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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 11.16 37 La Barbera with Chaka Khan. Barbera gave constructive but unyielding criticism — is meter doesn't work, this phrase is unconvincing, this score is hard to read — and the one major compli- ment Lyra remembers floored him. After conducting one of Lyra's compositions in concert, La Barbera told the audience how proud he was of his student. As a director, La Barbera expected his students to prepare themselves just like any professional musician. He never spent much time rehearsing individual parts; if the players still weren't getting it after a couple of run-throughs, La Barbera would move on, expecting them to work it out on their own before the next rehears- al. When I played saxophone in Jazz Ensemble I, the band would try to get La Barbera to dance. If he shimmied back and forth we knew we sounded good. One night, at a big concert in Comstock Hall — an open theater with a balcony, perfect for orchestras, an acoustic chal- lenge for big bands — we were playing one of John's pieces, "Tiger of San Pedro," a bright Latin tune. Typically, we worked out which players would take solos before the concert, but that night, La Barbera wanted to open the piece up, and he started pointing at people, expecting them to stand up on the spot and improvise. I'll never forget looking up from my sheet music to see La Barbera waving his hand at me, the music already leaving me be- hind. "Stand up!" he said. La Barbera put the fire to us, but it paid off. e extra solos ignited the tune. La Barbera gave one last concert with Jazz Ensemble I before he retired in April 2014. Tracy brought Joe in from California and Pat in from Toronto and snuck them into the school. While LaBarbera was speaking to the audience between tunes, Pat tiptoed up to the front row and sat down in the saxophone section while Joe slipped in behind the drums. "When he turned around, the look on his face was priceless," Joe says. He noticed Pat sitting up front, and then looked up to the drums for a double sur- prise. e La Barbera brothers were back together on the bandstand. La Barbera raised his hands, pointer fingers slightly curved. "Ah one," he said, "two, ah one, two, three, four."