Friday I played tuba for Mr Paxton’s tribute concert. The first time in roughly a decade. I wasn’t worried that I’d be horrible, but I assumed I wouldn’t be good. We practiced for less than an hour, and wouldn’t you know it, I remembered how to play. I remembered how to read, what the notes were, how to hold the tuba. It all came back. Strange. Now I wasn’t great, that’s for sure, but I was good. So practice ended… wait we’re done? oh… I.. ok…
I went along to see who had arrived. (Why is Aretha Franklin in my head?) Lots of old faces. Names on the tip of my tongue. People I … knew. Not people I know…. not yet. So I made new friends out of old friends. It all came back. Strange. “Shouldn’t you be up on stage?” oh… I.. ok…
Up on the stage, playing, listening, trembling, walking, speaking, watching, taking my seat.
Listening, playing, and then…
We played our last song with no one on the podium so Mr Paxton could conduct us himself. And then it happened.
Why can’t we stick with a tempo?
“You can’t stop playing.”
My part is easy. My notes are on the beat.
“You’re like a heartbeat in the band.”
My notes ARE the beat.
“YOU can’t stop.”
Louder, stronger, sharper, confident.
“If the bassline stops, the song dies”
Sometimes wrong, always steady.
I don’t know if the band heard me playing, or if I just imagined it. However it happened… we were together. One band, one song.
Just like that. I remembered his words. I followed my conductor again.
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