Everything MusicFebruary 21st, 2016
It’s early Sunday afternoon and I’m fighting a bit of a “musical hangover”. This type of hangover doesn’t come with a pounding headache or numerous trips to the bathroom (I know, a lovely analogy for an opening paragraph) but instead with snippits of various songs running through my head and thoughts of sheer disbelief. How is it possible that two small communities have produced so many talented kids?
The cause of my “musical hangover” you may ask? One “Winter Song/Ball”, presented by the students of Heartland Community School. If you’ve been a reader of my blog for the past few years you can go back and look at my post from February of 2014 when I first attended “Winter Song/Ball” and read my rave review.
This year was no different. Well technically it was different, but just as impressive. For the uninformed, “Winter Song/Ball” is an informal concert where our old gym is set up somewhat like a 1950’s nightclub. Round tables surrounding a simple stage where students in large and medium size groups, but mostly duos and soloists, get up and perform one mind-blowing number after another.
And for the most part it’s “their” music. Music they pick for themselves, ensuring an amazing performance because it’s what they love. No stuffy old choir music here (not that our choir ever performs “stuffy, old music”, you get what I mean.) There were many students who I knew to expect awe-inspiring performances from but it was the ones that I least expected that really blew me away.
We went for the cheap seats in the bleachers this year, no fancy table for our crew. This did, however, make the hors d’oeuvre portion of the evening a tad more difficult, but we soldiered through. A big shout out to my pal Jaime and her squad for some first class munchies. She was a tangle of nerves the night before but pulled it off like a pro.
The only downside of my night in the nosebleed section was my lack of quality photos. First off, I’m only working with an iPhone (which I thought I forgot at home thereby sending poor Tucker to run the block and a half to my house looking for it. “I couldn’t find it.” he said. “Did you look on the counter?” we asked. “There were so many counters!” he replied throwing his hands in the air. So I then took off to locate my phantom-limb appendage that I can’t possibly live without, only to realize it was in my back pocket the whole time. Ohhhh…. Tucker’s gonna be so mad…. was my first thought). And secondly, I didn’t feel like creeping around the gym looking for the best angle because that would A.) draw attention to myself, which I’m not a fan of and B.) bring on a major coughing attack (dumb cold) which I had been working really hard at avoiding, armed only with a pocket full of cough drops and a commuter flask filled with ice water (which is to blame for the whole cell phone snafu, I was so concerned with filling my container with water at the last minute that I thought I put my phone down and left it.) So please forgive me for the white-blob faces on the performers (let’s just call it “art house style”) but the lighting is cool, right?
As you can see in the photos (hopefully), the majority of the duos and soloists are backed up by the “Winter Song Combo” consisting of our choral director Lynn Hall, the musically blessed husband and wife team of Jay and Marilyn Kroeker and Lynn’s brother-in-law Ted Kreibel (who comes all the way from Kansas for this little shin-dig).
One of the highlights of my night was “Baker Street”. The name on the program looked so familiar but we couldn’t place it and when they gave the little introduction Ang and I, way up in our bleacher seats, immediately got out our phones and started Googling. Surely we should know this song, it had to come from our beloved ’80’s era. And then Ethan Hall played the first few licks on his saxophone… “Ba ba ba bada bum…” and we knew exactly what the song was, how could we not? And then his dad, Lynn, of the aforementioned “Winter Song Combo”, starts singing “Winding your way down on Baker Street…” and we were done, finished, transported back to high school in the late ’80’s with our acid wash jeans, Mr. Mister concert t-shirts and “Miami Vice” playing on the television in the background. I actually texted my sister Kelli telling her Marc should have been there, he would have been jamming in the bleachers with us to that number.
And may I say, kudos on the ’80’s tune selections, we also got to hear Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. Plus there was a smattering of tunes thrown in there for the old folks in the crowd, like “Happy Together”, “Dream A Little Dream” and “Sh-Boom” as in “Sh-Boom, sh-boom, ya-di-da-did-da-da…” my only suggestion for next time… throw a little “Carpenters” tune in the mix, there were some majorly talented altos up there who could easily have performed one of my beloved Karen Carpenter’s numbers.
And may I also say, Ted Kreibel, you don’t know me from Adam, but I love watching you play the drums! You are just having “the BEST time” (that’s a quote from “SHAG The Movie” people, look it up, it’s not perverted like it sounds.) Thank goodness you and Lynn found sisters to marry. And Ted, I also enjoyed your Pep Band performance Friday night.
That’s right, my musical weekend started off on Friday night when Band Director Royce Schweitzer, like Commissioner James Gordon sending up the Bat-Signal, put out the call for Alumni Pep Band members to report for duty at the boys last home basketball game of the season. And because Royce is one of the most beloved people in our little burg, they showed up in numbers.
It may not look like “numbers” in the photo, but in our little town it is. I was innocently sitting in the bleachers (had a little bleacher butt this weekend) across from the band waiting for their first number when Ang and Tara said, “Ohhh, here he comes, he’s going to tell you he has your clarinet waiting for you under the bleachers.” as Royce walked across the gym headed in our direction. Luckily he just came over and nicely asked if I would mind taking some pictures of the band for him like I had the previous year. Whew!! Dodged a bullet there. I was never a big fan of my “licorice stick” but I was a fan of band. We all were. How grateful I am that I grew up in a community where everyone was in band, it was just a given. And luckily, everybody else remembers how to play their instruments, thereby putting on quite a show for the fans Friday night.
And since we’re on the topic of band, I’ve gotta put a little plug in here. Our annual Heartland Band Smorgasbord is coming up on March 19. It’s just a little fundraiser we put on in which we serve hundreds of people a Smorgasbord of our best ethnic foods, verenike, zweibach, schnetya, plautz, pluma mos, apple prieska, New Year’s Cookies and on and on. I only know how to spell all of the aforementioned items because I have spent the last couple of days coming up with some t-shirt designs for said Smorgasbord. You see, it’s our 60th year of putting on this extravaganza and the Band Parents Committee asked if I could come up with some designs because they are thinking about having t-shirts made in celebration of 60 years of eating ourselves silly. So here’s what I came up with…
we are Dutch-German, hence the windmill. And there’s a concert following the food fest, hence the music notes…
just a listing of a few items we serve and the quantities in which we serve them…
in honor of the verenike making crew and all they do. And finally my favorites…
those are kind of an inside joke that you would only get if you grew up a Dutch-German licorice stick playing band geek.
The committee is still debating the whole t-shirt thing. Trying to decide if there would be enough interest in it and if people would actually like to buy a t-shirt commemorating this big anniversary. So to all you locals out there, let them know if you’re interested. Talk to a Band Parent Committee Member or just leave a commment on this post, any feedback would be appreciated. I know this Dutch-German licorice stick playing band geek would buy one… but I may be a bit biased.