Posted by: Steve Scherer | March 16, 2010

Geneseo B.P. – the end of Tuesday

Tuesday Night.

We have had a guided tour of the city, and spent some time walking through a marketplace type of situation, for an upclose and personal sampling of the local flair.  Let me tell you, when all of these vendors, performers and beggers saw these 25 “Yankees” get off the bus with cameras and applying sunscreen, their eyes all turned to little dollar signs.  We didn’t exactly blend in with the scenery.

We had dinner tonight at a culinary school.  The food was exquisite, but I cannot tell you the name of one single thing that I ate, other than ox tongue.  The way that I’ve raved about the unbelievable food here (it’s all about eatin), it’s ironic that the only thing I can explain is ox tongue.  Well for what it’s worth, it was very good.  Also, I ate an octopus tentacle last night and that tasted awesome too.

So now we are at a very beautiful outdoor theater in the round.  We are very high up above the building that houses the culinary school.  Another Brazilian band has just started their half of the performance.  As usual, the concert begins with about 10 minutes of discussion of the history of Brazilian music, and the importance of the meaning of all of the songs.  They played three or four songs with a brief passionate sharing of history before each one.  WIU is now setting up for our half of the concert.  More for you after the concert.

Okay.  Tonight the Brazilian band was much like the Maple City Band.  Players of all ages.  Some extremely talented, others self-taught and playing only part of the time.  We played a few, to which we received a great response.  Then we combined the setup with the other band and played four more pieces.  Two American, and two Brazilian.  The conductors alternated.  When their conductor conducted, he didn’t use a score all night.  When they were first playing, I just thought he was kind of a pulse keeper rather than informed director.  I assumed this simply because his technique was uncommon, and I “assumed” a lack of something.  Wrong was I.  When he conducted us, I could clearly see that he knew every part in the band.  Yes, his conducting technique was a little unorthodox, but he used his fingers and his mouth to visualize any part he wanted to.  He knew exactly what everyone was supposed to play.  He just didn’t need the music.  I suppose this was because the music they chose was special to them for a reason, and he knows it well because of its importance.

The other thing to note, was the audience.  When we played, the audience was very interested, leaning forward, very focused on the performance.  But when we played the Brazilian music together, as I said before, they love to dance the traditional dances.  On those songs, the whole audience was moving.  Whether they were sitting or standing, most of them were dancing just a little bit.

Back at the hotel.  Three performances today, everyone is very tired, chops are spent, we were sweating bullets all day.  I have to tell you though, I’m seeing this group become very very close through their music.  They are making some very meaningful things happen with their music.  They are working very hard, helping each other, and putting on brilliant performances consistently.  I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say that this is certain to be a life changing experience for these musicians.  If you are reading their comments, you can see that.

Tomorrow we perform somewhere in the morning, and then after lunch it’s a flight back to Rio de Janero for the rest of the week.  Tomorrow night is dinner at the Copacabana, and a welcome party at the Samba Club of Rio.  I’ll get my batteries all charged up and hope that we have a good enough connection in Rio for me to add some media.  I keep thinking about Santa Fe Saga.  I hope things are going well.  Be nice to Miss Edwards.  Thinking about you all every day.

Mr. S

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Responses

  1. *Re-Post*

    I laughed really hard at the tourist comment! I’ve been in that position before, and the “tourist hunters” can be really REALLY persistent! While the weather is getting better back here, I’m still really envious of the warm weather you’re in. Grr… Have fun eatin’!

  2. It’s really cool how the Brazilian conductor could still conduct effectively without a score.

  3. Thats awesome that the director knew every single part. =] ❤ p.s miss edwards is doing a great job. =] ❤

  4. Oh, I love octopus. I first had some on the 8th grade D.C. trip. This Brazilian band sounds quite skilled and dedicated…….nice qualities. Copacabana sounds amazing. It’s terrific to have audiences leanin’ on in!


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