Ding, from Boxford, started with the flute in elementary school but switched to the oboe in seventh grade. She plays in her middle school band, in the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra, and with the Massachusetts Music Educators Association, where she will be the principal oboe player for the 2019 Northeastern Senior Festival.Harvard College junior Melissa Drake, a flutist from Rhode Island, began her career by tanking a sixth-grade recital and climbed to the top by becoming the first-ranked young flutist in the Rhode Island All-State Band her senior year of high school. This is Drake’s first year in the summer group.Julia Cohen, a senior in the Tufts University Wind Ensemble, has been part of the band for two seasons. Cohen, from Montreal, appreciates the group’s open-mindedness when it comes to instruments. Hers, the euphonium, is a lesser-known member of the brass family.“People who aren’t musicians usually don’t know what the hell it is,” she said of the valved horn that resembles a tuba that shrank in the wash.Like many, she joined the summer band to stay in shape musically, but she stayed because of the joy she gets making music with others.“When you’re playing in a big ensemble you just feel a sort of connection with people,” Cohen said. “You’re all following the conductor. You’re all playing the same piece. You can feel the sound you are making just fitting with the sound everyone else is making. It’s just a really great feeling.”The summer band’s annual Harvard Yard concert will be 4 p.m. Thursday at Tercentenary Theatre. The Hatch Shell concert on the Charles River Esplanade will be 3 p.m. on Sunday. The concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, please call the Harvard University Band at 617.496.2263 or email Mark Olson ([email protected]). Enduring cymbal Related For 22 years, Latonya Wright has rumbled and rolled at Commencement David Schwartz and Andrew Yatsuhashi have more than 50 years of trombone experience separating them, yet the two play in the same section of the Harvard Summer Pops Band and will share the stage as equals at both its summer concertsIt is, in fact, that diversity, that mix of ages, skill levels, and experience, which makes the group such a draw for the area’s brass, woodwind, and percussion players — and for its audience. Performers play side by side, whether they’ve been at it for 66 years, like Schwartz, a retired investment banker, or more like 10 in the case of Yatsuhashi, a sophomore at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.That and a shared authentic passion for music. This year, like the past 47, all of that is the same.“The people are from all different walks of life,” said flutist Helen Bryant. “On one side is someone who’s played for 25 years and on the other is one of the [Harvard] Summer School students. … You look around and the age span is from little kids all the way up to much older people, but everyone is really committed to it. … You just don’t get to meet that diversity of people on a regular basis when you go off to work every day and just do your job.”For the Cambridge-resident —who joined the 150-musician band with her son, Lewis — it’s all about rediscovering a beloved hobby. Bryant is coming off a 17-year hiatus that started when Lewis was born. Prior to that, she had been playing for almost 35 years. “I’ve always had music in my life,” she said. “It was a rite of passage [in my family].”Lewis, a trombone player with the band the past few summers, gave his mother the push she needed to take up the woodwind instrument again. Now, despite being “beyond a little rusty,” Bryant, an associate justice for the Suffolk County Juvenile Court, has found her place among the motley crew.Jill Smith is another longtime Cambridge resident in the group. She’s also one of the steadiest members in the French horn section.,In the last 13 years, she’s missed only two summers. Smith likes the options the band gives her in terms of coming and going from year to year, and that there are only five rehearsals before the concerts, one at Harvard Yard and the other at the Memorial Hatch Shell.“It is low-commitment,” Smith said. “You can practice at home as little or as much as you want, or not at all. [And] the rehearsals are at night, so I could study or work during the day and still be able to rehearse.”That was important as she earned her Ph.D. at Brandeis University, said Smith, a faculty assistant in Harvard’s Economics Department. She’s played the French horn since high school.Ryan Burkley, who joined the summer band three years ago, loves the music-making process. The 28-year-old is a seasoned performer and one of the group’s professional musicians. Not bad for someone who started playing the electric bass in high school as part of a garage band before moving into his current instrument, the upright bass.