|Eustacia is in front on the far right:|
Why would someone face the possibility of shedding a tear at such a festive event, you may wonder. Both of my girls were members of this band when they were in high school, and I went to every Pantasia during those years. This event marked the 20th anniversary of the band's invention—Joan started it in 1992—and Eustacia came back to town to participate in an alumni performance. No. 1 would have loved to have joined them, but she lives too far away for a weekend visit.
There were 49 alumni students performing, many who are now self-sustaining adults with children and jobs and beards and a few gray hairs. They traveled back home, those that have left the area at least, to rehearse and perform one single song, and it was worth it for each of them. When they finished and accepted a packed-auditorium's worth of applause, they presented Joan with a group photo they had all signed and thanked her, not just for what she taught them but how she taught them.
So, you see, one could easily shed a tear when one's dearest friend receives such an honor for such an achievement and when one 's daughter is part of it. But I had another stake in this event—for years, I have designed the band's T-shirts and the concert programs, and when I walked into the auditorium and saw my 20th-Anniversary logo featured on a large banner, a quilt someone had made using all the T-shirts with four of them mine, a kid handing me a program I had created and then 49 alumni performing in my T-shirts, I felt proud.
I contributed, and you know, that's all I ever really want to do. The announcer publicly thanked me for all of it, and of course, I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend and completely lost my train of thought when I heard my name coming through the microphone. I liked that I seemed unknown to everyone but the few people immediately around me, and I could quietly whisper "thank you," (meaning, thank you for letting me pitch in according to my abilities) and no one was the wiser.
I started doing this for the steel band more than ten years ago when I began taking French horn lessons from the man who was then the high school band director. In exchange for lessons, I did graphics work—tattoos, concert programs and award certificates, T-shirts, ekcetra (to quote Terry Pratchett). He has since retired, and I haven't had a horn lesson in several years, or a child in the school system, but Joan still asks me to design her stuff. These are simple jobs, but I'm just happy to be asked. And happy to contribute.
Here is the alumni group performing their 20th-anniversary song: