‘Hit that perfect beat, boys’
Published 9:55 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I hope that I’m safe in writing that everybody who attended the Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble of the U.S. Air Force Heritage Band on Saturday night had a good time. Actually, I know we had a great time because the 15 musicians earned a standing ovation from just about everybody who could stand.
That’s not something I will do often. Even many operas at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk don’t always rate such enthusiastic applause. Too often I’ve seen that reaction done automatically, and to me it diminishes the response.
But the Rhythm in Blue was a pleasant exception.
From playing Duke Ellington to Charlie Parker, from Glenn Miller to Soundgarden, the ensemble and soloists gave everyone several occasions to wear a “jazz face.” That’s the look of ecstasy when you’re hearing music that puts your soul in harmony with what it’s hearing.
The only thing that could have possibly made the evening more complete is if we — OK, me — could have been served a glass or two of bourbon. That would have been appropriate, as I’m sure other audience members would have agreed and enjoyed.
The auditorium at Franklin High School was about three-fourths filled, which was encouraging on arrival. But during and after the set, I was feeling sorry for those people who missed out. After all, it was free.
As the newspaper and I have commented separately in the past, there aren’t many cultural diversions for Western Tidewater. True, we have the Franklin-Southampton Concert Association, and that’s no small potatoes. There’s the art gallery in Courtland, also worthy. But I’m still perplexed at times why a movie theater has not lasted in this area. Would that I had big pockets and could operate a silver screen or two.
My hope is to see more seats filled at upcoming performances, such as the holiday appearance by the Virginia Symphony that FSCA is planning next month.
We owe it to ourselves to support such events, otherwise why have auditoriums at all?
STEPHEN H. COWLES is a staff writer for The Tidewater News. He likes his jazz hot. Contact him at 562-3187 or email@example.com