********************I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Norwich Free Academy Instrumental Music Department's 2006 Holiday Concert earlier this evening and I must say that it was well worth the time I had to miss from work to be there.
One of the classes that Amanda took this year is Concert Band and participation in the concerts is a requirement of the course (gee, maybe that's why they call it Concert Band??). Tonight's program consisted of musical selections played by the Jazz Band, the Orchestra, the Concert Band, and the Wildcat Marching Band.
The Jazz Band performed first and did a very nice rendition of "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" to open the concert. They were followed by the Orchestra which played three selections and then the Concert Band took the stage. As I watched Amanda walk across the stage to take her place amongst the flutes, I couldn't help but be proud of her for being a member of something that I had never had the talent for. I remembered going to concerts when I was in high school to watch my friends who were in band or chorus but the feeling of watching friends perform is nothing compared to what one feels while watching their own flesh and blood perform - it's a pretty amazing thing.
The first number that the Concert Band performed was "Olympiada" by Samuel Hazo, a very stirring piece that I had heard Amanda practicing for several weeks. To hear it played by the entire Concert Band was enough to give me goosebumps! You could tell that Mr. Mac, their band director, was quite happy with their performance, too, as when the piece ended he was literally beaming. Amanda later told me that he was very, very happy with it and he should have been - it was marvelous!
Their next piece, "Fantasia on a Hymn by Praetorius", was also well played but wasn't the same type of stirring piece of music that "Olympiada" was. Still, to know that my daughter - who spends most of her time on the computer or drawing cartoons - was a part of such a terrific sounding band was quite mind-boggling (and no, Frank, I didn't shed any tears though it would have been easy to!). I kept wishing that I had someone with me to share the experience - someone that I could turn to during the performance and say "wow, can you believe Amanda is actually up there playing?!?" but unfortunately I was alone in the audience surrounded by other performers' families and friends. It's times like that when it really stinks that the ex and I couldn't make our marriage work so that we could have shared the moment together but alas and alack, such is not the case and it's his loss for not being here for these sorts of things.
After one more number, the Concert Band stepped down from the stage and, after a short intermission, the Wildcat Marching Band literally marched into the Slater Auditorium led by the awesome drum line. All I can say here is - wow! It was an excellent way to wrap up the evening and the kids were all treated to a standing ovation after the last note sounded.
While we were walking out to the car I told Amanda "she is SO joining marching band next year!" and she agreed with me. When you see and hear a performance like that, you can't help but want to be part of it. I could see the excitement in Amanda's face and hear it in her voice from knowing that they all did such a terrific job and put on such an awesome concert and I was very glad that I had been able to get the time out of work to go.
I'm sure that Mr. Mac was quite pleased with the show that his students put on and he should be as they were great - all of them - but especially the girl with the funky-colored hair that plays flute!