Friday, December 28, 2007

High school music

Saxophone sheet music (1978) for the Rosemount school song.

I played saxophone through 9th grade. As much as I love the saxophone, I wasn't very good. I did enjoy playing in the pep band -- more saxophone friendly music and acoustics in Minnesota hockey arenas were generally awesome. My ears still ring from the brass section on 25 or 6 to 4. The one year I did marching band was so-so. I doubt we had more than 60-80 band members and the routines were fairly rudimentary: march 5 yards, turn around, march 10 yards, spin right and march in place. Yawn. I remember watching a half time performance the next year when the routine was slightly more complicated and seeing one section high-stepping to a point, then pivoting off at a 45 degree angle. Kinda cool, but the field was wet and about 10 band members ended up in a pile. I'd have been in that pile if I'd still been playing. So one point for me for giving up!

The band has since become much larger and quite good at the marching thing. It so happens that on the other side of the country we happen to live in the neighborhood of one of the top high school bands in the country: Lassiter. We'll pack a picnic dinner in the fall and go watch them practice. I haven't seen many sports teams that practice as hard as these guys do.

Here's the last performance of 2007. It's a bit grainy, but at the beginning you'll hear the director state the band numbers about 250 or 14 percent of the student population. Too bad there isn't a better copy of this because it was an amazing routine and they won a regional tournament with it. If you scroll to the bottom of this Vic Firth page, you can watch the Lassiter High School Percussion Ensemble performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Columbus, Ohio: The ensemble was selected from a recording of selections performed by last years group and evaluated by a panel of judges. The judges were made up of college professors of percussion from across the country. The Percussive Arts Society hosts the competition each year in order to encourage , promote and reward musical excellence in percussion ensemble performance. This is one of the most prestigious honors that any percussion program can receive. The ensemble is under the direction of Mike Lynch and assisted by Scott Brown.

Here's a video of their 2002 National Championship routine:

No comments: