Saturday, May 30, 2009


Today I am going to share with you one of my other artsy-fartsy outlets. Besides writing I also play the clarinet.


It was my mom who introduced me to music. When my brother and I were young she enrolled us in organ lessons. We did it for many years.


I remember one year we were part of a concert. We had to go on stage play our song on the organ and then leave the stage for the next performer. I was so nervous I wanted to cry. I went out on the stage, sat down and played the first note. The wrong note. I stopped, looked at the keyboard and, again, played the wrong note. I couldn't remember where to start my song. I was paralyzed for a moment not knowing what to do. Then I thought I would ask the teacher who was off stage. I got up to go and get her and the audience started to clap because they thought I was done my song! How embarrassing! I didn't tell anyone but I didn't want to go back on that stage but I did. The teacher came back on stage with me, showed me the starting note and from there I was able to play my song. Boy, was I glad when that was over.


Though I hated practicing the organ, I now realize it was a great foundation for future music exploration. In grade 5 I started to play the violin. I was not very good at it and that only lasted a year. At the end of grade 6 we got to try out several instruments in music class to help us decide what instrument we would take in grades 7 & 8. I remember trying the flute, baritone (which I happen to be quite good at) and the clarinet. It was then I fell in love.

Grade 7 & 8 music class came easily to me because I could already read music. I continued to play the clarinet from grade 7 all the way through high school. I joined the band (yes I was a band geek) and played in the pit band for two musicals. I LOVED the musicals. I loved the clarinet so much I decided to buy one. (I actually have 2 now)


After high school I didn't play with a group for a couple of years. Then I ran into a high school friend on a bus and she said she was playing in the Burlington Top Hat Marching Orchestra (THMO) and I should come on out. Now the THMO is not your normal band. We never marched. We danced, walked, crawled, whatever got us through a parade. We would visit the crowd and sit down with them on the curb. Pose for pictures. If they offered us a drink we would take it. The audience got to know us in each parade and would wait for use each year, some having trays of food or drinks ready for us when we passed. Another thing we would do is interact with the children. When we stopped we would let them wear our hat, have them join us in the parade for a bit (of course returning them to their parents before we got to far) or let them play a drum. To read more about the Top Hat Marching Orchestra see their website at http://www.tophats.org/ I played with them for about 6 or 7 years.

This picture was taken at the Jell-O Festival in Le Roy, N.Y. by Robert Hoffman. That's me in the middle.


I am on a break. After I had my son I found it difficult to go to practices and parades though I did do a few. And now that I have 2 children and live in another city I find it really difficult. I'm a little busy changing poopy diapers and wiping up spit up. I guess I am thinking about it because I have the urge to get my clarinet out to play a little (which I might do) The nice thing about this band is I can go back whenever I am ready. And I plan to....some day.


Amy Tate said...

What a lovely story! Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and congratulations on the birth of your daughter. My children are 5 and almost 10. I'm out of the poopy diaper stage, but still remember those days like they happened yesterday. Best of luck on your submitted manuscripts! I'm in the same boat. I submitted my novel exactly two months ago, and I'm still waiting...(sigh) The best advice that I've received is to keep writing while I'm waiting. Keep me posted on your progress so WHEN you're published, I can celebrate with you!

Auntie Flamingo said...

Thanks for stopping by Amy. That is really good advice you received. I have 2 ms submitted and it has been 2 months, which isn't that long really. No news is good news I like to say. I also participated in NaPiBoWriWee (7 picture book ms in 7 days) and I now have 7 drafts I can work on. I have edited one but I still need to polish it up. Then I am going to go onto the next one. I'm also going to write up a couple of magazine articles.

Good Luck with your manuscripts. Let me know when you receive a response.

Janet said...

That sounds like you really had fun! I envy you, I'm not very musical at all. Took piano lessons for a while, but not long enough to learn very much. If I could play anything, I would pick the piano or the fiddle! I'm a country girl.

Auntie Flamingo said...

Thanks Janet,
Yes, it is fun. I still enjoy playing at home for myself.
I love country music, too. Well, new country anyway but I am a city girl. My husband used to laugh at me when we took a drive in the country because I used to get excited when I saw cows. LOL

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