Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Kenwood Players

Down in the comments to this (terrific) post Jeffrey asks who "the group of eight" are I'd referred to and here's my response:

Hi, Jeffrey - My "group of eight" players meets once a week to help me proof arrangements printed out as part books for each individual instrument and player. Everybody has the melody and at least one (and usually two or three) other parts to choose from. The idea is to help people enjoy whatever technique they have - the target audience being folks denied entry into the necessarily elite world of school music, home schoolers, and folks who were/are in school music and want to use their skills in a more personally expressive way than playing in a large ensemble.

Two of the players are a retired minister and a retired public educator who played Eb tuba "back in the day", and they've both told me a number of times that this group is the most enjoyable and rewarding playing experience they've ever had in their 70 plus years. Our percussionist is a retired elementary music teacher. Our sax man played trumpet years ago and has taken up the tenor, alto and soprano in retirement. Trumpet and clarinet are a retired couple and the trombone is a cousin. The trumpet and trombone are pro level and can soar on improvisations. I play guitar and sing (with occasional horn and flute).

Part of all this also to inject more live music into the community (music therapy on a broad scale). We play at country churches, benefits for non-profits, a local assisted care facility, and community events. It's very frustrating to me that there are so many people with band instruments in their closets and a community concert band being the only real playing option, so they end up not playing at all.

I started out as a psychiatric attendant and group therapist and am a huge believer in the beneficial nature of small groups, and see combining that with music making as a near perfect pairing. We get compliments on our music, but also a lot on how obviously were all enjoying each other and making music together. I think the camaraderie we display has as much effect on the audience as the music we make.

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