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Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for August 26th, 2014

Saxes and Singers and Gnats, Oh My! (AKA the Racine Concert Band 2014 Free Summer Series Comes to an End)

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Those of you who’ve read my blog for quite some time now are aware of two things, I hope:

1) I’m a musician as well as a writer.

2) I sometimes indulge in extra long titles (as above).**

Why am I starting this blog post like this? Because the Racine Concert Band — of which I’m a member — just successfully concluded the 2014 free summer concert series at the Racine Zoo this past Sunday night.

“But Barb,” you say. “Why didn’t you get online and say something on Sunday night, or better yet, yesterday? Why wait a day?”

The reason for that mostly is because of the “gnats” part of the above title. At about the midway point of the Sunday evening concert, the gnats and biting flies and perhaps even some ticks (those are the pea-green critters, aren’t they?) came flying out to bedevil every musician they possibly could.

I, unfortunately, appear to have been the musician that announcer Don Rosen decided to discuss in his comments — he said something to the effect that “one of the saxes” (most likely me) was swatting insects, going back to playing, swatting more insects, going back to playing, and he didn’t know how any of us could do that.

Now, every one of us was swatting insects in the first three rows. (I cannot see the rows behind me, mind, but they probably were swatting them, too.) But as far as I know, I’m the only one who swatted so many insects, so hard, that I actually had the clips to keep my music from flying off at the first wind gust go flying into the nearby clarinet section instead. (Sorry, clarinets.)

I know I was bitten at least ten or fifteen times, too. And as I despise bugs with a passion, this was not easy to bear whatsoever. (I did kill at least twenty of the suckers, though.)

Anyway, the conditions for the concert were fine for the first half, awful for the second. It’s because of this that I hightailed it out of there afterward (at least, as much as any musician hobbled by a cane in one hand and a saxophone in the other can hightail), even though I believe someone I hadn’t seen in quite some time was attempting to get to the stage and perhaps say “hi.” (If that person is reading my blog for some reason, please know that I am sorry I didn’t stop to chat. I just could not deal with the bugs. At all. But do feel free to say “hi” here instead, OK?)

Look. It’s an outdoor concert. I know we’re likely to run into some problems here and there. But between the bugs, the heat and humidity, and the fact that my asthma was bad for several days due to the poor air quality on the one hand and the high heat/humidity on the other, that was possibly the most difficult concert, conditions-wise, I have ever played.

So I needed that extra day to rest, to recover, so I could come back and write a blog about the whole shebang. (Lucky you, huh?)

Now, as for a greater deconstruction of the headline — I am a saxophonist, thus “saxes.” Gnats should be self-explanatory at this point . . . and as for the “singers” part of the above headline, Ami Bouterse guested with us again this year and did a fine job with two art songs (the “classical” portion) and two show tunes. (The audience, as you might expect, liked the show tunes a whole lot better. It’s rare when the audience goes for the classical stuff instead.)

So the 2014 free concert season for the Racine Concert Band has come to an end. And you might be wondering whether or not the RCB will have a free summer 2015 concert series, too . . . but as I said last year around this time, no one knows that right now.

All I can say, as I did last year, is that I would appreciate anyone who appreciates the RCB to please contact Mayor John Dickert or your local alderman and tell him (or her) that you really, really, really want the RCB to continue as these are the people most responsible for city-backed funding for next year.

Please. You want to support the Racine Concert Band, because it helps to provide vitality to this community.

We need that. Badly.

So please, support the band. Contact the Mayor and the aldermen. And if you’re able, donate to the band, too . . . help preserve one of the very best parts of Racine and give us another free concert series to remember in 2015.


**Mind, if I had felt like an even longer headline, I would’ve tried to shove in something about Adam Maegaard’s fine French horn solo, too. (I enjoyed that piece.) But the headline was already quite lengthy as it was, so . . .

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 26, 2014 at 3:34 am