Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Sleigh Ride and Glory Days

Long ago and far away, I was a band nerd.  By some quirk of fate, I ended up as first chair flute my Junior year.  Ah, the power and the responsibility... But I digress.  Every year, our high school band held a Christmas concert.  One of the highlights of the show was us playing Sleigh Ride. 

Now, I'm not sure if you've ever really listened to Sleigh Ride down deep where you can hear the individual parts, but the flute part is particularly difficult with loads of trills and things.  (Or maybe just difficult for me.  I never was very good at trills.  Trills are where you rapidly flutter between two notes.  If I remember right... it's been thirty years.) 

Ahem... Anyway...  There I was as first chair flute and it was my job to lead the section through this intricate section of the song.  Now, Sophomore year, I was like way back in the flute section.  Through graduation attrition and other people who were way better flute players than I dropping band, I hit Junior year and found myself sitting in the top chair.  Tada. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am terminally lazy.  Always have been.  But sitting in the top seat of the first row of the whole damn band made me actually work harder.  When the time approached to prepare for the Christmas concert, I tried harder to hit that damn song than I'd ever tried before. 

I don't remember if I played it as perfectly as I had hoped, but I damn well didn't embarrass myself.  And I remember a feeling of pride when the song was finished and the band stood to take a bow before exiting the stage.

The next year, I lost my first chair status to an up and coming Junior who actually put in the time to kick my ass when he challenged my seat.  He was damn good.  Me?  I was too lazy to practice and thus only kinda good instead of damn good.  I switched to piccolo after I lost my seat.  A harder instrument, to be sure.  So tiny.  But I got to sit in the same place in the band configuration.  And when the Christmas concert came, I was still leading the section through it's trills.

Ah, the glory days.

I still love Sleigh Ride.  It's one of my favorite Christmas songs - with and without the words.  If you follow the links, they go to the Navy Band playing it.  (The only one I found without a string section, so it sounds more like my old high school band.) 

What's your favorite Christmas song? 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so not musical (instrumental) I scare myself. I was a dancer (and could act), though, and I could carry a tune singing if I stood next to someone who could sing, hence musicals in high school, college, and the Army Music Theatre group at Ft. Knox.

    Ah, Christmas music. Traditional, I'd have to go with "What Child is This." Mid-century, "White Christmas," though I also like the Bing Crosby/David Bowie "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" because...well..."Little Drummer Boy." And "Do You Hear What I Hear." There's a lot of Christmas music I really like--traditional and modern. Not sure I could pick just one. 🎄😉