Archived Story

Concert brings back happy memories

Published 11:50am Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thursday night I had the opportunity to do something pretty special: I went to a concert.

The best part was, it was right here in our community.

Now, Alexander City is fortunate to have access to a decent number of concerts each year. What with the AMP’s popular bands, the highly anticipated Jazz Fest and the events planned by the Alexander City Arts Council, Alexander City is pretty musically saturated.

But this was a different kind of concert, featuring the Central Alabama Community College Jazz Ensemble.

I had to smile when I joined the crowd of parents and friends in the Betty Carol Graham Center who were waiting patiently for the lights to dim and the music to start – or, in the case of one little boy sitting behind me, not so patiently: “When’s it going to start? It’s taking too long!”

See, that concert brought back memories.

Band was the one extracurricular activity in high school that I really threw my heart into. Marching band in the fall was, of course, always something special, but CACC’s jazz concert brought back my forgotten memories of concert band.

I played the clarinet. Twice a year for four years – a Christmas concert and a spring concert – the band members performed for our families, friends and classmates.

I still remember being on stage – not being able to see the audience members, who were seated in the dark while we baked under hot stage lights, but knowing that my parents were out there with their eyes fixed on me.

I remember the nervous jitters, silently pressing keys for a final chance to practice the parts of “Sleigh Ride” or “Encanto” that I found most challenging while praying my reed wouldn’t squeak.

I remember, as I gained some seniority in the band, bossing the younger students around, making sure they had their music and their bowties – yes, our hideous outfit requirements included bowties.

And I remember that feeling of intense pride as all of our hard work came to fruition and we came together as a whole ensemble to bring our music to stage. It wasn’t always perfect, but it was a moment when you realized you could be part of something bigger than yourself and you could do something of value.

It all came back to me as I sat and listened to the jazz ensemble.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay long – the press was waiting on my photo. But if I could have, I would have gladly sat and listened all night.

So I just want to offer my thanks and congratulations to the members of the ensemble for a quality performance. You not only brought beautiful music to Alexander City, you brought a flood of happy memories back to my mind.

James is a staff writer for The Outlook.