today was the birthday of John Phillip Sousa (b. 1854) and Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax (b. 1814), and in honour of those two illustrious gentelmen, the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band had their annual “Sousa Bash”, complete with a contrabass saxophone this evening. it was huge: quite literally one of the hugest brass instruments i have ever seen in my life. and it was brand new, as well: he just got it about 2 months ago. the guy said that it was manufactured in germany (although the engraving on the bell was done in somewhere-istan with drawings done by his daughter, which you can’t get on regular american-made horns without paying through the nose for it). he said that it cost the same as a new car, and they had to get a new car because the saxophone wouldn’t fit in their old car. the only bigger saxophone is the subcontrabass saxophone, or "tubax", which is a real monster, but it’s made by the same german company that made his contrabass.
the sousa bash went really well, although i admit i played the stinger at the end of “High School Cadets” in spite of the fact that there is no stinger at the end of “High School Cadets”. i wasn’t the only one to play the stinger on a piece that doesn’t have a stinger, though, so i don’t feel too bad. i’ve been playing enough the past couple of months that i could have played a couple more hours before my lip gave out. there’s apparently a fez in a carrying case for sale at st. vincent de paul in tacoma, which i intend to go and buy tomorrow – unless it costs too much, which, of course, i won’t know until i get there.