Last night, the holiday season began with the McNeil High School Band’s winter concert. Suna went a little early with TubaBoy so that she could catch the last bit of the orchestra’s concert. I took the extra half hour after I got home from work to unwind so that I could enjoy the band.
The Varsity Band played two numbers. They sounded really good this year—much better than last year. I’m not sure if that is because the music selection was better suited or because of the number of ringers playing with them. (The guy on mallets for the first number will soon turn 50. That’s younger than Suna and I but a tad oldish for a high school band.) Or maybe they just worked harder this year.
Next came the Concert Band. They also sounded really good, even if the music selection did annoy Beccano. He only got to play two notes on the first selection. Then they played “Ave Maria,” which had no percussion at all. He did get to play quite nicely on the final selection.
The third and last band was the Wind Ensemble, featuring TubaBoy. OK. It didn’t feature him, but he was in it. They play a choir song that the composer had arranged for band. It was awesome. Then the director read a Cajun version of “The Night Before Christmas.” That has been something of a tradition, but he punished the audience last year by being too angry at the antics of a the drum line to read it.
Wind Ensemble wrapped up with “Sleigh Ride,” which we will also be doing in the choir’s Christmas program. Sigh. The band played it really well.
But the strangest part of the night was that all three band directors seemed to have gotten a fresh hair cut for the performance. Being fans of the military style, all three were shorn high and tight. They looked really professional when facing the audience. But when they turned to conduct, the stage lights shown through their hair giving the impression of haloed skulls. It would have been a really cool effect for a Halloween concert. For Yule, it was just a little creepy.
Unfortunately—or maybe fortunately—none of the photos show the skull effect, but you can see more at Facebook.