A bit of an off-topic post today. As you may or may not know, I've been substitute bass playing with the Minnesota Jazz Orchestra for the last couple of years. As far as I can tell, they're one of the better big bands in the metro area (I've managed to sub for a number of them). It's been really fun to do this kind of music again, something I really haven't gotten to do since my days at U of WY.
The regular bassist in this band, along with several other members, is about to (or already has, not sure) ship out to Iraq with the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bull" band (National Guard, they're supposedly back in February 2010). For a story on this band's deployment, click here. Of course I was totally opposed to W's decision to invade, but I have enormous respect for what these guys are going to be doing over there. The military bands are, more than ever, serving a good purpose. Groups like this really help the people serving in, to put it mildly, an extremely difficult situation. Believe it or not, I seriously considered doing military music when I got out of high school. I don't regret for a minute choosing not to do this, but at the same time wonder how things would have turned out had I done this. Quite different, no doubt, but this kind of thing makes you think, no?
While I am glad to have the chance to play regularly with this big band, my thoughts are with these men and women overseas who are serving their country with live music. I may wish for our troops to be out of Iraq ASAP, while they're there, they deserve some good tunes. My (virtual) hat is off to this group!