Like art, music is another form of creative expression that can be uplifting. Also as in the case of art, my role vis-a-vis music is limited to one of appreciation, being swarmed by a feeling of awe at the relative ease at which the handful of notes are arranged and converted into melodies that soothe, guide, and invigorate.
Such an opportunity presented itself last Saturday when Linda gave us two tickets to attend the 2009 All-State Concerts organized by Florida Music Educators' Association (fmea) held at the Tampa Convention Center. The members representing the All-State school bands were selected from individual school bands throughout the State and Linda's younger boy, Aaron, who plays the tuba, was the lone representative from his school in the Middle School Honors Band.
Prior to the day of the performance, Linda and her husband, Victor, had been taking turns ferrying Aaron and also chaperoning the budding musicians for practice and rehearsal. A demanding but rewarding duty indeed.
This was our first visit to the Tampa Convention Center, located downtown flanking the scenic Hillsborough River, and that showed in our having to spend half an hour going round and round the vicinity looking for a place to park. We eventually found one further away that necessitated a 10-minute walk to our destination.
When we finally reached the front door of the Ballroom, we joined a small queue waiting for a break in the performance before we could enter. And as luck would have it, we were admitted just prior to the start of the Middle School Honor Band's performance at the conclusion of the one before, Small Schools Honors Band (the day's performance would end with the All-State Middle School Band).
The Ballroom (combining A and B to cater for the turnout) was standing room only. Luckily a sizable segment of the audience comprised family members and friends of the performers who stayed only for one of the three band performances. So at the conclusion of one band, there was a throng of people streaming in, and a reverse one exiting, creating a high turnover that enabled new arrivals to find seats.
We knew only one or two of the tunes in a medley song in an array of six (seven were listed but we counted only six that were played). But that did not diminish our enjoyment, being thoroughly entertained by the smooth flow of music exuding from 120 some instruments of all shapes and sizes under the flawless guidance of the conductor, Mr. Christopher Treadway. We intuited that much for the latter since we were blocked by the huge pillar rising in the middle of the venue (see one of the images below to see what I mean) and the seats on both sides that had an obstructed view of the stage had already been taken up.
As Wify said, music can be enjoyed just by listening alone. Once we reconciled to the fact that we do not need a vantage view of the band, we found our seats readily, and settled down to a relaxing afternoon treat of musical extravaganza serenaded by each and every member of the Middle School Honors Band at the end of which we gladly vacated our seats for the next ensemble of audience.
Now that pillar is huge, but then again this venue is combining two ballrooms that when used separately, the pillar would become an unobstrusive part of the partition.
The young musicians filing in to take their seats.
Wify spotting the beautiful scarf, a birthday gift from Mrs. Kim (so is the blouse), her painting buddy, while enroute to the car park.
The soaring birds, as if buoyed by the uplifting music exuding from the Tampa Convention Center.