Looking Back and Looking Forward

Hello! So I’ve been back home in Milwaukee, WI for the last week or so since school let out for the summer in the first week of May.

Looking back on my first year of college is quite a trip. I learned so much about music, not just how to play it but also what music is and what music means to me. I had revelations, and I had frustrations. I had moments of inspiration and inquiry. I had times of pain and times of (yep, you guessed it) gain. All the things that I have learned so far are dwarfed by what I will come to understand in the coming years at IU. I can’t wait!

I don’t really have a “News” section on my website, but I have made a few allusions to what my summer plans are. I will be playing with the Disneyland All American College Band this summer! I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an incredible group of musicians and an outstanding director, Dr. Ron McCurdy. I auditioned for the group in February and was notified of my acceptance in early March. The wait for May 28th, the day the band convenes at Disneyland, has been unbearable! However, less than two weeks remain until the summer and opportunity of a lifetime will begin.

The band begins rehearsing on May 29th, and we will have our first day in the park on June 16th. The staff at Disney sent me a book of charts in April that is approximately 3/4ths of an inch thick to memorize. Completely. The music is fantastic – Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind, and Fire, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and of course several tunes from feature films like The Incredibles and Tarzan.

Once our performing schedule gets rolling, we will perform four showband/marching sets throughout the park and one Big Band Jazz set. I am looking forward to all of it! The big band will require a lot of sight reading and instant perfection. Coming from Steve Houghton’s studio at IU, Dr. McCurdy will expect a ton from me in that department – driving the band on the first time out. I’ve been working on reading and approaching charts using Professor Houghton’s book, “Studio and Big Band Drumming.” He made a career out of nailing everything the first time through in the studios – now it’s my turn!

I will try to write a lot about my adventures in the entertainment industry this summer. It will be a wild ride. Thanks for reading, and now it’s time for Shiney to get back to the woodshed!