My musical history started in 4th grade with classical violin and viola. But by the end of college I was burned out on the expectations and perfectionism. Twenty-plus years later I learned how to play by ear and improvise with a local rock band’s violinist. I started playing with lots of Boston bands in various genres including Irish Punk, Goth R&B, Pop, etc. I also started acquiring other instruments – accordion, electric bass, percussion, et al. – but not any brass or woodwinds.
Then while yard sale-ing on Fathers Day 2017 I came across a trombone in decent shape – and the seller only wanted $5! My father had played trombone. I had just finished five months of chemo for breast cancer and was about to start radiation (and my wife had as well – bonus stress!), so my life was very disrupted and in need of some unpressured fun. I decided the trombone was a sign – I bought it and showed up at School of HONK the next Sunday.
SoH was exactly what I needed: friendly people who didn’t mind that I am somewhat introverted, music arranged in comprehensible uncomplicated parts, no guilt if I wasn’t feeling up to coming or marching any particular week, no pressure to be perfect (a wrong note among 20 brass players isn’t noticeable). I love being surrounded by people having a good time, and seeing the joy we bring to random strangers as we parade. Music can’t fix the world, but it can provide respite and re-energizing to uplift us from despair.
(Linked Photo by Gay H. Sheldon)