January 9, 2005

I Remember One Time, At Band Camp…

I’ve decided to embark on a project. Inspired by listening to real performers perform real music, and enjoying the Sour Citrus Society at a recent S U basketball game, I’ve decided that it’s time for the alumni marching band at my high school to make an appearance.

Now, mind you, I didn’t participate in the last alumni band performance back in 1996. I had last minute work conflicts pop up, and I was unable to get to the practices, so I didn’t get in step with the whole thing. I’ve been tossing the idea around for the past couple of years and this morning I woke up and said to myself, “why don’t I just go ahead and do it?” So I’m going to do it.

I have connections with the alumni society, so I can get the word out to other alumni. I’m going to take an ad out in the local newspaper as well. I’ve asked a fellow classmate (and band nerd) to help out if he wants, so maybe this is something that can actually come together. I mean, how difficult can it be? We borrow a couple of instruments from the school, we learn two songs and we go to it. Seems simple to me.

Of course, I’ll play tuba again. I haven’t played tuba since, oh, 1987 but it’s got to be like learning how to ride a bicycle. Once you do it, you can always do it. I think I’m going to look around on ebay for a tuba.

There’s one song that I would really like the alumni band to play – it’s called “España!” by Jay Bocook. I think it came out around 1979 or 1980. I borrowed it from my high school band director back when I was in college for a conducting class project. The band director then passed away, so I never had the opportunity to return it and now I have no idea where it is. I think I’m going to buy the school a new copy, if I can find it somewhere. (If you’re reading this and you know where I can find España by Jay Bocook, please contact me.) Even if the alumni marching band doesn’t come together, I can still replace the music that I never returned 18 years ago.

So if you’ve come across this blog entry by googling your old alma mater, Pulaski Junior Senior High School / Pulaski Academy and Central School / Pulaski High School in Pulaski, New York, and you’d like to be in the alumni marching band in August 2005, please contact me.

A Musical Discovery.

This morning I was kicking back and messing around with iTunes. Searching for “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” by Yes (one of my favorite songs from the 80s), I came across another version of the track. Curious, I hit the audition button on iTunes and was absolutely astounded. The version I was listening to was from an album entitled “BOCA 2001: The Best Of College A cappella 2001”.

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘a cappella’, let me explain. A cappella music is performed with absolutely no instrumentation. The only instrument used is the human voice. There’s no percussion. No piano. No guitar. Just the vocal instrumentation of the performers. Tight harmonies. Everyone singing their own unique part, their contribution lending to the construction of the whole. I sang in many a cappella performances in both high school and college, the majority being the classic barbershop quartet music. A female version would be something like the Sweet Adeleines.

What I heard today blew me utterly and completely out of the water. I never knew that these a cappella groups existed in colleges all across the country, and I went to a music school! Perhaps I should have paid better attention.

What makes this type of a cappella music intriguing to me is that the tracks are reproductions of popular Top 40 songs, and they sound absolutely amazing. Titles like “Ray Of Light”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. It’s sounds fantastic over my PowerBook speakers. I put on my iPod headphones and couldn’t believe what I was listening to. I must admit that I was trembling with excitement when I decided to dig out my pro radio headphones and bask in the audio experience. So I plugged them in and discovered two things. The sound threw me into sonic nirvana. My iPod headphones are pretty damn good, as they sound much better than my $150.00 Sony headphones from my radio career.

If you appreciate really good music, take a listen to this album. I’ve included the link to Amazon which provides samples.

I think I’m going to be singing in the shower more. And I think I’m going to end up trashing my iTunes allowance.