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Tuesday, August 14, 2007
American Fork Notes: Music, Arts

A very good band, a positively amazing band, and a major advance behind the scenes for the local arts community.

Mu-un-day in the Park, I Think It Was the Month Past July. Mu-un-day in the Park . . .

(Every get a tune stuck in your head? A guy could do worse than Chicago.)

Monday evening at the American Fork Amphitheater, the number of performers was as large as a typical audience (somewhere over 300, I think), and the audience nearly filled the place (nearly 1000). The warmup act was the Wasatch Winds, American Fork's excellent one-year-old community band, conducted by none other than John Miller, a positively towering figure in the band world, and not just locally.

I was sitting far to the right, near the end of the semicircle, so I mostly heard the tubas, trombones, and tympanies. When I could hear most of what was going on, the sound was excellent, despite the fact that they're playing some ambitious stuff. When I couldn't, it was still okay. I used to hang out in the trumpet section of bands, and you don't generally get the full sound there, either. Besides, it's sometimes fun to watch a section at a time.

The main attraction was the American Fork High School Marching Band, fresh from their band camp in Delta, with Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on their minds, spilling bodies off the stage, and sounding good. I often marvel at the organization; I wonder if there are high school football teams in Texas that don't reach this band's level of organization, community support, funding, and so forth. I like the discipline, confidence, and morale it instills in its many members even more than I like the music, I think. I know some of the band members, and it's fun to watch them grow into their roles in a world-class organization..

I marched in a small but ambitious marching band at Snake River High School in southeast Idaho, back in a previous century. I didn't like the marching part, despite once winning a music scholarship I never used by marching past a music department chair in a parade, while playing "Rubberband Man" as loud as humanly possible. My high school's band program was just beginning to rebuild, under the able baton of John Miller's mentor, the late Vern Buffaloe, and we were pretty good. I suppose a handful of us were excellent. . . . All of which I mention not to boast, but to emphasize this point: We students never dreamed, imagined, or conceived the possibility of a high school band performing anywhere near the level that the American Fork High School Marching Band achieves year after year (along with other less mobile bands in the program).

Tuesday in the Hall, Quietly: Arts Council Charter and Bylaws

Even the words charter and bylaws make you want to yawn, don't they, gentle reader? Still, it deserves to be mentioned that the American Fork City Council passed a new charter and new bylaws for the Arts Council tonight, almost with discussion and almost without anyone noticing. This is the quiet culmination of an enormous amount of work over a year and a half by MFCC and others, in an effort to put American Fork City's sponsorship of the arts on a solid, sustainable footing. A great deal of research, discussion, and consensus-building was involved, mostly behind the scenes. Some people will never notice the difference, and many who notice will not understand how it came to be, but the general effect is to improve the quality of life in American Fork for years and probably decades to come.

David Rodeback comments (8/15/07):

MFCC discusses the new Arts Council charter and bylaws in detail here and here.

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