September 26, 2015

Opening Night

photo: Mark Lewin
Perhaps you already read about the saxophone saga? The short version: I hadn't played my grandfather's horn in twenty-five years. I promised him/myself that I'd play it in this piece. I took it in for repairs in February. Six months later, the repair guy said I should take it elsewhere. The new repair guy said he might have it done in time for the show. No promises.

Honestly, I had completely given up on having it back in time to play it in this piece. At this point I was prepared to just be a listener to the performances. But I got the call on the day of the show that the sax would be ready by 3:30 PM. By the time I got over there and home it was 4:30. Then I had to go set up for the show, and by the time I was done with that it was 6:00. The house would open at 7:30. That left me with about 90 minutes to remember what little I ever knew about how a saxophone works. No pressure…

A couple of things happened. One is that, while not quite like riding a bike, it didn't take long to remember my previous level of in-expertise. The lips were totally out of shape; playing long quiet notes was damn hard. Certain things were clearly beyond my capability, so I decided to steer clear of anything I wasn't sure I could pull off. However, playing behind the audience in a dark room with a bunch of other great musicians made it so much easier. I was actually able to enjoy myself, and felt like I played pretty decently, all things considered.

The band nailed the piece, best version so far. I was so pleased. And we had a good audience, about fifty people. Tonight we do it again, and I suspect it will only be better in every way. Did I mention that I love my band? Also, special thanks to Scott Granlund for doing such a beautiful job of restoring my grandpa's saxophone and powering through to get it done for the show. It's a thing of beauty.