Last night was the annual Lab Band Madness concert at my alma mater, UNT. In case you're a new reader, Madness is the concert where all nine (count 'em) lab bands perform in one marathon event; they've been doing it now for sixty years. I explained the format of the concert last year at this time, but suffice it to say, a short evening it's not.
Since we had big band rehearsal until about fifteen minutes into the start of the concert, we didn't get there until a tad after eight (and the weather on the way up was absolutely hideous--rain, rain and more rain; I'm guessing there was a point where my car wasn't really touching the pavement at all). Thankfully, KNTU does a live broadcast of the concert every year, so we really only missed listening to the very first band. (I wish they'd done that when I worked there; I would've tried to get involved in the broadcast team, which filled up the time when the bands were changing over with brief commentary. I would've given an insider's view of the thing, taking off momentarily to play in and/or direct my band; woulda been fun.)
I can't stop talking about this concert every year, because it's so unique; I'm reasonably sure that no other school has nine jazz big bands to begin with, and certainly not of the quality of UNT. There were a few more student compositions and arrangements than in previous years, and they were all quite good, and of course, the improvisation is at a very high level (which is to be expected, I suppose, at a school where there are four semesters of undergrad improv classes, with four more prerequisites before Improv I can even be attempted). I'm proud to be an alumnus of such a school; there really is no other place like it.
I'm glad I live in America, part 1: Clerics at a radical mosque accused the Pakistani tourism minister of sinful hugging.
I'm glad I live in America, part 2: As the 2008 Summer Olympics approach, officials in Beijing have forbidden female cab drivers from having red hair.