Today's blog is written by Erin Fortune, Music for All's Participant Relations Coordinator.
It’s hard to believe that it is already Friday of camp week. What an exciting week it has been. We saw nearly 1,000 students and directors on the campus of Ball State – all eager to share ideas, learn and come together in support of music making. Today, as I cover the MFA Headquarters, answering questions and phone calls from directors, clinicians, students and parents; I think about how awesome it is to be here in Muncie, Indiana and a part of this camp.
Yesterday was definitely a busy day for me but it was also one of the best. The morning was spent running around getting prepared for the Tournament of Roses® BOA Honor Band Luncheon, where we brought together currently accepted students and students who were interested in applying to be a part of the band. It was pretty amazing to see that we have 21 students at camp who will be joining us for the parade in January!
Some people don’t realize, but in addition to the 7 student tracks we have at camp we also offer a Directors’ Track and Color Guard Instructor Academy. Throughout the week, the directors can choose from different sessions to attend like “Competition and the Instrumental Program” by Joe Allison and Amanda Drinkwater, “iPad Apps for Band and Beyond!” by Robert W. Smith, and “Exploring Show Concepts in Design” by Michael Gray, Lee Carlson, Alfred Watkins, and David Vandewalker. One highlight of my day is the director and clinician lunch that I get to attend daily. I love talking with directors about the sessions they have been attending.
After lunch I was able to escape headquarters long enough to go check in on some student tracks. The color guard moved inside to escape the heat in the afternoon so they were doing some staging for their final show in the Sports Complex. The SWAGs in the color guard track have had “theme days,” and yesterday’s theme just happened to be Princess Day, which is my favorite day of the week! When I arrived, they already had a sash made for me that said “Princess Erin,” and they gave me a crown and a wand! They definitely have fun over in the color guard area of camp!
Later in the day I decided to go over to Emens Auditorium a little early to try to catch part of the Time for Three rehearsal. I’m going to forewarn you that I will absolutely GUSH about Time for Three. I think they are amazing! But on my way to check their rehearsal out, I got distracted by what I heard coming out of the University Theatre’s door that was ajar. I was really curious about what I was hearing so I wandered over to that stage and found out that the Directors’ Concert Band was rehearsing. It was pretty neat to see the directors in the seats where their students typically sit, and it was great to see them conducted by the one and only Alfred Watkins. They also sounded fantastic, and I ended up staying to watch longer than I had anticipated!
By the time I was done listening in on the director’s band, the Time for Three rehearsal was almost over. The Orchestra Track students were sitting in the audience, and you could tell they were very excited! Prior to this, the Orchestra Track had a few rehearsals with Time for Three’s Nick Kendall so they already knew a little bit of what was in store for them during the evening concert.
The evening concert opened with a wonderful tribute by Music for All’s CEO Eric Martin for Dr. Margot Lacy Eccles, a supporter and frequent patron of the arts, Time for Three, and Music for All. Dr. Eccles passed away earlier this week. Mr. Martin reminded us that our life is the dash between birth and death, and that we should all strive to have the type of “dash” that Dr. Eccles had.
After this touching tribute, the Time for Three concert opened with the playing of their new music video, and anti-bullying message, “Stronger,” an arrangement of Kanye West's “Stronger” and Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and “Nightvision.” Here is what Time for Three says about this music video on their YouTube channel:
“We are Time for Three, and this is our story -- the story of so many kids who every day face challenges to who they are and who they want to be: their dreams, their ambitions, their identity. This video is for you guys. Be strong. Stick with it. We did, and we are stronger for it. http://www.tf3.com”
As someone who has seen the video several times I knew what to expect, but I have a feeling that the majority of the students in the audience had never seen the video before. It was shockingly quiet as the video played, which still astounds me because how do you get nearly 1,000 high school students in one room to be silent? But when the video comes to an end, and the student featured in the video is playing at his school’s talent show, every single student started clapping in unison with the audience in the video. You can find the music video for “Stronger” here.
Time for Three then came out and wowed the audience with their impressive style and passion for improvisation, composing and arranging – all prime elements of the ensemble’s playing. They transcend traditional classification, with elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own. Time for Three is Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass who met at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.
Time for Three played many selections, including arrangements of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” The energy in the auditorium was electric, as Nick Kendall from Time for Three mentioned on several occasions.
“It’s awesome to play for other musicians, no, performers, who really listen,” Kendall said. “We get our energy from the energy you are giving to us.”
Last night I was in awe watching Time for Three, as I usually am when I see them perform, but my favorite thing about Time for Three is their passion and dedication to music education and the next generation.
Time for Three invited the 2012 Music for All Orchestra Track on stage with them to perform their last two pieces, “Hymn” (which Time for Three dedicated to Dr. Eccles) and “Orange Blossom Special.” The students received the music at the beginning of camp and have been working on these two, in addition to the pieces they will be performing during Saturday’s concert. Seeing their faces as they performed with Time for Three was awesome, and I’m sure the reaction from the audience made each and every one of those student’s nights. I know I was incredibly proud of them all.
After the concert I headed to the Vic Firth reception and got the chance to hear the Directors’ Jazz Band, and they were also incredible! It was awesome to see and talk with Vic Firth himself, who was in town for Summer Symposium.
As busy as yesterday was it ended in such a positive way that I couldn’t help but smile the whole way back to my dorm room as I thought about the day and all of the people I had the chance to talk with. Thank you to all of the students, SWAGs, directors, and fellow staff members that made my Thursday wonderful. Thank you to Time for Three, the Orchestra Track, and the directors’ bands for making me smile while watching their performances. I’m looking forward to joining the students and directors at the DCI show tonight and can’t wait for another awesome evening at camp!
-Erin Fortune, Participant Relations Coordinator at Music for All