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Coda Connections
Columbia Band Fans' Newsletter
Spring 2007

News & Calendar - Spring 2007
Feature - Concert Etiquette Article
Behind the Baton - Spring Challenges
Fun Stuff - A few words from...
Official CCB Positions - People in Charge
Contact Information


This edition of Coda Connections features an article on how to act during a concert, plus the usual director's comments and other information.

Please remember that if your email changes and you'd like to keep getting these newsletters, you can shoot me a message --or-- unsubscribe your old email address and then subscribe using your new email address. Thanks!

- Len Morse, Editor

News & Calendar
Spring News
Recap of last quarter:
The Holiday Concert sounded great, plus the jazz band performed a very successful recording session/live concert.
What's coming up?
We're working hard on music for our Spring concert, coming up in May. Please be aware that this is an evening concert. Please also watch for a jazz band CD release date.

Spring Calendar - Concert Band
  Sunday, 5/6, 7:30P.M., River Hill High School, Clarksville, MD

  Sunday, 8/12, 6:30P.M., Lake Kittamaqundi Lakefront, Columbia, MD
  Sunday, 8/19, 6:00P.M., Lurman Amphitheatre, Catonsville, MD

Spring Calendar - Jazz Band
Watch this space.

by Len Morse (Percussion)   Article Musical notes on staff
Concert Etiquette

We’ve all experienced, seen, or at least heard of certain rules for attending a formal orchestra or band concert. These “rules of etiquette” have been in place for many years and they exist to help make the performance as enjoyable as possible for both performers and audience. However, there are dozens of etiquette lists floating around out there, so instead of re-hashing what has already been written, let’s delve into a few of the more important edicts of concert attendance.

Probably the most paramount rule to remember is: Please remain quiet during a piece. Obviously, this should be done to allow your fellow concertgoers to enjoy the performance (and to allow the musicians to concentrate) without extraneous conversations, candy wrappers, baby outbursts, watch alarms, or cell phones. All professional performers and most community groups will make a pre-concert announcement by simply asking that you either finish your personal business before the show starts, or be prepared to leave quickly and quietly if something does come up. If you absolutely must get someone’s attention, lean over and whisper.

I was at an NSO (National Symphony Orchestra) concert where Maestro Leonard Slatkin had just finished explaining the background on the next piece. He turned to the orchestra, raised his arms, and then the entire hall filled with the chirping of a cell phone! Slatkin patiently put his hands down, honed in on the perpetrator, and after the second ring, calmly said something akin to “Go ahead and answer – we’ll wait.” About ten seconds later, he was able to start the piece. I silently applauded him for his actions. We musicians understand that emergencies do arise, but it’s only fair that audience members do their part to eliminate/minimize disruptions.

Applause is probably the most wonderful non-musical sound a performer can hear. It tells us that there’s an appreciative audience out there, and it spurs us on to give our best for our adoring fans. In fact, there are a few different ways to show us that you enjoyed the music. However, there are specific times when clapping or other sounds of approval are frowned upon.

Clapping in the middle of a piece, even after a particularly impressive solo, is a no-no unless you are watching a Dixieland combo or a swing band. It sounds stuffy, but that’s the golden rule: hold your applause until the end. Also, during a piece with multiple movements (sections), please do not clap in between movements, as it is considered bad form. Quietly stretching, clearing the throat, or politely coughing are fine, but please hold the rousing applause. It may go against natural human tendency, but you can take a cue from the conductor: If his/her arms are still raised, the piece is not over. Wait until the baton is down by his/her sides; then you may clap.

Speaking of which, clapping is not the only way to show appreciation. For those who like to vocalize, you can go Italian and shout, “Bravo!” (great). If French is more your style, you can use the timeless, “Encore!” (more) to try and get the performers to put forth one final effort. Of course, not everyone is quite that continental, so a more American “Yay!” might work, too. Of course, any level of suitable vocalization depends on the performers and the venue. (i.e. Yelling “You guys ROCK!” after Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Meyerhoff might have the rest of the audience thinking you’re some sort of reprobate.)

