Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010--What A Year

2010 is over and as usual there are all sorts of "year in review" things going on. So, I figure I might as well do a blog about the year that I had.

*January started with me in Atlanta, enjoying a New Year's Eve party with a bunch of friends from there. I was staying with a couple of my best friends from the Army, and got to meet some new folks as well. It was later in the month that we got our first notice from HQ that the band might be deploying in the fall. At the end of the month, I became an uncle as my sister and her husband welcomed their healty, happy little girl Kaitlin into the family.

*February was when I finally got to meet Kaitlin for the first time, though my flight out of Syracuse was delayed a day by snow. That delay, however, resulted in me being called at the last minute to conduct the band for a ceremony a Ft. Drum. Funny how things work out some times!

*I don't remember much of note happening in the spring months, other than training up for deployment and continuing normal band missions with the 10th Mountain Division Band. However, April, right after Easter, saw me fulfill my lifelong dream of watching a Space Shuttle launch, as Discovery made a flawless pre-dawn flight.
*Also, my hometown of Nashville, TN was covered in a flood of historic proportions, the biggest on record for the area. Three states were directly affected, and numerous people were killed. The national news media largely ignored the story in favor of the BP/Gulf of Mexico oil spill that happened about the same time. Fortunately my family all managed to make it through safely.

*In the summer, I traveled a lot. I made a few trips to Atlanta to visit friends and Nashville to visit family. I managed to work in some quick side trips to Columbus, GA and Knoxville, TN as well.

*I haven't been able to see as many concerts as I would like, but I did manage to squeeze in trips to New York City to see the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall a couple of times (my college friend Jeremy Wilson plays in their trombone section) and at almost the last minute I managed to snare a ticket to see Chicago on Broadway, with Ashlee Simpson-Wentz in the lead role of Roxie. I also saw Canadian progressive rock band Rush on Long Island, a great show that included a complete performance of their landmark album Moving Pictures. Musical satirist "Weird Al" Yankovic made a somewhat last-minute stop in Watertown, and I was surprised to be able to meet him after the show.

*One of my Atlanta trips was timed to coincide with the annual Fan Appreciation Show by the Lost Boys, one of my favorite bands in the Atlanta area. They are tremendously entertaining and have produced four excellent CDs. Originating with the Georgia Renaissance Festival, they present themselves as "the original rock band from 1599" and play a mix of original songs with traditional Renaissance tunes and parodies of popular songs with new Shakespearean lyrics.

*I was also able to see excellent productions of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, and a comical Hamlet: the Musical at Atlanta's New American Shakespeare Tavern, a great place to see a play (and have a shepherd's pie).

*One of my Nashville trips included a performance by students from the music camp held by electric bass virtuoso Victor Wooten, best known for his work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. His brother Roy "Future Man" Wooten and saxophonist Jeff Coffin, now with the Dave Matthews Band, also joined in. Never pass up a chance to hear any of these guys play!

*On Labor Day weekend, I made it back to the ATL for DragonCon, one of the nation's largest science fiction/fantasy conventions. I was able to meet several cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, in addition to folks from Stargate SG-1 and Firefly, and several other similarly-themed shows. Also, lots and lots of Stormtroopers.

*In October, I moved out of my house in preparation for deployment. I'm indebted to the folks who let me stay at their houses over the next couple of weeks!

*October 16, the Brass Quintet departed for Afghanistan.

*Since then, we've played all over Kandahar Air Field, taken a Christmas trip to FOB Lagman, and began doing some work with the local Afghan Army Band.

*2010 will always be etched in my mind as the year I went to Afhganistan. I look forward to remembering 2011 as the year I left Afghanistan.

Happy New Year!

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