The Long Road to the Champs

With the State Band Champs fast approaching, it was decided that we should do the decent thing and have a little look at the music in our “spare time.”  Yes sir, that means practice (yes, I’m well aware that I put that in bold).  Practice is a thing that most musicians, be they young or old, usually studiously avoid.  I’ll put my hands up to actually fudging the numbers in my daughters PSIM diary in year 11 and 12 because I already had grey hairs over her ATAR stress and getting on her case about music practice wasn’t something that was overly appealing.  Guilty as charged.  Back to that P word. There has to be a venue for our little section of band to meet at.  Last time it was my place and this time we alighted on our newcomer’s house which is some distance further afield than we’re used to...

Mandurah is the place to go on a sunny day for fish and chips and the dolphins.  Maybe you might go with the world and his Aunty for the Crab Fest too.  You don’t tend to go on a very wet, cold day, but that was the mission we signed up for.  It took just on an hour to get there on that delightful drive (I do love the Freeway, NOT) and it struck me how much this person must love both their music and playing in the band.  They’re not the only one either – there’s two of them and they car pool.  A two hour round trip every Wednesday night.  That’s dedication!  Not only are they members of our band, but they are members of their local band too plus other musical groups AND they wanted to practice for the champs on top of all that.  The Wayne’s World thing now pops up – “We’re not worthy!!”  These two are not the only ones that I’m not personally worthy of either, we have members who travel from North of the River too.

As it was a long drive there and back, I started to muse about the general musical journey we all take.  My personal journey started at age 13 in another country with a school instrument.  I travelled to parts of Europe with a community band until age 23 and then I parked my musical bus under the bed for almost 21 years after I joined the married persons with house and children brigade.  TJ the flute went into semi-retirement, only coming out of his house for “pleasure trips” in the living room whilst nobody else was home.  Finally, my kids were old enough and I signed up for the band family.  My family joined the band family and now the only family members not involved directly are the man and the dog (though she does say a very cheery hello to members of the committee when they come for meetings).  My musical journey has covered thousands of miles across continents.  Lucky me!  

I know that my story is not uncommon, nor is my dislike of practice – a healthy distaste for that has been passed to my next generation (job done!)  But I have a healthy respect for those amongst us who travel so many hours in pursuit of music-making.  

The practice (oh that word) thankfully had the desired effect and we had good fortune on our side when the Champs came round.  Not only was the sun shining outside, but it shone for our band in the auditorium too!  Whilst patting ourselves on the back on our win, we were very aware that we had stiff competition.  A huge well done to the other bands competing that day.