Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gordon House

Yesterday the group played over at the Gordon House, a small assisted living facility just over in Gordonsville. All eight of us played for no more than two dozen residents in a room 40'x30' with a carpet. We used the same music books prepared for the Arts Center benefit and played for an hour. We started with Frosty, Rudolph and White Christmas with me on guitar and alternating vocals with instrumental solos, with others improvising harmonies and counter melodies. Then we did five carols from the hymn book arranged for instrumentals with me on flute for four and horn for one. Closed with some hymnal carols arranged for guitar like the first set and then Jingle Bells and We Wish You as a coda. Did a sing along version of Silent Night as encore.

It was our best performance to date. Very good intonation, great blend, wonderful freshness due to the improvised elements, and, most importantly, a terrific connection with the audience, whose median age was probably 80. They applauded enthusiastically after each number, and sang along amazingly well on Jingle Bells and Silent Night. 

The Gordon House performances are really a lab for me to test out how the materials work when performed with an audience I'm used to from private practice days in San Antonio. It's close, I can back up to the door of the room we use and off load stands and mats and instruments directly into the room, and the acoustics are good for recording.

Doing all the arrangements for horn, flute, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, alto sax and Eb tubas; getting my guitar skills and voice back to sing along level; and practicing the horn and flute - it's been a busy six weeks or so, but the Arts Center benefit and this event made it all worthwhile. I've learned a tremendous amount, and want to detail some of that in subsequent posts. 

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