“It’s relatively late for a lot of people,” said the Framingham resident. “But I really liked it, and I played a lot and practiced a lot. I eventually played in my school’s jazz band and my school’s orchestra, and [then] got into the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra.”,Other groups he’s played with include the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra and the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown. Since 2016, Burkley’s played in 27 musicals and is set to start on his 28th in the fall. His most recent gig is with the Harvard Musical Association Reading Orchestra. For Burkley, constantly playing in any group has become an obsession. “I need orchestra at all times,” he said.Along with community members, the band has its fair share of students. Some go to Harvard. Others, like Yatsuhashi, go elsewhere. Some are even in high school. Harvard Summer School roommates Annika Gagnon and Erika Ding, both 16, share the same birthday, and even play similar instruments. And though they are young, they are both already accomplished.Gagnon has played flute since middle school and in 2017, as part of the Alaska state marching band, she was part of the 100 or so members who performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. “Across the Yard” as performed by the Harvard Summer Pops Band on July 29, 2018, at the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade in Boston. PlayPlayPauseSeek0% buffered00:00Current time00:00Toggle MuteVolumeToggle CaptionsToggle Fullscreen There are tubas, and then there’s this The journey into the history of the mammoth Harvard instrument is nearly as epic as it is
United’s spending on employee benefits for the quarter fell by £3.5 million, or 6.6 per cent, to £49.4million, “primarily to lower player wages”, said the club in a statement. The overall drop in wages is a combination of United not having to pay out bonuses for playing in the Champions League, as well as an exodus of highly-paid players from the wage bill including Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Danny Welbeck, Bebe, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverly and Shinji Kagawa. Even though new manager Louis van Gaal has made a number of high-profile signings including Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao, he has still kept the wage bill lower than the squad under predecessor David Moyes. Woodward also hailed the impact of United’s academy in producing players and the success of the under-21 team, currently top of their league, as well as the continuing rise in interest from sponsors and broadcasters. “There is the unique power of the club to transcend the industry,” he said. Woodward told investors United had targets in mind but almost certainly for next summer – and that it was unlikely they would become available in the January transfer window. He was speaking after the club revealed figures showing income dropped by almost 10 per cent in the first quarter of their financial year due to the absence from the Champions League. Revenue for the three months ending September 30 was £88.7million, down £9.8million on the £98.5million for the same period a year ago, a 9.9 per cent drop. The fall in income could have been even greater but the cost of United’s absence from European football has been partially compensated for by an increase in sponsorship money and a drop in the players’ wage bill. Woodward, speaking on a conference call to investors, said confidence was high under new manager Louis van Gaal. He said: “There’s a real feeling that we as a club are at the start of something special.” Asked whether United intended to strengthen the defence in January, Woodward added: “We are not looking to enter the market for short-term fixes. However we have targets we are looking at for next summer and should any of those become available in January we would consider acting but we all need to recognise that is a low probability.” United played two fewer matches in the quarter than in the equivalent three months in 2013-14 – one Champions League game and one Capital One Cup game – which led to a drop of £4.2million (21.8 per cent) in matchday income to £15.1million. Broadcasting revenue was down £2.5million (13 per cent) to £16.8million with no TV money coming in from UEFA. The club’s debt, the source of much criticism from some supporters’ groups, was very slightly up at £362.2million, while commercial income was up 5.2 per cent to £59.9million, thanks to new sponsorship deals. Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has played down the chance of the club making new signings in January despite concerns over the squad’s strength in defence. Press Association
Mario Balotelli got his hair cut last week. That might not sound like front-page news but in Italy that is exactly what it was. The Milan striker’s new ‘do was displayed from three different angles on the cover of Wednesday’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport. The accompanying text described his latest style as a “Mohawk inspired by warriors”.To the untrained eye, it looked much the same as a regular Mohawk, only with some extra patterns shaved into the sides. “It was an idea that came to us both,” said Balotelli’s barber, Amos Bersini. “He wanted something that transmitted the language of warriors, and we created the look which you can see on his head now. Let’s hope it brings him good luck for [Saturday’s game between Napoli and Milan].”Fortune had not smiled on Balotelli during previous meetings with Napoli. He had faced them four times – twice with Internazionale, then once each with Manchester City and Milan – but not once finished on the winning side.It was also against Napoli, last September, that