As a young teenager, my Dad got me a 20 gauge double barrel shotgun.  I’m pretty sure it was before teen years actually.  And starting in 6th grade, I first played in an orchestra with all Tonettes.  Shortly after, I tried a clarinet but my sister Donna wanted that, so I was put on an Alto Sax.  Bummer…I still feel my music ability would be much different if I had been given a B flat or even C instrument.  But I tolerated it.  Started with “In the Mood”…which was REally boring music to me, but I progressed, and a band was started by John Ake.  Now how do these two things mingle together?  Well, as the band got bigger and better, we played a Lot of concerts and did a Whole lot of practicing.  I won the district alto sax championship when I was a senior…after losing 3 yrs in a row to a girl from Marionville who played the same song Rhapsody in Blue every year.  I won playing Skokian which was on the popular charts at the time.  I had never been to state contests with the sax, and what a learning experience that was.  I was totally humbled.  I heard for the first time, what real sax music should sound like.  Bobbee Marsh played my accompaniment and that was fun…but never again would I enter a contest.  Now, playing in a band and orchestra, it was common to pick someones instrument up and play with it.  I could make sounds easily with reed instruments like sax and clarinet and with instruments like trumpet and tuba etc, again, I could make a proper sound.  But, the flute…well, that was a horse of a different color.  Getting anything but a squeak was tough.  I played in the band at Bucknell and in that first year where all men had to take ROTC, the sax came in handy as I joined that military band…and was made a sargeant which meant we mostly stayed inside and practiced instead of out marching and marching and marching like the poor guys in lower ranks and situations.  When I moved back to Penna after Med school, I had a friend who was band director at Knox high school and he had a flute.  I was about to move to Florida to practice and I didn’t think I’d be hunting there so I chose to trade my 20 ga shotgun Dad gave me for his flute.  Dad wasn’t happy with me about that.  So, I get to Fla and soon heard Knights in White Satin by Moody Blues.  I was able to play along with them for the first stanza after some weeks of practice.  Then, they went up an octave and I decided they had a different flute than I did.  It was Many weeks later that I was able to get to that next octave and discovered that it takes a lip, an ambroucher to enable one to get into the higher registers.  During this same time, I came to know the music of James Galway…considered not just the best floutist in the world, but the best that has ever been.  I have seen him live 5 or 6 times.  Each time better and more awe inspiring than the last.  I have now come to the conclusion that James Galway can probably crack history nuts with his lips!!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *