A Legend in our Midst – Bob Lauver

A pops-centric posting……call the blog sheriff!  This week as
Jessica pointed out, we are an orchestra on the move.  Last night the
Pops split played the first of 5 concerts with Doc Severinsen, arguably
one of the world’s most widely recognized trumpeters.  Yesterday proved
why at 78, he’s still around….he led the morning’s rehearsal (2-1/2
hours long) with the kind of fun and style that is his signature.

The program we played last night was over two hours long, so there
wasn’t any room for confusion or wasted time in the morning’s one and
only rehearsal.  Doc definitely knew that he had a seasoned and
hard-working group in front of him, leaving anything that didn’t go
perfectly with the smile that said, "I’ll do my part tonight, I trust
you’ll do yours".  Given the incredible amount of music in front of us
(Hamlisch always gets 2 rehearsals) Severinsen pulled off a minor
miracle.  When you have a stage full of performers, you tend to get a
performance when you want one, and last night New Castle got just
that.  Everybody seemed to enjoy it, although we always note that the
hall there at the Scottish Rite is strange acoustically.  The response
from the audience sounds like it’s in another room, something that even
Doc noticed because he spent an extra couple minutes getting them
stirred up at the beginning of the show.

I had taken a trip to Kalamazoo over the weekend to see my Mom, and
left my digital camera there when I came back here.  I was hoping to
add some visual interest to this posting through some pictures taken
behind the scenes.  As I was driving along the turnpike after realizing
my forgetfulness, I thought……"why not a little video post?"  So I
brought my video camera to the morning’s rehearsal and as I walked in
the door I heard the unmistakable sound of Doc warming up somewhere.
Thinking that no video of the week’s experience would be complete
without a little footage of the legend himself, I went to find him to
ask if it was alright with him that I do some taping (outside the
rehearsal space, and around the actual times that we were on stage
rehearsing).  I looked where I thought the sound was coming from (the
loading dock….a perennial favorite place for us players of
"acoustically endowed" instruments to warm-up), but no Doc.  I had
heard that the last time he was here he warmed up in the men’s room, I
looked there……no Doc.  Then a flicker of brass caught my eye and
there was Doc, in the absolutely-positively most echo-y, loud place he
could be……(I know this from personal experience) the stairwell.
Now this guy has a sound that can be heard even when he’s playing
soft.  I think that he knew that what he was doing was going to need
the steel doors and chicken wire reinforced windows to contain

Zach Smith (who blew us all away with his cadenza in the Respighi last week)Zach_smith_doc
brought in a little flyer from the early 60’s that featured a picture
of a youthful, brash-looking young trumpeter with the giant bold-faced
font above declaring, "WHY WARM UP?".  I guess it’s to get those 78
year old chops moving the way they need to to get Napoli to come out at
11am!!  Doc got a real kick out of seeing that old flyer and gave Zach
an autograph to cherish.  Severinsen is a class act, head to toe.

So…….I have this footage I have to edit and then figure out what
to do with…..suppose we might get some video capability on this
blog?  I might end up posting it on my "unicyclist.com" gallery.  In
any case, I’ll let you know where to look.  I just hope that I can get
away with keeping a couple choice shots.  How’s that for a little
anti-censorship pre-emptive strike?  We’ll see if it ends up working.
Until then…….

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