Balotelli failed to convert a penalty for the first time in his career. His run of 21 successful spot-kicks was ended by Pepe Reina’s save as Milan lost 2-1 at home. The next day’s papers billed it as an “historic” event.But if Balotelli was eager to exorcise those demons, then he also had other things on his mind this weekend. Naples, after all, is home to his former girlfriend, Raffaella Fico, a woman with whom he has enjoyed less than cordial relations since they split in 2012. And on Wednesday, Balotelli had acknowledged paternity of her one-year-old daughter, Pia, for the first time.He did it on Twitter, posting the message: “Finally the TRUTH 🙂 …PIA …. Sweet child of mine !!! your Dad.” Balotelli then followed up with another tweet in Italian, this one presumably aimed at Fico. “The time lost to telling lies about me on TV and in the newspapers – who did that serve?” he wrote. “And what end?”The player was reacting after receiving the results of a DNA test that confirmed his relationship with the child. He had been asking to have one ever since Pia was born, refusing to visit her until he had a definite answer on whether or not she was his.Accusing Fico of stalling, and citing his own experiences of being put up for adoption at a young age, Balotelli told Gazzetta last December that he did not want to hurt the little girl by getting close to her without knowing the truth first, saying: “Kids should not be disappointed by adults who [show up and] then disappear. I know a thing or two about that.”He insisted in the same interview that if his paternity was confirmed, he would want to play an active role in Pia’s life. Balotelli confirmed as much in a letter sent to the Mediaset TV show Verissimo, saying that he looked forward to getting to know her “away from the media noise”.Until then, he called on viewers to respect his privacy. “I want to keep this explosion, this joy, to myself,” he wrote. “I hope that my silence can open the path to avoiding further controversies on TV or in the newspapers, that people can understand that there is a child in the middle of all this.” Whether or not such a plea can be heeded remains to be seen. When a player’s fame is such that even a haircut gets front-page coverage, then it is hard to believe that any aspect of his private life will be allowed to stay private for long.On Saturday, attention did turn back to the football. Fans had already been eager to see how Milan – unbeaten in three league games under Clarence Seedorf – would fare against opponents who sat 15 points above them. The backdrop of Balotelli’s emotional week only made the action on the pitch more compelling.Milan could not have started the game any better, Adel Taarabt scoring in the eighth minute. Signed on loan from QPR during the January transfer window, the Moroccan was drafted into the starting XI only after Kaká and Keisuke Honda were laid low with the flu, but rewarded Seedorf with a stunning debut goal, running half the length of the pitch before cutting in from the left and stroking the ball into the far corner of the net.The lead did not last for long. Three minutes later, Gokhan Inler equalised with a shot from outside the area that deflected off the outstretched leg of Nigel de Jong and looped over Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal. The sides remained level until after the interval, when Gonzalo Higuaín struck twice to secure a deserved 3-1 victory for Napoli. They had dominated, finishing with 14 shots on target to their opponents’ six.In-between those two Higuaín strikes Balotelli was substituted, exiting the game in the 73rd minute after failing to make his mark. Soon afterwards, TV cameras spotted him crying in the dugout. Within minutes, that image had gone viral. A rumour began on social media that Balotelli had been upset by racist abuse. None had been heard on TV nor reported by any media outlet at the stadium. Napoli would later release a statement in which they sought to “underline that, as everyone present … could tell, there were no racist chants against him, just as there were no racist chants at the Stadio San Paolo against anyone.”There was no mention of any abuse during Seedorf’s after-match interview. “There are moments when emotions like this can express themselves,” he said. “It’s not the first time that I’ve seen a player cry. It happened to me plenty of times, too.”It is not the first time that we have seen Balotelli cry, either. He did so after both the semi-final and final of the European Championship in 2012, and at least once during a training session while José Mourinho was in charge in 2009.Without hearing from Balotelli, it is impossible to know what pushed him to tears. It was mooted by more than one newspaper on Sunday morning that he might have had some special dedication ready for Pia and was disappointed not to be able to give it. At the end of such a life-changing week, it could just as easily have been a combination of many different factors.In the end, there will only ever be one person who knows what is going on inside Balotelli’s head. All that the rest of us can say for certain is that he has still never beaten Napoli in his career. It will be at least six-and-a-half months before he gets another shot … and presumably several more haircuts as well.