While in HS, I took my job as drum major quite seriously.  I loved performing and truly enjoyed every detail of marching band.  My favorite performance of the year was our Thirlby performance where we competed with all area schools, including Class A TC (we were a Class C school).  We always ranked just below them, but strove toward reaching top ranking despite our size.

Anyway, my geekness is showing.  Yesterday, I met up with some old friends from HS and specifically, fellow band members.  We reminisced about some of the crazy, silly, insane stuff we did in HS and talked about our time in band.  For me, it was the driving force keeping me in school, and something in that seemed to resonate with the group.  There was camaraderie in the group and band class was where I first heard the phrase, “You’re only as strong as you’re weakest player.”  Each fall we all worked hard for the sake of the group, rather than toward personal gain in chair status.  

That said, last night I had a dream that I was standing in front of the Thirlby crowd and we had just finished up a piece that provoked applause when the next piece was set before me.  It was Silent Night.  This is the one song, that no matter my mood prior, when I hear the first harmonious word uttered, I begin to weep.  It started in the 8th grade, when a sixth-grader was killed in a horrible car accident.  I attended his funeral because I had seen him the evening before and we had talked as we each waited for a ride home.  He was also in band and just a sweet kid.  I remember thinking, “He’ll go far.” and then then next day, he was gone.  

It was mid-December when I watched the small casket lifted and carried down the center isle of the church while the crowd sang a very solemn Silent Night.  I’ll never forget the sorrow I heard in every voice, rising up as if to mask the misery of the moment.  “Sleep in peace,” we sang.

And so, in my warped dream of last night, I was standing in front of the cheering crowd and on the stand before me was the short, but sweet piece that would blur my vision the moment it began and there in the crowd, the faces that had been once familiar were traded for new faces I did not recognize.  It was as though I was reliving a funeral for a bygone era – a time in my youth when the biggest events in my life happened locally.  And when I could write music on the air mid-way through a season football game.