These three roommates from Alabama travel and perform with Dr. Mary Crowell. Sampson has a special Eb key and performs with the Athens State University Community Band. Jessica has 88 keys and fits in a car boot. Benny is suave, smug, and well traveled. He’s the only Mox that gets to travel by plane. (It’s too expensive for Jessica as she has special and expensive needs.)
PIWM: How long have you been working with Dr. Crowell?
Benny: I’ve been around a bit longer. Dr. Crowell decided to buy a Christmas present for herself in 2007. The kind and knowledgeable folks at Emiron music hooked her up with me.
Jessica: I’ve been performing and traveling overland [glares at Benny] with Dr. Crowell since 2006. Don’t you DARE call me old.I used to travel by plane too until things got a bit expensive coming home from Boston one summer. Some consider me . . . oversized. And overweight. But . . . [purrs] chords like these do not come cheap.
PIWM: You have several other roommates. Who are they?
Sampson: Well, there’s that hot cello, Carmilla, right? She can play a half-step lower than I can, but isn’t a bit snooty about it. It’s a shame Dr. Crowell doesn’t practice her more often.
Benny: And there’s Clarissa, the violin. Poor thing only gets loving when Ms. McNally comes over and takes pity on her.
Jessica: And don’t forget the didgeridoo.
Benny and Sampson: Please, forget the didgeridoo.
Jessica: And there’s a whole bunch of percussion instruments, the tragically flawed dulcimer, the unnamed psaltery, and some recorders. But, I don’t think the iPad instruments should count.
Benny: Can’t beat real keys, baby!
PIWM: What are your favourite tunes in the PIWM repertoire?
Sampson: This year I stayed home. But, next year I’m hoping to rattle the stage. Give me something with low bass melodies, and please, do not make me swap back and forth with Jessica.
Benny: I miss that Jeeves and Wooster thing we did one year, but I also like “Hell” by SNZ.
Jessica: To show off? “Devil of Stories,” but “Angel Eyes” has some really lovely chords.
PIWM: Jessica, you’ve worked with other people in the band. How do you like that?
Jessica: (blushes) What exactly are you implying?
PIWM: Sampson, how did you meet Dr. Crowell?
Sampson: [looking shyly at his Eb key] Well, I’m sort of a rescue. Dr. Crowell’s husband, Dr. Crowell (yes, it gets confusing sometimes) decided to get her a bass clarinet for Christmas. Dr. Dan Havely, the ASU community band director, recommended Southeastern Musical Services. I was in the shop hoping to be restored and adopted when the call came in. It’s actually Dr. Crowell’s husband who named me. The emails were code-named: SAMPSON.
PIWM: Benny, what do you like about swing music?
Benny: I like tearing it up in the high range. Also, I’m light enough to be danced with. You can’t beat playing AND dancing.