July 23, 2004

No Particular Place To Go

That was a Chuck Berry song, wasn't it?

Yesterday morning, I'm flying down the interstate on my way to work - and believe me, at 5:15am there ain't no traffic and you fly! - and I've got Chicago II cranked on the CD player. And Hello Sunshine came on, triggering a whole rush of memories.

I was in the Guinness Book of World Records once, for one edition. Actually, it was my entire high school band, and we held the record for longest continuous performance, which at the time was something like 80 or 90 hours.

I believe we started on a Friday morning, and played straight through until Monday afternoon. One five-minute break every hour, and fifteen minutes every six hours for food. We turned it into a big fund-raiser, and local restaurants donated food and drinks to keep us going.

Things got silly as we got more and more tired, and after a while you get loopy. Not to mention the swelling. You want to know what bee-stung lips are? Try playing the trombone for four freakin' days. The whole bottom part of my face was numb for a week.

And parents would show up in the middle of the night to cheer us on, and donate money for requests. And every couple of hours, we'd play a medley by Chicago that always got us fired up again. It started with Hello Sunshine, and we'd stand up in the back row and just let it ring.

The school was heavily into music of all types. Band, orchestra, jazz band, chorus - both men and women, mixed choir, plus various small combos and groups, our school was known for it's music program. And the band was dominated by the trombone section.

I was playing fourth trombone that year, all by myself. I'd transferred in as a sophomore from another school, and rather than futz with the dynamics of the section, I just took the bottom end and enjoyed myself. There were three seniors playing first part that year, and they were all very good. Next year, I'd take over first chair, so I could afford to be patient. Besides, we all got along just fine, so there was no jealousy or looking down on anyone.

I may have told this part before, but on my first day at the school, in the first band class, all the new people had to introduce themselves. All freshmen, and me. The band teacher explained that I was transferring from the east side, and you could hear the collective 'ooooo' at that. The east side was the 'bad' side of town, and I'm sure they thought I'd pull a switchblade on someone eventually. So after the introductions were made, all the freshmen had to play the school fight song together. They'd gotten the music the year before and practiced all summer for this moment. I just stood there, because I didn't know the song. When they got done, someone said I should play something, so I did.

My first performance at school was the Budweiser theme song. Remember that one? "When you say Bud..." Perfect music for trombone, and I really got into it.

Back to the band marathon. We loved to play anything brass: Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Average White Band, Wild Cherry, Ohio Players, plus the standard classical and folk tunes included in the curriculum. And when one of 'our' songs came on, we'd drag ourselves out of our comfy chairs (we'd brought beanbags and other seating rather than spend days on those metal folding chairs), and be energized for an hour afterwards.

We also traded instruments, and it was the first time I'd gotten up the nerve to talk to the owner of the finest ass I've ever seen in my life. To this day, I measure all female tushie against hers, and have yet to find her equal, although some have come close. She was Japanese, she played the flute, and she sat right in front of me in the front row (three rows, I was in the far back). For an hour she sat by me and showed me some flute basics, and I helped her play a little trombone. I was in heaven.

So we set the record, and made lots of money for new band uniforms, and got into the Book, and lost the record to another school a few months later. Que sera sera.

"...with no particular place to go..."

Posted by Ted at July 23, 2004 06:03 AM
Category: Boring Stories

I just love these kinds of posts. Back in the days of weekend-long parties I've pushed 50 hours of sleeplessness. By the end I was usually hallucinating hundreds of fireflies between me and whatever I was trying to look at.
80 or 90 hours?! No wonder a Japanese girl had such a great tush!

(Just kidding. I see asian women all the time 'round here and they're so intoxicatingly adorable!)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at July 23, 2004 10:04 PM
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