Posts Tagged ‘music’

Music Is Fantastic. That Is All.

August 19, 2008

Just kidding, that’s not all.

For the last three summers, I’ve participated in this little charity music group called LAMA, or Lamorinda Musical Artists. It’s run by a cool guy I used to go to school with, and it’s always small enough that we are able to rehearse in his living room. Which is awesome.

This summer, it was super small. Like, TINY. Maybe 10 people in the band? And that was only the day before the concert. For the weeks leading up to it, we had 5 people max, and three of them were flutes. So it was a little odd, ensemble-wise. I wasn’t sure what the status of the band would be come concert day, so Greg and I started working on a duet as did Emily and Lynn.

The flute duet I gave Emily and Lynn to play was called Allegro by Vivaldi. It was the duet that MengRuo and I have been playing together since we were sophomores. Seeing them outside practicing and laughing together totally brought me back to all the Thursday afternoons MengRuo and I spent in JM practice rooms, practicing that duet and cracking up over our mistakes. That made me smile.

So, when the concert day rolled around, we were all kind of dreading it. We didn’t think the band would do too well, and we were all kind of nervous. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I didn’t have more faith in us. Oh well. Concert time. Emily and Lynn played first. They told me they messed up, but I didn’t notice, because I was too busy smiling like an idiot. Seeing them up there performing, simply for the fun of doing it…it was awesome. And, talking to them afterwards, they were happy. I believe the gist of the conversation was:

“It’s so fun being able to play music when you aren’t afraid of messing up, when you just get to have fun and know that people like it anyway. School band concerts are never like that, Benstein is scary.”

(It’s true. I had fun at Campolindo band concerts sometimes, but only when I played flawlessly. Other times, I’d be in tears afterward. Way too much pressure.)

The wind band pieces went fabulously, in my opinion. I thought it was great, I was smiling the whole time. The notes may not have been all perfect, but damn, I was loving every second of it.

Afterward, I was talking to Emily, Lynn, and Leanne:

“So, did you guys have fun?”

“Yes, it was so much fun.”

“Want to do LAMA next year?”


That made my night.

Then we got frozen yogurt from Papamingos, a total Pinkberry knock-off. I broke my frozen yogurt pact. Fuck. Mmm, FroYo for dinner (and dessert). Then, we went back to my house and played Rock Band. We had a blast.

While I was driving Lynn home, we blasted The Stars and Stripes Forever and sang at the top of our lungs. Fuck, that song means so much to me. I can’t even explain it.

I basically realized then that you don’t have to be perfect all the time to make a difference in someone’s life. Seeing them singing Stars and Stripes and playing that duet…I don’t know, it felt like I had left a little bit of myself with them. Like a legacy. I don’t have to play all the right notes or do all the right things, I can just be myself. Those girls have certainly inspired me, as well. It makes me so happy.

Every once in a while, I get sudden reminders of why I love music so much in the first place. This is definitely one of those.

Music is fantastic…and THAT is all.

This was not a complaint. Hot damn.


Odd Sentimentality

July 27, 2008

I am a member of the Walnut Creek Concert Band (WCCB), which is a really nice name for a group of instrumentally-challenged old folks who play really shitty music for even older folks. I always wonder why the retirement communities love our 4th of July concert so much…probably because they’re more deaf than blind, and if our band’s got one thing going for it, we all look sharp rockin’ the american flag polo. But I digress.

I’ve been a member of this heinous organization for a little over a year. And strangely, for a little over a year, my life has for some reason seemed a little gloomier than it previously had. I’m beginning to see a connection. My band director basically guilted me into playing in this band, which is understandable because I’m a doormat and I can’t say no to anything, even if saying yes tempts me to drink three gallons of bleach.

We usually play really shitty arrangements of disgusting old american tunes. Occasionally they aren’t patriotic, only shitty. Occasionally, they’re shitty arrangements of operas, or shitty arrangements that tragically destroy music that was once decent (“A Copeland Portrait?” What did you use, fingerpaint? Shit. “The Magic of Andrew Lloyd Weber?” Nice try. I can almost hear Weber projectile vomiting in his grave.) The only two constants of WCCB are these: We play shit, and we play shit really suckily. I mean this. We suck. It’s kind of like watching a person falling into a puddle and laughing, then shutting up because, in fact, the person who fell in the puddle was you. But I still laugh at us when we humiliate ourselves in public, because hey, I’m 18, and I’m kind of an ass.

We had a concert tonight. We played a bunch of shitty arrangements of operas that probably sounded nice at one point, and I don’t remember a second of it. Why? Because I was not listening, only playing along mindlessly. Why?

BECAUSE IT WAS MY LAST WCCB CONCERT EVER. That’s right. I’m going to college in a month. So naturally, I spent the duration of the hellish hour-and-a-half concert daydreaming about never having to go to WCCB ever again.

And then my dream came true.

Then, I got to hand in my folder to the music librarian, who I believe hates me with every fiber of her being.

I got to say goodbye to my stand partner, who was glad to see me go, because she’s a kindergarten teacher and talking to me during rehearsal is probably just like an extension of the work day for her.

I took a last look at the man who looks upon me as one would look upon satan or a convicted serial rapist, and all because I occasionally play Dots during rehearsal. And make fun of his bird-like qualities, but only behind his back, I swear.

Then I hugged the lead director goodbye, which was incredibly uncomfortable.

I looked around the room at all the people who will not miss me or my flute playing, either because they find me obnoxious or because they do not know I exist.

And I realized, shit, I’m really going to miss this. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I’m totally going to go to WCCB rehearsals when I am back in town during breaks. I am going to dream about WCCB. I am going to idealize it, and wish I could once again be part of such a fine organization.

Thanks brain, I really appreciate the extra gush of estrogen. As if I ever needed to be more emotional.