Darts, Dinner, and Deemer

Hello everyone, Sagar here!

Welcome to Vanguard’s blog! We plan to use this platform to talk about our performances, share interesting stories, discuss our approaches to being a chamber group, and more!

Last month, we got together in South Bend, Indiana for a little retreat to help us prepare for the 2019–2020 season. We spent five days in a quaint Airbnb that, as Nico put it, was probably the first time the house looked bigger in person than in the pictures. This place was big enough that we each got our own room to sleep in! We were able to set up the living room as a pretty spacious rehearsal space.

Each day, we spent around four hours rehearsing, plus some time for score studying. In our free time, we made extensive use of the dartboard in the basement (mostly Joe), went to the gym (also mostly Joe), worked on reeds (yours truly, of course), and more. In a surprising turn of events for us, we only ate out once! We cooked the rest of our meals at the house, often using the grill on the back patio, mostly done by our master chef Nico. Many of our evenings were spent discussing business and Vanguard’s future, including once around the fire pit (funny story about this particular evening to come).

After a productive couple days in South Bend (no, we did not see Mayor Pete), we returned to our home base Ann Arbor, MI for a couple performances. We stopped by my parents’ house for a home-cooked Indian meal, at the request of the rest of Vanguard.

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On August 12, we gave a performance at Argus Farm Stop as a part of the Third Place Concert Series in collaboration with Netherlands-based, West Virginia-raised vocalist-bassist Annick Odom. We showed off some of the new music we had been rehearsing in South Bend, including Ron Ford’s Motet and Gregory Wanamaker’s Elegy. We also played some of our old favorites, like Marc MellitsSplinter and Rob Deemer’s Gallimaufry, and some works from our upcoming album, including Karalyn Schubring’s Red Leaf Collection and a movement of Gala Flagello’s Self-Talk.

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We gave a second concert on August 13 alongside acoustic string duo Warren & Flick at the West Side United Methodist Church. The music we performed on this evening was almost all new repertoire that we worked on during our retreat. An arrangement of Pietro Antonio Locatelli’s Introduzione Teatrale, Op. 4, No. 1 opened our half of the program, followed by Roger Zare’s Variations on Reverse Entropy. We followed these with another arrangement, Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, then Logan Rutledge’s Point Blank. Another performance of Gallimaufry closed the concert.

We had a fun and productive week together last month! We’re looking forward to an exciting season this year. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on everything Vanguard!