I’m proud to say my kids have been band geeks since they were in fourth grade.
And in a town where the focus is mainly on sports, their interest in music and the arts made them even geekier.
There was a time when they tried to fit in, but after a few years of sitting the bench, even at the 4th and 5th grade level, watching while the good players just got better, we all decided it was not worth the trouble or the heartache. I was quite happy when they quit. It was never fun for me to watch their games.
Mario fared a little better, but even she has given up basketball and softball because of the unfairness. She still plays volleyball, but quite often gets pulled. She knows it’s not fair, but she doesn’t want to be out of EVERY sport.
So when they took up an instrument, I was all for it! I attended every concert, every competition. I paid for multiple instruments and all the costs associated with keeping them maintained. I never complained, (well not out loud anyway…..okay, yes I did, but not in front of them), about all the squeaking and incorrect notes, or about hearing the same song over, and over, and OVER again. Because unlike the sports, they really liked band!
Throughout the years I have attended many band concerts and competitions. I watched proudly as they squeaked their way through their 4th grade concert only to improve with each passing year. Then I watched with even more pride as they produced an awesome high school concert.
When Chip graduated High School, he considered joining the Navy and becoming a part of their band. We supported him during his research and even invited the recruiter to our house to learn more. But when he auditioned, his confidence crashed. As good as he is, he was not quite good enough. We expected he wouldn’t make it right away, and we had warned him that this is the Navy, and they were going to tell him like it is, but he still wasn’t prepared for the criticism. After that audition, he wasn’t interested in continuing with them.
Instead, he received a Fine Arts Scholarship for the community college near our house. In return, he needs to keep his grades up and play in the band.
With a full class schedule, working part-time, and playing with the band, he has been VERY busy. But he loves it! And it’s been good for him! I see his confidence growing, and I see him becoming more and more responsible every day.
The college band had their first concert this week, and as tired as I was, there was no way I was going to miss it.
The band consisted of old and young alike. In fact, I would say most of the people were NOT college students. I’m assuming people volunteer their time to play, which helps balance out the band, and allows them to continue playing concert music. So with all that experience, we saw a fantastic concert! And to see our kid amidst all the talent, was heartwarming. It was obvious he was enjoying himself. He even had a solo that he kept quiet about until that night! My heart was literally swelling!
After the concert band performance, most of the members cleared off the stage to allow the jazz band to play. Only a few college students were a part of this band, Chip included. Although he didn’t have a solo in this set, he was playing along side some fantastic and talented saxophone players. I can’t describe how wonderful it was to see him in his element.
I am now happy that the Navy didn’t work out for him. The college band is perfect! He’s gaining confidence, he’s playing with great talent, but it’s not all-consuming like it would have been in the Navy.
This is why I put up with them growing older. (As if I have a say…) It really is incredibly fun to watch them make their way into the adult world and become independent, mature, responsible individuals. And to be accepted for the talents and interests they have, not be ostracized because of it.