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Chuck Brooks' column: Celebrating a great community band

Happy Thanksgiving! Can you believe it’s already time for parades and all-day football games, to say nothing of turkeys and stuffing and all the fixin’s? This is definitely one of my favorite holidays, because it seems to officially mark the beginning of the holiday season. I was always eager to be a part of the “Black Friday” mobs long before they coined it “Black Friday.” However, age seems to have squelched that need. It’s ok. The early crowds can be nutso.

We are also a week away from Rosemount’s annual Tree Lighting event at the newly remodeled Steeple Center. Andre and I attended last year’s event because we were asked to sign our second book that was new at the time. I will be there again this year to do the same with both books as will Linda Filonowich, a speech pathologist in our district who also published a children’s story this spring with Andre as her illustrator. It’s a very cool book if you haven’t had a chance to see it.

I have another reason to be at the Lighting this year. The Rosemount Community Band invited me to be a part of their concert that night, which is slated to begin at 7. I didn’t know much about this group; I knew a former colleague was the director. I also knew another former colleague was a member. Both are also good friends. I knew this group was active during Leprechaun Week. That sums up what I knew of the Rosemount Community Band.

When I arrived for the first rehearsal, I was surprised at how many band members there actually were. Approximately 55 adults sat before me, instruments in hand, ready to follow the baton of the director. I recognized one of my former students in the back. As a student in my class, and for the school years that followed, he was a little jokester. We constantly bantered back and forth. Now, he’s about eight feet ten. Ok. Maybe not that tall, but the boy has grown. However, the bantering has continued. I also recognized a parent whose children I had taught at some point in my time at RHS. In short, some familiar friendly faces were nice to see.

I asked the adults in the group to send me an email with their thoughts about the band and why they chose to be a part. Here’s what a few had to say.

One adult told me he had been a band member when he was a kid. Then, when he had a child, the child became a part of the RHS band, and they were proud parents of a band kid. When their son graduated, they tried to attend the band events, but it wasn’t the same. Then, the community band was organized, and he joined it. “It was fabulous to be back playing with friends who loved making music. I look forward to spending my Monday evenings playing with the Rosemount Community Band!”

Here’s a passage from a former teacher who had moved into the area three years ago, knowing no one. “It can be a bit daunting to come into a rehearsal where you know no one and no one knows you or how well you play, but I took a deep breath and decided that nothing ventured is nothing gained. I felt I had found a new musical home. Once again the universal language of music had become a way of connecting.”

This I found charming. “I’m the grandma sitting amongst the youngsters, and it’s still fantastic. Last week at rehearsal, a new member, who is currently a young teacher, turned to me and said, ‘I think you were my first grade teacher.’ And indeed I was.” Delightful.

Forty-five years passed in which one member did not touch his musical instrument. Then came the band. He said there are two reasons he enjoys the band. The first is the music they play. The second is the people in the band. “My intention is to remain a member in good standing of the RCB for the foreseeable future. It’s great fun!”

One final thought from this original member of the band. “I had tears in my eyes during our first concert at the Steeple Center. It is truly amazing to be playing with this group and I look forward to practice every week and concerts.”

Friday. Dec. 4. Don’t miss it. These guys are seriously good!

Be sure and take time to reflect on your blessings this holiday. Have a great Turkey Day!