This recording is a major high point in my performing career. The recording sessions took place over the span of three days at the State University of New York, Purchase College Performing Arts Center, Purchase New York around April 2002. The Performing Arts Center, is a full-blown concert hall/theatre and is a regular venue for many major performers. It is one of the best sounding rooms I've ever played in. The band was about 1/2 Merchant Marine Midshipmen and the other 1/2 were semi-pros and full-blown pros. I played euphonium (my 30+ year old Besson - see the photo in my photo gallery). This was a large band with 3 players on most chairs. Captain Force is a legend in these parts and a trustee of the famed "Goldman Band." I've never played under a better band director.
I came to be invited by Port Chester Middle School Band Director (and District Chairman), Ken Kraut who was my son's and daughter's band director. I had just gotten back into playing brass for about year and 1/2 before that and also had started teaching (at Ken's suggestion). Ken sort of casually mentioned that he was doing a "recording session" at SUNY/Purchase and would I like to sit in. I had been playing parades and also a few sit-down gigs, but I wasn't sure about blowing on someone's recording. I'm not shy of recording (I've been in that business one way or another for 30 years). I expected the laconic pace of a rock and roll recording session. Wrong, they were going to get through a dozen or so pieces per 3 1/2 hours session, per night . So there were no real run through (like I expected). They recorded everything, rehearsal takes and all. I get to the theater a little late (I could have kicked myself for that). The two euphonium players are John Palatucci (firstname.lastname@example.org), the soloist of the afore-mentioned world-renown Goldman Band (www.goldmanmemorialband.org), a New York City tradition, and the other is the local Yamaha supported pro, Walter Barrett (http://www.walterbarrett.com/) (you can listen to some absolutely beautiful playing at Wally's site). The tune is much faster than I'd hoped and these were "serious baritone parts." It took a couple of tunes for my hand/eye coordination to snap back. And then I found that I could keep up with the two pros. In fact I garnered the biggest compliment I could expect -- they both talked to me. :-) I had begged off on my horn playing stating that I had spent most of my professional career as a guitar and bass player. Later on Wally leaned over to me after a difficult section in 6 flats and said, "not bad flat key playing for a guitar player." That made my night.
As I mentioned, the hall is one of the sweetest I've ever heard and the recording captures the band beautifully. Recording was done with DATs and hard disk. (A pair of DATs and a pair of laptops - for redundancy - as the engineer explained to me). Mic placement was the house X-Y stereo pair suspended maybe 12 ft. above and 10 ft. forward of the stage and a pair of mics on tall stands directly in front of the stage left and right about 1/3 in from each side. There were no mics among the musicians. The balance is impeccable.
I've taken the liberty of ripping and posting a few excerpts from the recording. I don't know if the recording is available for sale you could enquire at their web site: http://www.usmma.edu/band/default.
Semper Fidelis (Track 7) (Streams)
Semper Fidelis (Track 7) (Download)
The Captain General (Track 16) (Streams)
The Captain General (Track 16) (Download)
Thomas Jefferson March (Track 17) (Streams)
Thomas Jefferson March (Track 17) (Download)
Credits from CD Tray.
1. Francis Scott Key: The Star Spangled Banner (1:14)
2. The United States Marine Corps Hymn (0:41)
3. Henry Russell, arr. Kenneth Alford: A Life on the Ocean Wave (1:02)
4. Defileer Mars kom Marine (2:56)
5. Jack Lawrence, arr. Philip J. Lang: Heave Ho, My Lads, Heave Ho (2:18)
6. 'A Lady of Charleston": United States Marine March (3:11)
7. John Philip Sousa: Semper Fidelis (2:40)
8. Francis Scala: President Grant's Inauguration March (2:20)
9. Francisco Fanciulli: The President'sTroop (Troop "A" March)(2:23)
10. John Philip Sousa: Presidential Polonaise (4:15)
11. James Sanderson: Hail to the Chief (0:41)
12. Kenneth R. Force: First Lady March (1:31)
13. Kenneth J. Alford, arr. Andrew Glover: Colonel Bogey (March) (3:33)
14. Kenneth J. Alford: "H.M. Jollies" March (2:44)
15. Kenneth J. Alford:arr. F. Vivian Dunn: "Sarie Marais" March
16. F. Vivian Dunn: The Captain General (3:31)
17. W.H. Santelmann: "Thomas Jefferson" March (2:12)
18. William H. Woodin: Franklin D. Roosevelt March (2:38)
19. Kenneth R. Force: Fala Frolic (2:52)
20. Arr. William Barker: A Jack Lawrence Songbook (12:15)
21. An American Singalong (6:14)
22. John Philip Sousa: The Stars and Stripes Forever (3:48
23. Roland Fiore:The United States Merchant Marine Academy Kings Point "Alma Mater" (1:18)
24. Eternal Father/Taps (2:22)
25. Samuel Ward: America the Beautiful (3:45)
Produced and Engineered by Gregory K. Squires and Richard Price
Digital Editing and Mastering by Meredith Capraro, Squires Productions, Inc.
Graphic Design by SFA, Inc.
Recorded at The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, Purchase, NY