Category Archives: bssb

Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band

new antique music by somebody else…

once again, i would like to offer my utmost gratitude to my wife, who made it possible for me to own the awesome music notation software called Sibelius. it has made processes like this take so much less time than doing the same thing “by hand”… and it’s not something that i have to imagine, as i have actually done projects like this “by hand” in the past, and it was so tedious and drawn-out over, literally, months, that i no longer do such projects… conversely, this project in it’s entirety, took 5 weeks to go from “a gleam in my eye” to having finished parts and a recording… and 4 weeks and 5 days of that were waiting for the score to arrive from the publisher. 😎

so, there’s this march in honor of Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment written in 1881 by Thornton Barnes Boyer, which we’ve been trying to play with the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band for several years now, and getting nowhere… primarily because of the fact that there are several different “arrangements” of it scattered across the 35-odd musicians in the band, which have several differences which, while not major, definitely mean that playing it as an ensemble is a lot more difficult. and that’s not to mention that it is in the key of E♭ minor (six flats, for those of you who may not know), which, for a community band with players of all abilities, is asking a bit too much…

but that may or may not be the issue, as i discovered at a recent BSSB rehearsal that, in fact, there are two different “arrangements” of Joyce’s 71st NY Regiment March just in the trombone section, and that they are enough different that playing the two of them and expecting it to sound even reasonably coherent was impossible, as one of them had the “Trio” in an entirely different key all together.

a little bit of research revealed the fact that there are several different “arrangements”, which include adding harmony and ornamentation to the trio, changing the key of the trio to the relative major, and changing the location of the “Da Capo”, all of which were made long after the original composer, TB Boyer, had passed on, and nobody could decide which of the many different arrangements was “best”. one thing that they all agreed on, however, was that the original piece had been published by J.W.Pepper.

a tiny light bulb appeared over my head, as i realised that i actually own a 100-year-old musical instrument with the J.W.Pepper logo stamped on it, and i actually know where J.W.Pepper has a branch location in tukwilla…

so, i went to J.W.Pepper and asked if they still carried the original version of Joyce’s 71st NY Regiment March, not arranged by anyone, and, bob’s-yer-uncle, they have it. not only that, but they have a version of it that has been transcribed for modern instruments, which is really an issue when you realise that what constitutes a concert band has changed pretty dramatically in the past 120 years: no saxhorns, no helicons, no ophecleids, quinticlaves or clavitubes, no serpents, consistent woodwinds, a tuning note that is several cents higher than it was, etc., etc., etc…

however, they sold the publishing rights to some other company, which only prints copies on demand, so i had to wait until they printed a copy… just for meeeeee… 😊

i got it the other day, and entered it into the aforementioned, AWESOME MUSIC NOTATION SOFTWARE (which took all of 5 hours, stretched out over a couple of days) and transposed it down a half-step, into D minor, which only has one flat!

my impression is that it will be much easier to muddle our way through, now that we’ve all got the same arrangement, and it’s in a key that doesn’t twist our brains while we’re trying to learn it… 👍

and, because of the fact that the software also outputs in sound formats, i have been able to hear what it’s going to sound like (more or less) to make sure that all the parts are correct BEFORE i print them and hand them out to people!

Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment March

yesterday

yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…

no, no… that’s not right…

yesterday i got up early enough to be in magnolia by 8:00 so that i could sit by the side of the road for three hours while i waited for the magnolia seafair parade to happen around me… with me as the tuba player in the SANCApators. because of the fact that i was the tuba player, there are no pictures — of me or anyone else — that i took, but i’m pretty sure there were pictures taken of me by other folks, because i wore my kilt, a rainbow tie-dyed shirt, my tall hat-of-many-buttons, and my steampunk goggles. carrying an enormous tuba in a parade, dressed in that costume, was definitely an experience… unfortunately it was an experience for everyone else, because i was too busy trying to play the parts and keep more-or-less in line with the six other members of the band… 😐

this is the second seafair related parade that i have participated in this year. i didn’t go to greenwood, because my car isn’t “finished” yet, but i’ve been in chinatown, magnolia, and, in a couple weeks, briar…

next weekend is august 9th, the day that will live in infamy… because i have three different gigs scheduled with three different bands, in three different cities…

i’ve got the festival of the river with the fighting instruments of karma; i’ve got the ballard locks gig with the ballard sedentary sousa band; AND i’ve got the huson’s garden party with the fremont philharmonic… ALL ON THE SAME DAY… πŸ˜›

i’m going to make the fighting instruments gig, because they are actually paying the chautaqua $10,000 to do the show, so the chautaqua wants to give them their money’s worth… i may be able to make the garden party, which starts at 7:00, if everything goes as planned and i am able to leave arlington by 6:00, and i encounter no traffic in everett or seattle…

