Wednesday, May 16, 2012

top brass

Meego had his end-of-year band concert last night.  It was a typical 6th grade beginning band concert.  He's enjoyed band this year and wants to do summer band also, so I guess some day he can have his "This one time?  At band camp?" stories.

Meego is the one with the white shirt and black pants

As I sat and listened to the music, I began feeling bittersweet memories of my own days as a beginner.

When I was Meego's age, I wanted very much to be in the school band.  Most of my friends joined band, and I had watched the high school band over the years practicing in the streets and marching in parades and doing half-time shows.  Yes, I wanted to be part of all that.

But I remember bringing it up to my parents and the discussions about how expensive instruments were, etc.  The fallback elective was art, so as you can imagine, I wasn't too heartbroken.  But still...

Years later, I got my chance.  When I was in 10th grade, our high school band director needed  a couple of flag girls.  There was a big competition coming up, and a couple of slots on the flag team had been vacated by girls who had become... uh... pregnant. 

I jumped at the chance!  (not pregnancy, flag team).  One of the other flag girls was assigned to "tutor" me.  She didn't like me, but ended up becoming one of my best friends... but that's another story.

I ended up LOVING being on the flag team and continued with it all through high school.   But marching season ends in late fall.  The other flag girls had played instruments before, so when concert season started, that's what they did.  There were a few of us late additions and the band director gave us a choice.  We could either (1) learn to play an instrument, or (2) do paperwork in the band office.

I chose the French Horn.

Another flag girl, a majorette (baton girl), a rifle girl, and I were sent to learn instruments with the assistant band director.  Our quartet consisted of a trumpet, an alto saxophone, a flute, and me on the French horn. 

Those were fun days.  The four of us having the whole junior high bandroom to ourselves for an hour each day with the assistant band director who was also the band teacher at the junior high school.  Mr. H. was an excellent teacher, he really loved music.  He was also funny and kind and extremely patient!  I never saw him get upset.  To this day, he is one of my teacher role models.  He taught me to play that french horn in just a few months, and by springtime, I was playing with the concert band. 

Mr. H died unexpectedly over the weekend. 

He wasn't that old - early 60's - and still teaching band at the high school.  The news was all over my facebook.

So last night as I listened to Meego's 6th grade concert, I couldn't help but think of Mr. H and remember fondly those days of our little newbie quartet. 

As one of my friends aptly put it, "The music in heaven just got a little sweeter".

Thank you, Mr. H.  Rest in Peace.


Scott said...

Beautiful post!

agg79 said...

Great memories. Sometimes we can relive the past through the experience of our kids. It is nice to remember someone who as touched/influenced our lives.

I didn't picture you with a French Horn.

terri said...

So sorry for the loss of such a special teacher. There certainly aren't enough like him.

ShadowRun300 said...

Oh my gosh! I was on the flag team too! I absolutely LOVED it!Our band was very big and won many competitions, and it was a great confidence booster for me to be a part of something like that.
Did you call your band director Mr. H? We called ours Mr. C. He died a few years ago as well, but we knew he'd been sick. I'm sure Mr. H has touched many people throughout his years of teaching, so it must be hard on quite a few of you. I'm sure he would have been thrilled to know how much you looked up to him. Your post was a nice tribute to him.