I heard a piece on news radio during my commute to work Tuesday morning about how upbeat music helps sad people feel better and calm music helps settle people who are stressed; how music can be used in any number of problem situations to make things better. True I thought.
And I hoped at that evening’s concert we would be able to deliver a bit of fun, maybe even a bit of relaxation to our audience. We’d be playing Halloween music, things like March of the Trolls by Grieg, Shadow Rituals by Markowski, and The Fortune Tellers Daughter by Gorham. Mostly fun stuff, mostly things we could play if we paid attention, though Shadow Rituals was a toss up. We’d made it through that piece, from start to finish, for the first time at last week’s rehearsal. There were no guarantees we could do it again. On the other hand, as people who listened to it played by professionals have said, “Who would really know if you made a mistake?”
We were all dressed in costumes for the concert, a bit of freedom from the normal black concert attire. Lots of people went all out and were unrecognizable; a purple telatubby, a vampire, the tallest leprechaun trombone player I’ve ever seen. (The photos here are from last year, I forgot to take a camera this year!) I just added a big tie and a clown hat to my normal workaday outfit. I figured some of my customers take us for underwriting clowns anyway so it was fitting.
I’d started the morning with a headache, a bit of a sore throat, and a sense of being light headed. By afternoon my eyes were itching and I couldn’t stop sneezing. “Great,” I thought. Just what I need. All I wanted to do after work was drive home and climb into bed. Then I got to the concert venue. Sniffles disappeared, eyes cleared up. Headache? Gone.
And that was even before we began to play.
I think the audience had fun. We got a standing ovation from most of the audience when we finished. Maybe they were just glad we were done. Or maybe they’re our relatives. Or both. But I think they had fun. But not as much fun as we had playing. I’ve always said, and I’ll say it again, it’s much more fun to be the one playing then the one listening. Even when listening is pretty darn good.
Our sound engineer forgot to turn on the recording equipment until after the third piece, so we played the first three over again at the end of the concert. Most people stayed to hear them again, and turns out we played them better the second time. We had a blast doing it. Tuesday night the news piece on the radio proved to be true. Music is what’s good for you.
And for me.