After my selection to the Liberty Band, I arrived in New York with eyes as big as saucers. I couldn't believe that I was about to take part in such a huge event.
Our home away from home for the next two weeks was William Patterson College in New Jersey. We stayed in the dorms and used their facilities for rehearsals.
The first time our group of squad leaders played together, I was in awe. What a talented group of musicians—I certainly didn't feel worthy. However, our group of about twelve leaders knew we were a part of something special. We bonded instantly. Those few days before the band arrived, was like something out of a movie.
|The view on the way to Governor's Island|
Music legends like Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones stopped by to work with us. This was just the beginning of an unbelievable "Hollywood" experience. The night before the rest of the band arrived, we took off to Manhattan for the first time and played tourist. We hit some of the major sites in what would become our last free time on the trip.
|Hanging with fellow squad leaders|
The next day, our grueling schedule kicked in—twelve-hour days of playing and learning the routines. The mercury hit as high as 105 degrees. During our first trombone sectional, the 76 trombones began with scales to warm up. I dropped my instrument down as I listened to the most remarkable sound ever. I got chills. It was the sweetest sound I've ever heard. The power and quality of this group blew me away—and that was just the trombones!
After a week of practicing at William Patterson College, we finally were ready to go onsite for rehearsals. The Meadowlands, the site of the Closing Ceremonies and Governor's Island, the site of the Opening Ceremonies were the two main venues where we would perform in front of a national television audience. In my next post I'll share some behind-the-scenes pictures as we prepped to perform in front of an international audience.