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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Interview with clarinetist (Aubrey) Leigh Lafosse from Pershing's Own

So, the first thing I wanted to cover in Clarineticus Intergalacticus is other clarinetists. I am going to try to get in touch with some of my clarinet friends (watch out, you may be next!) just to get their "clarinet story." I sent a list of questions to a few clarinetists in Army bands... the first one to get back is Leigh Lafosse of the Pershing's Own in D.C.


Check out this video of her playing Gershwin's Prelude Fuge and Riffs. It's Awesome!


K.L.M. - When did you join the military and where have you been stationed?
A.L.L. - May 2007. Ft. Myer

K.L.M. - Where were you before you came to the military?
A.L.L. - Indiana University in Bloomington working on the DMA

K.L.M. - What is your favorite basic training memory?
A.L.L. - I remember one middle of the night smoking session- (where they punish the group for something with exercises)- because someone took food from the mess hall. This big, burly DS (*drill sergeant) was standing on a chair screaming “WHO TOOK THE *#*#ing COOKIE!?!?!?!?” This just really tickled my funny bone.

K.L.M. - What did your family and friends think when you joined the military?
A.L.L. - My mother was scared to death. (I actually think that basic training was harder on her than it was on me!) And one friend told me I sold my soul (although she has since taken many a military audition!) ;) 

K.L.M. - What has been your most memorable clarinet moment in the military?
A.L.L. - Clarinet specific? Um…..we staged a prank on our retiring principal last year. He had been in forever- did his first inaugural parade before I was born. His last concert had us playing clarinet candy, so the whole section stood up for the tune- we arranged to slowly start sitting down and stop playing from the back of the section, so by the last big lick he would be the only one playing. It was pretty great- he was shocked and the audience loved it! 

K.L.M. - On an average week, what do you do at work?
A.L.L. - Rehearsals with the concert band, sometimes assist with ceremonies in Arlington Cemetery, office work for extra duties. (Public affairs projects, National Collegiate Solo Competition coordination, family association things.) 

K.L.M. - Would you encourage interested clarinetists to join the military?
A.L.L. - Yes yes yes. 

K.L.M. - What is the weirdest thing you do at your job?
A.L.L. - Taking a clarinet out into pouring rain in order to do a ceremony. Or peeing into a cup in order to keep the gig. 

K.L.M. - What are your after military plans? 
A.L.L. - Maybe start an apothecary. Or open a karate dojo. 

K.L.M. - Do you have any regrets about joining the military?
A.L.L. - Nope. Best accident that ever happened to me. 

K.L.M. - It seems like everyone was in a military band at some point, and there's always that gossip about which great symphony players were in the military. Who is someone you know that was a military musician at some point?
A.L.L. - Golly, I’m going to fail on this one…..

K.L.M. - What is the number one question you get asked by the general public after a concert? (For example: so you are IN the army?)
A.L.L. - We get asked if we go to basic training, if we get shipped overseas, etc. 

K.L.M - Do you feel any more or less patriotic than you were before being in a military band?
A.L.L. - Much more. Something about training with 17 years old who will genuinely fight for a country they believe in makes the goose bumps quicker to rise now-a-days. 

K.L M. - What is a question you would ask each other in an interview?
A.L.L. - Do you have any musical gigs outside of your military job? 
What’s the most difficult thing you’ve had to do at work? 
Which politicians/famous faces have you performed for? 
What is the biggest weakness of your military band? Strength?

1 comment:

  1. In response to Leigh's questions (and if you read and are in a military band, please respond as well):

    What's the most difficult thing you've had to do at work?
    Some of the things that I find difficult about work are not clarinet related. Working with other people is always difficult, no matter where you work.

    Which politicians/famous faces have you performed for?

    One of the first ceremonies I remember playing was a military review that the president of El Salvador was at. We played their national anthem, and it was three pages long... and we were standing in the sun. Not exactly a famous face story though... :) Lee Greenwood seems to be at like every Army vs. Navy football game (not really, but it certainly seems like it), we've played with the Lieutenant Dan Band, Obama was the speaker at the last graduation, we have done some broadway people stuff, and we've played with the New York Phil a couple of times since I've been here. I am sort of non-affected by things like this and should be keeping better notice of my surroundings (Stay alert, stay alive!!). :)

    What is the biggest weakness of your military band? Strength?

    There is sort of a weakness and a strength combined. Some people want to keep things the way they are, and some people want to be more progressive... so the dichotomy is a weakness. The strength in this (in my opinion) is there are really talented, smart people with ideas that are creating great things.

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