NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | South High Community Band Winter Concert Successful


I arrived at Minneapolis South High School around 6pm so we could situate our percussion section and play through the music.  Our percussion section contains a snare drum, a bass drum, suspended and crash cymbals, a xylophone, a  marimba, a vibraphone, a glockenspiel on a storage cart, hanging bells,  five timpani, and a large variety of auxiliary percussion items.  Typically, we perform in the theatre, but the stage was set up for The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew.  So we squeezed in the band room, and laid out about twenty chairs for our audience.

I struggled greatly tuning the timpani for the run-through of the music before our concert.  Our concert had been rescheduled due a scheduling conflict with the caucuses.  While this gave me a chance to check out my local Green Party caucus, it also gave me a whole three weeks to forget my music, as we rehearse on Tuesdays and took Valentine’s Day off.  I might have been playing the wrong notes during the run-through, but I was playing them on the right drums.

People trickled in slowly before our concert began.  The first half of our concert was actually by the Community Jazz Band, which is a smaller offshoot of the South High Community Band.  By the end of their first song, we were running to grab more chairs.  By the time the Jazz Band was done, we had over forty people in there.  In the smaller space, it gave the concert a much more intimate feel than the thrust stage in the theatre.

A bandmate had tuned the timpani for the first song in which I played, “Chester – Overture” by William Schuman.  It went very well, though I may have missed a few strikes.  Then, we played a medly of West Side Story songs, which I greatly enjoyed because I got to cycle through a variety of instruments, including mounted castanets, a pair of congas, and the triangle.  It’s hard for an audience to not appreciate Bernstein, so this medley also went well, and I could tell the concert would be a success.  We also played “King Cotton” by Souza, and “Träumerei” by Robert Schumann.

After the concert, we served Twizzlers and pretzels and whatnot to the audience and chatted with friends.  The change in date and location had become an advantage, but it was still a relief to be on the other end of a successful concert.

If any readers would like to join the South High Community Band, please show up at the band room at South Minneapolis High School at 7pm Tuesday nights during the school year.  Musicians of any level of skill and any age are welcome.  We are composed of South alumni, students, their friends and family, and community members not otherwise affiliated with South.  The Community Jazz Band plays 9pm to 10pm following our rehearsal.  We are on Facebook,  Alternatively, please post any questions in the comments, and I will answer.

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