Ahhhhh, August... The end of summer, kids headed back to school.... And, some years, Marine Band tour rehearsals beginning soon (tomorrow!).... Summer has been great, and we've had a very mild one here in the Washington, DC area. That has meant less suffering than normal out in the heat and my regular job. Kyle and I began his new vlog, "Beaches with Kyle" this summer, inspired by a tour of NPR back in May, and I've gained a lot of practice learning some new software for both video and music production.
Another tried and true tradition this time of year is the marine band fall tour. Sousa began the tour during his tenure as the bands director from 1880-1892. We will head out mid-September for 30 days and will play about 28 concerts while we're on the road.
I've been working hard to get in shape to start rehearsals tomorrow.... We will have 9 rehearsals on 3 complete programs before leaving town September 15. This year, I've been spending a lot of time doing easy long tones, working on keeping the pitch center down, and on fundamental articulation via Arban and some other stuff. I find that hyper focus on fundamentals serves me well when the fatigue of travel and being away from home start to grind on me, not to mention the physical stress of playing a 2 hour band concert every night!
Tour is just one more thing this time of year that makes the end of August feel like back-to-school. Getting the kids ready for their new year and starting fall sports for our oldest son also contribute. This also kind of feels like New Years for me, creatively. I start to look forward to things I have planned or will participate in this year. Valor Brass has some recitals in the DC area coming up this winter, and I'm going to continue some fun projects in the home recording studio. Virtual Trombonist podcasts will surface from time to time as I'm able to interview some more folks I want my listeners to meet.
Many of you have heard me sing the praises of it before, but I just subscribed to the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall, and I plan to make good use of my upcoming bus travel time to watch plenty of concerts. I am especially interested in some of the many interviews and films that are available as well. Last night, I watched a fantastic concert from the Waldbuhne in June of this year, with Lang Lang playing the Grieg Piano Concerto... just fantastic...
OK, while I'm on tour, I plan to keep you posted through this blog, but also at Instagram with the tag #chrisontour...
Thanks for reading and have a great fall!