So, keep any unruly kids at home, arrive early, pop that cough drop before the lights dim, take your hat off, and enjoy the musical sounds that pour forth from the stage. When appropriate, let us know if you enjoyed our performance, and you will always be invited back.

Behind the Baton
by Mike Blackman (Director)   Conductor
Spring Challenges

Hello to all! I am grateful for the opportunity to be in touch with all of you wonderful friends of the CCB. I know I speak for the entire membership when I say that your interest is most appreciated, and that I hope you'll continue to support us simply by coming to our FREE concerts and hearing us play! This is "what it's all about" for us - the chance to work together to create something beautiful and to share the product with the community. Musicians often say that we use our instruments to express what can not be said with words, and I truly believe that. Music is an art form and a language that can affect the listener very deeply and meaningfully, and we hope to accomplish that every time we perform.

This is my seventh year directing the CCB (I joined as a high school senior in 1986!), and I am more pleased with what we accomplish every time we play. I hope that you were able to join us three months ago for our Winter Concert, as it was most definitely one of our finest performances. This success has inspired me to include some very difficult music in our Spring repertoire, and I know that many of the folks in the Band are quite excited about that. One piece that I have been waiting for a very long time to learn is Percy Grainger's "Scotch Strathspey and Reel." Grainger is perhaps the most significant composer of wind band music, but this piece seems to be performed only extremely rarely. It is an absolutely brilliant composition - lots of fun to play and hear, and extremely challenging. We are also testing our technical limits with an exciting work by David Holsinger entitled "Nilesdance." This highly rhythmic piece is an exercise in sheer speed: the intended tempo is an unbelievable two hundred beats per minute, and we aim to come as close as possible! Occasionally, band composers write parts that are to be sung, and (strictly by coincidence!) I have selected three works that contain vocals for this season. One is our opening selection, a very clever new piece by young composer Andrew Boysen, Jr. entitled "Unraveling." Be sure to read the program note on this one - you will surely find it interesting. We'll also be firing up the vocal chords for Ron Nelson's wonderful "Courtly Airs and Dances" and Jay Chattaway's tribute to Native American Indians, "Mazama." Rounding out the program will be a march - "The Columbian," by Karl King; a gorgeous musical interpretation of an Edgar Allen Poe poem, "Annabel Lee," by W. Francis McBeth; and a very classy medley called "The Genius of Paul Simon," by Tom Wallace. Our Summer repertoire will definitely have something for everyone, including some Broadway arrangements and pop tunes, some marches, and, as always, a few original band works. Stay tuned for details!

Thank you again for your support. We love to play for people, so please join us on May 6th at 7:30 PM at River Hill High School. We think you'll be glad that you came!

Fun Stuff
Quarterly Word: "Whip" - A percussion instrument consisting of two hinged pieces of wood that can be snapped together to simulate the sound of a cracking whip.

Quarterly Quote: "I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else." ~ Lily Tomlin

Official CCB Positions
Elected Executive Board
Director - Mike Blackman
President - Jodi Shochet
Vice President - Len Morse
Secretary - Suzanne Hassell
Treasurer - Beth Jubinski
Historian - Melinda Frisch
Publicity Chair - Riley McDonald
Fundraising Chair - Jenn Ambrosiano
Equipment Manager - Scott Lipcon
Grants, Programs - Jeanette Donald
Member-at-Large - Tanya Hoegh-Allan

Appointees and Volunteers
Librarian - Marilyn Kelsey
Curator - Fred Shermer
Uniforms - Bill DeVuono
Webmaster - Suzanne Hassell
Columbia Jazz Band Director - Pete Barenbregge


Contact Information

phone: 301-598-4587
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Columbia Concert Band | PO Box 2713 | Columbia | MD | 21045-1713