A large part of my job the last nine years was to play percussion in concert band, or as we sometimes referred to it, "Combat Band." I was getting to perform incredible music, and I was miserable. Because I wanted to play guitar. When you want to play guitar, a pair of cymbals just don't do the trick.
There were some exceptions. It was always fun to play Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" at the annual holiday concert (except for having to fight the trumpets over tuning at the end of a demanding program). I got to perform Steve Vai's song "Liberty" at the Army Bandleader Training conference with full band, and was a field-wide rock star for a week or two because of it.
But overall, I had a pretty crummy attitude towards it.
Then I saw a Facebook post from The Desert Winds, a fantastic wind ensemble here in Las Vegas.
I was introduced to this group by an old friend who performs with this group. Over the last year, I was privileged to attend a couple performances, and was really impressed with them. Anyway, the FB post. They needed a percussionist. "Hey," I thought to myself. "I played percussion for the last nine years. I played really cool, hard stuff." (It's amazing that I remembered all this, considering my frame of mind while I did these things.) And, by a combination of poor judgement and desperation, they let me in.
And, wonder of wonders, I'm having a blast. I hated it when I had to do it, but now I get to do it, just because I want to. I guess the lesson is that life would be a lot better if we think about "getting to" do what we have to, rather than "having to." Because really, there are a lot worse ways to spend your time than hitting stuff with sticks.
Check out The Desert Winds at thedesertwinds.org. Facebook.com/thedesertwinds. Twitter.com/THEDESERTWINDS. If you are in the area, attend their next concert October 12 at Life Springs Christian Church at 7:30pm.
Follow and like them this week so that the percussion and flute sections (don't ask) demonstrate their obvious superiority over the other sections.