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Chicago Roundup

In a brilliant nod to our collective future of webcasting, The Midwest Clinic has a video of last Tuesday’s CYSO Metropolitan performance up on their site. It took like a day or something crazy fast like that. Watch it, if only to see how Maestro Allen Tinkham leads 100-some musicians to do 2/4 – 3/8 – 3/16. The heroine of that day was Summer, actually one of the CYSO’s violinists, who was asked at the last minute to fill in for a missing pianist. By last minute, I mean, we faxed her the part a few hours before the performance, after I had frantically gone through the score in JB‘s dining room, marking up the parts which were essential* for her to practice. (*And by essential, I suppose I mean, I wanted to hear them.). Summer was a multi-talented. multi-tasking trooper, banging her way through the part with gusto after feverishly practicing it all afternoon. I love it. I not only can make these kids sweat over one part, but two.

Lest we get caught up in my CYSO obsession, there was plenty of action for us Fans of Band — Scott Stewart’s Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony aired both SB‘s gorgeous Dusk (again, webcasted video … ya gotta think this is cool, right?), and JM‘s raucous Sasparilla (his photo blog doesn’t miss a trick, by the way—many thousands of words there). Unsurprisingly, Jenny Higdon’s young band piece Rhythm Stand, written for the American Composer Forum’s excellent series, struck me as working brilliantly for young players, but the AYWS’s opener is what really pricked up my ears … a new work by Richard Prior, called Icarus. Great piece. Tight and gritty and colorful — totally dug it.

In other Midwest news, Ye Ol’ BCM Booth went digital this year with iPods and a laptop, but the most newsworthy addition was the golden assistance of composer Daniel Montoya, and his own fabulous Better Half, Sarah Stern. These two marvels were invaluable — with everything from booth setup to preventing me from freaking out and poking a sharp stick in my eye. But mostly, they were both simply a terrific to hang out with all week.

And of course there were meals and quality time with as many friends and colleagues as I could manage, all of whom it was terrific to visit. (Again, others have not only beaten me to relaying this full saga of entertainments, but also have done it with pictures) … It’s become a bit of a once-a-year reunion, in fact.

Next year, though, can we have it in Acapulco?

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