17 February 2009

200 Gather to Play "Oye Como Va"

What: Second Annual Ashland Schools Combined Band Concert
Who: Ashland Middle School, Ashland High School, Southern Oregon University bands
When: 7:30 PM 12 February 2009
Where: SOU Music Hall

Over 200 musicians gathered to play a HUGE band version of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va." Most of you probably know the Santana's version better, but there was something particularly magical about this performance.

During the concert, the Ashland Middle School, Ashland High School and Southern Oregon University bands took turns playing solo and with each other.

The Ashland Middle School band always impresses the audience. Here are a group of seventh and eighth grade kids who can effectively lull us with a rendition of "Wildflowers" then follow it up with a roaring "Phantom of Dark Hollow."

As the Ashland High School band joined AMS , the high school teacher conducted an ambitious piece of the fun off-tempo "Contraption." With less than 45 minutes of practice, they pulled off the piece nicely.

This reporter admits to a bias toward the AMS band, so I just brush past the technically correct, but not as thrilling SOU performance. Their rendetion of "From the Delta" started out sounding reminiscent of the 40's big band jazz, but eventually faded off into a more classical music sound by the "Spiritual" segment began.

The most thrilling part of the concert came as an encore. The program already broadcast the song choice as "Oye Como Va" to be performed by all three schools at once. As each band grouped up in various combinations throughout the concert, it was obvious that not all the musicians from all three schools were going to fit on the stage.

Suddenly, those of us in the less acoustic lower section of seating were treated to something truly special. All the trombones, French horns, and trumpets lined the center aisle behind us. As they blasted out the song from both front and back, the notes of wind, brass and percussion clashed and laced above our heads. It was a one-of-a-kind experience.

Three notes of trivia:
  • The Ashland High School band teacher said that they were pretty sure "Oye Como Va" has never been performed by this big of a band before.
  • Two fellows in there early 60's joined the bands, especially spiffed up in their tuxes. Both stood next to my 'bone playin' older son, and one told him that he was at the concert where Santana first performed "Oye Como Va."
  • Somewhat related, the trombone player in Santana's "Smooth" (feat. Rob Thomas) is an Ashland High School graduate.
You can listen to the full song here.


RogueandPoet said...

Hey Kyle this is a great write up. I'd have linked to it had I known it was up. Seems a little late now. I'll try to check in more often. Say I had found this on the 18th, what would you think if I had posted part are all of it on my site - of course giving you all the credit?

Kyle Stich said...

Thanks for the props on the story. As long as you link to the original blog post, you may copy any of the articles you find here.

I'll try to remember to let you know if I post anything new, but I generally write articles for myself. So, it might take some getting used to.

If you don't already, you should consider using an RSS Reader. That way, you can subscribe to any local blog or site that has an RSS Feed in place and notice any new posts any time you check your reader.