Without the ability to get together to practice and perform music since the initial cancellation of in-person shows, the Woodinville Community Band (WCB) has released its first virtual concert from the safety of each musician’s home.
David Spangler, vice president of the band’s board of directors, utilized specific software to piece together each musician’s pre-recorded track of the Looney Tunes Overture. The four-minute video was revealed to the community via Facebook on Nov. 29.
“It’s not something that we, as community musicians, are normally doing,” Spangler said, referring to the video-making component. “It’s all the way out of people’s comfort zone.”
The concert band is a traditional wind symphony encompassing about 60 woodwind, brass and percussion players, according to its website. As a nonprofit volunteer organization, the WCB’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for adults to continue making music beyond their high school and college years. The style of music ranges from classical and marches to show tunes and more contemporary band literature.
Spangler, who plays trumpet, said he has been participating in the band since 2009. His wife, who plays both clarinet and saxophone, joined a year earlier.
He also performs with two other groups, an orchestra and a brass band. Since April of this year, Spangler said he has created six musical videos through the use of various software programs. His latest production of Looney Tunes was created with an application called DaVinci Resolve, which specializes in color correction and video editing, he noted.
“It definitely was a learning curve to figure out how to do that,” he said. “For every video that I've done over the last seven or eight months, I've learned more about how to do it.”
Spangler said he relies on another piece of software called Dorico, which provides click tracks with an audible metronome for musicians to record their parts from home.
“As somebody who's playing along with the click track, it helps to have that reference to what the other instruments would be playing and the tone,” he said.
Under normal circumstances, the band would get together as a group with the conductor at the front of the room to lead the beat. By listening to the instruments all together, Spangler noted, musicians are able to keep in time with one another and maintain pitch.
With the Dorico application, he can adjust the tune for individual tracks with just two clicks. He integrated 32 tracks from musicians in the band into the video, noting that he intends to incorporate more recordings for the next WCB virtual show.
Using DaVinci Resolve, he also incorporated animations and graphics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other Looney Tunes characters. Spangler said he wanted to add “a little bit of visual interest” to the video, in addition to the band.
Due to the learning curve of click tracks and virtual recording, he added, the organization selected “a relatively easy piece compared to the more difficult musical work” they were performing pre-COVID. He noted the importance of getting people used to the virtual process before attempting more challenging works.
The WCB first began talking and planning the virtual production in September and October, when the concert band would have normally started rehearsing again, he said. He hopes to put together another video for the organization in January or February.
This band was founded in 1993 by Carol Edwards, publisher of the Woodinville Weekly at the time. According to the WCB website, she put an advertisement in the newspaper calling for musicians to form a community band in the newly incorporated city of Woodinville.
The first rehearsal was held downtown in the parking lot of the Las Margaritas Mexican restaurant. In 1994, Mayor Lucy DeYoung established the WCB as the official band for the city of Woodinville.
WCB performs as a full concert band with opportunities to play in adjunct bands, including a jazz band, a big band and music ensembles. The musicians represent a broad spectrum of backgrounds including engineers, schoolteachers, housewives, students and senior citizens.