Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Sweet Street Beat

When I show up to play at a Freedom Band event these days, I get
treated like a special guest performer. This is amazing to me, and
a complete role reversal from the years and years when I spent my
time nudging and cajoling and encouraging other people to join us.
But now everybody else comes up and thanks me, even people who have
joined the band since I left, people who never knew me when I was
the guy who knew everybody's name and every detail of the band's
schedule and made all the announcements at rehearsal. I have mixed
feelings about being thanked like this. In my mind, it's my role to
thank these people who are thanking me.

Last night the Minnesota Freedom Band played at an event that was
sponsored by the St. Paul public schools to close the Day of
Silence for GLBT people (a day I knew very little about, that's
how far out of the loops I am these days.) We opened a concert
by marching onto the stage of a school auditorium, played a few
numbers, and marched off. This is the sort of event I like. I show
up and strap on my drum and I know exactly what I'm doing. This
is also the sort of event that makes me feel we are part of the
local gay and lesbian community, even when the attendance is small
(as it was last night).

There were four or five band members I had not yet met, which means
they joined since last December's concert. This thrills me. I had
a great time talking with these folks before the concert, chatting
about the band and their musical background. I realize that a big
part of me is still with this organization that was the focus of my
life for a long time, even though I haven't been a regular member for
a few years now.

Coming in from the outside after a break highlighted for me how much
I enjoy the experience of getting together with a bunch of musicians
and warming up and running through music and playing as a group. I
love to watch people as they play, and I love to watch the interactions
in the sections as people work through music. I liked watching the
people I've been playing with for years, and the people I was playing
with for the first time last night. And I liked pounding away on my
drum, without a conductor (as is the case for little pep band music
such as we played last night), keeping the tempo and helping to hold
things together.

I'm almost tempted to return to regular playing.
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