May 14,1982 / Montrose Voice 15
Montrose Symphonic Band: getting in precision
Photostory by Billie Duncan
On Saturday, May 22, at 8:00 p.m., the
Montrose Symphonic Band will be sending out the first strains of their second
major concert at the Tower Theater.
But being there is only part of the story.
Getting there is the largest portion. And
getting there is a story in itself.
Attending a rehearsal for the band is
almost as entertaining as listening to the
polished end result—and anyone who has
been lucky enough to hear the Montrose
Symphonic Band in full flight knows how
interesting they are in performance.
They have been practicing at the rehearsal space at the Bering Memorial Methodist Church with incredible dedication
and a sincerely professional attitude. And
these people only get paid by the recognition and response from their listeners.
The driving force of the band is Andy
Mills, whose own sense of dedication and
perfection obviously has rubbed off on the
musicians who make up the ranks of the
Every week, a person walking down
Hawthorne at about 7:00 p.m. is likely to
see drill teams marching down the twilight streets, while the strains ofthe first
sectional rehearsal float out from the low
building behind Bering Church.
Passing the drillers and going into the
building, the first ranks ofthe band come
into view. The folding chairs are set up to
seat the entire group, but only a partial
contingent sits in the appropriate spaces.
Andy Mills sits on a stool before them,
baton in hand, the music spread out in
front of him. He orders the low woodwinds
to start. They start. He stops them. "The
rhythm is wrong. You've got a hal
two 16th notes and a triplet."
They try again. He stops them. He ill u_-
trates what he wants. "Ba-ta-tee-tee-dum-
dum-ta-dee-dum. It's hard, but you had
time to work it out at home."
They work it out right then. They move
on to another section. Andy shouts, "Long
notes! Long notes! And they were too late."
They give him what he wants until he
stops them with "You're not counting
enough rests. Also you're pushing your
The musicians concentrate on counting
the rests. Soon Andy stops them, and after
a deep breath says in a deadly calm voice,
"All right. Something I've asked you
repeatedly, and how many of you have
marked it? Two measures before 'D' it's
piano. Mark it."
They mark it.
In the next section, he informs them,
"You cannot take a great gaping breath
before the fourth beat."
Over and over again, taking short sections, polishing, perfecting, or just getting
it right, the band plays on.
More musicians come in, dropping
cases, sliding chairs, jumping to the floor
of the rehearsal hall with music stands—
and the band plays on.
"Please do not breathe from 'two' to
'three.' There is no other choice."
"Do it again. Do it again."
"Lay back on it a little bit. And watch
More musicians come in. The bass drum
with the Montrose Symphonic Band emblem is set up. Instruments are uncased.
Sheet music is rustled. Soft conversations
are mumbled in the corners. The band
"All right. That's better. Let's take it
again and softer still."
More musicians troup in. The flag carriers come in to carry out flags with which to
practice. Music stands are expanded.
Equipment is assembled. The band plays
A female clarinet player takes her place
and a big smile bursts on Andy's face,
"Well, girlfriend, we've missed you. You're
never home." She smiles and the rest of
the band laughs. A warmth spreads
through the room.
After a short break, most of the band is
set up, complete with its percussion section. At least one large dog is now in
attendence to soak up the depth of the
With the entire band in place, Andy
becomes even more exciting in his conducting of the group, leaping to his feet.
his arms shooting out in a physical command to spur the players on to a greater
emotionalism. Then sitting, hunched and
insisting, "Ssshh, ssshh,ss8hh!"
One of the baton drill people comes in
with news. "There's a fire on the side ofthe
Andy tells the band to stay put and goes
to investigate. A palm tree is blazing just
outside of the back door of the hall.
A hose is brought from somewhere. The
tree is doused and the fire is put out.
As Andy rounds up the band members
who did not stay put, one ofthe musicians
remarks, "And who said we didn't have
Once back at the baton, Andy is again
exhorting the band by telling them, "Ya'll
clean these notes up."
After a while someone points out that it
is time for a break. Andy says, "But I just
gave you a break."
The reply comes quickly back, "That
wasn't a break. That was a fire."
"Oh," says Andy. He gives them a
Soon they are back at work with a sense
of intention that practically crackles.
One moment Andy shouts commands,
his entire body bursting with the energy
needed for the band. The next moment he
is gently cajoling them to provide the
necessary gentleness for a certain part.
The excitement and dynamic presence
of the man is enough to inspire the musicians to keep on—keep trying to hit the
exact note at the exact time. And to do it
with the emotion and dynamics that Andy
Mills demands on every single note.
Here sit about 50 people working their
fingers and lungs out to bring to life a
quality symphonic band—and they are
Outside in the twilight, the flag-bearers
are marching, the smaller flag-twirlers are
practicing. The strains of the Montrose
Symphonic Band, though muffled, rolls
across the parking lot.
Jim Cariola, the drum major says, "It's
tedious. Real tedious. 'Cause getting precision is an act of God sometimes."
MDuncan's quick notes
Write Home About It: For two more
days, Sally Mayes, Sharon Montgomery
and Billy Stritch will be playing at
They started their last set one day this
week with a super-dynamic version of "All
That Jazz." Now, starting a set with a
show-stopper might be suicide for most
acts, but most acts do not have this kind of
Billy Stritch alone is enough to keep
even the most jaded cabaret-goer on the
edge or in the midst of applause. But with
Montgomery and Mayes, the excitement
level comes close to cardiac arrest time.
A really hot, hot act.
