I misread a sub notice on Friday night for Ongoing magazine, and instead of creating a musical piece in response to the post, I wrote a poem. My bad. Anyway, I’m quite pleased with the result, called Band Class, and it can be found on my Words page. Having been a band teacher for a number of years in three different schools (Havelock-Belmont PS, Confederation PS, and Kenner Intermediate School), there were struggles and there were failures. There were also many, many successes and fun times at Kiwanis Music Festivals and joint concerts with choirs from Kawartha Heights PS, South Monaghan PS, and Lakefield Intermediate and Secondary School. I always told the students that learning to play an instrument was a doorway to the world and an opening to lifetime friendships.
I was handed a trombone by Mr. Dunscomb at Windfields Jr. High more than a few years ago (although I had been playing a brass instrument for years by that time) and while I strayed over the years to tenor horn, I did eventually return to trombone, where I now reside. Because of music, I have met thousands of wonderful people, played and sung across Canada (ON, NF, PQ, AB, BC), in the US (MI, NY, CA, IL) , England, New Zealand, and Bermuda. I’ve played at Toronto Blue Jays’ games, a Toronto Argonauts’ game, and two Toronto Maple Leafs’ games. I’ve played for the Queen and met Prince Philip (well, he came close to me while he spoke with the bandmaster). Heather actually road an elevator with HRH at that Duke of Edinburg Award function in Toronto when he held the door for her.
I’m no virtuoso and I don’t practise near enough but that hasn’t stopped the experiences. My sincere hope is that some of those students have taken my advice and kept at it and they, too, are experiencing the opportunities that music can provide.