My husband and I first met in the eighth grade, when we both qualified for the ninth-grade band at Pleasant Grove Junior High School. (In our area, high school started in the tenth grade.) I started playing the clarinet in the fifth grade, and I continued to work on my overbite in junior high school. Meanwhile, my husband played the trumpet, working on his pucker. (I am the grateful benefactor of those efforts.)
We both a-"band"-oned the band in high school, trading our instruments for clogging shoes and choir uniforms. We have long since lost our instruments in the decades that followed. I think we must have swallowed them. My husband, who was able to reach soaring high notes on his trumpet, has a first tenor singing voice, whereas I took on the vocal equivalent of an alto clarinet.
In recent past we have taken great pleasure in resurrecting our clogging shoes and visiting with pals from our school days. Another fit of nostalgia hit us when a local music store chain closed its business and began liquidating band and orchestra instruments. We started to yearn for those old music makers; those instruments that we played together when we had no idea that we would someday fall in love and get married.
We are now the proud owners of a Vito clarinet (the same brand I played in junior high school) and a Blessing cornet (the same brand my husband played). They were used band instruments (just like ours would have been, if we still had them), and we got them for a steal. We brought them home this evening, and after a brief refresher with some fingering charts, it was like getting back on a bicycle. Because both instruments are B-flat instruments, it is easy for us to play duets off the same sheet of music. So like our marriage, our music is easily harmonious.
We are also the proud owners of a half-size violin, another amazingly inexpensive find. Our son saw it and was instantly taken. He loves to try it out, very carefully placing it under his chin and getting used to the feel of the bow as it gently glides across the strings.
Now all we need is an instrument for our daughter, and our family orchestra is complete. Of course, she has super-long fingers, thanks to her seven-foot-tall birthfather; we call them "piano hands." Maybe she can accompany all of us. She already loves plinking away at the keys on our piano. We already have a friend who teaches piano, who saw our daughter's fingers and said, "I get her when she's six!"
Music is good for the brain. "Banding" together is good for the family. Developing and using our talents (no matter how rough they may be) is good for the soul. May the band play on...and on...and on...