UMass Band Day 2008

October 30, 2008

It was great! We got up early to get there on time, the bus ride was quiet (thank god, I needed rest) and we made it there on time. We practiced for 2 hours with George Parks, who did a great job of getting us in formation and getting us pumped up. He conducted on a lift that was about 50 feet in the air, and then he stood on the railing and conducted us. I thought he was going to fall. Luckily, he didn’t fall, and after 2 hours of practice we went to go eat soggy roast beef subs and put on our uniforms, which was a very tedious business, as there was no space. I ended up opening the emergency exit and changing outside.

We got into line, and slowly made our way to the stadium. Whenever we stalled Phil and I played Play That Funky ‘Tuba Right,’ Boy to the tap of the drums. We got other band to join in at one point. We marched the half mile to the stadium and sat down. The game was great, we owned the other team, probably because of the overwhelming support for UMass. We did the wave, when the cheerleaders shouted “go Bulldogs” we shouted “UMASS!” to drown out “Bulldog” and when they cheered after their chant we cheered with them. Mean, but fun. We also got a chant going all the way across the stadium. Our side shouted ‘YOU!’ and the other side shouted ‘MASS!’. It was awesome!

Then, at halftime, we performed, it was truly AMAZING! The power and intensity. This video doesn’t cut it, you really have to be there.

Afterwards we continued to own the Bulldogs, won, got on the bus, and went home.

UMass Band Day 2008

As a side note most people on the bus had to go very bad. So the bus stopped at a rest stop, we all got out, ran to the building, pounded on the door, and the janitor inside wouldn’t let us in. Argh! We cried, and ran around the building looking for a port-a-potty or something. When we circled the building we looked up and saw this. “Please do not pee on this wall, security cameras in use” we LMAO’d.


BYSO Camp!

September 1, 2008

The first thing I heard about BYSO camp was that it was like boot camp, and I can honestly say that it was nothing of the sort. It was very relaxed, with plenty of free time. The only time I felt stressed was when I rehearsed with Fed, BYS’ conductor, and it was only because of his reputation. I have yet to see or hear any evidence to back this up, although I am kind of looking forward to when the time comes. Hopefully it won’t be me.

I was surprised to find that I was the only tuba player at the camp! I know at least five others tried out, but no one was there. Luckily the low brass instructor was a tuba player! Give it up for Joby Wilson! *applause* He really helped me learn the timing on the last section of The Rite of Spring, and was in general a really great guy. For the second half we had Will Lombardelli. He spent pretty much the whole time on articulation and volume. Our sectionals were based around getting the trombone player to play louder, which she absolutely refused to do. I can safely say that my articulation improved a lot. I went from *boop* to *BAM* and hopefully will later work my way up to *BOOM! crash tinkle* or something of the sort. Did I mention Will is awesome at beat boxing? He sang the opening theme to The Rite of Spring and beat boxed to it. I really wish I recorded it.

I woke up early each day to warm up before breakfast. All of their practice rooms were tiny and made my tuba sound crappy. The only place I could find that gave me a good sound was outside, so I found a spot on a little porch on the back of “The Booth” that sounded nice. I tried not to practice in Alumni Hall too much because it made me sound too good, which would have made my tone suffer. While I was taking breaks in between sections of my Daily Routine I could watch the caterpillars try to climb up the side of the building. It was surprisingly entertaining. Which reminds me. 

Time for an Awkward Moment!

So I was walking down a path through the woods to my cabin and I see this caterpillar dangling from a thread in midair. It looked like it was floating! I looked closer to find out what exactly it was doing and it fell onto the path and just laid still. I poked it to see if it was still alive and it started to wiggle a little bit. So I tried to get it onto my finger so I could move it out of harms way. Then I heard the golf cart. It was coming down the path! I took a leaf from a nearby branch to see if I could lift the caterpillar up with that. But I couldn’t, he kept rolling off! I tried until the golf cart came around the bend and stood up quickly so I wouldn’t have to explain I was trying to save a caterpillar. “Hey John, how are you?” said the person driving the cart. “Good” I said, right when the golf cart rode over the caterpillar. It was less of a social awkward moment and more of an awkward moment with Nature.

To sum it all up BYSO Camp was great! I improved vastly and loved every second of it! (Except that one moment explained above)

✌ J.B.

Jr. SYMS Concert & Other Stuff

July 25, 2008

First of all, to all my readers (ha!) sorry I haven’t been posting as frequently as before, It’s summer, so I’ve been in Maine, where there are no computers.

