Measuring desire one note at a time

Watching the secondary band students perform Wednesday evening transported me back a few decades.

Watching the secondary band students perform Wednesday evening transported me back a few decades.

I played the oboe from Grade 8 to 12, but haven’t touched it since.

In junior high Dave Glackin, a transplant from Washington State, was our band teacher.

Dave constantly reminded us of the need to practice.

“I wish I could measure your desire to be in the band program,” was his persistent refrain.

Originally I wanted to play flute but there were more than a dozen wanting the same thing so Dave asked if someone would consider playing the oboe.

For the first few months when I practiced at home I cringed thinking it sounded like a cross between a duck and bagpipes.

But after a few months it wasn’t all that bad. I was the only oboe kid in my grade and the parts were awesome.

Before each band trip Dave gave us the same lecture.

The one about sticking in groups because back in the U.S. one of his female students was found stripped to the waist in a circus tent.

Oh and if we were caught with alcohol, drugs or other misdemeanours we would be sent home on the first available bus.

Well it was Grade 9 and I was more worried about Dave detecting that my desire to be there wasn’t as strong as it should be.

I think the biggest misdemeanour I delved into was discovering girls my age used rouge. Thanks to that info gained on a trip to Spokane no one ever commented on my being pale in high school again.

In high school Bruce Hunter was our teacher. Band ran every other day for a year so I signed up for his musicianship class. We had lots of fun as band students in Grades 11 and 12, went on some great trips, and even had a side group that performed at local school events.

These days I mostly listen to music, once in a while breaking the silence with a stint at the piano or the box drum we bought one of our sons a few years ago.

It will probably remain that way, unless of course I start wearing rouge again and notice someone testing the strength of my desire to be in the band.

Monica Lamb-Yorski is a reporter at the Weekend Tribune Advisor