Stepping into Bravery

Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.  ~Dan Rather, American journalist and TV news anchor

My flute teacher has been trying for weeks to tell me I’m ready to play in a group.

That a real band setting will teach me things I can’t learn by doing only private lessons.

Logic tells me she’s right, but oh my. I’ve been playing less than two years. Who’d want me in their band?

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Learning Something New

Without music life would be a mistake. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

I knew from a young age I was going to play the clarinet.

That was my mom’s instrument, and I thought following in her footsteps would win me a ticket to joining Band with my friends in fifth grade.

No dice.

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“Commencement” really is a Beginning

Playing right now: “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar

When I was in high school, our band played “Pomp and Circumstance” while the seniors were marching into and out of the gym for graduation.

It was a tradition, one we eagerly embraced. As we embraced our new (higher!) chair positions without our “leaders.”

A week was set aside to practice. The seniors would walk in as we played; they’d listen as their names were read aloud, then they’d walk back out as we played again.

Over and over until it was right.

So by graduation evening, it was old hat. It never crossed my mind to cry.

Nor did I cry when I was the graduating senior (eager, I recall, to get out of Dodge!)

By the time my son (AKA My Favorite Domer) graduated from high school — Class of 2009 — they’d chosen a prerecorded version of “Pomp and Circumstance” to accompany the seniors’ processional.

Call me old-fashioned, but I liked it better when the band played. Squeaks and wrong notes and all.

So I didn’t cry at Domer’s high school graduation.

But now, he’s completed his final, final exam, marking the end of his four-year stint at Notre Dame, and Commencement is right around the corner.

And I feel weepy.

I’m going to miss ND more than Domer will because, after all, it’s “home” to him. He’ll be back for football games, reunions, and such.

I, on the other hand, won’t have a reason to go back without him there.

The other day I was in the car when “Pomp and Circumstance” — the long version — played on Sirius radio, and I couldn’t help myself.

The tears just started flowing.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be emotional when Domer walks across that stage to accept his diploma. So I’ve decided to desensitize by listening to “Pomp” every chance I get.

And it’s helping.

When I left for college, my late dad termed it a “four-year paid vacation.”

Not so. I worked too hard.

Stayed up late too often studying. Involved myself in a gazillion activities. Reported for the campus newspaper. Had a scholarship to the Band.

Yes, I had fun. But not “vacation” fun.

Domer wouldn’t call his four years a “vacation,” either.

For the first time in his life, he’s been surrounded with young people just like him.

Bright. Talented. Big-hearted. Idealistic.

Kids who are athletic. Musical. Scholars. Volunteers.

Kids who recognize that they’ve been given many advantages and “To whom much is given, much is expected in return.” (Luke 12:48)

I predict good things for the Class of 2013.

Now, if I can just get past the Alma Mater. . . .!