Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…
Previously on Life Story… I took Spanish for several years beginning all the way back in sixth grade. Pero, no hablo Español.
Before I get into the heavy stuff, I want to explore one more aspect of the middle school years: The Band.
Our fearless leader was good old Bill Carr. You may have heard of him. He’s pretty famous in Roanoke music circles. At least, that’s what he told us. I kid, he’s actually a pretty humble guy.
As a kid, it was difficult to not look upon him as a slave driving maniac, cracking a whip upon us poor kids, making us walk and play instruments in the bitter cold. But now that I can see the bigger picture, he was just trying to teach us the importance of taking pride in what we set out to do.
One of his favorite lessons was the value of teamwork. For a band to succeed, the individual parts must come together to form the whole. Often, he would use the illustration that the difference between the words “united” and “untied” depended upon where you put the “I”. I guess that’s one of those “there’s no I in team” kind of things.
I played the trumpet, along with most of the other cool kids. Since this was just middle school, we really had no idea what it meant to be band geeks. That kind of thing wouldn’t come along ’til high school.
I don’t remember many of the songs that we played, but I do remember feeling a great sense of accomplishment whenever we nailed a performance. Like I said, at the time, we would grumble about the way Mr. Carr would direct us in rehearsals or fuss at us for not being focused. But even then, it was easy to see the pride in his eyes when we had finished a concert. There was never any doubt, the man loved what he did.
I ran into Mr. Carr a few years ago. He was going to the same church I was attending before I moved away from Roanoke. My sister, April, played in the band a few years after I did, and I’m pretty sure he must have liked her better than me. Every time I saw him at church, he would ask about her. I’m not sure if I should let that bother me or not.
You’re probably asking if I still play the trumpet. The answer, of course, is no. Seems I can’t stick to anything I took up in middle school.