When I see and hear many of the bands I adjudicate in the springtime, I’m reminded of the popular Pete Seeger protest song of the 60’s, “Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing”. Except I find myself substituting the word “Clarinets” for “flowers”.
I really miss that rich, dark characteristic tone quality of a large clarinet section as the heart of the symphonic band woodwind section.
I recently went to the Dallas Wind Symphony web site to view and listen to their fine Mid-West Conference rendition of the Holst Suite in Eb. Beautiful! And only 6 Bb clarinets. Unlike most high school bands, the players in this fine ensemble are all professionals that understanding the necessity of perfect blend and balance. You could seat them anywhere on the stage and they would balance their part with the ensemble.
Yet many directors expect 6 or 8 immature high school clarinet players to try to obtain balance with much stronger brass sections.
Are directors just not recruiting for this important need in the Concert Band Ensemble? Or are they and composers for this idiom trying to emulate the homophonic sound of the drum corps on the concert stage and just doing away with many wonderful woodwind colors all together?
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Would this be a viable subject for VMEA Conference discussion?
I would like to get your opinion of this (I think) pressing problem for school band teachers.
Please go to the comment section at the bottom and add your thoughts..