So first I saw one of their concerts in Westerly, Rhode Island. It was pretty fun. (I have a weakness for John Philip Sousa, which always helps at these sorts of events.) I only wanted to throttle two of the people sitting around me (a couple who kept giggling and making hats out of their programs), and they left at intermission, so that was all right. A few of the things they played were:
- Jack Tar - the evening's first John Philip Sousa piece. I think that this must have been edited down substantially as it was very short and didn't seem to follow the usual form for JPS pieces (theme, restatement of theme, second theme ...)
- Equus - An Eric Whitacre piece. The gentleman who introduced it said that the composer wanted to write a piece of music which never stopped going, like the horse that inspired it. This confused me. Anyway, I quite liked the piece, although my friend's girlfriend was less enthusiastic.
- "Largo al factotum" from Il Barbiere di Siviglia - This got a standing ovation.
- A Paul Simon Songbook - a medley of Paul Simon songs performed by chorus and orchestra! Some bits of it were pretty good. A lot of it I didn't quite see the point of. The audience liked it, although not as much as the bit from The Barber of Seville.
- Salsa Montunate from Sonata Latino - This was pretty good and had about a million false endings. ('Ha ha, fooled you again!')
- Armed Forces Salute - As they played each branch of the Armed Service's theme song, veterans in the audience from that branch stood. It was quite nice.
Then they did The Stars and Stripes Forever, and then a few encores that I mostly don't remember, except that the last song they did was a Dixieland version of When The Saints Go Marching In that I quite liked.
Afterwards I got directions to the hotel they were staying at and met with my friend's girlfriend for dinner. I had been instructed to bring embarrassing stories about him, but sadly I couldn't remember too much. (Well, maybe one or two things.)
It was nice to meet and chat with her -- hopefully I will get to see both of them the next time I'm down near DC.