Our First Concert

Posted on January 23rd, 2016 by

 

Written by Nate Long

After arriving at our hotel on Thursday afternoon, we had been on the road or in the air for over 20 hours, and everybody was eager for a long-overdue full night’s sleep. Few of us were truly ready for our 6:30am wake up calls, yet we dragged ourselves out of bed for breakfast and the bus trip to our first concert venue, the Athens School of Music at Pallini.

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Our arrival and setup was, in one word, a whirlwind. It was our first time unloading the big percussion and string instruments, the sound gear, and all of the music stands. To make matters even more complicated, this first concert was taking place on the smallest stage we would have for the whole tour. Despite these hurdles, we managed to squeeze everybody (and all of the gear and instruments) on stage (with a few minor adjustments, such as a very compact percussion section and a rearranged rhythm section for the jazz band).

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This concert was the first in a series of performances we will be doing at various music schools throughout Athens. These schools offer comprehensive music education in addition to preparing students in a wide variety of academic subjects. The students learn piano and an instrument of their choice, while also studying and playing traditional Greek folk music. The Athens School of Music is tucked away in the beautiful countryside just outside of the city. Located on a hill overlooking the towering mountains that encircle Athens, the school’s picturesque views had most of us distracted as we unloaded the gear truck.

We played a slightly compressed program for the students, who ranged in age from 12 to 18 years old. Being middle and high schoolers, they were not shy to express their excitement during our program (especially during the symphony’s wonderful rendition of Star Wars, a crowd favorite). Our program presented a mix of styles and composers. From Copland and Williams to Thad Jones and our very own Dr. Dave Stamps, the students thoroughly enjoyed the variety of music we performed.

 

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After our concert, the students took to the stage to perform several Greek folk songs, complete with a choir and traditional instruments. It was a wonderful and rewarding opportunity to connect with another group of passionate young musicians and to share our country’s music and learn more about the music of their culture.

 

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