Sunday, September 18, 2016

Vinny Golia SF Bay Area Large Ensemble, Finnish Kaleva Hall; Berkeley, CA 9/17/16

It's to Outsound's credit that the major celebration for Vinny Golia's 70th birthday went so smoothly. It is also to Mr. Golia's credit that so many people would give up their Saturday afternoon and night to play. For me, it was pretty humbling to share the space with so many SF Bay Area improvisers. I saw friends, acquaintances and unfamiliar faces within the 70 piece ensemble that Rent Romus managed to gather for the show. 
The rehearsal, starting at about 4PM, seemed to go really well. A humorous moment occurred when one player said that "no" to a solo cue from Vinny, to which our leader replied "...NO is NOT why you're here!" Well....yeah!
As for the performance, it seemed to start off pretty well, with some tightly played transitions and full/partial ensemble passages. Things seemed to get a bit muddy at certain points, and I sensed that Vinny may have been a bit frustrated with an emerging lack of dynamics: he appeared to be trying to cue certain sections to pay a bit more attention. What a tough task!
Despite that action, there were several cool spots during which duos and trios were able to interact, improvising off of pages from the full 26 page piece that had been written and sent to everyone (WOW!), while the rest of the group colored and supported.
At the end of the continuous two hour set, I was drained and incredibly thirsty. Everyone seemed happy and fulfilled. Hopefully this was especially the case for Vinny Golia.

Above: my percussion rig, underneath my favorite frieze in the Bay
Below: the rehearsal: Vinny gives instruction
Below: the show starts
All told, it was a fun evening. Hopefully some type of recording of it emerges.

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