When Easton Jazz Band goes on Jazz Performance Tour, they really go ON TOUR! This group will typically have 5 performances in 2.5 days and this trip was no exception. They also typically bring with them the hottest weather of the season, and again, this trip was no exception! DC can be hot and humid in the summer, and it turns out it can also give one a lovely preview of this in mid May! But nothing stops this group – and man did they “cook” as they played their hearts out and as the temperatures soared.
Day 1 the group arrived at Fort Myer in VA to work with the Army Blues Band. First the Army Blues played for them and after each selection engaged the Easton students with what they had heard and opened the floor to a variety of questions. Then they sightread one of Easton’s charts before Easton took the stage playing the same tune. It was pretty cool to see how both groups treated the same setting. They continued with a clinic touching on style and technique as well as resources the kids could use to broaden their musical horizons. It was a very exciting way to start the trip. From there it was off to Air and Space for some down time before heading up to Twins Jazz Club for dinner and a performance. This club has an amazing history and although it normally hosts solo and small combos, they make the space work for this group and it was a night of great music. Matt Niess from Army Blues came and sat in and soloed with the group throughout the night. During the concert the skies opened up and it rained with unbelievable power, but for us that was a blessing. Many folks walking by, came on in to stay dry but then stayed because the music was so good! After their second set we packed up and headed to their hotel.
Day 2 dawned hot and humid, the rain had done nothing to alleviate that in the least. But no matter, off we went to the Jefferson Memorial to perform. This is a particularly long load in and boy was everyone hot by the time we had everything in place. But from the way those kids played, you never would have known it. They drew great crowds and had a really good time. Afterwards we took a group shot and then reversed the process to get everything back on the bus. Where to – you say? Why Inner Harbor in Baltimore! Where, unbelievable it was forecast to be even hotter! Dodging potential thunderstorms, that never materialized, we got the band set up and again this group just got down to business and played a great concert! Grateful to be able to change out of their formal performance clothes they enjoyed a couple of hours of free time before we met up again and walked over to Camden Yards to watch the Orioles play the Mariners. We were seated in the picnic perch in left field, a great set up where you have access to the food through the 7th inning and have great seats. It was a really great end to a busy day.
Day 3 – guess what? Still hot, but not nearly as humid – which was a big relief. We loaded up and went back to the National Mall for some free time at the Smithsonians before heading over to the Navy Memorial for the final concert of the trip. We had the noon time slot, which is just a perfect time to play there as so many workers come out of the near by offices and relax along the edges of this beautiful memorial. As I sat behind the band listening to another great concert and looking at the beautiful memorial and the National Archives across the street, I was reminded once again, how lucky I am to witness so many wonderful kids sharing their talents all around our great country. 5 performances – check, 2.5 days – check, ridiculous temperatures – check, all in all a perfect Easton High School trip. Let’s load it up one more time and head home!