June 17, 2012

Music At Allegheny...

Friday night was an evening to remember. Handsome has been attending the Allegheny College Band Camp for Adult Musicians in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Seventy seven musicians gathered from around the country to participate in five days of music rehearsals, classes and camaraderie culminating in a Friday evening concert.

The conductor for this weeks' rehearsals and performance was Captain Michelle Rakers. She is the Assistant Musical Director of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band.

This quote is from their website: “The Marine Band’s mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the commandant of the Marine Corps.”
Allegheny College Adult Band Camp Band
Not only is Michelle an accomplished musician with a Master's Degree in music performance (she plays the trumpet/cornet), but her consummate skill as a conductor was apparent from the instant she lifted her baton. Combine those skills with her thousand-watt personality, and by the end of the first rehearsal she owned very musician at camp. Everyone enjoyed working with her this past week.
Captain Rakers conducting the band with a trumpet solo by Jim Seidel
The concert included marches, a "Sound of Music" medley and music to fill the entire auditorium. It was wonderful!
Percussion Section l-r: Barbara Bailey, John Fleming, Rob Roth, Handsome and Doug McCleod
I love this photograph because it shows the entire percussion section hard at work. I have to tell you that the two musicians on each end of the section (Barbara Bailey on the left and Doug McCleod on the right) have 173 years between them! (And don't tell anyone, but they're dating!)

Doug is highly respected in concert band circles for his playing expertise and knowledge of, history of, and performance skills on the bass drum. He is ninety years old and still going strong.

Barbara is the widow of Elden Chandler "Buster" Bailey, who was the principal percussionist of the New York Philharmonic for over 35 years, and is a skilled percussionist in her own right. She always manages to delight us with stories of the world-famous musicians who were entertained in her and Buster's home. Barbara is 83 years young.
Conductor, Captain Michelle Rakers with the Percussion Section
At the end of the concerts, all of the musicians frequently have photographs taken with their sections. This year, everyone was so delighted with Captain Rakers, that she was asked by each group to stand with them. All of them fondly hope that she will return in future years to conduct other weeks, but everyone wanted their photograph with her to commemorate this year's stellar performance.
Yours Truly with Captain Michelle Rakers
On a personal note, I learned in conversation with her that she owns two Cardigan Welsh corgis! She has two girls. I told her that I have a Pembroke named Taggart.

It just so happened that he was sleeping out in the truck while we were at a reception earlier in the week. She asked to meet him, so we went outside and I held him to introduce them to each other. My usually smooch-withholding corgi kissed her all over her face (not to mention attempting to give her a "wet willy" or two!) and had her giggling while he squirmed in my arms. I explained that he is not usually a kisser, but you wouldn't have known it from his behavior. Apparently, he doesn't kiss below the rank of Captain! From then until her departure, every time I saw her she said, "Give Tag a kiss for me."

Not only were the musicians delighted with Captain Rakers. Taggart and I have found a new friend as well. I've always believed that music opens doors. Thanks to my husband, it has also exposed us to many wonderful friendships. We're already looking forward to next year!
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3 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Minimiss said...

Oh how I wish I could have been there to see and hear the concert. It sounds as though it was a fun-filled week. And your Tag never ceases to surprise, does he?

Createology said...

Donna Dear I believe you and Handsome and Tag are living in a real true Fairy Tale. Your days and nights are filled with wonderful adventures and you meet and become friends with the most interesting people. This is just the most perfect Fairy Tale come to life. And they lived happily ever after...

Mandy said...

What a marvellous opportunity for music-making. Handsome must have had a wonderful time.
It sounds as if Tag made a special friend there too! Animals really know and acknowledge the people who are most sympathetic to them.

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