Monday, July 24, 2017
Samba Me This! by Thom Sharp
One of the pieces that will be on our program Wednesday, July 24th at 6:30 p.m. is a wonderful Latin piece by Thom Sharp entitled Samba Me This! For this performance, we will be featuring Interlochen Faculty members, David Kay on soprano saxophone, Alejandro Bernard on keyboard, and Aaron Tenney on bass, along with Intermediate camper, Daqi on drums.
Samba Me This! by Thom Sharp is a wonderful original tune for String Orchestra and Drum kit that features dancy Latin rhythms and a wonderful chord progression. The piece is listed as a grade 3.5. It is definitely a hard 3.5. Audiences will need to hold on to their hats for a fast ride on the samba machine! This piece is rhythmically challenging and chromatic but has a singable main theme. All sections are featured and everyone in the orchestra has shifting challenges in their part. It is published by Latham Music.
Today was our first opportunity to put this piece together with our guests. It was a pleasure to welcome them to our Monday rehearsal and start really putting things together. The first concept that we really focused on was maintaining tempo throughout the piece. I had a wonderful opportunity to discuss the similarities between this piece and the Haydn Allegro that we are preparing. The concept of "inner rhythm" and keeping the subdivision going through audiation (inside your head) throughout the piece is a common theme with both works.
We also had a wonderful discussion about improvisation and how we go about adding the improvised saxophone and keyboard parts to the string orchestra framework. The students got a chance to hear both David Kay and Alejandro Bernard improvising over the fantastic string sounds that Tom Sharp has created. It is always a pleasure to do Thom's compositions as they have such a representative string/jazz orchestra sound.
The students also got to participate in and witness the kind of interaction that happens between music professionals within the context of rehearsal. We discussed the arrangement, the "roadmap," opportunities for improvisation, dynamic nuances, rhythmic nuances, and other musical factors in the piece. I find that it is a great learning opportunity for students to simply be part of those discussions along with the professionals that are in the room.
Finally, when there are guests in the room , there is always a sense of urgency and a need to be efficient with the time that we are given. The students of Intermediate Concert Orchestra certainly succeeded with that today. It was a wonderful, successful rehearsal. I am sure that the audience will love this piece when it is performed on Wednesday.
I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my colleagues David Kay, Alejandro Bernard, and Aaron Tenney for giving ICO this great opportunity!
That's it for now. It is a beautiful Monday afternoon at Interlochen. I am looking forward to welcoming some friends from North Carolina to the area today and giving them a grand tour of our campus.
We hope to see you on Wednesday through the live stream.