ATTENTION: due to the closure of Cornell Community Centre, MCB rehearsals are cancelled until further notice. Updates here as we have them.
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Percussion equipment moving roster
The current version of the roster for moving percussion is available here.
Loaner Instrument Policy
The current version of MCB’s policy on its loaner instruments is available here.
Message from Doug – July 5th
Yuki, Akito and I are really enjoying our Japanese stay. The food is great, and there are no active COVID cases in Yuki’s hometown. People are still responsibly practicing social distancing and wearing masks- which is probably why there are no active cases. Today, we head off for a week in Akito. The plane fare is free! It’s a promotion by the Japanese government set up when they thought tourists would be arriving for the Olympics. >_<
It’s been a bit challenging, though, changing my workflow from desktop computer and robust home wi-fi to iPad and a portable wi-fi hot spot. While my original intention was to send self-contained emails with everything you need, it’s just not working. Going forward, I’ll include only download links to the MP3s and sheet music. All the resources for the summer are also in our Dropbox shared folder.
By the way, re our MCB Zoom meeting on July 13- my annual Condo meeting is Zooming at the same time. Yuki may be able to join you, depend on Akito’s schedule.
We start a new piece this week- Sing Sing Sing. Below are links to a folder with two practice tracks and the complete piece, and a folder with the sheet music PDFs.
Warmup- G+ concert: the arranger made the unusual choice to start the piece in G+. There will be tuning and key signature troubles galore. Start by playing the scale in one octave as slowly as necessary to be accurate and in tune. If that goes well, try two octaves.
Practice- Sing, 0 – C: Except #1 is the slow track. Pay particular attention to the eight note pickups in cut time. Do you best to match the articulation and swing style.
Listening: Enjoy the full recording of this jazz classic. The soloists’ improv is not what’s suggested in your music. I’m prepared to be flexible, and accommodate anyone who wants to try a solo chorus.
Message from Doug – June 28th
As I feared, large emails with attachments get blocked from delivery for some people. I’m sending out four MP3s in a separate email shortly- two rehearsal excerpts and two full length recordings for the Mozart. If you don’t receive them, I created a folder in our shared Dropbox with the MP3s we’ll be using during the summer, plus PDFs of four charts.
Worst case scenario, email me directly and I’ll try sending the files you need by direct email or Dropbox link.
Warm-up- Eb+ scale. Spend four bars on each degree of the scale- four quarters, eight eighths, 16 sixteenths, and a whole note. Use a metronome if possible. Pick a speed that slightly challenges your ability to tongue the sixteenths cleanly. Over the course of the week, try a click faster each day.
Practice- K to end. Particularly from M to Q, some of you have challenging accidentals. Scan your part and woodshed the difficult bars before attempting to play long passages. MP3s #1 and #2 are the slow and normal tempos of K – end.
1) MP3s #3 and #4 are quite different at R. Listen to the length of the half note brass chords. Which interpretation do you prefer, or would you do something different?
2) Around U, the recordings differ in tempo. (It’s subtle, but noticeable.) Was this a conductor’s choice or players in #4 losing focus? Which interpretation do you prefer?
3) Recording #4 uses a bigger ritardando. What choice would you make? By the way, neither group brings out the horn glissando heading to the last note. (Everyone else has a short note.) That’s an element I’m planning on adding.
Here’s a link to “#1 K-end mm=90 Mozart Pop Symphony.mp3” in my Dropbox:
Message from Doug – June 21st
The Markham Village Music Festival has come and gone, so I’ll make our feature video available on our YouTube page. Feel free to encourage friends and neighbours to subscribe!
1) Warmup: C+ Scale, long tones. This key center has some tuning challenges for concert bands. If possible, practice this scale with an electronic tuner. There are several options, but I’ve found that downloading an app is the cheapest and easiest solution. I use Cleartune, but there are lots of choices.
2) Repertoire Practice: Mozart Pop Symphony, G – K. The key center will present technical and tuning challenges. I’d suggest listening to mp3 #2 first, then woodshedding difficult passages, then see if you can play G – K slowly on your own. Only then try playing along with mp3 #1. Hint- the beat subdivision changes from straight at G to swing at I. That means subdivision changes from two even eighths in a quarter to the uneven eighths of swing. Listen carefully to the mp3, paying particular attention to shot note placement.
3) Listening. Mp3 #3 is a full-length recording by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. MP3 #4 is a German group. Try listening to both groups from A-K, find five differences between the two performances, and decide which interpretation or execution you prefer.
Message from Doug – June 15th
Welcome back. It was nice to see some familiar faces during our Zoom meeting last Monday. As I mentioned at the time, MCB is engaged in a gentle experiment to see if using PDFs can replace the thousands of pieces of paper that Beth has to deal with- copying, filling folders and re-filing the music when we’re done. As the band has grown and our number of pieces per year has increased, we’re looking for ways to help Beth and future librarians. Have no fear- while some folks will be using tablets to read the PDFs directly, many of us will continue to use printed parts. We’re asking you to take on that responsibility for yourself, but if that’s impossible for you, we’ll find a way to get you printed music.
