Sunday, September 03, 2006

Band on the Run

This past Thursday was the last night of the town band for this summer. Not surprising, this being Labor Day weekend and all. We only got to the band twice this summer, which is disappointing because my older son loves the town band, I mean really loves it. Last year his birthday fell on a Thursday, and he actually requested, for his birthday, that we go to the band.
For the record, I love the town band too.
I've heard people sneer about town bands in general. They aren't very good. They're a bunch of amateurs. They play the same stuff over and over.
But all those things are what makes the town band so great! They aren't professional musicians, if they were, would you be able to see them every week for free? They're your neighbors, your doctor, your son's preschool teacher, and the college student next door. They are the best kind of musicians, people who just want to play music for the sheer joy of playing it. It's such a great lesson not just for my four-year old, but for all of us. Not everyone's going to be the next __________ (insert your own age-appropriate-to-your-generation rock star here), but that doesn't mean we can't pick up an instrument we played 20-years ago in school and play a song or learn some guitar chords. Music is a great connector, or at least it used to be. Parents and grandparents would pass on songs to children by actually playing and singing them. Now we pop in a CD or a DVD and leave the room.
And maybe these amateur musicians aren't perfect, but that's okay too. When it comes right down to it, we all pretty much live in glass houses and better keep those stones to ourselves.
And so what if they do play a lot of familiar pieces? You've got a large group of busy people without a lot of time for rehearsals, it makes sense to play things that the musicians already know. Besides, who are we kidding? We love to hear the same stuff over and over, just turn on the radio, 95-percent of the stations are playing "oldies" or "classic rock."
So here's to the town band, where my kids and I can learn that music is fun, that with practice anyone can play, and that if you come every week you might find yourself humming Star and Stripes Forever instead of the ZooQuarium jingle.

song: Band on the Run • artist: Paul McCartney

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