RIP Myron Rosander ….

My best portrait of my favorite teacher, Myron Rosander in profile, on the field at dci finals retreat in 1997.

Credit, love, reverence, respect, humility, mourning, appreciation, honor, perseverance, integrity, indomitable spirit, courage, love and hope. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think about my favorite educator who later became a close friend and confidante. Rosander was there when a father-figure was needed most. When all I needed was a friend to talk to, lament and connect through shared experience as friends – he was there for that too.
Readers of this site know that the publisher is a pragmatic man of science (who is less on the religious side, yet heavy on the spirituality). Forgive me but, the majority of the New Testament isn’t all that plausible to me. No; I don’t believe; as Carl Sagan said “I do not BELIEVE anything; there are only things that I know and things that I do NOT know…” Does this make me a “Commie-atheist-Jew-bastard”? yeah, it does – the assertion is partially true and it does not insult me on any level. I digress.

In contrast to all the logic, axioms, proofs and lemmas that build the world I Know exists….Myron was a magical, super-human person with the ability to perform magic. How is  this insanity possible? I was there the “Night Myron Brought the Lightning.” Looking back I cant confirm or deny that he had control of forces unknown; yet benefited from greatly. On the night in question, the 17-yr old version of me was convinced that if there were ..say..”gods“…that he HAD to be one of them.

You can locate Spike’s youtube vids and/or order his book for an excellent recounting of this and many other magical moments that transcend anything we can understand — though THAT NIGHT?… no one, not the Elks who’d just toasted us (given thank-you speeches in our “honor” and showered us with kilos of spaghetti and tears) not the staff, the management or even the OG Consultants can explain exactly what happened that night or how he did what he did….only that it was the only way to get our immature heads out of the clouds and back to reality. We’d recently been winning shows almost every night, we had the highest score in the country (~91.3) and Drum Corps World ranked us #1. It went to our heads. I knew the show we’d done before retiring to the lodge was flat, weak …in fact it was lazy; “mailed in” – the crowd still ate it up along with the victory concert that followed.*still* – we could’ve given 10x more; for some reason; we chose NOT to. Some corps peak early and their score reflects it…experienced it myself in 1996 – The Velvet Knights – we peaked somewhere in the midwest, where our best shows were … [and a few in the north-east] – our score pushed 80 but never broke it; at DCI, we finished 16th …south of 75.

Myron had the foresight to realize the 1997 Vanguard was at risk of peaking in late July/early August, which would mean we’d “get our shit tossed” at DCI. He never cared about the score; nor do I — a show that pleased him would please any judge – so simply showing up with the super-suit on, game-facing it, leaving 200 percent on the field and creating emotional moments the audience could connect and feel were guaranteed to jack-up the score (ideally…ahem) Many judges are hard-core fans at heart and will reward the corps that moves them the most with the show’s crown; even if it wasn’t technically the best-technically-executed-show that night. nu?
On the night in question; for its time w/in the season & tour; the show was technically near-perfect. No tears, no drops, no clams, perfect drill with perfect technique…no out-of-stepness. The judges rewarded us because other div one corps; Rockford, Rosement, Canton, Boston, Madison; we’d left all of them far behind weeks ago – sadly, it led a reason to rest on laurels and get lazy — cuz thats what kids do. We were kids and most of the nothings, vets, super-vets and staff were also..technically…kids.
After the show my friend and teacher/tech, Brian Belski pulled me aside and warned me – (I knew we’d mailed in a show, but I thought we’d get away w/ it because of the reception, the victory and soon-coming opportunity to do it up right at the next show). What I did not know was that Myron was beyond-furious…and not just at the corps. Belski’d ridden back to the lodge in the staff bus and witnessed the magic-man stewing. Belski warned me a dreadfully long and painful chewing-out and shaming was on deck and could hit at any time – also that he was equally pissed at the staff.
That was my favorite moment; halfway through our “new-asshole-tearing” (as the lightning began to gather) he turned around to where the leadership was hiding — some of them perhaps thinking they were immune to his wrath.
As the berating crescendo-ed from mezzo-forte to fuck-you-loud; Myron swung a full 180– AT THAT MOMENT; IN TIME WITH THE EXCLAM. ON THE END OF HIS NEXT STATEMENT–WAS THE FIRST LIGHTNING STRIKE…

“[spin] AND THE STAFF!!!!!! [KrackBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!] [EXPLETIVE DELETED EXPLETIVE DELETED ETC]…as he held every man and woman within the sound of his impossibly projected voice responsible and vilified us all; an intense electrical storm commenced; the strikes were close; so there was no delay between flashes and bangs. The marcatos, accents and sforzandos of his most venomous invective were all infused with summer’s most violent strikes from a pitch-black-sky. The more angry he got; the more the lightning gravitated to him and for a few inexplicable moments – the dark forest of upstate New York seared with incendiary, passionate, pitiless rage … emotionally or physically, none was left unburnt by what is still the most inexplicable moment of my life.
I just don’t see how that couldve been a convenient coincidence, dear reader. He knew he had to save the corps from peaking early, he knew it was crucial he got the bullet points thru the thick skulls of every one of us; so he made it happen.