1) Warmup: Bb+ scale, finger patterns. After the long-tone warmup of your choice, go up and down the first five notes of the scale- slowly at first, and then for speed. Be sure to build successful synaptic pathways by going as slowly as you need to play error-free. Try different articulation patterns. When that’s really comfortable, go from the second to sixth degrees.
2) Repertoire Practice: Mozart Pop Symphony, 0 -G. This section is written in Bb+/G-, so the key signature won’t be a challenge. I’d suggest listening to mp3 #2 first, then woodshedding difficult passages, then see if you can play 0 -G slowly on your own. Only then try playing along with mp3 #1.
3) Listening. Mp3 #3 is a full-length recording by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. They’ve recorded many of the great charts by Japanese arrangers we’ve been using. It’s rare to find any problems to discuss in recordings from this outstanding ensemble. As you listening, pay attention to the amazing rhythmic precision in all parts. Enjoy.
Message from Doug – June 8th
Flute players: former MCB member Lynn Ikeda sent along interesting news about a free on-line flute masterclass. See below!
1) Warmup: Eb+ scale. Start on a comfortably low note. On the first note of the Eb+ concert scale, start forte and decrescendo to nothing over eight slow counts (maybe four slow counts for flutes and tubas). Rest for four counts, taking a deep breath on the fourth count, and then play the second note. Continue up and down the one-octave scale. Constantly self-evaluate your tone, attack, and release.
2) Repertoire Practice- The Beatles: Love
This week, focus on bars 64 – 127. Break the work into as small a chunk as you need to play it perfectly- repeat one bar at a time if necessary. You want to build synapses for success, so be patient and work slowly and carefully. For now, play all cues.
When you’re ready, try playing along with track #1. It’s a slowed down mp3 of a full band. You’ll hear four click-track sounds in tempo, and then bar 64.
Once you’re having consistent success with track #1, try track #2. It starts with a four beat click track, then bar 64 and is up to speed.
Hint: Work with a metronome when you’re practicing with the tracks. Track #1 is about mm = 100 bpm, and track #2 is about 130. If you don’t have your own metronome, here’s a good online version:
This week, I’m including two full length mp3s of The Beatles: Love. Take on the role of conductor, and decide which interpretation you prefer, and which group executes the technical aspects (rhythmic unison, dynamics, tuning, etc.) more successfully.
Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.
a) Listen to the tuning during the introduction of Sgt. Pepper (timestamp 7:31 and 7:24 respectively). Which group is more successful at listening and adjusting?
b) Perhaps due to the players’ technical limitations, #4 chose to slow down the ending. Which tempo do you prefer? Would group #4 have been better to simplify the parts as needed, or does the tempo change work?
c) Which group performs the last two sounds with more precision? It’s a long-held conductors’ axiom that if the beginning and end of a piece are great, you can get away with a bit in the middle. As you listen to the two versions of the ending, do you agree?
I’ve heard from a couple of folks that have found these challenges useful. Great! If there’s anything I can provide to help you enjoy your music during our enforced sabbatical, please let me know..
Sneek Peek: Next week, PDFs and mp3s for a piece intended for our Oct. 2020 folder- Mozart Pop Symphony. Fantastic arrangement of some familiar themes.
And finally, here’s some flute sectional info.
Passing some information along I found out from a Facebook friend in case it might be of interest to the flutists. It’s a free online masterclass taught by spectacular teachers including our Toronto based flutist, Louis Papachristos and led by Carol Wincenc, on Saturday June 20th, 1-3 pm. There are classes for intermediate and advanced players including how to establish a vibrato or tips to practice scales in the intermediate class. The event looks pretty cool! I’m not sure how the event will be streamed and about space, but hope you might consider participating. I think there’s still space to audit. Here is the link for more info and to register: https://www.carolwincencflute.com/cronline.html
Message from Doug – May 31st
As Heather mentioned in her last email, the exec considered ways to keep us musically engaged during our social distancing. Several ensembles have done a recording project, which involves all the interested parties recording themselves to a click track or conductor’s video, and then editing the individual videos together. It’s a fair bit of work for a one-shot project, so we thought we’d try a different route.
On Sunday or Monday each week , I’ll send out a weekly challenge. There will be a warm-up, something to practice, and some listening. At least until Beth gets access to the rehearsal hall, I’ll be drawing on the May show folder for the practicing. Many of you (…he said optimistically…) already have your music at home- either PDFs or your folder. Section leaders, if you’re around, could you please check with your section and help facilitate PDF sharing where necessary? If you don’t hear from your section leader, let me know and I’ll help if I can.
And please send me any feedback that would make the exercise more useful for you. Slower practice tracks? Suggestions to figure out difficult rhythms?
Let’s all do our best to hit the ground running when we’re finally able to rehearse!
