Tomorrow is the first band concert for me in several years. Yes, I played in the summer community band this year, but this is different. This is heavy duty wind ensemble, aka holy crap on a cracker there are a lot of notes here. Also? I won’t get rained on in the middle of the march.
I love playing in band, have loved it from the very first rehearsal in 4th grade. For those of you keeping track, that’s 30 years, almost to the day. That first rehearsal…I was hooked. I remember the bass drum and how I could feel it in my ribcage as I played. How the sound bounced around the gymnasium. How it was so loud. I remember the excitement of instrument day, that dog and pony show where we got to try our top three instruments (flute, clarinet, french horn for me…yes, horn). I remember the joy of finally getting my instrument and learning all the ins and outs of it. I remember being a little jealous of clarinet players, because they had cool accessories like cork grease and reeds and mouthpiece caps; I had three silvery pieces of tubing and a cleaning rod. I remember telling my dad, when I was in 5th grade, that I knew everything I needed to know about playing flute. These days I call that “the first time I deserved being smacked upside the head by my older self.” I remember…I remember so much.
Growing up, I was fortunate to be in fantastic band programs; not sure if I would have continued if they hadn’t been. But I got to play in ensembles in which there were high expectations, and we
almost always met them. I learned responsibility, self-motivation, and seeing something through to the end. I got to travel, to hear top-notch ensembles at the Midwest clinic every year (a sweet benefit of being so close), and to work with some inspiring teachers from around the country. I met my husband at band camp. Yes, please, go ahead and make the jokes; he was also my TA in college. We’ve been together for 19 years and married for 16, I think it took.
I finally realized that I’m first and foremost a band person; flute is my way in. I’d rather listen to high quality wind ensemble literature than flute music, and would rather go hear band after band at Midwest next month than listen to recital after recital at a flute convention. I’ve always kinda felt that way, I just never could put my finger on it. And while I love the sound of my favorite instrument, I love it better when it is surrounded by all the colors of the other instruments, and I love it best when I’m the one playing it while surrounded by all the colors of the other instruments.
So tomorrow I play, and the memories will continue to flood back. Can’t wait.
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