Band is Back!

Take a music-bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water-bath is to the body. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, American jurist, U.S. Supreme Court

The COVID Pandemic of 2020 played havoc with our Community Band, but now that vaccines are available and restrictions are easing, we’re back for our 44th season.

And how wonderful it is, both seeing everybody and creating music together!

I’m not sure how other community bands do things, but here’s our routine: we practice an hour and a half on one day and perform an outdoor concert two days later. Ten to 12 pieces of music, enough to last at least 60 full minutes with brief spoken intros by our director in between to give our chops a rest.

Now, one rehearsal isn’t exactly conducive to perfecting each song, nor is there much downtime for individual practice, but somehow it works. Probably because there are enough talented musicians in this group to carry the rest of us!

Most of the time, I feel like I’m merely sight-reading … though I’m getting better at it.

Our concerts include a mix of marches, patriotic tunes, rock songs, movie and television themes, and hymns. Some feature certain sections in the band; others, solo musicians.

And periodically, our Jazz Band gets everybody in the mood by playing a few tunes covering the old standbys as well as newer renditions.

Some listeners bring their dogs. Some sit in their cars with the windows down, but most bring lawn chairs. All bring an expectant attitude and appreciation for our efforts.

Our director told us she regularly has people stop her when she’s out and about, asking for a sneak preview of an upcoming concert or complimenting her on a previous performance.

And it’s rewarding to see the smiles on their faces while we’re playing, to see some toes tapping, to hear their applause when a piece ends.

In a time when people — even family members who didn’t live under the same roof — were forced to keep apart for fear of catching COVID, it’s a relief to once again join friends and spread musical cheer, not disease.

Because while not everybody can (or wants to) play an instrument, supporting a group like this should come easy. Just consider what the audience gets — fresh air, sunshine, camaraderie with other listeners, and a FREE concert!

23 thoughts on “Band is Back!

  1. That’s AWESOME, Debbie! And you’re so right, how wonderful to gather again and create music together!

    “Our concerts include a mix of marches, patriotic tunes, rock songs, movie and television themes, and hymns. Some feature certain sections in the band; others, solo musicians.”

    Wow… what a great diversity in tunes!

    And like you said, not only is this great for the playing-again musicians, but the audience members as well!

    Bravo, my friend! And thanks for sharing an update. Have a super Sunday! X

    • Thanks, Ron. It’s been simply grand seeing everybody and playing together again — and it’s easy to see our audience’s appreciation. A year is a long time to go without in-person performances, whether it be band, theater, or choral. I just hope we can continue. xx

  2. So happy to hear your band is back! Just what all of our souls have been needing. I hope the local band that plays at our beach will be back this summer. It sounds like you play a nice variety of music. 🙂

    • I hope you get to enjoy some live music this year, too, Barbara. We already felt appreciated, but I imagine the year away from us felt like a very long time for some of our audience members.

  3. I can’t remember exactly when it was that I first heard live music coming from one of our local spots — it could even have been in March. At any rate, it was as thrilling as hearing the first kids on the school playground again. It didn’t make any difference what the music was, or how well it was played — it’s just that it was music: the sound of a community coming back to life. I’m so glad you’re musical routine is back!

    • Thanks so much, Linda. Yes, it’s definitely “the sound of a community coming back to life.” Maybe it was good for all of us to have a year’s hiatus, in that we can surely appreciate more the little things we took for granted. Some of our parades and festivals, too, are gearing up, and even some of the county fairs. But seeing our local swimming pool reopen — and hearing the excited giggles of the kids — is beyond comparison!

    • It truly is! It’s been “silent” around these parts for far too long, and now that Illinois has lifted most COVID restrictions, things are coming back in a big way.

  4. This is wonderful, Debbie! I didn’t know you were a musician (something I admire and always wished I had learned when I was younger, but never had the patience for practice). I love classical and listen to it daily. I cannot imagine my life without it!

    • I started piano when I was about 8 and fought practice the way most kids do. My folks were adamant, and I’m grateful to them. As soon as I could, I joined Band (clarinet and sax) and played all through college. This experience is relatively new for me (I took up Flute nearly five years ago and am loving it!). Glad to find another classical music lover here, Eliza — in my heart, I’ll always be a musician (even if I have to work at other jobs to pay the bills, ha!)

    • Me, too, Ann! It’s been such a long time of silence, both for musicians and for audiences. It’s a blessing to have these vaccines so we can venture out and about again — and get together with family and friends, too!

    • Well said, Amy — tis a great joy to see things getting back to pre-pandemic days. I’m just trying to steel myself against the other shoe dropping, ha!

  5. Isn’t it great to get back to some kind of normality knowing that the vaccine will keep us safe? Glad you’re enjoying your music again, and I’m envious of your ability to sight-read – I used to know the basics at school but that was a looooong time ago!

    • I’ve played *something* most all my life and couldn’t imagine not doing so. Give it a go, Miss A. — you might have talents you never realized!!

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