I haven’t made anything resembling a secret about having been a bandsman, about having thought that I would be a band director when I grew up, about still being involved in playing saxophone and in promoting wind band music. Last night, as I write this, I had the opportunity to play again, joining a pair of other alumni of my high school for a short set at the school’s final concert of the school year.
Doing so offered me the opportunity to try out some skills that I once had more fully but that I have not had much chance to practice recently–or not as much as I would like. Owing to the unusual nature of the group–a pair of saxes and a trombone–I was obliged to re-score parts and to compose a new piece, things I’d done in the years when I was trying to become a band director but not a whole lot since then. And I needed to play my horn again.
In the event, it was a good experience. Using old skills to decent effect is enjoyable. More so, though, was being welcomed in by the current band director and the students; people seemed to be happy to see me and to hear what I had to say and play. The audience seemed to appreciate the performance, too, as well as a few comments I had the opportunity to make.
For many students, band is one of the better high school experiences, if not the best one. (It was for me.) For many, too, the spring concert is the last chance they will have to play their instruments; many who enjoyed them will put them down and not pick them up again. The work I’ve done with the alumni thus far, and that it looks like I will get to keep doing, serves me, certainly, but it also serves to offer the students–current ones, former ones, and future ones–a place where they are welcome.
You can’t go home, kids, but you can always come home. I’ll do all I can to keep the light on for you.
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