Slight detour to Nashville on the way back from Lee to visit Pearl and Innovative Percussion...awesome folks!
Rehearsal with the percussion ensemble for Mudra. The performance went really well...I hope to post a video soon.
So, we've had 4 weeks of classes so far, and things are going great. The new students are really stepping up, and all the returning students keep improving. The biggest headache remains, as always, how to keep equipment safe, secure, and organized. If I can figure out the secret, I will be a much more relaxed person!
The past two weeks have seen a couple of big things for the Fambrough camp. First, my recording project was approved last week, meaning I'll be recording my own compositions for an "official" release through next spring/summer. The "CD" will be released through iTunes and Amazon at first, with the next step being to produce the physical product for recruiting purposes. The plan is also to finish writing a few new pieces (several projects that need completion) for both my recital in the spring and this project.
Second, I just received word this week that I was chosen to be the new Marching Percussion Editor for Percussive Notes. I only applied at first because I knew I would be second guessing myself if I didn't even try, but I am excited that I got the position. I had actually talked myself into thinking I didn't get it, since I hadn't heard anything; to say I was surprised when I got the email Tuesday night would be an understatement!
The next item on the agenda is the trip to Lee University in October to perform as a guest artist with their percussion ensemble and give a clinic - first time adventure!
So, some of the potential new percussion majors have either changed their minds or decided to go somewhere else. All cool, though...they weren't the strongest of the batch anyway. Picked up another one this past week, and she looks to be stronger than the ones that were lost. All told, I should end up with 8 or 9 once class starts, which is great.
We had our first drumline audition day yesterday, and I'm stoked! Good numbers, good hands, and good heads...if all goes well, I should end up with at least 8 snares, 5 tenors, 6 basses, a cymbal line (!), and 12 in the front ensemble. We pretty much got all the way through the exercises on Friday without any problems, so making the final cuts will be interesting.
All is good in Fambrough-land!!!!
What a great semester! In addition to all the great performances by the ensembles, the students have really improved a great deal as well. Drumline auditions are coming up, and recruiting is going well.
Speaking of recruiting...I don't know what's in the water lately, but I seem to have percussion majors coming out of the woodwork to come to UAB. Certainly a welcome change, but I've never seen it like this before. With 9 auditions completed, we have accepted 8 as majors/minors and 1 as a pre-music major. Amazingly, I still have 1 more audition set up for this week, then another 2 for later in the summer. If you've lost count, that would be TWELVE incoming majors, in addition to the 6-8 returning from the current studio. Not really sure how this happened, but I'll take it. Certainly better than the alternative!!!
Summer plans coming up...getting promotion materials ready, then working on finishing compositions and drumline writing...the cycle begins again!!!
One of my favorite things at UAB is directing the percussion ensemble. I have a fantastic group of students who have been working very hard this semester. We are taking the group on tour the next two days, visiting Pelham HS and Oak Grove HS tomorrow, then playing at the Alabama PAS Day of Percussion on Saturday. Iron GIant will be joining us, playing "Third Construction", then we will perform "Doors" by Dave Hall and "Joaquin on Sunshine" by Jim Casella. "Doors" has turned into one of my favorites...so much fun to conduct!
After this weekend, we need to focus on some smaller pieces for a while, then come back and work on "Shades of Glass" again and get ready for Michael Burritt to visit us for the Percussion Ensemble Festival...always busy!
In other news, two articles have been completed and submitted to Percussive Notes - one concerning Steel Band and another concerning Drumline/Front Ensemble exercises. Still progressing on "Fire Garden Suite" nicely, and I have three ideas for new compositions that I am determined to finish this semester.
So, apparently I'm not very good at writing faithfully enough to maintain a blog. I'm willing to try to keep this around a little longer so I can see if it really works for me, though.
I had another Faculty Recital last night and was more pleased with both what I played and how I played it than I've been in quite a while. Here's hoping that I'll be able to keep that groove going, so to speak...I have a BAMA concert in April and a solo marimba concert (!) in May at the Hoover Library. My plan is to learn a few things that I've used for teaching materials the past few years so I can add them to my "official" repertoire list.
Percussion Ensemble is going extremely well right now; we have our 2nd PE Festival coming up in April and we are getting through the music much faster than I had anticipated. I hope to be able to really get in and do some deep cleaning on this program to make sure the concert is spot on.
Here's to new beginnings, and hopefully I'll have this website up and r
So, I've neglected this for a bit it seems. Sorry. A new daughter will do that to these kinds of projects! Grace Anne Fambrough was born on March 11 and is just beautiful. A full house for sure, but so worth it!
Over the Spring semester, highlights were taking the Steel Band to play at AMEA (great response and reception, not to mention great performance and guest performer Tony McCutchen) and getting the chance to conduct "Asphalt Cocktail" on the February Wind Symphony concert. We also started two new events in the percussion area - the spring Percussion Ensemble Festival (with guest artist John W. Parks), where we had a great performance of Mark Ford's "The Surface of Life," and the UAB Drumline Camp. Not the turnout I wanted for either, but a really good first start.
Yesterday I found out I will be giving a clinic session at AMEA (on "Quality of Sound"), and so far (!) the drumline is looking good. Finished writing the sketch of the drum solo on Friday, so all I need is the keyboard parts and the rest of the show music....yeah, that's all. Drum camp in 2 weeks. Wow.
Excellent concert Tuesday night by the Percussion Ensemble. Excellent. Although I didn't personally feel as strongly about the programming for this one as others I've put together, the performance and crowd response more than made up for it. The students seemed to really dig it as well. A highlight for me personally was "Mass" by John Mackey. It got a little goofy in the first half keyboard section, but came back together relatively quickly. The rest of the piece was spot-on...very moving performance for me as a conductor! I was thrilled and could not hide my emotions on this one....I wonder if the students (or audience) noticed. I'm sure they did....
Now to start finalizing the next program and to get Steel Band ready for AMEA.....never stops!