Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Copper-Bottomed Tympani in Horse Platoons

I was pretty darned bitchy and resentful about what I felt to be a strong obligation to play with the Minnesota Freedom Band for the first three nights of the Holidazzle Parade over the weekend. It's an honor to be the band that plays for the opening nights (and to appear on television), and the chances of warmer weather are better the earlier in the month you play (although Friday was pretty darned cold, cold enough to freeze valves of brass instruments, probably down to about 15 degrees F by the end of the route), but it completely upsets any sense of a long holiday weekend to have a 4pm to 8pm obligation (door to door) for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Plus it turns out I had to work Friday and Saturday for a Monday deadline (for which I was still receiving information on Friday), so I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, schedulewise.

But I'm the bass drum player, and the band gets paid for each performance. It seems important. I live by obligation, which is really the key here. And after all, it's not as if I'm doing any organizing here. I just show up with my drum and play. I should be happy for that luxury.

And then, well, I got suited up in the light-costume and the rest of the band arrived and we went outside in the cold and blocked up and I remembered that at the core I really do like playing in a marching band. The percussion section was first-rate this year, and the other folks in the band are just nice people to spend a few hours with, playing music. This event is something that happens because a group, collectively, makes it happen. We march out into the cold and we laugh and complain and share the discomfort, which is as bonding of an experience as you can have. People who have a bad attitude about it simply don't show up.

It was, in short, lots of fun.

The crowds were great, particularly on Saturday when Nicollet Mall was lined many levels deep with people singing along to our music. The staff was kind to us this year, and on our final night one of the organizers gathered us together to give a sweet speech about how we are the most wonderful band they work with, with the greatest level of enthusiasm. We blushed. I also reaffirmed some personal connections with the band, with whom I am not playing this year.

Basically I forgot that I am actually happier the busier I am. I don't know how that slipped my mind. But it turned out to be a great thing to do with my holiday weekend. And now I get to take a couple of extra days off over the next couple of weeks to make my company pay for their martyring of me. (I wrote detailed status reports at the end of each holiday day I worked, which is a definite screw-turn of guilt, hee-hee. My poor boss feels terrible about this, and I can really work that for a while.)

So I take one of my Thanksgiving holiday days on Wednesday. I think I'll see the late-morning showing of the new Harry Potter movie and then finish up my holiday shopping. It's preferable to doing so over Thanksgiving.
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