The First Time Again

It’s not a new experience. But it was.

Last night I went to a concert in which two of my sons were performing. I’ve been to every concert this organization has performed for the last eight years and several in the prior schools where we lived before coming to this community. Before that I was directing concerts for several years. Prior to that I was performing in them all through college, high school, and middle school. I’ve been to band concerts quite regularly, with about a 3-4 year break, for the past 35 years.

I know the drill. I’ve walked that road. I’ve heard it all. I even leaned over and sang the first few bars of one of the beginning band’s songs in my wife’s ear right before they started…and was spot on.

But this one was different. We had found a seat and I really had not noticed the nice folks sitting in front of us. But, once our attention moved to the stage, the cowboy hat right in front of us certainly caught my eye.

I must confess that this did not strike me in the most honorable manner. But that gentleman in the cowboy hat taught me something powerful last night.

As the concert began, two things became pretty clear to me about this gentleman. First, I’m guessing he hasn’t been to a great number of band concerts. That’s not a big deal.

More significantly to me, this man was more engaged with the concert than I can remember being in a very, very long time. As his big cowboy hat nodded in time with the music…as he commented about the student he had particularly come to support and their practicing…as he was the first to applaud at the end of each song…I couldn’t help but smile.

I’ve been going to concerts like this for 35 years. But this gentleman taught me something about it that I had not really recognized. He taught me not to sit back and watch it go by, but to lean into the music and the people making it. He reminded me that music is much more an experience than it is something to observe.

I read recently that exposure to something can erode awareness of it. I suppose 35 years is pretty significant exposure to band concerts. But last night I went to a band concert for the first time again.

And it was tremendous.

Thank you, sir. I’ll be looking for that hat at the next concert.

2 responses to “The First Time Again”

  1. Thanks for posting, Mike! We just wrapped up or Christmas concert season and it’s refreshing to read stories like your own! Ya know, this all really started for me because of you! Even my students today know I was once a “bandaid”!!!


    1. Ah yes…a long, long time ago it was! You were in my very first beginning band class. I’m proud of the work you’re doing, my friend.


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