The auditorium at North Penn High School is enormous. The red seats in the audience spread out words of the stage like ripples in water. Look up, and you’ll see a giant balcony that is a looming towering wave, just waiting to crash down and swallow me. This was because I was not in the audience. I was a part of the North Penn Elementary Wind Ensemble Band that the audience looked upon.
If you don’t know yet, the NPHS auditorium is massive. The seats would probably fill my school’s gym and cafeteria. The lights were also shining in my face, burning my cheeks. It looked as if they wanted to vaporize my skin. I was on stage, surrounded by a large wind ensemble made up of the selected fifth and sixth graders in four elementary schools. I was selected as an alto saxophone player, and the saxophone parts were awesome. In every song, we had the sole melody for some time. At those times, we controlled the band with driving rhythm. If we went fast, the band would need to catch up. If we slowed down, the band would need to slow down. That became really obvious in the first song Fires on Bandai. It’s a quick tempo piece with the saxophones playing along with the dark and ominous melodies by the percussion. At the moment, all audience heard was a huge and upbeat tune by the saxophones like a raging wildfire with no control. Every other instrument made way for the saxophones. We buffed and puffed every inch of our energy in order to capture the drama and fury of a lava flow.
The next piece Morning Mist was quite different. The pace turned slow, so slow that the start was played too fast by almost everyone. The beginning sounded like a curtain of mist settling down. The tunes were magical with the hope and dream, but not my style. The saxophones got the main part toward the end. Until then, the saxophones were limited to mezzo piano. The song also contained many half notes, which worn down air power and lip muscles. When it’s over, the whole band would start rubbing their mouths, resting them for our grand finale.
The reason I called it grand finale was because it was! It’s called March of the Hyperion Guards, which was absolutely amazing. The pace was fast and fierce like a knight on a horse charging at a beast. In the middle, the saxophones played the main melody, and the song slowed down a little. We played like a rising wave from crescendo to diminuendo. Up and down. Then out of nowhere, the quickness returned, suddenly ending the song with two loud notes!
The difference was huge depending on where you sat in the auditorium. The audience was cool. On stage, however, you felt energy to play music and to have fun.
小学管乐团表演(ES Wind Ensemble Performance 02/05/2015)
北宾夕法尼亚高中礼堂(North Penn High School Auditorium 02/05/2015)
临阵磨枪(Rehearsal ahead of Performance 02/05/2015)