Sunday, May 27, 2012

Big Fat Summer Band, Emphasis on Fat


The Big Fat Summer Band is back, and boy is it ever big—105 members this year, which makes it the largest edition of this band in its 95-year history. The park where we play most of our concerts has a medium-sized stage, so we aren’t sure if we’ll fit for our Monday performance without spilling out over the edges.

And boy, is it ever summer—the temperature hovered around 90˚ during our first concert of the season last night, and it's going to be even hotter for the second one tomorrow night.

We broke in this big band at a street festival, and the seating wasn't too cramped because we were able to spread out over the east and west lanes and the turning lane in between. You know, when you play on the street, your sound goes straight up into thin air, and you can’t hear what you’re playing. It’s an odd sensation, like you’re playing into a silent mute, and you can only guess if you’re on pitch or not. And it wasn’t just me who had that problem—even our principles played silent notes and looked concerned.

We played big, noisy numbers like excerpts from Carmina Burana, loud marches, Dixieland stuff and songs that seemed to call for the loudest bass trombone you've ever heard—it's been referred to as a giant elephant fart, so that gives you an idea of the quality of its sound. And more than once, people turned around to give the stink eye to the tuba section that seemed to believe their background notes were more worthy of solo volume than of subtle accents.

So, yep. The Big Fat Summer Band is back. And boy, is it ever fat. Or maybe I should strictly speak for myself. A friend who was seated in the audience during the street performance posted a few photos on Facebook afterward, and when I caught sight of myself from a side view, I could only sigh. I have been eating low carb for over a month now, and yet there sits a behemoth in the second chair of the horn section. She’s someone I don’t recognize in the mirror, and she’s a complete stranger in photos, especially side views taken while she is unaware. Who the ham sandwich is that? I ask myself.

Well, all I can do is keep at it, continue cutting out white food like potatoes, sugar, rice, bread and pasta; and continue opting for water over wine. This way of eating has worked for me before, although it took months to reach my goal the first time around, so I have no reason to think it won’t work again. I just have to remember a physical transformation doesn’t happen in just a matter of weeks. And I have to remember to ask the friend with the nosy camera to angle away from the horn section when next she wants to feature the band.

I mean, we’re big and all, and we revel in our size, but it’s not the girth of each individual that makes us proud. And come Monday evening when we spill out over the edges of the park stage, our space problem is expected to be caused by having too many seats in each row, not by the size of the individuals in those seats.

Here's to another year of the Big Fat Summer Band, and to being fat in numbers only. We'll play our hearts out throughout the season, and I'll keep eating as I believe I should all summer long. And maybe come fall, when we pack up, I'll have played well, and I'll be sighing less often at the sight of unwanted photos.

1 comment:

dive said...

Yay for the Big Fat Summer Band. I'm glad it's back and bigger than ever.
Do you still rehearse in the hall that's hotter than a sauna?
Oh, and this behemoth has learned never to stand sideways on to a camera. I find that's a lot easier than actually dieting.
Enjoy your elephant fart summer.