All Rise Encore story

I wrote this e-mail on Nov. 22, 2002, describing my experiences in All Rise:

Man. I was exhausted today. It's a concert week at the symphony, and with a dress rehearsal on Tuesday and performances on Wednesday and Thursday evening that lasted until 11pm, by the time I got to Friday afternoon, I was dragging something fierce. But right now, it's almost midnight Friday evening, and I'm totally energized, because tonight rocked.

For those of you who don't know, this week's program is All Rise, a piece by Wynton Marsalis for symphony, jazz orchestra, and chorus. It's a fun, fun piece, and getting more fun every night as we all get to know how it fits together and start to swing it. Tonight it swung. Everything just felt a little crisper, and people in the chorus were just moving to the music, snapping their fingers, clapping their hands, and generally having a good time. The solos sounded hotter from the jazz band (Wynton brought the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with him for the performance), and it just generally _moved_.

But the best bit was the encore. Every performance so far, the audience has given a standing ovation, applauded through three bows, and not let us go home. So on the first night, Wynton stood up and did a solo interpretation of Embraceable You that was just amazing; some of the things he did with that trumpet had to be heard to be believed. Last night, he did a version of All The Things You Are (I think) that included a couple other solos from the band.

And then there was tonight. For the encore, they started playing some standard 12-bar jazz riff, and everybody in the jazz orchestra took a turn doing a 12-bar solo. Wynton started things off, after him were all the saxophones, then the trombones, and then the trumpets. And after the last trumpet finished, the whole jazz orchestra turned around and looked at the symphony brass section. It was hilarious. Everybody in the audience cracked up and started cheering encouragement. The youngest trumpet player, Mark, made a move towards his horn, and the audience went nuts, so he picked it up, and did his own 12-bar solo to thunderous applause.

The solo got passed to the piano player and bassist of the LCJO. While they were doing their solos, Wynton's looking around the symphony, asking if anybody else wants a turn. One of the basses waved his hand. Wynton gestured, and said "okay, you go" after his bassist finished. So the symphony bass does a great riff. The LCJO bassist wasn't going to let that go by, so he jumps back in and ups the ante with some fancy plucking. The symphony bassist responds and picks it up even more. They go back and forth three times before Wynton steps in and brings the whole jazz band back in. And, man, the crowd ate it up. Heck, we in the chorus couldn't believe it. We couldn't stop talking about it afterwards, of what a priceless experience that was.

So I figured I'd write it down and share it with y'all. It's the moments like this that make all of the hard work for the chorus seem worthwhile.


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