When senior Jonathan Gray sits down, he is expected to sit up straight, look nice and keep his mouth shut, around the mouthpiece of his contra bass clarinet at least. Gray competed at the state competition Feb. 13 through Feb. 16 making fourth chair overall and top chair in the State Concert Band.
Gray was excited to get the score he made despite a bad impression left for the judges after not playing at the appropriate tempo.
“My other five cuts were really well played,” Gray said, “but I think that first impression put me down so far.”
Gray is the second band member to go to state in the last two years. At first, Gray wasn’t excited about the opportunity to go to state.
“I really didn’t think it was a big deal, but when I got there I realized it was a big deal,” Gray said. “It kinda got me a little pumped up for it.”
The music they played was fun.
“I loved the music. Epecially playing odd pieces. I look for those odd pieces. Also the marches. Nothing is better than a march.”
Their pieces included Symphony No. 3 (Slavyanskaya), North by Northwest, Potrait of hitch, Scherzo Macabre, Allerseelen, Epinicion and Knightsbridge March.
The first piece they performed was quick and fierce.
“It was really cool. The entire march is a propoganda sync march,” Gray said,”The main themes in this are based on Slavic folk songs.”
The next pieces were a little difficult.
“We moved on to a couple of pieces by Bernard Herrmann who was best known for his compositions for Alfred Hitchcock movies in the 50s and 60s.” Gray said. “Those pieces were a little harder than the rest of them.”
The Allerseelen piece the Concert Band played was actually named after All Soul’s Day.
The Epinicion piece was composed by John Paulson over the Vietnam War.
“It was mainly just a bit of commotion, a bunch of noise,” Gray said.“It was a very unusual piece, it was unmetered and it wasn’t directed.”
Finally, their last piece was the Knightsbridge March (also called In Town Tonight).
“You picture nowadays seeing kids all around each other-on each other’s arms, on each other’s legs, hugging and kissing publicly,” Gray said. “back then, when they had horses and carriages, you shouldn’t be in a carriage alone with a boy if you were a girl, or vice versa. It’s just kinda about that aspect of life. The Kinightsbridge March has a real flirty, dynamically contrasting change into this new theme that’s going on that’s kinda like lovey-dovey, were-here-but-were-doing-stuff-were-not-suppose-to-be-doing, were kissing, touching eachother.It’s a real interesting piece.”
During his free time, Gray and other students could explore the Convention Center, a couple of floors filled with band instruments and band music.
“There’s brands of all sorts of different instruments-woodwind, brass, wind, Selmer, Yamaha-anything you name was there,” Gray said. “When you walk around the floor, you see a bunch of horn’s displayed. You see saxaphones from the 1700s next to one that was made three days ago that just shipped in. There were bass clarinets, a lot of percussion stuff, lot of euphoniums and saxophones.”