So, we went to my brother’s SYMS concert (he made the Johnson concert and jazz band. I’m so proud… *sniff*). They played Mazama, Clouds that Sail in Heaven, and A Galop to end all Galops. They were all great, especially for musicians that young. I’d have to say that like Mazama the most, the percussionists really pulled it together on that one, as it required everyone to play a single staccato note at the same time, but no one was late or early! It surprised me! I was like “sweet!” Oh yeah, there was also a tornado warning, which required everyone to go into the cellar. My dad, brother, and I just stayed above ground and watched the lightning. :-)

Other Stuff ~ Unattended, my origami shelf has kind of died, it’s now populated with car keys, hearing aid batteries, science museum passes, and nail clippers. So I’ve started and Origami Stairwell, where I’m hanging origami around our stairs. I’ll upload a photo when I don’t feel lazy.

I’m struggling with the Marathon problem that I have to do for my AP Chemistry summer work. I think I set up the equation properly but I’m still getting a g/mol ratio below one, which obviously isn’t right…

This summer I’ve been listening to way more music than I usually do. Here’s the list of what I listen to, and when I listen to it:

Read the rest of this entry »

Down in the Deep Cellar

July 14, 2008

Here is my final recital for the Northeast Tuba Euphonium Workshop.

I’m very happy with it!


July 14, 2008

EDIT: NETEW has been renamed CTEW, the Cosmopolitan Tuba Euphonium Workshop.

NETEW was amazing! For those of you who do not know what NETEW is, it stands for Northeast Tuba Euphonium Workshop, you can find more info at

Where to start… Well, when I got to Endicott College I discovered that all the dorms had their own kitchen and living space, sweet! I made friends (some crazy, some cool, some geeky), took the faculty tour (amazing campus), ate dinner (ok food, great ice cream), had my placement audition (thought I did pretty well), and went to bed (at midnight).

Here is my typical day: My alarm wakes me up at 7:30, I take a shower, and wake my roommates up. Around 8:30 we head to breakfast, which usually consists of pancakes, bagels, french toast, or coco puffs. Then at 9:00 we go to warm up and do our Daily Routine. The euphoniums go with Roland Froscher, and the tubas go with Mike Milnarik.

After the Daily Routine (By the way, the daily routine itself will make you improve so fast!) Mike does a masterclass, in which he will help a student on their solo piece, and the rest of us get to watch that student improve in front of our very eyes! It’s really quite amazing.

After that there is a clinic in which the guest/performing/emerging artist will talk about anything they think we should know. For example, Adam Frey talked about the business side of music, Jamie Lipton told us seven things she wish she knew when she was studying music, and Roland Forescher talked about the differences between music performance Switzerland and here in the United States (Even though I was staying up until one every night and was very tired I did not fall asleep during any of them! They were all very interesting).

At 12:00 we have lunch, which usually included salad and a pizza of some sort (they would take yesterday’s leftovers and put it on pizza. We even had corn pizza at one point, it wasn’t bad!).

After lunch we either rehearse with the pianist, have lessons with Mike or Roland, or practice individually (I did not get to have a lesson with Mike because I am a private student of his, but I did rehearse my solo, Down in the Deep Cellar, with the pianist Bonnie Anderson, a very good accompanist).

Then there is chamber music practice, my group played The Tubameisters and Virga Jesse. The Tubameisters was a very fun piece to play, but Virga Jesse was hard! Even though the notes were easy, making it sound musical was so hard. For our performance we played The Tubameisters, then Virga Jesse, then The Tubameisters again in double time! Everything was going great until the crowd started clapping, and we all know what happens when a crowd of musically challenged parents start to clap, they accelerando! But we stayed together with only a couple minor mistakes, like the on beats (me!) overlapped with the off beats. It was great!

At 5:00 there’s dinner, which usually includes a burger and fries, with ice cream for dessert.

Then comes my favorite part of the day, the faculty recital! We listened to Innovata Brass, Cosmopolitan Tuba Quartet, Dr. Fidgety Dixieland Band, and Brass Planet. They are all amazing and inspirational. To learn more go here: Guest Artists

Then we party (played pool) in the Lodge, head to our dorms at midnight, and go to bed at one. That is my typical day at NETEW, and boy was it great!

Mike Milnarik - Director of NETEW

Mike Milnarik - Director of NETEW