Monday, June 13, 2011


Every Friday night of the summer, the Small Town City Band gives a concert on the steps of the community theatre. The parks department puts out benches, and people bring their own lawn chairs, and for an hour or so we listen to Sousa marches and the inspirational song of the week, and sing along to "Bicycle Built for Two."

If this sounds condescending, that is not my intent: This band is GOOD. The trumpeter above is finishing his doctorate in music, and at least a dozen band members make their living playing music. Another dozen are just as talented but chose to make their living some other way. The rest are enthusiastic amateurs who practice one night a week year-round so that they'll be ready for these summer concerts.

There is no age limit in this band and half a dozen or so of its members are high school students who have shown musical promise but didn't have their own instruments. So the band gives them instruments, and if they continue to participate through high school, they get to keep the instrument when they graduate. (Of course, no one "graduates" from city band; one clarinet player was part of the band from the time he was in high school until he died at 90+ years old.)

Last Friday a friend was visiting from nearby Big City. We sat under a tree in our comfy chairs and watched the kids playing in the grass, then getting a cookie from the lead trumpeter's wife when they finished the children's parade.

We chatted between songs, and applauded the guest conductor--a concert attendee who was celebrating her 88th birthday that day.

It was during the roll call of visitor hometowns that Cindy finally placed the similarity.

"Good grief," she said. "You live in The Music Man."

Oooooooh, there's nothin' halfway, about the Small Town way to treat you....

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