2001 WASBE conference
The 2001 WASBE Conference in Lucerne was like a dream. It is hard to believe the scenic splendor, gorgeous concert hall, wonderful receptions and outstanding array of wind music from around the world that was literally at our doorstep for a full week. Arriving in Lucerne from the Zurich airport, we were immediately struck by the clean efficiency and con-venience that this location afforded. Being comfortably whisked from the airport to the train station that was immediately next door to the concert hall, we found ourselves just a few steps away from the hotels that would serve as our new home for the week. Overlooking Lake Lucerne and the striking architecture of the Hall of Culture, which housed our venue, it was hard to imagine a situation that could possibly be better.
The tone was set very appropriately on the first day by our President, Felix Hauswirth, whose eloquent television interview, which was broadcast nationally during prime time, outlined WASBE and the high level of talent that would be visiting Lucerne to present the WASBE concerts on the main stage. H. Robert Reynolds and the Detroit Chamber Winds performed at the outdoor venue as part of these opening ceremonies, underlining the important distinction between the art music that ensembles like theirs would be performing indoors and the light entertainment music that would attract large crowds of sippers and nibblers to the outdoor stage.
The consistency of the general daily schedule made it easy to quickly get into a routine — breakfast, attend the morning seminar, coffee and exhibits, concert, lunch, concert, a drink or a stroll before dinner, then the evening concert to be followed by another enjoyable evening out socializing with old and new friends in WASBE. The exhibitors not only had a good deal of interesting merchandise on display, but perhaps most importantly, they were represented by committed people whose knowledge and genuine interest allowed for building of a business relationship that would be a valuable future asset.
Having been a member of the Concert Planning Committee, I knew that we were in for a great treat with regards to the concerts. To mention one group, would require listing them all, for they each contributed something special and individual to the Conference. Knowing that I shall be omitting many fine performances, I shall single out a few personal highlights.
The sheer musical freedom demonstrated by the Omnibus Wind Ensemble from Sweden, whose players performed most of their music from memory was a revelation. Technically dazzling, musically daring and thoroughly entertaining, their choreographed presentation was truly refreshing. I am sure that I was not alone in feeling the most stirring moment as being the concert by The United States Marine Band under the spectacular direction of Colonel Timothy Foley. The significance of the moment was clear to all. Here we were, witnessing the top military ensemble from the USA, performing for the WASBE Conference in Switzerland in a stunning concert hall that allowed every nuance to be appreciated. Moreover, Tim Foley, I am sure, at first confounded but then convinced the audience in this soldout performance by thwarting expectations of Sousa and light standards. His program began with the intimacy of a chamber performance, later followed by a major premiere of a contemporary work, as well as presenting some classics. This Band was not allowed to leave without playing a couple of march encores, which were executed in brilliant fashion for an emotional and enthusiastic audience. For many, the most moving performance at the Conference was the mammoth Concerto for Saxophone by David Maslanka. The soloist, Joseph Lulloff, and the students from the University of Arizona under the leadership of Gregg Hanson and guided by the emotional force of the composer, who accompanied them on tour, culminated in a performance that will be remembered by many.
by Glenn D. Price
All information can be found on the official Program Book of the 2001 WASBE Conference Lucerne