Besides the award these guys got at the end of the year, I hope these guys look at this last season as a benchmark they can both refer to the rest of their life. At the beginning of the season there were rehearsals where we didn’t have enough instruments for those people trying out! In the end, this did not turn out in any way shape or form to what anyone expected. I’m not sure how I would have handled this myself had I been in their same situation. They handled themselves in a most admirable manner. Their caption head deserves a lot of credit for helping them keep their attitude positive, plus, what came to light was their own strong character as individuals following through on a commitment. I think they thrived as people and as performers in way they might not have had they been 2 of 6 instead of 2 of 2, but we’ll nevet really know. I know I expressed to them, often, that I believed they could and would rise to this challenge, which they did.
One of these guys frequently would bend my ear. Hey Ray, is how it would often begin. He probably doesn’t know this but late in the season, for no particular reason, I started doing impressions of his very distinct voice, a touch of nasal in its tone. I appreciated the evenness in temperament he has. Regardless of how I was feeling or whatever was on my mind during a rehearsal, when I would see him i would use him as a barometer to measure the vibe. He made an impression on me back during the workshops as someone who struck me as being a solid, stable presence. I believe that impression proved to be correct.
The other guy also has a distinct individual presence. He was one of the more vocal members on the field, in a good way. I always believed, wrongly, that we would fill those tuba spots. (In the past, we always filled holes, even at the last minute, for better or worse) His questions were always good ones in regards to whether he should close the space on either side of him, moving one way or the other, or should he center the hole. He and the other tuba also had lots of ideas about horn manuals during music breaks. In the end I think we used all their ideas. I wish I had encouraged them to do that more and earlier. His attendance early in the season was very inconsistent, but I was hopeful he would come through when it counted. Lucky guess on my part.