Last week the percussionist Tim called me to ask me if I knew where the xylophone ended up after the last concert and I couldn't help myself, I asked if they needed me to play at the concert in Stillwater. The happy excitement of his immediate "Yeah!" made me think, "Uh-oh." I said I had been thinking about this, and I wasn't sure about my schedule, but I would drop by at Monday's practice to see what the story was.
Yesterday was Monday and I was tremendously sore and tired from Mayday. I stay late at work on band practice days, since band practice is between work and home, and as it happened about three pm some stuff found its way to my desk that absorbed me through my fatigue for over three hours, when it was time to head to practice. No, I thought, I can't stay through practice tonight. I can barely keep my eyes open and I can barely stand up. Tomorrow is another Morris danceout. I spent the whole drive saying to myself, "No, you cannot play tonight. This is why you decided you couldn't play this season. You even have a Morris danceout on the day of the Stillwater concert."
I arrived at the same time as Tim, and I carried a bunch of stuff into the band room for him, and I said no, I'm not staying, but I looked over what was on the agenda for the concert and I looked at the music. There are three pieces where it will matter to the piece if I'm not there playing. And, and, and ... it seems important. And these are such nice folks. I did manage to pull myself away just seconds before the first downbeat (I would have been stuck at that point) but I said, "Ok, next week is easier for me, and I promise I'll be back and stay through the whole rehearsal and we'll see how important it really is that I be here to play glockenspiel for Firebird and marimba for the Lion King medley. If my part is doubled by the flutes it might be ok." I don't even want to think about the difficulty of arranging to pick up the xylophone and carting it out to Stillwater and leaving it in my car while I'm driving around for the Morris gig that morning. (Where are you when I need you, mtnkodiak and sinnabor?)
But it would feel so wrong not to be there at the concert. "You might as well be a Catholic" said Tim. "But we neeed you!" insisted Tom.