Why You Do What You Do

12 Noon: the day of MY first ever show with the SCSU University Band: 45 degrees now, getting lower tonight. Clear blue skies. The audience will be dressing appropriately for the weather, while we musicians are getting ready for the show. Let the final moments before the show begin!
7 P.M. (1 hour till showtime):  24 degrees with clear skies. People are arriving, and the we, the band, are in our seats waiting for the show to begin. Everything seemed to be pointing to what would be a perfect show for us. Little did people know, aunt Rosemary decided to come with my parents and sister to see me. Also, we musicians knew something bad was going to happen during one or possibly some songs during the show – and it was not going to be pretty.
8 P.M. (showtime): After a little re-evaluation followed by positive thinking, the show gets underway! It gets quiet in the audience and we are about to play “Amparito Roca.” We are playing the music, while realizing that playing in a band is all about PROCEDURE and PRECISION even if one does not have it written down in a 100+ page manual. Just like that, the first half of the show was over. It was time for intermission, followed by the last half of our show.
The second half of our show now starts – halfway through, we did not let negativity get to us – until we switched to measure 69 of the 45-minute piece “Armenian Dances” where the whole band had to stop and, thankfully, I kept the 5/8 beat going, which the band re-played the song and we finished it. At that moment, we realized that when we stopped and then fixed our mistake, as professionals doing what they love, we are performing to experience something people do not get to do regularly and we will not miss out on this opportunity.
And of course, the show finished – the second half of the show was phenomenal like the first half (the show was perfect). Of course, the audience left and everyone got to then visit our family members who came to see us and what not.
But what lessons did I learn tonight from playing this show, that refer to the title of this post?
  1. Embrace the uncomfortable, and you will find beauty is woven throughout.
  2. Share misery with others, and you will soon laugh together as you have never laughed before.
  3. Band will give you what you want: if you want to have a great time, you will find it in band; if you want to be miserable, you will not find it in band. However, in band—it is about CHOICE.
  4. When you see a puddle, jump in it — you are already soaked, so what harm will it do if you have some fun?
  5. Surround yourself with great people, and they will make any situation worthwhile.
  6. And for Dr. Hlavac’s sake, do not forget to DANCE!
Band is a place where you will experience life in a way you never dreamed possible. You will make friendships that will last a lifetime. You will learn to appreciate the smallest of details as well as the largest ones.  You will learn to take time out of your busy day to day life to experience JOY. This is what happened to me this semester.
It felt great to play my first ever show with the SCSU University Band tonight – my new home of many homes for this part of my life to be and to come.
Finally, when you are finished with a show that you put hours and hours of effort into (meaning: during this semester leading up to this show) that no one will understand, and your conductor/professor puts shakes your hand, says “great work” and then asks with a massive smile on his face “Did you have fun!?,” you respond with a heartfelt “Yes!” while beaming on the inside.
For then, you wonder if perhaps someone else was not there with you for a brief moment making sure you remember why you do what you do …

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