Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Il Mundo In Un Susafono


(props for this photo go to brtsergio. i stole it from his flickr photostream)
We have just returned from an evening with the Corvallis Community Band. Another Tuesday night was made a bit more special with a summer band concert. What is it about summer band that makes me feel so--well, happy? I do not particularly enjoy playing the music that is played in summer band, marches and such, or at least I didn't when I had the chance, what? 20 years ago. There's just not a lot an oboe can do with all that brass. There is an oboe in the Corvallis Community Band, and they don't play just marches, either. In fact, tonight's performance featured a clarinet soloist who was pretty damn good, and dressed in evening wear. Me, I would have done it in my CCB sweatshirt, but then, I can't play the clarinet that well, and never could. The kids did less playing at the park and more watching the band this week than last. Many questions arose: Is THAT a sousaphone? Is THAT a tuba? Why do they call it a sousaphone, is it because of John Philip Sousa? (We've recently read John Philip Duck by Patricia Polacco, one of our favorite author/artists) Where's the basson player tonight? What's that kind of drum? Why is it called a snare drum? Is that the bass drum? Oh, can you hear the kettle drums? Do these people own their instruments? Are they volunteers? Can I go play in the park?
I believe that Lee Nelson proclaimed that Harlan, Iowa had the longest running summer band program in Iowa, and I only know this becaues I happened to be at one of the concerts during the 100th year. I could be making this all up, but I don't think so. There is a certain kind of nostalgia that rolls in off those down beats and oompas and tweetle tweets that gets me right in my midwestern heart. Now, it helps that one of our first evenings in Corvallis happened to be spent (serendipitously--as was the mode) at a summer band concert. And it helps that my little brother is so far away probably running a similar summer band concert gig--or maybe retirees do that, what say you Phil? Nevertheless, I was glad that I had decided to brave the 'hot' weather (um, no this is not hot compared to you in the mushi atsui midwest) and spend an evening hour on the lawn, listening to marches, waltzes and other sundries. What else is summer for, if not for summer band. And if I had to pick a world to be in... well it's nice that this one includes sousaphones.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Awwww, summer band. There's no summer band here that I know of, and on the Fourth of July I was really, really, really wanting to hear some marches. You lucky Oregonian duck! Hope you enjoyed that good clarinet soloist.

kat said...

oh, it's tuesday pm. i have wanted to check it out with the kids. maybe next week! hope to see you guys soon! kat

Tommy said...

Interesting that you should choose to highlight that particular instrument in your post about summer band -- both Phil & I had our first tuba performances in Harlan's summer band! I suppose trombonists make naturally tuba draftees. :-)

Marches were played, but sans marching, so the actual instrument was a concert tuba, not a sousie, but to this day, I've never had more fun playing a musical instrument. Well, maybe the vibraslap...

Viva El Susafono!

sarah said...

there was a lovely silver sousaphone, as well as a brass tuba with a turned out bell and another 'regular tuba. you don't often see a sousaphone in such good shape, it must have been new. it was NOT fiberglass.
remember tuba christmas?

Caroline said...

Thanks for this post, Sar. Lots of good memories. :-) Wish they did those concerts here...

lisa said...

Sounds like a good time, Sarah!

And here's another good time: I just tagged you for a meme over at my blog.