Wednesday, December 16, 2009

christmas concert

Tonight was the middle school Christmas concert. I have always felt that there is a special place in heaven reserved for middle school band directors. To take a bunch of hormonal pre-teens and give them brass instruments and woodwinds and percussion and try to coax something resembling music out of them... I can't imagine what would possess a person to find that to be an appealing job description, but I am very grateful for the souls who make a go of it and listen to that cacophony day in and day out with the hope that it will somehow improve. Lord knows that the ninety minutes I have to spend listening to them every six months is almost more than I can take.

Tonight, as the seventh grade band started into their first piece, Terzo perked up.

"Hey, I know this song! I love this song!"

Me: "Really? You've heard this song before?" (It was called "African Rhythms" or something like that, not "Jingle Bells" or another tune he might recognize.)

Him: "Yes! I hear this one all the time!"

Me (thinking somehow that the sound from the band room filters into his kindergarten class; they are all in the same K-8 school): "In your class? You hear it during school?"

Him: (after giving me his withering what-are-you-talking-about, you-silly-fool look, with a little shake of his head for emphasis) "No! I heard it last time! They play this song every time."

And upon reflection, I realized that he was right. If you close your eyes, you do just hear a kind of "blat blat screech boom whistle blat crash" sort of sound that is surprisingly similar from piece to piece and concert to concert.

As I said, my hat is off to those middle school band directors.



  1. Having recently attended an elementary school concert by my clarinet-playing 10-year-old son, I was struck by the fact the tempo of all the songs is that strange sort of half-speed that you get when the college pep band gets really drunk mid-way through the second half of the game and starts to play Louie, Louie. So, yes, God bless 'em for doing this year in, year out! (A friend of Charlene)

  2. Perfect description of the tempo! I watch those poor directors waving their hands around, seemingly trying with all their might to pull those kids along with them, and think they must be exhausted by the end with the sheer effort required.

  3. You've heard my story about Michael practicing his saxaphone unbeknownst to me and I thought the smoke alarms were going off. I raced around the house looking for the fire!

    I agree. Band directors are saints!

  4. When my neighbors thought that we had a dieing goose in the yard I quickly learned that practicing outside was not a solution in those beginning years. HANG IN THERE. High School Bands are very different from those elementary and middle school years! After the Vespers Service this week featuring a lot of great music, my husband and I discussed that we each thought the same thing at the beginning of the band section of the night. Why were they playing with a CD? and then after a moment we realized that it was the band alone! All that practice over the years finally pays off in the end!