All I can tell you for sure is that Béla Fleck is bae and his banjo skills are dope. But you can’t really expect anything else from the man who holds the most Grammys across all categories.
Fleck’s Friday concert kicked off with a number conducted by Conductor and Music Director Mark Davis Scatterday and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. Let me tell you, these kids have skills. It’s insane to think about how the best and brightest young musicians across the country go to UR. (I don’t think Eastman kids like being lumped in with River Campus students, but I’m just going to go ahead and do that, because it bumps up our coolness factor.)
Then Béla came out, and it got real. He played a song with his Eastman accompaniment called “The Landing,” which sounded very similar to “Waves” by Mr. Probz.
Listening to “The Landing” was the most relaxed I have felt all week. It was almost as though the music was going in one ear and pushing all the stress and worries occupying my mind out the other. Next thing I know, this woman, Colleen Bernstein, brings out this huge instrument that I’ve never seen before in my life, apparently called a marimba. Basically, marimbas are sick.
Buying the tickets to go to this banjo concert was a spur-of-the-moment decision, fueled by the fact that I was told that he was the most famous banjo player in the world. I imagined a bunch of people getting down and having a good time at the bayou. (Because that is the only time you would listen to a banjo, right? Besides listening to Mumford and Sons, I can think of no other instance where I would be jamming out to a banjo.) I did not expect this crossover collaboration with the Wind Ensemble (something I probably would have known, had I actually read the event description).
Junior and french horn player for the Eastman Wind Ensemble Rennie Cotner had the opportunity to work with Fleck.
“As a classical musician raised listening to bluegrass, it was really incredible to collaborate with one of my first musical heroes in a very different setting,” Rennie said. It’s safe to say that I will now be adding Fleck to my list of musical heroes, as well. (He’s up there with Beyoncé, Shakira, and Billy Joel. )
And, if you’ve never been to Kodak Hall, then you should go online and see what concerts are available, because it’s not an experience you want to miss out on. Just sitting in this beautiful soon-to-be-century-old auditorium makes you feel classy. Even with nosebleed balcony tickets.