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June 08, 2010

D.C. al Coda

A band concert does not truly begin at the band concert. A band concert begins the day before the concert when, miracle of miracles, you finally lift your instrument from its case and realize that it's the first time since you started that you've actually decided to practise. At least, that's how it feels. It's not true of course. The road to good intentions, is, well, you know...

I can tell it's a band concert because Derrick, professional trumpet player and veterinarian, is sporting a shiney red bow tie that he keeps for special occasions only. Wendy is looking polished in her black on black. Bruce, middle school music teacher, has on his new spring line of psychadelic Converse hi-tops. His red necktie tie has one lone black sheep on it surrounded by white sheep. Which one am I? he asks jokingly. From where I'm seated, waiting to play, the black sheep looks like a dark blue ink stain. I decide Mr. Kreswick has been watching too many re-runs of Mr. Holland's Opus.

I'm surrounded by parents and fellow band members, 10 year olds and a few adult lookie loos contemplating their own career in the esteemed Island Winds. Wendy, our conductor, has decided upon a new name for us - the name of her own music studio - at the ready for next year's session. Just when we're figuring things out, it's time to take a summer break.

The band concert begins with choice of attire.Charlotte has forgotten the red, white and black dress code edict for the evening and showed up in blue jeans only to be rescued by a friend who lives just across from the school. 

I cast my curious gaze upon the statuesque flute player in the beginner band. She has some ostrich feather like thingey attached to the top of her head that looks a bit much I think to myself staring down at the same white shirt, black pants that I wore to work earlier in the day.  I did make an effort on my necklace carefully choosing the one that looks like a volcanic explosion that I purchsed from Volcanoes National Park a few years back. I'll try harder next time I say to myself knowing that I'm lying.  The only thing I'm truly ready for is one of those reality TV shows where your friends bust you and the next thing you know two gay boys are rifling through your closet giving you the stink eye as they remove each item from it and you're blinded by the lights from the camera crew. Surprise!

I'm humming one of the tunes in the car on the way to the concert. It will be stuck in my head from now until October when we crank it up again. Goodbye Prince of Denmark. Farewell River Kwaii. I've come to love you Rock Island Blues. I'll miss you Cliche Blues now that I've finally realized what that cryptic signage -repeat the previous two bars - truly means, and on the very last evening I play the correct A flat as a result of my sudden enlightenment.

Thank God for those trombone players, first year students at Cap College's music program back on island for the summer. They take us to the next level. It's a bit like cheating - stacking the band - but sometimes it's just an imperative. It's still a hit and miss for the high C and, well, there is the audience to consider.

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