Friday, March 22, 2013

76 Trombones. Approximate.

I am still recovering from my 17-hour day on Thursday. Even a Playtex 18-hour Bra would be exhausted after such a marathon.

I start my day at 4:50 a.m., you know. I made sure The Pony had his band uniform for that evening's concert, and money for lunch after the band clinic at another school during the morning, and a ride to Grandma's house after our early out, and a ride back in time to catch the band bus to the concert. I taught kids much of nothing because they were excited about the early out and Friday off. Endured a class meeting. Worked though five hours of parent conferences. Went over my summative teacher evaluation. Called down to my teaching buddy Mabel's room to inform her that I am merely adequate, and that if my exsanguinated body is found with a paper cut wound to the throat and the copy of that evaluation nearby...that is as good as a note. I arranged to leave thirty minutes early to make it to The Pony's concert in time, permission no doubt granted out of pity for my poor job performance. I parked in a Buses Only lot and got away with it, Even Steven commiserating on my lackluster educational performance. Oh, and I sat through three hours of band performances.

Let's set the record straight. I sat through about seventy minutes of band performances. The rest was chair-arranging and warm-up time. I decree, as Emperor of Hillmomba, that any future band festival will begin with the largest band, and other bands will simply fill in the middle chairs. No picking up and stacking at setting aside, then fetching new stacks for the next band, etc. One arrangement. Personnel can adapt.

I do love a good band concert. I was band president, you know. We made a record. With our town name misspelled on the sleeve. But that's neither here nor there, those glory days. I love watching the students strut about flaunting their instruments. The silver and gold trumpets, slide trombones and valve trombones, the errant piccolo across a flautist's lap, the tuning of the tympani, the split personality of the clarinet, mellow French horns, gaudy saxophones, young men hefting euphoniums over their heads, and my favorite, that little silver waterfall thingy that hangs in the percussion section that starts off the Doobie Brothers' Black Water.

The Newmentia band is only forty members strong this year. They used to have sixty or seventy, but the AP classes and additional math and science requirements have thinned the ranks. It's hard for seniors on the college track to work band into their schedules. Still, we have a really good sound. We went next to last in the order. I'm not sure why. I'm hoping it was because we are good. There seemed to be a logical progression of concert bands to symphonic bands, underclassmen to upperclassmen. That said, the final band of the evening was phenomenal. Of course, their enrollment is 1,167. They have a large talent pool from which to draw. And a lesser band for those who are not yet ready for the big time. Newmentia has an enrollment of 262. Yes. We compete against the megaschool in academics as well. And hold our own.

I should have known we would be in for a treat when Megaschool lined up six xylophones and glockenspiels around the periphery. SIX! And they had seven percussionists percussing them at once!

I love a good band concert. I love it more when it doesn't come at the end of a 17-hour day.


Sioux said...

I remember my days of chaperoning and cheering on when my son was in the marching band. Also All-Suburban concerts.

Those who cannot blow or pound anything pleasant out on an instrument (like me) are in awe of those who can.

(The closest I got to being "musical" was dating a maestro...)

Hillbilly Mom said...

I certainly hope you called him "The Maestro" and not his given name. I trust that even if he routinely took off his pants to prevent wrinklage, he did not take IT out.