In my life; I have not mailed in a musical performance even once since that fateful show.He brought the corps up. he brought me up [time and time again]. We peaked at Finals; that’s the goal of a div 1 corps or a world-class sr. corps. PEAK AT FINALS. We were ale to do it as performers and the staff was able to help us achieve that; thanks to his guidance; beginning with a rude awakening.

A magical awakening. from a magical man. We will love and remember him forever.

On that note; I was reminded on fb by fellow tbn-player and one of the best Mellophone Bugle players I’ve ever heard (Matt Carol) that “he could teleport!” I was warned early on that he had this power. The man was intimidating for certain; and the first time I met him he informed me that by only drinking water during a 2-min water break – I was wasting about 1 minute that could be used to work on my horn-snap…my horn-salute…my high-mark-time…whatever..just…

“take the goddamn initiative and work on bettering yourself w/o having to be asked; don’t let me ever see you just standing there like an idiot during rehearsal.”

Yes sir,” I said, setting down my water jug and bringing my horn to a carry and running a portion of the timing exercise.

That was in March; and I was used to being abused by viz staff the previous year on a far more cruel scale at vk; hence it didnt bother me that my days of “kicking it” when the staff gave us a break LONGER that an “in&out” were OVER JOHNNY [that means run, drink water, run back and set at a pistol, posssibly at minus1]

That same day I realized he could easily teleport from side 1 to side 2, from side 2 to the stands, from the stands to the box, from the box to backfield….and at times when I couldn’t see him; I conducted myself as though he could…a good idea; because it was in those instances when he’d suddenly appear behind me and pointout that I’d again failed to hit his[my] dot. Myron gave me a handful of crucial drill spots in the 97 show. In the intro “Lonely Town” we all toe-1st out-of time and crescendo to a heart-shaped-form…I was the point at the top of that heart. Same for the biggest hit in the opener “On the waterfront” – the drum feature is followed by a horn-snap, and me playing+jazz-running to what resolves in unison concert C at fortissiissimo, the visual resolve was a massive bow-tie, which hinges on the center of the X it will form – that’s me. (what an honor!) …then we get 8 beats of respite backfield, after which Myron’s amazing Avalanche begins….you could say im in one the 2 most “screwed spots” – geometrically, the bottom left & right drill spots will have to jazz-run backwards at a full-clip-full-extension 4 to 5, the direction change and jazz-run forward for same.

This and many other drill moves were certain to be completely ruined if I did not nail my set (even early season) this means that frequently I was gauging those extremely exposed drill spots on-the-fly in real time – in the moment say, the “center of a giant X” could be up to 5 yards from where it is written to be. I quickly learned a disdain for so-called “dot-marchers.”

me- ‘move back’
asshole – [looking at dot book] “im on my dot”
me- “fuck your dot-book – look at the form, you’re out of it..next time? the dot book goes down your throat after I plug your mouthpiece”
asshole – “ok” [but god-help-him] –if he shook his head, rolled his eyes or [unimaginable to Myron’s students] threw his hands up the air.

Did Myron teach me to treat some students harshly, threaten them and demand unquestioning fealty, sometimes via fear/intimidation? –NO. I was already primed to be a complete dick. Did he make it easier for me to write/teach and clean drill for bands and winter guards [and div2 corps?] YES!

To a well-examined, well-lived, never-to-be-forgotten life. L’chaim!

PS – to my ‘corps’ readers – I began to compile historical anecdotes about Myron right here at tapper7.com/LoveForMyron a few months back. If you’d like to add one, you can submit it to the editor for review — email your story (stories), your name, nickname, section, full dc experience + [obviously] yr & or years you marched scv – as the page is titled; anyone who loves the man is entitled to an opportunity to have their words appear. Note -though about a 5th of you are … there is no need to be an alumni of scv a or b to post…only that your story is a)true and b)from the heart. thx! submit to the webmaster (submit!!!) chris@tapper7.com

*legal notice* consider that all americans have a right to privacy in writing your anecdotes. all content is edited for style, syntax, grammar, fact-checked and may be modified for compliance with US Media Laws, AP Style and SPJ Ethical Compliance. that said; feel free to pour your soul out. Approved authors get full credit and back-linked if they have anything to BL to. Should /loveforMyron grow to a publishable size…all profits will go to the Santa Clara Vanguard. Bias note – the publisher himself has much love for Myron and intends to make a[nother] donation to scv regardless.
-[]

“Thumbs Up,” F Tuning! score/.wav presented by Tapper, open source and The Left Coast….

May as well write an arrangement of “Thumbs Up,” and other West Coast favorites…whatevuz….the real issue was…can I transcribe and test a simple arrangement w/o handing >$500 over to Adobe? I still intend to publish a free method book (…what got me 86’d from trumpet_herald_dot_com forums…) my handwriting for music is awful…plus I can’t gather 5-7 people any ol’ time to test harmony.
Musescore is a pretty cool piece of open-source music-arrangement technology, not unlike what Audacity is to CoolEdit.
The graphic was made using Apache OpenOffice. Microsoft Office 369 or whatever? No thanks..I’m good. Sorry Adobe, I like your software but it is too expensive (InDesign is ~$3000) I’ll just develop my own it’s not rocket science.
I did “C Tuning” as well, but it doesnt crescendo or build or the way F does…ill upload both waves for your perusal. Enjoy or hate on it…there’s more to come at no cost courtesy Tapper7.com, Apache.org, (mt), Google, and MuseScore.org
Tapper's arr. of F Tuning...likely by Jack Meehan originally.
here’s the wave file: test me…like the voicing?

