MC900039386

My youngest decided to take band this year, and dive into the world of playing a musical instrument. As a child I took piano, clarinet and drum – as an adult I can’t play any of them. I hated practicing and didn’t take lessons on any instrument longer than a year.

When my daughter asked me what she should play, I steered her towards the instrument I enjoyed the most – the drum. Since August she’s been going to band class and learning how to rat-a-tat-tat, and all that practice prepared her to play in the Christmas Concert.

However, nothing prepared me to sit and listen to it.

And I don’t mean to say that the 5th grade band was bad. They weren’t great, but they did a fine job for a beginning band. It was everything that was around me that made the night unbearable.

The concert was being held in the gym – my daughter’s school has no auditorium – so seating was restricted to bleachers. The concert was to begin at 7 pm, but by 6:15 the seats were filling up mighty fast. My oldest daughter and I decided to be safe rather than sorry and got seats while there were still open spots.

The next 45 minutes were sheer torture for me.

We were seated next to the 6th grade band – roughly 50 kids clad in black and white all playing random notes into their instruments…CONSTANTLY. You know that cacophonous sound an orchestra makes while warming up? Imagine that for 45 minutes. But not from professional musicians, but rather from impatient, hyper 13 year olds with brasses and woodwinds.

I also managed to pick the one spot on the bleachers with structural damage. Every time someone went up or down the stairs, our bench bounced. Not just a little either. This was enough to make me envision the inevitable collapse and the following news story about the tragic death of a middle aged mother of two.

The bouncing bleachers made taking photos a real chore as well. Some kid or parent was trouncing up and down those steps every 12 seconds or so. As a result I’ve got a dozen blurry shots of my child standing at her drum. I glanced at my watch – it was only 6:30 – I still had a half an hour to wait.

The folks behind us kept getting up and down. The father had knee problems and was trying to find a comfortable position. Kids were blowing trombones and trumpets. My knees were almost up my nose and half of my ample ass was hanging off the side of the bleacher. 25 minutes to go.

Finally, the show began. The 5th grade band, which my daughter is a part of, played first. 6.5 minutes later I had heard “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, “ “Jingle Bells,” and “My Dreidel.” I’d just waited for almost an hour in a hot, noisy, hectic gym, and my kid’s portion of the concert was over.

My oldest and I glanced at each other and said “let’s cut out of here.”

I know that’s awful, but it had been a long day, and the thought of sitting through another 50 minutes of bad music was not a pleasant prospect. We stayed through the 6th grade band and half of a horrid rendition of “The Polar Express” and in between acts we walked down the steps and strolled out of the gym.

Then we went home and ate pudding and watched Rudolph. Now I’m off until the Spring Concert where I’ll make sure I sit close to the door.

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