Touring has changed for American and all to the good, I think.
A long-overdue component has been added and that is contact with music students from area music schools. Of course, the area involved is wherever we happen to be playing. We have scheduled for us a number of masterclasses, clinics, and outreach visits that vary from grade schools to convalescent institutions. Orchestras have finally come to embrace the communities that they visit not with concerts only but hands-on experience meant to give a visiting orchestra greater presence. This is a good thing.
In the last few days I have been able to perform at the auditorium at IU in Bloomington as well as in Champaign-Urbana in Illinois. At Bloomington I participated in something called a “Side by Side” rehearsal where students play alongside us in repertoire they are preparing for a future performance. Imagine having the NY Yankees visiting your college team and having the players take the field with young players so they may learn the ropes or study a few rungs on the ladder they wish to climb.
I had the pleasure of giving a masterclass this morning at C-U to a bunch of aspiring performers and instructors. A masterclass (when I give it) means giving a rough bio of my experiences leading up to where I am today, talking about and demonstrating how and why i do what I do, and fielding questions. I also hear students play and help them to sound better. That scene is repeated by various musicians from the MO and by the time we have played a performance and gotten to speak to the students, they truly feel as though they have had a complete musical experience. This is a good thing.
I was asked by a student in Bloomington what my favorite piece to play was. I gave the answer that so many of us give: “Whatever is on the stand in front of me.”
One more thing…
As you give a masterclass you take in the faces of those before you since the size is usually intimate, about 20 or so. Among the 20 I notice one student of slight build with Hispanic features and darker skin than the rest of the gallery of folks. When the class was over I was speaking to Charlie Daval, one of the two instructors (Ronnie Romm, the great soloist, is the other). As I spoke to Charlie, the young gentleman I noticed came up to me, presumably to greet me and maybe take a picture or something.
“In 1973 did you know a trumpeter name Dave Bannard?”
I thought for a second and remembered that I did indeed know a trumpeter at Eastern Music Festival by that name from Arizona. Nice guy with curly blond hair and a silver horn. Good sense of humor.
“Yes, I remember Dave.”
The young man smiled and said “I’m his son.”
I would have liked to see my own expression as I gave him a big bear hug and asked him his name. “Anderson”, he replied. For the next few minutes we did a mini-version of the Catch Up and then I bid him adieu.
I love tours.