Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Band Angst

Last night we attended a concert featuring the high school symphony, choir, and band.  It was a dress rehearsal for these groups, and they each performed three musical pieces.  Next week they will attend the NE Music Festival, where their performances will be judged.

The symphony went first, next came choir, and the band finished off the evening.  They all did very well, but since our daughter, Megan, is in band, we liked their performances the best. I didn't know this while they were playing, but the last piece was about the end of the world.  I don't know if it sounded end-of-the-world ominous, but I did keep thinking Darth Vader was going to appear at any moment!  It amazes me how a piece of music can stir up emotions, whether you know what the composer intended or not.  All three pieces the band played were good, but I liked that last piece the most.  There were a few little baubles that we could distinguish (very minor stuff like squeaky reeds), but overall, we thought they did a very good job, and we, along with the rest of the packed auditorium, very much enjoyed all of their music.

But, after the concert, Megan told a different story.  I'm not sure why, but the kids were really nervous last night. Maybe they were focusing too hard because they know they'll be judged next week. I don't know. But the nerves got the best of them.  Megan said every soloist made mistakes, and one trumpet solo was skipped altogether when the boy supposed to play it "choked".  The band has been working on this music for a couple of months at least, and one person, the section leader, has been preparing for that solo the entire time.  But, yesterday in band class, another boy asked if he could have the solo.  For some unknown reason, the director let him have it, which understandably really upset the original soloist, and is a strange thing to do on the day of a concert. The poor kid who froze and didn't play the solo will never live it down for as long as he's in the high school band, and he will probably get a good chewing out by the director.  Other kids in the band were already giving him a very hard time after the concert.  Megan said the boy was trying to apologize, but the director refused to even look at him, turned his back, and walked away.

I feel sorry for this boy, and I feel like he's not the only one to blame here.  No, he should not have asked to take  the solo in the first place, but the director should never have given it to him.  I feel like the director was in the wrong for walking away as the boy was trying to apologize for the mistake, especially when he gave the okay for such a major change, for what seemed like no reason, just a whim, at the last minute.  Teenage angst is bad enough without having to live down something like this, and his band-mates are unlikely to show him any mercy.  Though I don't know the boy who skipped the solo, my heart hurts for him.

I hope they get things sorted out and settled down before they attend the Festival next week.  They've been working hard, and I hope all of that hard work and preparation will allow them to shine before the judges.

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