Thursday, December 22, 2005

Busting My Chops

The Christmas rush for me is over. If it's not done now, it's too late. It was a pretty typical mad rush of going to the mall at the same time as everyone else in Windsor, trying not to kill anyone, dealing with supposed Canadians not knowing how to drive in the snow, trying not to kill anyone. This week at work has been pretty insane. We are closed all next week (sweet!), so we're trying to get everything finished up. This meant that I had to go to Toronto yesterday to pick up an ultra-rush job, so that it could in our customers hands by the end of the day yesterday. I left at 6 am, made my pick up at 9:30 and was back at the shop by 1 pm. A nice little 760 kms round trip. I was exhausted about an hour later. Add to all that being out serenading with the band 7-8 extra times during the last two weeks. But I enjoy that, it doesn't make me want to kill anyone. Which is a good thing.

Since I can remember, going out serenading with the Salvation Army Band at the Kettles is just simply part of Christmas. It wouldn't be the same if I didn't do that. The year I moved to Windsor is the only year I can remember not doing any serenading. Our band has taken it's lumps over the past few years. We've had more than a dozen people move away or leave the band for various reasons (some as crazy as having a baby!), which has whittled our group down to eight members and left me in charge. I'm a little reluctant to be "bandmaster", I prefer the term "acting bandmaster", because that puts my BFA (Theatre) to good use. All you need for a solid serenading group is four parts, right now our weakest link is the first part, cornet. We've got a couple of young guys who do an excellent job on Sundays, but going out and playing for over an hour straight is too much to ask of them.

Short aside, for anyone not familiar with brass instruments. Two basic things to understand how a brass instrument works: 1. The smaller the instrument, the smaller the mouthpiece. 2. The smaller the instrument, the more back pressure you feel on your embouchure. I'm used to playing a relatively small mouthpiece, the tenor horn, which has some back pressure, but nearly as much as a cornet. Switching from a larger instrument to a smaller one is hard. Although switching from small to large is also hard, because you have to increase your lung capacity. Now I'm getting too technical...

So that left me, not a natural cornet player, to pick up the slack and carry the tunes for the extra gigs. Last week we played 5 of 6 days, this week we had two more. Most of the serenading we do is for an hour and by the end of it my lips were pretty dead.

So that's it. All that's left is the travelling. I'm done.

3 comments:

ShortstoP said...

I love serenading at Christmas! I haven't done any yet this year, so this Christmas season is seriously lacking. Glad to hear you made it to the mall without wanting to kill anyone. That's a huge feat around this time of year!

Melissa said...

Nick...I can't picture you playing a cornet! It's just not right for a horn player to play cornet!
Safe travels!!
Merry Christmas
Melissa

Marzipan said...

Yo Bros. I can totally understand your pain about playing cornet! The hardest times for me where at Windsor Station for I don't know how many hours and at the Veterans hospital. We did alot of that at this time of year, remember?