Monday, July 16, 2012

Joining the community band

Most people wait until retirement to revisit old musical interests. I'm so advanced (again, I know it is really sick, isn't it?) that I've restarted my clarinet after only 18 years out of high school. That was literally half a lifetime ago. I don't feel old, especially if I compare myself to the other members of the community band. Most of them probably already have a grave plot reserved. I love old people, so that was not a dig. Tee hee.

It took a little pushing (and a last minute call to my mom who said, "just go!") to get myself to show up at band practice. At least two of my patients had told me to join the band. Being severely rusty, I feared they wouldn't take me, but I was assured that there was no "try out" that anyone could show up to practice. (I wonder if anyone has been asked to un-join? I hope not to be the first.)

So I donned my retro clarinet case and rolled over to the Methodist Church after work to play with the band. The Hampton Roads Community Band.I parked and hoped I was in the right place, and was affirmed by men toting stands and trombones. Good indications that it was the right church.

I snuck in a bit quietly. Everyone was practicing. I was nervous. But they were sweet and welcoming right off, and shortly after I situated myself one of my patients came over and talked to me (and later made faces at me while we were rehearsing, charade-questioning how my mouth was holding up - we'd talked about it in the office). Another patient talked to me after band for a while. Band camp was mentioned by more than one member. Who'd think I'd be the outsider having never attended band camp? It was an alternate universe.

It was hard. It was harder than I thought. I'd forgotten how to play in the band. A lot of the music was filled with the kinds of flourishes they stick on the clarinets and flutes. I'm not the biggest fan of flourishes. I initially questioned what I was doing there, but by the end I was getting better at following, keeping the beat and watching the conductor. I also had to remind myself that I was sight-reading the whole time.

Their next concert is scheduled for August 5th, and then they take the month of August off as a holiday. Sounds like I joined at the perfect time!

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