The idea had been percolating for a while. I had basically quit playing horn years ago. Oh, I played for students, but I didn’t practice and I didn’t play anywhere. I missed it. I missed being able to play easily, fluidly, and with a nice sound. I missed playing with other people.
Then I had the opportunity to go to China on a teacher exchange trip. It was a wonderful trip, which included a visit to the music school of the Central Conservatory of Beijing. On the return trip we had a stopover of several hours in Hong Kong. While sitting around in the airport, too exhausted to do any more looking or shopping, I started talking to a history teacher from Oregon who I had not talked with before. To our mutual surprise, we were both horn players. He told me how he had joined a community orchestra and once people knew about him, he had so many offers to play he had to turn some down! I decided I, too, would find a group and start playing again.
Home again in Illinois, I kept my ears open for possibilities. But I didn’t start practicing. No incentive yet. Then in the spring of 2007, my husband announced that he was retiring from his high school band director position, and he was featured in a couple of newspaper articles. It was great fun because he started hearing from friends he had lost touch with, former students, and the band director of our town’s community band, asking if he would be interested in joining. I said, let’s both try it out. The director invited us to the spring concert, which featured Gene Pokorny, the tubist of the Chicago Symphony doing “Tubby the Tuba.” Pretty impressive for a community band. So we joined, starting with rehearsals for the summer concerts.
The first rehearsals showed me how out of shape I was. I was really tired by the end of the 2-1/2 hour rehearsal. The music wasn’t terribly hard, but I had no chops. Fortunately, there were enough horn players that only the person next to me could really hear me!
I did begin practicing some, but what really got me back into practicing was chamber music.
To be continued...