Saturday, August 12, 2006

With all my heart.....

Do I like Italian band music? No. Wait, not even Funiculi Funicula? Have you seen the horn part? But what about Themes from Great Italian Movies? What great Italian movies? But what about Figaro? OK, I'll give on Figaro, if it's sung by the ever animated Ron Barkett, local baritone. But even then, the horn part is nothing but triplets--monotonous triplets meant to make the tongue numb.

Despite my grousing about the music at tonight's concert, it was still a very satisfying experience. My little town in Ohio hosts an Italian/American festival every year in August. It used to be hosted by the neighboring-somewhat-rival town, but the committee decided it could make more money by moving it next door. We close down the main street, bring in carnie rides and games, trucks that sell food on a stick, and a band stage for polka bands and who ever else is signed up to play. The Dominic Greco band is too big for the "stage," so we set up directly on the pavement. We play surrounded by old trees and lawn chairs and buildings that used to house shoe stores and clothing store but now house dance studios and little churches that read only the King James.

I had a conversation with one of my band member friends this evening before The National Anthem about how these festivals have so much potential to be small-town-cute, but he's pretty sure that they are more often small-town-loser. Maybe so. I guess it depends on your perspective. I guess it depends on your definition of loser. I guess it depends on if you like food on a stick. And I guess it depends on your expectations.

I don't really care for food on a stick, but when I see such a big crowd (relatively big) who drive down town just to hear the band play their favorite big band tunes and schmultzy patriotic stuff, and when I get to be a part of it, sitting in my chair in the middle of Third Street--pretty much right on the yellow divider line--then I think it's pretty small-town-cute.

About that schmultzy patriotic stuff--we play "God Bless the U.S.A" in almost every performance. At the beginning, each time, I take a deep breath and think that if I have to play this overly-sentimental hack song one more time...... But when the people in the audience stand up as if the stupid thing were the dadgummed national anthem, and they start waving little American flags that I swear they must have been hiding in their purses and back pockets because they don't expose them during other songs, then I hit the crescendo on page two with all my heart, soul, and body.

So, now, the concert is over, and I'm ready to shed my band get-up in exchange for regular street clothes. Tonight, instead of sleeping, I expect to be going over wrong note that came out of my horn tonight. And I expect to be thinking about how much I'll look forward to our season finale next weekend when we will play in an old park with trees that most likely have a hundred rings inside, and stone walls, and a carousel from the early 1900s. Talk about cute.


Ms. Mac said...

I can't even begin to imagine what Italian Band Music actually sounds like. I'm sure I know, just haven't applied a label to it yet.

But I do know that there's probably not a food in the world that to me doesn't taste a million better when it's served on a stick!

Rob said...

Wow. My first comment. Imagine a little polka, a little vibrato, a lot of gusto--Italian.