Convocation always holds a little trepidation for me, and it is not something that the layman would necessarily understand. Our set up in the BOB is not ideal based upon what a marching band is used to, but there is no choice in positioning and it simply has to be dealt with and hoped that the students remember all they learned during camp. The challenge is simple: the percussion is in front of the brass and woodwinds. The brass and woodwinds are taught to listen to the percussion, but ONLY when they are in front of them! And you cannot listen to something when it is in front of you because sound travels in a linear fashion (go on, break out your physics of sound books for advanced reading!).
In the 13 years I’ve been at UD, in the 8 or 9 convocations we’ve done, we have ALWAYS had some timing problems or the trumpets would rush, or some sort of situation such as that–but not this year! Both “Bacchanale” and “Malaguena” were dead on! And the band started to learn to “crank” a little too!! I received many comments and compliments from students and faculty alike regarding the performance. In short, the band played very well!
Every year one never knows what to expect on the first REAL rehearsal day of the season and today was no exception. While there were no “surprises” of any sort I am pleased to say that retention of the “Bacchanale” and “Malaguena” was pretty good! There was the occasional “5 yards short of my set” moments but those were quickly corrected. Music was also in fairly good shape as well. Pregame: well given that this was the last thing we got out there during camp and that not much time was spent on it, it was not the best review of the day. But we focused on just the 2nd half and isolated the building of the interlocking UD. Each rehearsal day will see a short but compact rehearsal of segments of pregame in order to get it ready to go for the September 8th game.
It was apparent, however, that the band as a whole had to figure out the best way to put their academic classes out of their heads for 2 hours. The rude awakening for all was the quickness and level of intensity of a regular rehearsal. At this time of year, just coming off band camp, we are not in a position to focus on one or two particular aspects of the show–we have to focus on ALL of it in big chunks!
So the 2007 season is underway and while the learning curve is steep I have a good feeling about this group: the’re going to fly this year!