where wildly different is perfectly normal
It’s ok, I’m with the band
It’s ok, I’m with the band

It’s ok, I’m with the band

Think back to the early 90s. Do you remember those old kitschy “Coed Naked” t-shirts? I think I had a Coed Naked Marching Band shirt in college. This popped into my head last night, when being naked in a coed band really sounded like a fine, nay, unbelievably fantastic idea.
Last night I played in a 4th of July concert on the surface of the sun. It was a concert on the sun during a heat wave while being attacked by killer Hair Dryers on High inside a steel factory ohmygodsweetbabyjesusonapony it was hot. Now, if you were at the concert last night and are thinking, “Jen, thou dost exaggerate a wee bit,” I would like to point out a few small details. You were in the shade. In shorts. And probably sandals and a tank top and sitting in a baby pool full of ice while being fanned by attendants. I’m pretty sure I saw that last night, but it may have been a mirage or heat-induced hallucination. The band members were in long black pants (note to self: screw the cost, go shopping and buy black shorts or a black skirt, otherwise this will happen again), heavy-ish red polos, and sitting butt cheek to butt cheek. Cozy. The heat index at downbeat was hovering around 104F. That means that not only was it hotter than the movie Magic Mike (who wants to go with me?), but humid in a “I’m breathing through a dirty sweat sock” kind of way. Halfway through the concert it finally hit me that the reason I was having such a hard time with my breathing was the thick-as-pudding air. I just thought it was the newest chapter in the “I’m an out of practice amateurish hack” theme.
But you know what? It was awesome. No one complained. If it had been an orchestra, I guarantee there would have been complaints. You may argue that point, but I’ve played in enough of both kinds of ensembles to say that. Band members suck it up, play the gig, and play it well. We know that complaining only makes it hotter/colder/wetter/windier; marching band bitch-slapped that into all of us at an early age. Last night, miserably hot as it was (and seriously, it was frakking hot; I’ve never played a gig that hot before, and I’ve been playing for 30 years), it was kinda fun, and you could sense the musicians bonding over it. We meet once a week, and will be done for the year at the end of the month, but I bet the rest of our concerts rock because of last night.
I love being in a band, and I’m auditioning for a new wind ensemble in August. I love the camaraderie, the collective goal, that I’m insulted when I jack up a technical section the personal perfectionism. I’ve missed it. It’s been 13 years since I played in a wind ensemble, and I hadn’t realized how much I missed it.
I’ll just keep the coed naked out of it.


  1. Oh my hell, I had no idea you were ever OUTSIDE yesterday, let alone PLAYING!! You are a goddess to the nth degree!

    I trust you won’t be leaving the air-conditioned comfort of your home today. Then again, who knows what’s on the boys’ agenda today. I just pray it’s nothing but reading, or movies. In the house. With the air-conditioning.

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