Our community band has been rehearsing since September for last night’s Christmas concert. It hasn’t been easy. As librarian I sit on the board and we met numerous times, over the long months when we couldn’t play together, to access the situation.
When we finally could meet again it was under the strict rules of the school system whose buildings we use. Everyone needed to be masked, even when playing our instruments. The instruments themselves had to have bell covers. And our audience had to remain masked at all times too.
This fall we polled our members, asking whether they felt comfortable playing together under these guidelines. About 50% of the band agreed to play. I agreed too, but with trepidation. I am still uneasy being around other people in a closed space. Even if we are all masked up.
But we all tried to be careful, and it was so good to make music again. Even if we sounded a bit ragged, given all the parts weren’t covered. Even though we only had one poor lonely percussionist, and holiday music is full of percussion!
Some rehearsals made me wonder if we’d get our stuff together in time.
We were lucky to have some high school players come in at the last moment to help us. Lots of percussionists, three clarinetists, and several others helped fill in the holes and our sound filled out.
And, as is usual in community bands, when everyone shows up for the concert we show up focused, and we played so much better last night than at any one of our rehearsals.
You wouldn’t have been able to tell, because we were wearing masks, but I think every one of us was grinning by the end.
Making music is magic. We are so lucky that we were able to do that last night.
The audience gave us a standing ovation. I don’t know if they were just anxious to leave, or glad to hear live music again after such a long break.
I think I’ll just assume they were grinning behind their masks too.
I’m a lucky lady, I got to experience two big smiles jammed into one weekend. Plus we are experiencing beautiful weather, warm and sunny with the trees starting to turn color. The morning and evening light makes the trees just glow.
But that’s a different blog post.
My first smile of the weekend was Saturday evening when I got to play in a pop-up concert with some of my Clarkston Community Band mates and several professional musicians who came to fill holes in our orchestration.
We haven’t played together since early March. Many of us haven’t played at all since then, though most of us frantically practiced these past few days trying to get our lips back in shape. The professionals sightread the music and sounded wonderful. I was grateful to get to play with them.
It was a lovely night and we are reminded again why we play long after school ends. As our Director, Ms. Roland said, tonight we’re not talking about politics or bingewatching silly shows on TV, we’re not thinking about virusus or worried about the future.
Tonight it’s about the music. And what a relief that was.
I hope the neighbors who came out of their homes, sat in lawn chairs and waited while we did a little rehearsing before we began, I hope they had as much fun as we did.
But I don’t see how they could have had more.
Then this morning I did a virtual 5K with my friend Tami who lives in California. So that we could run/walk together she went out at 6 a.m. while it was still dark, and I waited until 9 am. here, an hour or more later than I would normally go out.
It was a compromise on both our parts because we wanted to motivate each other. Compromise works, I wish it was something that happened more in our world, but I’m not going there in this post.
Nope, this post is all about smiles. I hope you had something fun to do, or pretty to see, or beautiful to listen to this week.
As we march toward November we all need to remember to smile. And that’s as political as I’m going to get today.