I’d wanted to resume playing trombone for years now, but never found the right time or opportunity. My friend Jenny works in the music department at Furman, and heard that the Greenville Concert Band was looking for trombone players, so she put me in contact with someone from the organization who told me to come by and sit-in with the band on Thursday evening.
When I burned out on music during my freshman year of college I sold my professional grade trombone thinking I would never need it again. Fool. I do have a small “pea-shooter” horn that looks great but has a scratchy slide. I’d always meant to get it fixed, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So, I called my friend Richard who was wise enough to keep his pro trombone from high school, and I’m borrowing that for the moment.
Having a day or two before band rehearsal I took out the horn and put myself through the paces. It’s remarkable how much came back right away. I can still remember every major scale, alternate positions, even some etudes and solos from over a decade ago. The only problems at this point are endurance, articulation, and range, which should all work themselves out in time.
I showed up at the band rehearsal and out of five total trombone players, I was the only one younger than 55. There were a couple of decent players there, but by and large it was like high school band: 2-5 great players, 5-10 good players, and the rest were mediocre or worse. I can’t wait to get my chops back in gear and audition for a higher caliber group like the Foothills Philharmonic.
Also, at the rehearsal for the band last week the principal clarinetist mentioned that trombonists were needed for an upcoming production of Funny Girl. I called the musical director and now it looks like I’m in the pit orchestra for that show and will get a small stipend for my effort. I plan on putting the money toward a decent quality instrument.
I can’t believe I’ve gone eleven years without playing. I never knew how much of a gap not playing left in my life until I was the rehearsal last week. I almost broke down weeping at the sublime joy of playing in a large ensemble again. I don’t care how good a stereo system you have, it will never replace being in the midst of 50+ musicians.
So, I’m off to my second rehearsal with the band tonight, after which I should have my own folder of music, so I can stop sight-reading and start practicing.