Archive for June 19th, 2008

The leader of the band

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

There’s nothing quite like working all day, then jumping in the car and racing 30 miles north to play in a concert with a community band you don’t even normally play with (but you’ve agreed to try to help out your FRIEND who told you they were in dire need of bass instruments – and you’re always looking for a place to play your underutilized bass clarinet), hopping out 5 minutes before the concert, and finding your friend standing there next to the bandstand waving a baton at you.  As in, “the mother of the fellow who was going to direct passed away last night, so he can’t be here tonight.”  And no one else can direct, either. 

Somehow, I have developed the reputation of being some kind of jack-of-all-trades musician up here in the frozen north.  It’s a bit funny, really.  I was a good high school level clarinetist, and my poor mother beat me with a stick for many years to make me practice the piano, so I am a decent amateur-level musician.  I’m willing to jump in and help out when needed, which explains why I now have roughly 15 years of experience as a church choir director, too. 

So, I directed the Lyndonville Military Band for their weekly concert last night.  I did a passable job, but I’m hoping they don’t want to “hire” me for the job permanently.  Reading a 4 part choral score is a LOT different from reading a full band score.  It’s all good fun, and I hope the band members didn’t suffer too terribly as a result of my incompetence.  By the way, the instrumentation for the night was: 1 trumpet, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 alto saxes, 1 bari sax, 1 bass clarinet, 1 french horn, a bass guitar, and a drum kit.  I almost had to break into hysterical laughter when an older gentleman sidled up to the bandstand in between songs, and asked one of the flutists which band this was, and what night did they practice?  He was interested in playing, of course, and he was heartily invited to come next week to play.  How he could possibly think this band rehearses, EVER, after sitting through several numbers, boggles my mind.  Perhaps he just thought it was the director that doesn’t rehearse.

Aside from a fatal meltdown in a medley from “Oklahoma” after which I had to stop the group and start over again (which was largely my fault for missing a time signature change and tempo change on a page turn, a result of trying to conduct music when you’ve NEVER LAID EYES ON THE SCORE BEFORE!), we made it through all the pieces we attempted. 

And now I’m afraid my name will be added to the pool of potential “emergency conductors” in the area.  I will be even more careful to screen all my calls in the future (not that that would have helped last night, except if I had realized my pal was trying to get ahold of me, I might have known enough to not show up for the concert!)

Having recovered from that, today the kids and I are having a lazy day (it’s raining, naturally) of watching TV and playing with Legos, etc.  I had to make several phone calls regarding insurance coverage of my physical therapy for my knee, which is not currently resolved.  I’m trying to keep my annoyance about that from ruining an otherwise pleasant day.  Will’s in his room for carrying around the dogs’ water dish and spilling it all over the floor AGAIN, and Anna is lego-ing quietly.  Woohoo!

Here are a few pics of the orphan kittens we’re raising.  They’re almost 4 weeks old in the picture.  They’re butterballs.  After the first couple of days, we never had to worry about them getting enough to eat.  They’ll be looking for homes in about 3 weeks.

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This is Anna’s new shirt.  She hasn’t gotten to wear it yet, but we’re waiting for a particularly good occasion.


And here’s another string of entertaining facial expressions from my kids on the fateful day of the Father’s Day photo session.