I very much enjoyed working with the Cookeville Community Band and playing Artie Shaw's Clarinet Concerto with them. The group consists of many enthusiastic community musicians as well as several students and teachers from local university, schools, etc. I always admire their effort, which has made the Band a cultural gem of our small town. I finally learned the famous concerto by Artie Shaw when I performed it with the Troy University Clarinet Choir under Dr. Timothy Phillips direction at their Clarinet Day. This time I played with a much louder group at an outdoor setting so I had to rely on a bit of amplification. The concert was fun, and I was only too happy to see my one-month old daughter who attended her daddy's concert for the first time!
Attending Troy University Clarinet Day has become an annual tradition for me and Grace since we were first invited as guest artists two years ago. I love seeing my wonderful colleague and friend Tim as well as his family. It is also a great perk to meet some amazing clarinetists who travel much farther distances than us (we certainly should not complain about our 6-hour drive when we have someone traveling from South Africa!). This year, it was particularly nice to catch up with Raphael Sanders from SUNY Potsdam and Maria Du Toit, the clarinetist from South Africa who now resides in Netherlands. I also had a great pleasure of finally meeting the renowned studio artist and master mouthpiece craftsman, James Kanter! It was very humbling to hear some very nice compliments from Jim, and I got a very precious mouthpiece that he recently crafted.
Many thanks to Dr. Phillips for inviting me to play Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto with Troy University Clarinet Choir, which was actually the North American Premiere of this particular arrangement by Guy Dangain. Thanks to Dr. Benjamin Fraley for his fabulous drum solo in the concerto and making the performance so much fun!