Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Bleachers Are Alive With The Sound Of Muuuuuusic!!

Last night we attended my seventh grader's winter band concert. Scratch that--her first ever band concert. In our current school district, you can start band in 6th grade. Due to various things like a partial year of homeschooling and moving schools, Maggie didn't have the chance to start band last year, so she started this year. In her school of approximately 1,000 7th and 8th graders there are five bands: beginner, concert, varsity, symphonic, and jazz. So, there are lots of kids in band. Lots. Guess how many are in her beginning band? G'head. Guess.

Did you guess more than 100? Well if you did, you'd be DEAD. WRONG. There are 11 students in the beginning band. E-l-e-v-e-n. And they have been playing a band instrument for somewhere around 18 weeks. And they ROCKED, I tell you. (Of course, I think that the alto saxophones were by far the best, but I might be a wee bit biased.) The beginning band went first and played three songs and aside from a little problem with the rhythm in one wee section of the first song, they really surprised me. I mean, I don't know if you've ever actually listened to a beginning band, but usually there are an awful lot of squeaks and squawks and sometimes precious little that can actually sound like music. But this group has worked really hard and had some really good instruction and they did a great job.

Maggie was kind of nervous as she and her fellow alto sax player had to play several measures all by themselves. Yeah, they were a sax section of two. They played well and she seemed to have fun. She later laughed about the band's trouble with the rhythm and I told her about how our 7th grade band, in which I played the flute (poorly, I might add) mutilated "Alexander's Ragtime Band" making it sound more like a round than it was meant to. I told her that someday at her own child's band concert she would relive that moment just like I did and it would be fabulous. But in her memory she wouldn't be wearing a plaid wool skirt, ruffled shirt with a ribbon tie, and Yo-Yo shoes (remember those?!?) like I was in mine.

The other bands were great as well. One of the bands played a selection called "Santa at the Symphony." It was a mash up of classical music (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Beethoven's 5th, etc.) and some old standby Christmas music (Jingle Bells, Silent Night, etc.) and it was really wonderful. Then the jazz band played a couple of songs. In one, they had 14--that's right, fourteen--students who wanted to solo. Not only that, they improvised their solos. That's some pretty great stuff, right there. Junior high students who not only want to do a solo in front of parents and peers, but they have the guts to make it up on the spot. Oh, and they were great! I suck at improvising in nearly any shape or form, so this was quite impressive to me. And it made me remember sitting through my older brother's stage band concerts. Folks, I had a big ol' goofy grin on my face all through that song.

Also, I am a soft-hearted cupcake because I almost cried. I have some weird freakish thing that developed after I had kids. (Yes, I am totally blaming them!) I cannot watch children perform music of any type without getting weepy. I don't know why. There is just something so pure and joyful about it that it puts my tearducts into hyperdrive. So there I was with a big ol' goofy grin on my face and my eyes were about to start leaking. It was then that I was glad my daughter couldn't see me because I knew that she would have been mortified in a way that only a 13 year old can.

Finally, the symphonic band played and that's when Mary looked at me and said, "Wow! Listen to that! Real music!" I laughed and shushed her and enjoyed their selections. They closed with a sing-a-long and I nearly wet my pants. There is nothing quite like hearing a band of junior high students accompany a gym full of children and adults while they sing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." It brought back so many memories and it (along with the very cold temperatures here) put me in a Christmas mood. In fact, as we were waiting for the bleachers to clear, I was standing there singing and just reveling in the joy of the evening.

Aaaaand then my husband tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey! No singing! Concert's over!"

Party pooper.

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