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October 13, 2017

unbend this

Tank is our first kid to participate in high school marching band.  Eddie referred to Tank's choice as social suicide.  I know there are great kids in band.  I'm hoping Tank finds a group of great kids to befriend.  I told Eddie to zip it, because, hey - to each his own.

So, being a newbie band parent, I was a little surprised this summer to discover that Tank was expected to attend band camp.  Mandatory.  Yikes.  That was tough.  Tank runs a landscaping business and caddies during the summer - not to worry, he finds plenty of free time to eat mountains of food and leave wrappers, half eaten items, and dirty socks EVERYWHERE.  He wasn't excited to miss money making opportunities, but he was committed to the band.

Imagine my surprise when the emails from the band started filling my inbox.  Fun.  I had no idea that there were fees that needed to be collected.  Band parent booster club fees.  Funds for food during band camp.  There were band shoes that needed to be purchased.  They suggested the students look thru a box of used band shoes.  I laughed.  Doubting there were any size 15 band shoes floating around, I wrote a check for new shoes and begged Tank not to lose it.  

A few weeks after school started I learned that Tank needed to attend a band competition.  An entire Saturday blown.  Ouch.  Fortunately he relieved Coach and I from the duty of watching the aforementioned band competition.  So, this kid isn't all bad.

On a Friday afternoon a few weeks after Tank sacrificed his Saturday to compete with the band, he texted me from school.  'I dropped my flute during practice and it's bent.  I need it this weekend.  Please come and get it.  Take it to be fixed.'

It was true - he did require a flute.  This was hours before the kickoff of a weekend chock-full of band events.  I didn't even know where to take it.  I texted back, 'Can you still play it?'

'No.  It got bent.'  Yes, you mentioned the bending part, but can't you just bend it back?  I didn't actually type that.  I thought it though.  I didn't know if a place could fix a bent flute on the spot.  Can they just bend it back?  Can I just bend it back?  That might save a lot of trouble.  In the end, I thought best to borrow an unbent instrument and figure out a repair later.

My brother (click here to learn about my brother and his Irish music background, and well -more) explained that his concert flute was way too old for Tank to use.  He usually plays his Irish wooden flute.  He suggested that Tank ask his band director for a loaner or a spare part to substitute for the bent part.  See, I don't do 'instrument' talk, so this made sense to me.  I texted Tank to try that angle.  

Eventually I texted Ed, aka Tank's after school chauffeur.  I told him to drive Tank to Quinlin and Fabish.  We rent a fiddle from there, but I didn't realize until I did some investigating that they repair instruments - even those that they don't rent out.

Ed was overjoyed with this assignment.  He vented at me about how this flute ordeal was cutting into his Friday night plans.  It was 3:05. 

I'm a bad band parent - I don't even have a photo of my kid playing in the band.  I have no photo of the bent flute -I'm guessing Eddie would'be been happy to oblige if I had asked him to photograph the broken instrument before he dropped it off to be fixed..  This music stand and music books in our basement are the only evidence that I have to prove I have a kid who plays flute.  
The boys came home from the Quinlin and Fabish store without a flute.  Not surprising - the store kept Tank's to be fixed -  no on the spot repairs.  The band director didn't have a spare flute, so he tossed Tank a piccolo to borrow for the weekend.  Tank opened that case and gave it a whirl.  I begged him to put it away and NEVER, EVER make that kind of sound in my presence again. 

The home football game was a few hours away and Tank was supposed to march with the band.  The next day Tank was scheduled to travel to Northern Illinois University with the marching band to march during half time. 

If we didn't come up with a flute, maybe Tank couldn't attend the NIU event?  What a pity that would be . . . Coach and I were expected to get him to the high school at 5 am to allow the buses enough time to get to NIU.  Maybe I wasn't cut out to be a band parent.


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