As with most kids of my generation, my
parents read me "Golden Books" at bedtime. Only one stuck with
me and I still have it to this day. It is called "Little Boy with a
BIG HORN". This is the story about a small boy named Ollie
who plays the Sousaphone but knows only one song. His
practicing drives his parents and the neighbors completely crazy so he
is relegated to far flung locations. Even in those locations the animals
are annoyed. Finally he saves an ocean liner full of people from sure
death by filling in for an out-of-order bell buoy during a heavy fog.
The people are so grateful they pay to have him sent away to music
school. From that early age I knew the tuba was for me.
I was never too crazy about marching
band. I went to a "two tuba" rural high school. So
naturally I was relegated to the old 40lb brass sousaphone while the
upper classman got the shiny new 18lb fiberglass one. There is only one
advantage to playing sousaphone in a marching band and that is getting
to be in the last row. When you see the column in front of you deviating
wildly from a straight line during a parade, that tells you one of the
horses in front has let go. You get plenty of reaction time!!!
Otherwise, marching band means cold mouthpieces, a sore left shoulder,
and dodging wadded up cups aimed at the bell.
Concert and swing bands were my cup of
tea. Seated is the way I like the tuba best. Fortunately, the
upperclassman departed when I was a sophomore and I got that light,
white sousaphone. I made first chair in the [Eastern Shore of Maryland]
"All Shore Band" that year, but alas that would be my swan
song to the tuba. Shortly thereafter a new phenomenon appeared called,
"The Beatles". I said, "Adios" to the tuba and
switched to electric bass. I got quite good at the electric bass
and it provided me with lots of good times and great memories. But I was
always sorry to have hung up the tuba. You see, tuba is one of only a
few band instruments that are so expensive the schools loan them to the
students. So I had no way to keep up after I dropped out.
On one recent Christmas a tuba appeared under the tree with my name on it. It is a post Civil
War vintage Eb tuba that looks like it could have gone through a
war...but it's mine! I don't yet practice enough, but I still have
hopes of getting "it" back one day soon. Perhaps TubaChristmas
2005 will be the impetus. Check out the tuba links below and especially
check out TUBACHRISTMAS. See you there???
A new member of the Bass family has arrived. The BSX Allegro Acoustic
Electric Upright Bass. After years of wanting to, I am now trying my hand at
learning arco style (bowing) a String Bass. More on this neat instrument once I
form an opinion. In the mean time, for more info, check out the BSX Bass link