The annual Lab Band Madness concert was last night at UNT, and once again, I was especially impressed with how good the bands sounded across the board. As I said in a Green Room post, it's great when you're an alum and can come back and see that the program is growing and thriving.
If you're not familiar with the program up there, Madness is the annual spring concert of all nine lab bands, from the One O'Clock to the Nine O'Clock, but they have an innovative way to do that instead of just going from "bottom to top." It works like this: The Two O'Clock closes the first half of the program (with the concert, umm, clocking in at three-and-a-half hours, you'd better believe there's an intermission), the Three O'Clock opens the second half, and the One O'Clock closes the whole thing. As the three bands directed by full-time faculty, those are the only ones listed by their "O'Clock" names; the other six bands perform alphabetically, by last name of director only. (As someone who got to direct a band for two years, let me tell you that it's all kinds of cool to have the band listed by your name like that.) The idea is that people who come in from outside the program are not likely to know which band they're listening to, so they won't have any preconceived notion about what a particular band is supposed to sound like. And since their particular system of auditioning (mostly sightreading, unless you're trying out for a solo chair) disperses the good soloists throughout the system as it is, the numbers really don't matter on a night like this.
I won't go through the whole concert band-by-band like I did a few years ago, but it was all good. I didn't get to see every band in person (since my last rehearsal let out at 7:30), but they broadcast the concert live on KNTU now, so I heard everything up through the Two O'Clock's first tune that way. The reception was a little cruddy in Plano, but it obviously got way better as I approached Denton. (My only regret was that I didn't get in the car soon enough to hear J-Guar's band, since they did one of his arrangements, and he had a solo on the other tune. Thankfully, he recorded it all.)
Oh, and I also added to my Lab Band CD collection, picking up Lab 2001 and 2002. The administrative assistant who runs the CD booth (who's had her job since I was in grad school) couldn't believe that I didn't have those two yet, but I pleaded poverty at the time (since '01 was the year I bought a house and all). Only about seven more to go and I'll have a complete set...
At any rate...a great time, and totally worth the lost sleep last night.