… now i need a place to hide away, oh i believe in yesterday.

so, today is 4/20…

today, moe’s dad and his wife came to retrieve moe’s mom and her car from their visit with us this past week (it’s a long story: what it boils down to is that, despite the fact that she owns a very large, quite luxurious SUV, moe’s mom is afraid to, and refuses to drive on the freeway, or any place with which she’s not already familiar). they came up by train, i picked them up at the station, and they took off in moe’s mom’s car, whereupon they immediately proceded to get lost and ended up on the freeway going the wrong direction. allegedly they’re going to be back around 6:00 or so, with moe’s mom, and moe, who is at a dog trial today, which is why her parents are here. then they’re going to take the rabbit and go back to portland…

oh yeah… we found a pet rabbit in our front yard last week. it turned out to belong to our neighbour down the street, but they don’t want it any longer, so it’s going to portland with moe’s mom, and she’s allegedly going to give it to its new owner… i say allegedly because moe’s mom is in love with the rabbit and wants to take it home herself, despite the fact that her housemate (who is also her landlord) would have a fit…

i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal tuesday, and then a BSSB performance on saturday, i think… or maybe it’s sunday…

cannabis is legal! let’s keep it that way! 😎

update

i’ve digitised 2½ cassettes by pliny. i don’t get to post any more of them until i get permission from him, ’cause apparently he’s paranoid. oh well… 😎

i’ve got a component-stereo cassette player on freecycle, but i’ve got one person who has expressed interest, so it’s probably already taken.

i’ve got a snake suspenderz performance at a rehab center in burien. it’s a private party, which means that i’ll be paid for it, but i don’t remember how much at this point. it doesn’t really matter anyway, ’cause i’m playing and they’re paying me. 😎

moe and i are going to a performance by ezra in honour of The PHBFH on the 17th. the place is TBA, still, but ezra sez we’re going to get notified by email before the performance, so we can be where it is. i haven’t seen The PHBFH since ezra graduated from college, which was a few years ago, but i’ve never actually talked with him about his mother, so this should be an interesting performance.

the 26th has a performance by the BSSB, but i’ll probably post before then.

oh, i’ve also got another colonoscopy scheduled on the 7th of june, and another snake suspenderz performance on the 14th of june at cafe racer.

also, moe brought home a dead hummingbird… it’s sad that it’s dead, but at the same time, it’s probably the only time i’m going to get to hold a hummingbird in my hand…moe brought home a dead hummingbird

king street station

i have performed three times in the past few years, at the king street station in downtown seattle. the first time was a few years ago, and it was also the first time i performed with the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. i was the only trombone player, there were supposed to be two others, but they couldn’t make it. we performed outside, on the platform where passengers board and disembark the trains, and despite the fact that i was the only trombone player, it went fairly well. at that time, the ceiling had been artificially lowered, and completely covered by an “accoustic” ceiling which was supposed to save money by giving the city less space to heat. there were a couple of ceiling tiles missing, and you could see a tiny glimpse of what used to be the ceiling, several stories above, but most of it was hidden.

the second time was also with the BSSB, but it was out in front, on jackson street, for the opening of the renovation of the king street station, about two years ago. we put our cases inside the upper level, which was in the process of being renovated, but it wasn’t open to the public yet. there were open beams, brickwork, and lots of dust inside, but we were actually playing outside, so it wasn’t really an issue. where we put our cases was right at the level of the “lowered” ceiling, and you could see above it, but it wasn’t much to see: a lot of cobwebs, 50 years of dust and grime, and the underpinings (overpinings?) of the suspended ceiling which was put up without concern for the artistic nature of the real ceiling.

king street station grand re-opening

the third time was this morning, and it, too, was with the BSSB, but this one was the “grand re-opening” of the totally refurbished king street station. they totally removed the old “lowered” ceiling, and restored the station to the way it looked 100 years ago… only with totally new electrical, mechanical, plumbing, a seismic retrofit, and a new roof on the bell tower. this time we played in the big waiting room with the new three-story-tall ceiling… which made the room uncomfortably “live” but we did admirably well in spite of everything.