Sharing the Music

Play the music, not the instrument. ~Author Unknown

We’ve nearly completed our summer Community Band season, and it’s time to take stock of our progress.

Concert #3, the cold one. I’m in the first row.

Our first concert was windy. Most of us were playing instruments with one hand while holding music and stands down with the other.

Our second concert was still. Not a puff of wind, but gathering clouds overhead and sky-high humidity.

Our third concert was chilly. And windy. Nothing like bundling up in June.

By the fourth concert, I’d already become a feast for the mosquitoes, so it was refreshing to have a gentle cool breeze … and citronella candles outlining our stage.

Despite the weather, people turn out in droves to listen.

Maybe because our concerts are free and outdoors, weather permitting.

But they’re far from masterful.

Our director hands out 10-12 pieces of music (some are past-year favorites; others are brand-new) during practice every Tuesday evening. We run through the lineup, then perform them two days later.

You read that right — two days.

Two days to nail down notes. And rhythms. And all those runs flute players are expected to perform.

And because our band’s experience level varies from player to player (and section to section), not everybody can hit every note. Not everybody even knows how some of the songs are supposed to sound.

For instance, one week we played a medley by Duke Ellington. The high school and middle school kids were pretty puzzled over that; in fact, most of us were.

But another week we played selections from “The Wizard of Oz.” Who isn’t familiar with that?

We’ve played tunes by Chicago, Elton John, Pharrell, and Queen. Rock ‘n Roll, Jazz, TV theme songs, marches, hymns. Next up is our patriotic concert, and I’m already stressing over the flute part to Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever.

But seeing the delighted faces of our audience, hearing their cheers and applause, and knowing we’re giving so much pleasure to so many people is rewarding.

Because it’s one thing to play an instrument. But playing music is something special.

Something worth sharing with others.

Note: Happy Fourth of July, my friends!

7 thoughts on “Sharing the Music

  1. I love “The Stars and Stripes Forever” — especially that flute part! I’ve been known to try to whistle along, which doesn’t always turn out well, but is great fun. The community celebrations of the 4th are the best. The general chaos of our “parade,” which is mostly kids with decorated bikes and tricycles beats the commercially produced extravaganzas every time. And of course we love the Boston Pops concerts, but the homegrown ones are easier to get to, and it’s fun knowing the people producing the music!

    • I agree, Linda — ’tis a beautiful march, but oh-so-hard to play! Mr. Sousa must have had better flute players in his band, ha! Our parades too often deteriorate to political stumping, with candidates and their family/friends trying to shake hands and secure votes, in exchange for a Tootsie Roll. But yes, kids with decorated bikes, veterans in uniform, and church groups on decorated floats really do a good job bringing the message home!

  2. OMG Debbie, I LOVED reading this post! I was smiling through the whole thing. I wish I had been there!

    And you are so right about this…”But seeing the delighted faces of our audience, hearing their cheers and applause, and knowing we’re giving so much pleasure to so many people is rewarding.

    Because it’s one thing to play an instrument. But playing music is something special.

    Something worth sharing with others.”

    PLAYING music IS something special!

    WOW two days?!? Being someone who was a stage actor at one time, I know how unsettling that can be because you don’t have much time to prepare, and then you have to go out there and perform it LIVE, in front of people. But oh…isn’t that feeling once you’re out there exhilarating?

    I love the sound of Duke Ellington, so I would have really enjoyed that. And QUEEN?!? That’s awesome!

    GREAT photograph! I enlarged it in the hopes of finding you up there, but couldn’t spot you.

    Thanks for sharing this, my friend. Really enjoyed!

    Happy 4th to you and Dallas!
    X

    • HaHa, you couldn’t find me?? It must be because I’m “hiding” behind my glasses — hey, you’ve gotta SEE the music if you hope to play it! Seriously, I’m in the first row, right next to the guy with the beard in blue on your right. I’m bundled up in a blue jacket (because it took cold suddenly). Find me??

      Yes, Ron, I knew you’d “get” this one. As an actor, you’re familiar with the need to practice before performing … and the “rush” you get when you nail your part and the audience responds favorably. Nothing like it!

      Enjoy your Fourth — it’s HOT here, with storms expected overnight. xo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.