Light & Shadow #23

Concert Warm-up — University of Idaho Moscow, ID Circa 1981

This violin player sought a place of solitude while warming up for a high school orchestra competition. Who could blame her for wanting to get away from the clamor of the crowd? Soon though, they would all come together in unison and harmony.

When I was in the fourth grade, there was a presentation about playing in the band. For whatever reason, I decided I wanted to play the cornet. Little did I know this was just a matter of months before the British would invade America for a second time.

Being a horn player was dumb. Those guys in the Beatles and the Rolling Stones — now they had it going on. But my parents bought the instrument and paid for lessons, so my lot was to toot my horn in the concert and marching bands.

I applied myself for a few years at least, to the point where the first chair cornet position was occupied either by myself or Mark Hill. By the ninth grade, I was a total backslider. Charlie Garner and I shared the last chair and would do little more than pretend to play. With the horn perched at our lips, he and I would look at magazines on the music stand. I always liked Charlie.

By mid-fall of the tenth grade, I’d had enough of being in the band and quit in favor of taking a German class. A decision motivated by the crazy stories friends told about the teacher. I was looking for entertainment — I had no interest in learning German. There was hell to pay when dad found out I quit. My justification was that I decided I wanted to be a doctor, and knowing German would be best.

What a bunch of crap, but I’m getting a good chuckle about it now.

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