Clogs Are Not Only in the Sink: One
Tuesday, May 18, the Montrose Country
Cloggers will be helping to raise money for
the muscular dystrophy campaign at the
Brazos River Bottom's Reno Casino
They are also trying to raise money so
that they can go to Reno to participate in
the Gay Rodeo themselves.
Pick an Instrument, Any Instrument: Woody Simmons will be performing a solo concert at First Unitarian
Church on Tuesday, May 18, at 8:00 p.m.
But solo does not mean one-
dimensional. Woody plays just about anything that could be called a musical
instrument, composes, sings, and produces her own recordings. She not only does
it all, she does it all exceedingly well.
Wilde 'N' Stein has more information.
Going Up to De Feet: Terry Meason
and Charlene Wright accomplished what
had never been done. They received a
standing ovation at Baja's last week from
the entire crowd.
No one was left sitting. Even the people
at the bar got off of their barstools to pay
Baja's says that Terry will be back, but
they do not have an exact date. She will
again be playing on Sunday and Monday
because of her job commitment in Dallas.
An incredible talent.
This Week In Montrose
(Friday, May 14, through Thursday, May20)
Montgomery, Mayes 4 Stritch Spm Friday and
Saturday Carole Leslie 9pm Monday; and Stephanie Parker 9pm Tuesday through Thursday
at Rascals. 2702 Kirby, 524-6272.
Tom Williams 5pm Friday and 8:30pm Sunday
and Tuesday Thursday; Bill Hudson 8:30pm Friday and Saturday; Mr. Roxie Starr and Mickey
Rankin Ipm Saturday and Sunday and 8:30pm
Monday; Jim Cater 5pm Saturday and Sunday;
and Marquerite 5pm Monday-Thursday at Keyboard, 3012 Milam, 528-6988.
Donna Corley 9pm Friday and Saturday; Lion -
share 9pm Sunday and Monday; andSally Mayes
and Billy Stritch 9pm Tuesday Thursday at
Baja's. 402 Lovett. 527-9866.
Teresa Mauney 5pm daily (except Saturday and
Sunday), and Lee La Forge and cabaret s.ngers
8:30pm nightly (except Sunday* at Arno s, 400..
Marquerite 8:30pm Monday through Saturday
and 11am SundayatBacchus.523Lovett,523-3396.
Kelly Marie 10pm Friday at the Copa, 2631 Richmond, 528-2259.
Pete Shelley Sunday evening at Numbers 2, 300
Keoki Kona 5pm Friday and Saturday. 3pm Sunday and 5pm Wednesday and Thursdav at the Hole,
109 Tuam, 528-9066.
■ COUNTRY & COUNTRY/ROCK
Band to-be-announced Wednesday evening at
E/J's, 1213 Richmond, 527-9071.
Bob Williams and the Trail Riders 9pm Friday,
Saturday and Thursday at Happy Trails, 715 Fair-
Ab & the Rebel Outlaws 9:30pm Friday and Saturday and 8:30pm Thursdav at the Exile, 1011 Bell,
659-0453; and 8:30pm Sunday at Brazos River Bottom, 2400 Brazos. 528-9192.
Flying Blind Band nightly (except Monday and
Tuesday) at Miss Charlotte's, 911 Drew, 528-8840.
Mustang Band 9:30pm Friday, Saturday. Wednesday and Thursday at Brazos River Bottom. 2400
"L" 9pm Friday and Irish Folk 9pm Wednesday
at the Parlour. 2402 Mandell. 529-8069.
Nancy Ford 5pm Friday; Lyra/Kat Graham &
Linda Aura Rhyme 5pm Monday, Tuesday and
Thursday; and Rawslyn Ruffin 5pm Wednesday
at Kindred Spirits, 5245 Buffalo Speedway. 665-
■ SHOW GROUPS
Dixie Kings 4pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday at
Happy Trails, 715 Fairview, 521-2792.
Mata Hari 9pm Friday and Saturday at Lampost,
2417 Times Blvd., 528-8921.
John Day & Co. 8pm Sunday at E/J'b, 1213 Richmond, 527-9071.
■ ROCK & ROLL
Automatic 2pm Sunday at Grant Street Station,
911 Fairview, 528-8342.
■ NU WAVE
The Explosives 10:30pm Friday; Platform of
Youth and The Hates 10:30pm Saturday; and
Teddy Boys 10:30 Thursdav at Omni, 1540 Westheimer, 528-4230
Robert Ceballos Group 9pm Sunday and with
Jimmy Ford 9pm Friday. Saturday, Wednesday
and Thursday at Las Brisas, 614 W. Gray, 528-9959.
Kirk Whalum nightly (except Sunday) at Cody's.
3400 Montrose. 522-9747.
Rumors 9:30pm nightly (except Sunday and Monday); and Mickey Mosley Band 9:30pm Sunday
and Monday at Birdwatchers, 907 Westheimer 527-
Tiffany Jones, Donna Day, Naomi Sims & Hot
Chocolate Sunday evening at the Copa. 2631 Richmond, 528-2259.
Little Bobby, Jerry Harper, Tracey and guest
Sunday evening at Exile, 1011 Bell, 659-0453.
"Playgirl Follies" with Laura Lee Love, Lana
Kane. Eydie Mae and guest 10:30pm Saturday at
Pink Elephant, 1218 Leeland. 659^0040.
Talent shows Tuesday evening at the Copa, 2631
Richmond, 528-2259; Wednesday evening at Midnite Sun, 534 Westheimer, 526-7519; and Thursday
evening at Twins, 535 Westheimer, 520-0244.