Stars and stripes forever

Day 26~ A song you can play on an instrument

Well, today’s topic is decidedly hard.  Although, I fancy myself pretty talented at tapping my nails to a rhythm and consider my whistling skills higher than average, I doubt my ability to pull off an actual song with an instrument at this point.  Sooo… I will tell you a story instead of when I could do such a thing.

In 5th grade, we were rounded up and told to pick an instrument to learn how to play.  My sister was already a flute player & my brother a percussionist so for whatever reason, I decided to choose the saxophone.  My parents rented one from a local music stores and I began my career as a saxaphone player.

Things I hadn’t considered when choosing an instrument was that I was merely 11 years old and even at that age… short.  I was a tiny, uncoordinated pip squeek who unfortunately walked to and from school.  My case was gigantic and many a day I managed to hit myself or others in the knee caps with it.  People had also failed to mention to me that you had to suck on your reed before you could play each time.  None the less, I went to my first ‘practice’ with all the other 5th grade saxophone players.  The teacher explained how to hold our lips over the mouthpiece and what we’d need to do with our tongues in order to produce the right sound.  One by one, we took turns playing that first note.  Around the room, until it was my turn.  Nervously, I took a deep breath and let out the most god awful screech even known to man.  The best way to describe it would be when your fork scrapes across a plate but then add in an obnoxious goose honk.  It was wretched and in case I wasn’t sure that it was, the other kids reaffirmed it with their laughter.  The teacher instructed me to try again.  My cheeks blazing red with embarrassment, I tried again.  To my horror, the same horrific sound came out.  The teacher mercifully let me stop trying and told me to continue to practice at home.

Well, my practice paid off.  By some fluke, I managed to be first chair the entire next year.  In fact, I held that title all but 2 weeks my 7th grade as well.  Adam Wagner was second chair and he despised that I beat him every week.  He didn’t even try to hide his contempt for me.  I could tell he considered me a ditzy nuisanse.  Knowing this, I did all I could to irritate him.  I’m sure this is the time that I perfected my trash talking ability. 

There was another boy named Tim Sousa that played the sax with us.  I remember that because when it came time to play a John Philip Sousa piece, I asked him if he was related.  He seemed excited by that idea and that always stuck in my mind.  I ended up quitting band after 7th grade.  One last jab at Adam, I told him he’d finally get to be first chair without my awesomeness challenging him.  I have no idea what happened to him or what became of Tim but I do remember playing this John Philip Sousa song.  I’m sure I totally rocked it.

The Military Band ~ Stars and Stripes Forever


About Chris

These are the pieces of my life and those that make it worth living
This entry was posted in 30 Day Song Challenge, Me, Music, Other Peeps, Random Ramblings, School, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Stars and stripes forever

  1. Duh says:

    This is my favorite song to play on the piano. I play it every time I sit down, and every time there’s a keyboard or a piano available in public. Dave call’s it my song. lol I haven’t played it in awhile. I think I’ll go play it right now!

  2. Duh says:

    I love your pick! God I remember those friggin’ marches in band. I played the french horn so I had the same part every single time. Quarter notes on the upbeat. This arrangement at least has an interesting part for the horns in the back. Ahhh, memories.

  3. Chris says:

    Didn’t french horns have the spit valves? I would console myself every time I split a reed by telling myself at least I didn’t have to empty my spit valve. And then I’d always laugh cuz the phrase ’empty your spit valve’ is funny. Still is.

  4. Duh says:

    Some had spit valves and some you just take off the mouthpiece and pour out the spit.

  5. Traci Meendering says:

    I bet I could still play Hot Cross Buns on a recorder – lol!

    • Chris says:

      You know, I’ve often thought that music teachers earn their place in heaven from suffering through teaching kids the recorder. I will hate the day my kids play one

  6. Pingback: Lately « Life, Love and Happiness Weblog

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