Each year the Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY) puts on a summer pops concert which coincides with the Crane Youth Music Program. It also happens during a huge Fourth of July celebration in Watertown which is attended by thousands of listeners. Every year the orchestra plays a standard list of patriotic rep, and then adds a few pieces that fit a certain theme. After the Canadian National Anthem (July 1 is Canada Day) and the Star Spangled Banner, the orchestra performed American Salute, American Patrol, and the Armed Forces Salute. The Armed Forces Salute is part of a ceremony where veterans stand during their respective service song and are honored by the entire audience.
After the ceremony, ONNY kicked off its Big Band themed portion of the program. This was the first time I had ever played drum set with an orchestra of this size. I got to play a Duke Ellington medley, an arrangement of Kearns, Gershwin, and Berlin tunes, and the world premiere of “Sincerely Sinatra“, a piece written by the Crane School of Music’s own Brett Zvacek featuring a Trombone soloist (played by Zvacek) and a bass and drums rhythm section.
The concert in Watertown was concluded with a powerful performance of the 1812 Overture featuring Howitzer cannons from nearby Fort Drum. Combined with the ensuing firework show, it was truly a moving experience. I couldn’t have asked for a more competent section to play with either. I was joined by Kyle, an alumni of Crane and Percussion Instructor at the Eastman Community Music School, and Erica and Aj who currently study at Crane.
The Crane Youth Music camp also wrapped up this week with each ensemble giving a final concert. I’m proud to say that the percussionists in each concert were the best sounding group. The student have come a long way from their auditions on the first day of camp. The students are demonstrating their understanding of good technique and beginning to play with the special touch that separates music from noise.
The Orchestra of Northern New York is always a blast to perform with. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to premiere a piece and to perform patriotic classics for a large crowd. Pairing that with the opportunity to work with students who are dedicated to music for
two straight weeks creates such a rich and vibrant program. If you haven’t before, check out the Crane Youth Music camp for next summer, and visit the Crane School of Music!
Today (July 10) I started my first day as a TA with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Junior Jazz Academy; more on that in the next few days!