Letter to the Editor

A privilege to play for the band

Sunday, August 17, 2008

To the Editor:

What a privilege it has been to have played with the Brazil Concert Band, off and on, since I was about 17.

In my youthful days, I went to rehearsals and played in concerts mainly because I had friends there who also liked to play music. The last time I entered the band, about 10 years ago, I finally realized the importance of it in my life. I didn't know if I could even play through an entire concert without my lip giving out. But when I played the "Star Spangled Banner" for the first time in decades, tears came to my eyes, and I was hooked!

I had to keep doing this!

The "privilege" is that I get to sit in with band directors, school music teachers, private music teachers, members who even have their own musical groups, and those who have played professionally in the area for years. In general, it is filled with people whose souls are kept alive by these weekly doses of music.

You might think they would not take their playing seriously and just goof off. I can't think of any one of us who doesn't give his or her best on every concert.

My "best" is far below the quality that so many of these fine musicians produce. However, even I have managed to bring my skill level up considerably and sharpen my sight-reading ability so that I actually play better now than I ever did before. That's the effect this band has on us.

To my left is a player who is over 80-years-old. To my right is a teenager who will be a junior in high school. Brazil is so fortunate. Not only because we have a conglomerate of great talent, and not just because we play music in the park on Sundays. Not even because we have really appreciative and supportive audiences. The city is fortunate because the band is a huge, living, breathing musical instrument that has a "mix" of experience and new blood to keep it alive and sustain it well into the future.

Of course, we all know who the catalyst is for this enormous amount of action and reaction. The initials M.H. don't even need explaining, except to say, the heart of the band beats in time with his baton.

Thanks, all of you really fine musicians and fine friends who always welcome new members (and even us "old" ones).

You are appreciated not only by your audience but also by your fellow members.

Joyce Stone,