Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset

I wish I had a better picture of this kid in the grey suit, standing on stage beside the grand piano. I didn't want to disturb his concentration by turning on the flash so all of my shots are blurry. 

I don't need it for myself--I'm pretty sure I'll never forget Monday evening, when Boy#3 presented his senior recital at Big University.

He started playing in fourth grade, using a second-hand instrument I bought at a garage sale. Most kids don't begin band instruments until they're in the fifth grade, but he had heard his grandfather play the trombone and pestered me unmercifully until I found a college kid who could start teaching him the mysterious workings of this instrument with no keys.

It wasn't easy. As far as I can tell, the trombone is played as much by instinct and magic as by actual technique, and this is a kid who didn't deal easily with frustration. His bedroom is over the family room, and in the early years of practicing our television watching was interrupted far too often by stomps of frustration.

But Three is not one to be deterred by the difficulty of a task taken on: He had decided to play the trombone, and he was GOING to play the trombone. He practiced, and practiced, and stomped his foot, and practiced some more.

He upgraded to a better instrument, then to a talented professor who knew just the right combination of praise and push, and he practiced some more. By the time he was ready to look for a college he knew he wanted to do music for the rest of his life.

Monday night he played a recital filled with astonishingly difficult music. I'd heard pieces of it from the room upstairs from the family room, and I had listened to him take apart and put back together the most difficult passages, polishing each note to perfection. He practiced every spare minute, several hours every single day. I couldn't imagine, even in hearing those notes hundreds of times, how wonderful they would sound by the time he was on stage.

After the recital his trombone professor met Three's original inspiration for taking up the trombone. Dr. H shook Dad's hand, both men elated with the performance of the kid one taught and one loved. "One of the best students I've ever worked with," the professor said.

I'll never forget how proud I was of our son, of the hard work he'd put in so that when this moment came he'd be ready.

I wish I had a better picture, so I could show you how great it was.


  1. Doc and I are so proud of you, Boy #3! I remember what it was like preparing for and presenting my senior recital at The Other Big University. It's an experience you'll never forget.

  2. Aww . . . congratulations to ALL of you!