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.
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!