The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

The Junior High School Band Concert
By David Wagoner

When our semi-conductor
Raised his baton, we sat there
Gaping at Marche Militaire,
Our mouth-opening number.
It seemed faintly familiar
(We'd rehearsed it all that winter),
But we attacked in such a blur,
No army anywhere
On its stomach or all fours
Could have squeezed through our crossfire.

I played cornet, seventh chair,
Out of seven, my embouchure
A glorified Bronx cheer
Through that three-keyed keyhole stopper
And neighborhood window-slammer
Where mildew fought for air
At every exhausted corner,
My fingering still unsure
After scaling it for a year
Except on the spit-valve lever.

Each straight-faced mother and father
Retested his moral fiber
Against our traps and slurs
And the inadvertent whickers
Paradiddled by our snares,
And when the brass bulled forth
A blare fit to horn over
Jericho two bars sooner
Than Joshua's harsh measures,
They still had the nerve to stare.

By the last lost chord, our director
Looked older and soberer.
No doubt, in his mind's ear
Some band somewhere
In some music of some Sphere
Was striking a note as pure
As the wishes of Franz Schubert,
But meanwhile here we were:
A lesson in everything minor,
Decomposing our first composer.


I posted that poem in 2004 on my elder son's last day of elementary school, so I figured it was appropriate to post again with photos of his last junior high (well, middle school) chorus concert. We went in the evening with my parents and in-laws following a rushed dinner brought in by apaulled, since I was stuck in the house all day but had nothing to cook...the guys came to fix the front step unannounced after we had given up on them this week and assumed they would be here next week, which is good because it's mostly done (need the cement between flagstones to dry so they can put the railing back up) but kept me home all day, made it impossible for younger son to get his new bike outside to ride it and required a great deal of noise by equipment to even out concrete slabs. The cats were displeased.

Trek news, at least, was interesting: a former DS9 stuntwoman turned Star Trek: New Voyages stunt coordinator in her hometown and NASA To Search For Spock, or at least JPL to search for a planet in orbit around 40 Eridani A, long assumed to be Vulcan's sun. Have had some coolness regarding The Glastonbury Tarot: I had received a deck that had a few misprinted cards (bottoms cut off, tops containing the bottoms of other cards), and when I contacted the store, they said the deck was out of print. So I went looking for the publisher, which has changed names since the deck was printed, and in the course of digging around I discovered that the artist has a MySpace page and is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about Tarot artists. Plus I tracked down someone at Weiser who offered to send me an entire replacement deck, the last one they have in stock. Joy!

The combined chorus at older son's middle school performs "900 Miles" (did Woody Guthrie write that, or is it much older and he just recorded it?)

The barbershop group, now called the Blue Notes, singing Billy Joel's "The Longest Time."

The chorus sang a medley of songs from West Side Story. Here are some of the girls doing "I Feel Pretty."

And this is just here for the heck of it to see if anyone is actually paying attention. *g* Not one comment yesterday!

Congress: living up to that old joke, "What's the opposite of progress?" News too depressing to watch any further. So, falling into the old trap of distraction: Friday, Pirates! Going early with gblvr, don't spoil me unless one of the Big Four dies in which case spoil me please so I'm prepared! And hope anyone going out of town early has a nice Memorial Day weekend. We're going to my in-laws either tomorrow night or Saturday morning depending on our state of organization, then coming back here Monday for my father's birthday.

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