For the last couple of weeks, Cricket, (formerly known as Supermousey) has been staying after school and practicing her saxophone for two separate events. The first was held on Saturday, when her and about a billion of her fellow students from all over Tennessee competed for a spot on the Mid-State band. The competition was held at McGavock High, and you haven’t truly experienced Hell until you wander those hallways, packed with 7th-12th graders, all yammering at once. Walk by the practice area if you are feeling particularly masochistic. This was my second year, and I noticed that many parents (veterans of this process, I’m sure) bring folding chairs and coolers and essentially set up camp. The competition is quite fierce. Its a long day of standing in line for hours, then standing before expression-less judges as you work your way through a prepared piece, then on to another set of judges to display your mastery of scales and whatnot. It is no day at the park.
We got a phone call on Sunday that Ms. Cricket made it as an alto sax.
After the competition, The Primary Wife and I took the kids, and some of their friends to dinner, then on to see the Christmas Concert at the Blair School of Music. It was a night of big band music performed by students, followed by a performance of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra. Amazing, it was. You could see both wonder and anxiety on the kid’s faces as they saw heard what these older kids can do on their respective instruments. I was focused on the pianist, named Alan Archer, who I felt was a stand-out performer that night, but spent the entire evening hunched over the keys, without ever looking back toward the audience. I couldn’t pick him out of a line-up. But it was a terrific show.
I have a confession to make. I never developed much of an appreciation for certain types of Jazz. Too much emphasis on horns sometimes for me, and there are many times when it all sounds…I don’t know, chaotic, maybe? I appreciate a good trumpet, but New Orleans type of jazz is, for me at least, best taken in small bites. That said, Saturday’s performance featured arrangements by a local musician/teacher named Ted Wilson, who, if I heard right, instructs at UT. The saxophone and trombone “solos” were incredible, and the band seemed to be having a great deal of fun, which is always good for an audience.
We got home pretty late, and very exhausted. I think Cricket climbed into bed without even taking off her shoes.
Tuesday night is the second big December event for both Cricket and Nog, as they will both perform at their school-band’s Christmas concert. So, the house has been chock full of music this month…the progress these kids have made since just last year is impressive. The fact that they practice conscientiously makes us very proud.
It seems like yesterday they were trying to eat paste…..sigh.