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!