Friday, May 24, 2013

Band - May 23, 2013

From: The White River Current - Thursday May 23, 2013 Anita and I spent an enjoyable evening a few days ago. We attended the school band concert at the auditorium. Ever since both of our grandsons played alto saxophone when they were in their middle school and high school, we have been interested in supporting the local bands. You should know by now that I enjoy just about any type of music, from Bach to Bluegrass. We didn’t have a band when I was in school and I have always regretted it. But I took piano lessons from first grade through high school, so I can recognize excellence when I hear it. It is amazing what these band instructors can do with these kids. We had attended the concert in the early spring and could not help but be astounded at the improvement the elementary beginners band made in just a couple of months. You could hardly believe that the very difficult arrangements being played by the high school band were being performed by students from a small school in North Arkansas. Thank you, Miss Laura, and thank you, school board members. The opportunity for a college scholarship is much greater through the band than through the sports team. Just a fact. Congratulations to all the high school graduates and a tip of the old mortar board to those receiving awards. Keep the music coming. Anyway, I think I should brag a little more about my grandsons. I believe Ross was in the beginners band the first year that the local school had a band program. He was a band member through the eleventh grade when the family moved to Mountain Home where he graduated from high school. Now a college graduate residing in Tulsa with wife, Leah, Ross is still highly involved in music. Although he has become very talented playing keyboards, he keeps his horn available with he might need it. The other grandson, Sam, who attended a much larger school in Missouri, joined the elementary band in fifth grade and continued through middle school where he played in both the concert band and the jazz band. He decided to join the high school vocal ensemble and became one of the soloists. This group was selected the “most outstanding” in the state of Missouri Sam’s senior year. If I appear to be bragging too much, well, excuse me. Anyway, I apologize for so much personal stuff. I got kind of carried away with the band information. I did, actually, get my chance just by accident when I was a senior in college. When I was going through senior registration, the college band director asked if I would be interested in playing the bass drum in the college marching band. Jumping at the chance, I quickly became a drum virtuoso. I never had so much fun in my life. We played a lot of John Phillip Sousa marches and other good stuff at football games and in several parades. A dance orchestra developed with some of the band members and I played piano with this group. My roommate, Don, was our vocalist. More about him in the next issue. Another roommate, Fred, played trumpet. One of our gigs was the fireman’s ball on a New Year’s Eve at Harrison. My goodness, I can almost hear “Dreamer’s Holiday” in the background while I am reminiscing about all the old times. I don’t want to get too carried away here. I want to save some for next time so I’ll just say Bye for now and see you in two weeks.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Comments - May 9, 2013

From: The White River Current - Thursday May 9, 2013 I’ve mentioned it before. It’s difficult for me to imagine that someone would get some kind of enjoyment reading this stuff. What started out as an opinion/editorial type of column has remained such with a few exceptions. I never dreamed that it would last this long. People come up to me quite often commenting on my writing. As a matter of fact, I have had an extra-ordinary number in the last few days, mostly with comments such as “I absolutely enjoyed, you know, your last column.” The world is full pseudo-comedians these days. I guess I’m getting what I deserve. However, some of the persons that stop me on the street I may not know or remember even though I should (and I apologize). I continue to get e-mails and an occasional long distance phone call like the one from Sam a few days ago. Sam was a 1954 graduate of CRHS. I recalled his parent’s names but couldn’t get a mental picture of his face. I’m going over to the high school soon and look him up in his senior class picture. Sam had some questions about a recent article. Maybe he will attend the all-school reunion in June and we can get re-acquainted. Now I will say it again. I’m not an authority on anything but I do have opinions on various issues and I suspect many of you have opinions that differ from mine. No problem. I will say that the vast majority of comments that I have received have been favorable and I thank you very much but there are times that I hit the sensitive button and get a different response. I really was not too surprised to get a little negative reaction to the last issue which was, you remember, about “words.” Please allow me to briefly respond to one of these responses. In an e-mail from a friend that I’ve known a long time, the writer stated that “what people do is far more important than what they say.” Well, duh! He goes on “If OMG is the worst thing you hear in public, you must live a very sheltered life.” I know he is reading this issue so I will point out that the article was about the most overused/misused words and phrases (on Reed’s list). The only reference to “worst” was the illustration about my mother and dad. But thanks for the comments because it got me to thinking about my “sheltered life.” Except for church activities and various board and committee meetings that I attend, I spend most of my time at home. My pet answer to someone who asks what I do now is “Nothing; but I keep busy at it.” So, I read a lot. And I watch some TV which is where I hear some of the things I referred to in the article. Thanks to the guy that invented the remote. I can hit the mute button or change the channel in the blink of an eye. I try to keep an open mind on political and religious issues and will continue to refrain from commenting on them, at least for the present. But it was that “sheltered life” comment that caught my attention. My parents moved from the family farm in Wild Cherry to Calico Rock soon after my grandmother passed away. Mom was pregnant at the time and Dr. Smith wanted her close by in case she had problems. She had lost a child born prematurely about three years earlier. The baby, a boy that they named Dale Brooke, is buried at the Trimble Campground cemetery. I often daydream about how life would have been with an older brother. Anyway, I entered the world without any complications. Dad always said that my mother “raised” me. Now I’m not exactly sure what “sheltered” means, but I believe my growing up was not a lot different than most. Mother worked hard and tried her best to allow me to be a normal child. But I know, now, that she worried a lot, and also prayed a lot. And, I survived. Thank you, Mom, for sheltering me. I’ll be wearing a white rose on my lapel in your honor at church Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.