June 1 Challenge
1) Warmup: Eb+ scale. Start on a comfortably low note. Play the first note of the Eb+ concert scale for eight slow counts. Rest for four counts, taking a deep breath on the fourth count, and then play the second note. Continue up and down the one-octave scale, staying at a comfortable mf. Constantly self-evaluate your tone, attack, and release.
2) Repertoire Practice- The Beatles: Love
This week, focus on bars 27 – 64. Break the work into as small a chunk as you need to play it perfectly- repeat one bar at a time if necessary. You want to build synapses for success, so be patient and work slowly and carefully.
When you’re ready, try playing along with track #1. It’s a slowed down mp3 of a full band. You’ll hear a chord from bar 22, four click-track sounds in tempo, and then the drum solo bars 23 – 27 (four bars rest).
Once you’re having consistent success with track #1, try track #2.. It starts from the beginning of the piece and is up to speed.
Hint: Work with a metronome when you’re practicing with the tracks. Track #1 is about mm = 100 bpm, and track #2 is about 126. If you don’t have your own metronome, here’s a good online version:
Here’s a link to an excellent band playing Deep Purple Medley. They’re a high energy high school band with impressive technical and musical skills. Note that they’ve got the piece completely memorized- not a music stand in sight. Listen for the amazing rhythmic precision, even with all the choreograph shenanigans.
Message from Heather – May 30th
Hello, all! I’ve been deliberately not emailing you too often so as not to bother you, but after seeing the response to John Sellens’ recent email we’re going to change that up a little.
First, an update on the theatre season: we are not putting tickets on sale at this time, and we don’t know yet when we will be able to. When that changes we’ll let you know, but for now that’s all on hold. (However, we DO still have our dates – Oct 18th/Nov 29th/Feb 28th/May 2nd, all at 2pm – for the next season, so make sure they’re on your calendar.) Since we can’t rehearse yet and we don’t know when we’ll be able to, selling tickets now would be irresponsible. But we’re ready to go as soon as we can.
Second, the exec had another online meeting Wednesday night and realized we enjoyed being able to see and chat to each other. So we’d like to set up a meeting for the membership.. It’ll either be on Zoom or Google Meet (still working out the details) and it’ll of course be purely voluntary.
We were also thinking it could be fun for some of you to do a short presentation on… well, something that interests you. Could be music-related, could be about your career or your other hobbies, could be showing off your extensive collection of polar bears (just me?)… something that would let the other members get to know you a bit better and/or could let us learn something new.
If you’re interested in doing such a presentation, reply to this and let me know what you’d like to cover. If we get a ton of responses we may schedule multiple meetings, but that’s totally fine! I’m thinking Monday June 8th at 7:30pm for the first one, but I’ll confirm that in a few days once we’ve got the location set.
And finally, Doug’s going to start sending us a weekly exercise or music-related suggestion. We can’t practice together, but we can all practice the same thing and be together that way. Watch for that on (I believe) this coming Monday.
Also watch for our Markham Village Music Festival video performance (huge thanks to Doug for assembling a great video for us from past performances and photos) – I don’t have the schedule yet of when we’ll be appearing but I’ll share that when I do. The whole festival looks like it’ll be great (with Judi McIntyre involved, of course it will be!) so you might want to spend June 19th and 20th on your computer watching that.
We are still a band, even though we can’t be together in person, and I miss all of you. Please take care of yourselves! 🙂
Message from Doug – May 12th
We just received word from the organizers of the Sunday night concert series at the AquaTheatre- they’ve cancelled this year’s shows. We had been scheduled for August 9.
Stay safe and be patient. We’ll get through this and back to a semblance of normal eventually.
Maps for our Shows
Click ‘view larger map’ on a particular map to go to a full-sized one where you can also get directions to the concert.
Flato Markham Theatre
Markham Village Festival (Main St Markham and Robinson)
Orillia Aqua Theatre
RAIN LOCATION for Orillia
Details in the event of rain for Orillia
Doors to the Opera House will only be open at 5:30pm for load in. Band members can enter via the elevator entrance or front door. The elevator entrance is through the double doors – with windows – toward the back of the Opera House, directly across from the Library entrance in the parking lot.
From the elevator, the stage is on the 3rd floor. From the front entrance or ground floor, the stage is on the 1st floor (meaning up the stairs and through the double doors).
Unionville Millennium Bandstand
Click ‘view larger map’ on a particular map to go to a full-sized one where you can also get directions to the concert.
Suggestion Box (from Heather – June 19, 2019)
Many of you have given the exec ideas and suggestions, which is great. It’s often hard for us to keep track, though, especially when they’re given at rehearsals and we don’t have a chance to write them down.
So, we now have a form! If you go to https://forms.gle/oooDpmBoQ2CEAf186
you can give us your suggestion and why you think it’s something MCB should do. All responses come directly to me, and if they fit with our five-year plan I’ll take them to the exec for a group decision on whether (and when) to go ahead.