Stories and thoughts about family and life

Music. . .makes the people come together

on April 26, 2012

As Madonna says. . . And in all my brilliance for catchy opening lines, now I have that song STUCK in my head!

Seriously, though, I had the best time Monday night, and I really wasn’t expecting for it to happen the way it did.  When we picked Lucas up from school, we were informed that he had a band competition and needed to be “at some church” (according to him) and would be there “until at least 10 p.m.”   Mondays are craziness in the Walker household.  We have the regular beginning-of-the-week drama Mondays always bring, coupled with Band and ending with Boy Scouts.  So we pretty much hit the ground running at 7 a.m. and we don’t stop until about 9 p.m.    I really don’t normally like Mondays, can you tell?

It turns out that “until at least 10 p.m.” was actually “we’re leaving in 10”–funny how an 11 year old can mis-interpret.  I discovered that when I finally caught up with the band teacher, who was absolutely frantic at that point, trying to get everyone organized.  Seems I wasn’t the only parent who was “out of the loop” as a notice didn’t go out the previous day the way it should have.  I finally stopped him and said “I’m confused” to which he responded “I am too!”  Okay, not quite the comfort and reassurance I was hoping for, but at least he was honest.  We finally hammer out the details and Lucas is going to ride the bus with the rest of the band.  I leave Maumelle and head back to Little Rock to drop off the husband and the other child for them to go on to Boy Scouts, while I grab Lucas a snack and head back out to the band event.

Upon arriving at the school, I park and locate Lucas in the gym, warming up on his clarinet.  The room was absolutely filled with noise, from snare drums to trumpets to saxophones and violins.  It was the most amazing thing–hearing all those smaller songs and sounds combining into the much larger noise of it all.  If you focused on any one, you could pick out fairly recognizable music, such as “Minuet” or “Louie Louie”, but otherwise you would just think it was a mix of 50 radio stations playing simultaneously.  It was amazing, and really kind of pretty.  Lucas and I sit and I give him his snack.  We talk about the bus ride and what he was going to play.  I’m texting one of my best friends from high school (who was also in the band) and am trying to tell her where we are.  Not with much surprise, she has to straighten me out:   “We’re at some ensemble thing” I say.  She says “You mean Solo & Ensemble?”  “Yeah!  That’s it!”  I text a photo of Lucas playing to her and to another dear friend of mine who teaches band and start getting remarks back about how his “embouchure looks amazing!”  Okay, that sounds positive, now what the heck does it mean?

As my two band-knowledgeable friends begin to explain, I realize that I need “Band Mom for Dummies.”  Then discussions about him becoming the next Benny Goodman, and how his bite on the mouthpiece makes a difference in the sound.  Seriously?  I wouldn’t know if he was doing any of this right or not.  I carried a camera in high school.  I can tell you all about it and how it works, but I never had to make it produce sound.  Lucas, however, totally gets this.  He understands their comment and is pleased that someone noticed.

As we sit, a little girl I recognize from his class comes down to “visit.”  She is very cordial, but extremely quiet, especially in the deafening volume occasionally going on in this gym.  I keep straining to hear her, and have to continue asking her to repeat herself.  Sometimes I would finally nod and smile, and pretend like I understood.  I know that sounds awful, but this girl could barely speak above a whisper.  Barely, as I said, until she asked me if my son “likes anybody.”  Then she might as well have had a bull horn.  I sat, dazed for a minute.  “You mean, like a girl?” I asked.  She nodded politely.  “Um, well, he hasn’t really mentioned anyone,” I said, feeling my heart skip a few beats and begin to rise into my throat.  Is this really about to happen?  Is my baby at “that age” and now there will be girls and all that stuff?  Oh, no!  I’m frantically texting my friends and telling them.    I make an excuse to get up and walk around a bit.  Lucas and I talk, and I ask him about this girl and whether or not he’s interested in her or anyone else.  He looks at me like I sprouted a second head.  Oh, good!  We’re NOT there yet!  I might have, what, another six months?  I’ll take it!

Don’t misunderstand.  It’s so NOT that I don’t want him to be in love or have a girlfriend.  It’s just that I’m really enjoying him at this age, and at this time.  I look at this child who would barely hold a conversation with anyone two years ago and I see how far he’s come.  He was barely audible himself–bashful, quiet, and wouldn’t make eye contact.  His spirit took a bit to bloom, and he’s turning into such a cool kid.  I have the funniest, most creative conversations with him, and I’m not quite ready to share him just yet.  Maybe when he’s, oh I don’t know, 18 or so?  🙂

But I digress.  Back to the music.  The band teacher gathers all the clarinets together and escorts us over to the school building where they will perform their solos.  I think my friend Chris was right–I was just as nervous (if not a little moreso) than Lucas.  He provides instructions, and I’m in awe of the little smart girl who immediately starts talking back, trying to make the teacher look foolish.  I want to smack her, honestly.  Thankfully, the teacher very kindly and very swiftly puts her in her place and we move on.  As we’re standing in the hall, I watch Lucas interacting with these other kids.  He’s at ease with his speech.  He fits here.  He is a bit nervous, but hides it well as he converses with the other students.  When it’s his turn, I almost missed it because he never said a word, but just slipped quietly into the classroom.  I think he could sense my anxiety and wanted it to be over for me too.

When he exited the room, I smiled at him and he looked down.  He said he knew he had made a couple of mistakes, but he thought he did “okay.”  Still texting my friends, both of them remark that he’s only been playing a few months, and that usually you do a lot better than you think.  I try to reassure him, but he knows better.  He shrugs it off, though, and we go back to the gym.  I find out that the scores are awarded at the end of the evening, and I’m prepared to settle in and wait.  Lucas announces that he’s ready to go home and starts gathering his things.  I asked him if he didn’t want to wait and find out how he did, and he tells me that “it’s okay, the teacher will tell me tomorrow.”  What?!? Are you kidding me?  I would never be able to go home and go to sleep without knowing how I had done!  I can’t believe he’s willing to just walk out of there!

We found out the next day he received a “Division II” scoring, which, as I’m told, is pretty good for a kid who has only been playing for a few months.  We’re very proud.  This weekend he plays in Branson with the rest of his band.  We’re all loading up in the morning to go watch that.  Maybe I’ll have another good story for you on Monday. .  .


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