Monday, May 11, 2009

Outdoor Concerts

As a professional musician, I have always hated playing outdoor concerts. It’s hot, or it’s cold. The music gets blown off the stand. We play crappy music, or crappy arrangements of good music. Kids yelling, planes flying overhead. I did a concert where there was goose poop all over the stage. One concert we played, they passed out recorders, or was it kazoos? Anyway this racket was heard throughout the entire performance. Are these people even listening to what we are playing? I did an outdoor concert once (1812 Overture) and the cannon dudes got carried away and their actions generated a a whole SLEW of legal actions. OY! Pop Schlop, is what I call it. I recognized it as an evil necessity so that when music issues are raised, someone somewhere remembered that they went to a nice outdoor symphony concert and they will vote for the bond measure, or send a few bucks to the local arts organization so that we can play ‘real’ music, indoors as God & Beethoven intended.

The logistics of playing outdoors is also a daunting task. You have to move the percussion gear, make arrangements for chairs & stands. Shade cover, clothespins, water for musicians, local permits & fees. And what about parking? Some of these places you have to park in the next county and walk a marathon.

Ok, Last weekend (May 9) I did an outdoor concert with the Ohlone Tuba Ensemble - and the Ohlone Community Band - and I had the BEST time! We had a potluck beforehand. The weather was perfect. We played good music, WELL. There were kids yelling and a blimp flew overhead. Central Park in Fremont is an IDEAL location for an outdoor concert. They have a wonderful pavilion that actually has excellent acoustics. From the podium, I can see over Lake Elizabeth and Mission Peak. There were folks there that had never heard ANY of the ensembles from Ohlone College. This was fun for us; the audience loved hearing the tuba ensemble & the OCB. It was good for the community, a fun, rewarding experience for the musicians and good exposure for the College. My music got blown off the stand, TWICE.

I loved it!

Maybe I'll bring kazoos for the kids next time.