For the next month and a bit, my Thursday nights are getting a bit of a shake-up. Instead of going to my sister-in-law’s place for craft night (which would be more appropriately called, at least for me, “knit ’til you cramp up”), I will be heading over to my high school of yore for Alumni Band (= “play til your face cramps up”?).
Perhaps not surprisingly, Alumni Band involves a mishmash of grads from years gone by who were former band nerds and never quite got over it. We’re all coming together to practice some songs and then we’ll be performing at the yearly Mother’s Day concert in a nearby park, as was the tradition back when we were in high school.
Our unanimously adored band director has even come out of retirement to lead us down this wild and crazy path. This is my second year participating and I find myself enamoured (all over again) with all the little details that made my band days so worthy of fond reminiscence. Most of these surround the idiosyncracies of our director that made him such a successful and enjoyable teacher. Like the way we are all encouraged to have a “bandsperson’s pencil” at the ready for marking up our music as needed. Or the way we have to “tune or die” before playing. Or the way he refers to sound-free practice as “woodshedding” (because if you were to make sound while trying to practise difficult passages, you’d probably be relegated to the woodshed). Or the way he mutters witty comments about the folks in the back (brass, percussion) that only us folks in the front (flutes, clarinets) can hear and appreciate.
But I also just really love playing music in a big group. A big loud group. It’s neat creating a big, powerful sound together. And seeing some old friends is a nice bonus, too. It’s nice to be around other people who get it. I do miss being involved in music, so this definitely fits the bill for me. A nice, low-commitment, seasonal foray into playing again.
So for April, I’ll be busy spending my creative energy on music. And I’m really, shamelessly excited about it.