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From the Bleachers – Musicians

From the Bleachers - Musicians
By Beth Volpert

This month, my perches have involved an old black leather couch donated by a good friend for the recording studio my oldest son and his rock band have the good fortune to call “rehearsal space” and my regular spot as GHS Rams Band chaperon.

Fist of Influence

The couch is definitely more comfortable than the bus or the theater seat where I watched students compete in their annual LGPE. From either perch, the music sounds sweet.

Music seems to be a common thread among the kids who are connected to my kids. We always seem to be doing something related to music. I have even heard the kids discussing the variety of music associated with any number of video games that they play. Statements containing the words: “Gershwin, Bach, John Williams, genre, period, jazz influence..” all come floating from the living room that contains an X-Box, computers, iPods, iPads and all manner of items in between that the group finds of interest. The group size varies, but they all appreciate good tunes.

Earlier in the month, I found myself on a bus bound for Central Gwinnett where I was able to listen to several local high school bands perform at their annual LGPE. LGPE is a performance assessment for school bands and offers a wide range of opportunity from concert to sight-reading. On that long afternoon, small, medium and large schools brought their best to the stage in order to be judged on their mastery and performance of the compositions. What really struck me was that even when our students were not performing, they were entirely wrapped up in the performances of their peers. Hours passed and I had no reason to intervene. The kids just soaked it all in.

Afterwards, they did let it loose a bit and staged impromptu performances of voice, dance and percussion in the courtyard. Back on the bus was a different story. My favorite performance was a little bittersweet, the seniors on my bus were a little sad, so they did what any smart kids would do…they began to sing…their choice? Something from childhood… The Wheels on the Bus… It started out in a traditional manner and then the backup sounds emerged, there was seat drumming and rhythms kept until they got it out of their system. And our bus driver? She just smiled and said, “It happens like that pretty much every year.”

Back to the studio and my perch on the couch.

Performers at the LGPE assessment