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Band of the West Recording Session- Turbine
2nd Lieutenant Hansen and other band members listening carefully to a take of Cuban Overture
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"Turbine"- The Recording Session Experience

Posted 1/11/2011   Updated 1/12/2011 Email story   Print story


by SrA Melissa Crews
USAF Band of the West

1/11/2011 - January 11, 2011 -- 
      Everyone in the band held their breath. Fingers, toes and even eyes were immobile waiting for the commander's baton to finally come down signaling the end of the take for "Turbine", the title piece of the newest album from the Concert Band. That was the kind of focused intensity that the band members had throughout the week long recording session at the beautiful Texas A&M Corpus Christi Performing Arts Center in August. The commander, Major Moore Urrutia, set the tone for the entire recording session, reminding the band that all the hard work they were about to do will soon pay off, and to stay focused, but above all, make music and have fun.
       This was especially a memorable recording session for Staff Sergeant Mary Beth McFann, a featured soloist on the album, who recently separated from the Air Force to follow her dream of becoming a country music performer. This was her third recording experience in the Air Force but it was unique in that it was the first time she had recorded in a live performance setting. "It was a truly unique experience singing in the hall for the recording, it really made "Black is the Colour of my True Love's Hair", from the Folksong Medley, come alive- that was my favorite movement by far!"
      Another soloist was Senior Airman Melissa Crews, the band's principal French horn player. She played Dr. Kazimierz Machala's Concerto for Horn, Winds and Percussion. SrA Crews originally met Dr. Machala while attending the Daytona Horn Workshops in Daytona, Florida the previous summer. After hearing her play, it was his wish for her to perform his piece on tour with the band. But in addition to touring with it, Major Moore Urrutia thought it would be a dazzling addition to the upcoming album since the focus of "Turbine" is on newer, lesser-known composers, not to mention it had never been professionally recorded before. SrA Crews had several intense lessons leading up to the recording session with Dr. Machala at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he just retired from teaching. SrA Crews had this to say about the concerto: "It's the type of piece that musicians and non-musicians alike can appreciate and enjoy." Its exciting and beautifully orchestrated passages are contagious and catchy- it's both a joy to play and to listen to!"
      Second Lieutenant Joseph Hansen, the band's Deputy Commander had this to say about his very first recording session: "It was a great learning opportunity to see how a recording session is done and very interesting to also be in on the behind the scenes work that is required. The band really came together to make some of the best music I've heard since I've been here!" 
      Major Moore Urrutia thanked each and every section on the last day of recording, praising them for their outstanding work in the hall. The vibe in the room at that moment was very proud and the band truly felt they worked together to produce a diverse work of art.

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