I got to do something really fun last night, even if it didn't last very long. Here's what happened:
A few weeks ago, I got a letter in the mail (actually delivered to my mailbox) asking if I'd provide music for a local event. Every year, our hospital auxiliary hosts a Christmas tree festival at a wood carver's museum in Small Town. Groups decorate artificial trees and wreaths, display them at the museum and sell them as a fund raiser for the auxiliary. It's a lovely thing because the trees are all really well done—some are classic, some themed with things like toys or footballs (really) and some are just fun. The event lasts for about a week, and musicians provide background music in hour-long segments while people stroll room by room and ooh and aah over festive trees.
Well, I couldn't imagine sitting in the corner and playing my horn all by myself, so I called a couple of friends and asked if they'd like to revive our trio we used to form. They would, they said, and they took charge, as I had hoped. They brought the music and put it in order, and we met up last night for our segment of the schedule.
The musicians sit in a corner beside the curved staircase, tucked away next to a display of a train carved out of ivory and a wall covered in old elephant tusks. We played simple arrangements of traditional Christmas carols and three more complicated pieces we have played for previous Christmases, and we played an arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily On High. The whole set only lasted about 20 minutes, so we repeated it since people came and went and wouldn't notice.
It really was fun, even though I was not at my best horn wise. I don't know why I had a problem—sometimes you're on, and sometimes you're not, and so it goes. My worst playing was on Ding Dong, and I was glad when we didn't have time to play a third set. I was ready to suggest we should skip that one.
When the place emptied, and the ladies at the front desk were ready to lock up, they let us wander through the rooms. So, the three of us had the place to ourselves for a few minutes and looked at all the trees and talked about balancing sacred Christmas traditions like carols and nativity scenes with nostalgic traditions like White Christmas and Santa ornaments.
Afterwards, I talked to No. 1 on the phone and told her what I had done. We agreed that our friends are wonderful to play with because they are so skillful, yet they never judge you when you chip notes or miscount a phrase, at least not to your face. Ding dong merrily on high, the bells in heaven are ringing, but sometimes the bells on earth are a little off. And yet, they still ring, and people still stop to tell you they enjoy your playing. Bless their hearts.