‘C’ Tuning: Bb-Bb5-Bbtriad-Bbmin, EbM, FM, BbM(open)…rpts twice. this was my 1st stab at it…sorry not nearly as cool as “Thumbs Up”…still i wrote a 1st-2nd&3rd Earthworm-shooter part, a Fluegel/Mellophone (2 & 3pt harmony) 3 Barry Parts, Euph, and Tooooba wit a split in about 1 hr…I’m likin this. Note: now that we dont all read G-treble anymore, I find it more sensible to write the lead tbn/bar part in Tenor Clef: note I messed up and used Bass Clef for F Tuning…excessive on the ledger lines…may make sense to write 8va——-for about half the lead “tpt.” *ahem* SOPRANO parts for same reason. the double C is what, 6 lines up?
C Tuning for Bb Horns - Bb-Bb5-Bbtriad-Bbmin, EbM, FM, BbMopen. rpts 2x.– I just counted, the way I voiced C tuning you’d need 33 horns to hit all those notes. That’s what we started with at VK….[]

“Thumbs Up,” F Tuning! score/.wav presented by Tapper, open source and The Left Coast….

 
 
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SoCal Drum Corps Weekend…

transcription of SCV

I haven’t been able to hit a one-two-punch BD/SCV show since 2011. So this was a big deal. There isn’t much to review because I was mostly working and socializing. I missed every other corps, but that doesn’t bother me so much. I wanted to check out Devs in the lot and by the time I dropped by Santa Clara it was head-to-my-press-box-adjacent VIP section ASAP or miss the entire show.

The Santa Clara Vanguard – this show has a ton of potential. I’m not sold on the trombones yet but the first impact point, could reach enormous decibel levels once conditioning, cleaning, balance and tuning are maxed out. The white tunics are ballsy, they make interval errors bleed obvious, but by August it will be clean and the white will really make the visual effect pop.

I volunteered to work on Ms. Amana that day (made 240 burgers for lunch, went to ensemble reh. and returned to serve dinner). The run through was outstanding for late June, less tearing between side 1 and 2 & front-to-back than I expected and overall a great look and ensemble sound. Soloists were spot on. Battery tore it up, love the feature.

At the show, they seemed a bit tired. Still pulled it out in terms of effort but it didn’t grab me emotionally the way SCV usually does….it may have been because I had already seen them play earlier in the day far better. There were more tears (which is partially because of the acoustics at Citrus College), the impacts did not pop as hard and the mellophone soloist who is out-freaking-standing fracked for the first time that I know of. Gotta also give credit to multiple pass-throughs at high tempo and ONE intervals (you can tell because the hornline will detriangulate their arms from 60 degress down to 45). So cool.

The Blue Devils – Outstanding talent and potential. Best thing in the show: one snare drummer does a massive visual solo one-handed stick toss – saw him nail it in warm up and on-stage/field. Music is great, but feels like kind of a mish-mash. I just couldn’t feel cohesion to this show but again its ok it’s June…I’m certain the direction and idea of this show will be very clear in August, but where were:

a) The Screamers?

b) The Screamer Soloists?

Do we just not risk this anymore? It takes a lot of fun out of the show to not see at least ONE dude go for the double C…so…less balls in that category. Guard – straight up sexy. Talent of (almost…) every performer in both corps is expert or higher…just need to put them all together into a single unit performing a clear, emotional, cohesive, fun and entertaining show.

They will BOTH make it and I hope they smash Rockford, Rosemont, Garfield and Crown on the road.

The Left Coast is the Best Coast.

Much love to all drum corps members, alumni, friends, family, supporters, benefactors and most of all to the fans cuz we can’t do it without you.

Pictured: a snippet of “Electric Wheel Chair” by the legendary Murray Gusseck. You can purchase his signature sticks from Vic Firth. I did. http://www.vicfirth.com/artists/gusseck.php

Regards,

Tapper

DRUM CORPS season begins…

..like channukah for ol’ jew-boy TapTapTapper… Let’s get it on! This is the REAL Game of Thrones.

http://blog.scvanguard.org/2014/05/30/scvontour-memorial-day-weekend-move-in/

Come see The Blue Devils, The Santa Clara Vanguard (and me….) at http://www.dci.org/schedule/?week=2 Glendora – massive tailgates and plenty of In The Lot action. So Fucking Stoked. A sample for the unititiated: 

Some BD space chord action fo’ yo’ ass… 

And The Glorius Red Team. My Team…

Come and see what how quickly I have recovered from an accident that by all accounts should have taken me out of the game.

No one kills me w/o expressed written or verbal consent.