notes from the 4 pages of cursive handwritten stuff.
I hope that you may have enjoyed skim reading them.

Conclusion
As this will probably be my last concert to attend, because my children have left or are leaving Sir John Franklin, I would like to say a few things.

Kudos to you all, especially to the volunteers and staff who have made the last 5 years, from 2012 – 2017 simply amazing.

How can I describe fully in a short blog, what I feel or appreciate?!

And to you, Ms. Jane McLaughlin — well done!!

In memory of the students who have attended and are attending Sir John Franklin —
Never forget who you are, and the wonderful opportunities to make music and change lives!!

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About Lowell Aaron Court

He's just this guy, you know!! (Apologies to the late Douglas Adams, who used this quote to describe Zaphod Beeblebrox (Z.B.)-- pithy but nice for now.) It's also very curious that although I deleted my Google profile, that WordPress remembered it and brought my precious face (circa 2008) and former website link (now removed) to life. How often the cyber-space of complicated web systems (aka the Internet) "'continue(s) to' confound or rather 'surprise and amaze as always'" said Humma Kavula to Z.B..
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