Posts Tagged 'Sax'
Tags: Bitch, Energy, Hope, Sax, Sick
How much money is too much to throw at our hobbies and addictions? Is a hobby any better for us than an addiction? And what it the defining distinction between the two? I know plenty of people who consider their frequent binge drinking a hobby and others who consider their time engrossed in a novel to be an addiction.
How do we pull the plug on wasteful spending for our hobbies and addictions? Perhaps it is all wasteful spending. Hobbies and addictions shouldn’t be items or activities necessary for survival, even if our cravings tell us otherwise.
This post is really about a toy. A toy some would consider a hobby, but at times, really agitates me. I’m not sure if I should continue to throw away my hard earned money to prop it up any longer.
My saxophone is broken; it quit on me in the middle of a performance this afternoon, and I absolutely cannot figure out what is wrong with it. It has needed an overhaul for some time now, so I guess today pushed it over the edge. The last overhaul was when I purchased it about five years ago. Since then, I haven’t always treated it kindly, including many months it spent on board a boat. The corks have mostly all disintegrated and fallen off. The body has an unusual patina, more commonly known as rust. I can’t judge the pads, but a repairman would probably just add them to the work order.
Granted, my sax wasn’t in particularly good condition when I bought it. It is old and lived a hard life before I got my hands on it. It has “the look” and character, and at the time, it was all I could afford, although I knew it wasn’t even worth what I forked over. A complete overhaul would cost more than I think the instrument is worth.
I should buy a new (to me) saxophone. If budget wasn’t a concern, I would probably hunt down a well-maintained, un-dented version of what I have, because I have a strange love affair with old saxes. A perfect pre-1950 King Zephyr tenor is worth $2500 to $3000. They are also hard to find; the best places to look are pawn shops in big cities with musical flavor like New York, New Orleans, and Montreal. At the other end of the spectrum, I could afford a shiny brand new student-level model (read: poorly constructed) for a few hundred dollars, but….yuck. Although I know people who’ve done it, I would never buy a used sax on Ebay, because I prefer to test them first.
Purchasing a new sax of any age or quality has not been in my foreseeable future’s budget. I bought a road bike a few months ago, and boyfriend and I are talking about a vacation this winter to somewhere without snow. I suppose I’ll call the repair shop tomorrow and see if they aren’t too busy with back-to-school issues. My band has upcoming performances on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, so I’ll be borrowing another band member’s backup. It hasn’t been a happy afternoon.
Ever commit to something before you know exactly all of what is expected of you? (Who hasn’t, right?)
Well, I’ve done it recently, and now I feel stuck, because I’m really only interested in my original perceived level of participation, and not the current overload I’m feeling. But it seems like my choice is all or nothing.
Remember a while back I joined a band? It was good for a while. Rehearsals were every Tuesday evening for an hour and a half, and they were located at my town’s middle school about a half mile from where I live. Following April school vacation, rehearsals changed locations to an elementary school twenty-five miles away!! Rehearsals frequently run long, and I often don’t get home to start dinner until after nine pm! It is exhausting. The other night our rehearsal was running late because a few members felt the need to discuss an issue that should have been left up to the board, not the general membership, and I started quietly packing up. The alto sax sitting next to me, gets mad at me for being so rude (it should also be noted that this individual was one of the members who had many thoughts to add to the discussion) and asks if I’m going to turn into a pumpkin. Well! Excuse me! I haven’t seen my apartment since six-thirty in the morning, or a bite to eat since lunch, and I have a forty minute drive on dark pothole-ridden roads ahead of me. Yeah, I want to leave.
The drive is another issue. In the past week, the only day I drove my car anywhere was Tuesday. I’ve been trying really hard to do everything by bike or foot. It’s good for me. It’s good for my wallet. It’s good for the environment. I feel proud to be among the local bike commuters that I see regularly (we all wave to one another; it’s quite different from the one-finger wave you get in a car). I can’t get to rehearsal on my bike for four reasons: 1) it is so far. I could probably do one direction, but then how do I get home? 2) I’d be riding home in the dark. No thanks. Too dangerous. 3) The roads out there are really really rough in a car; they would not be suitable for a road bike. And some have no shoulder to ride on. 4) I play the tenor sax. It is too big to carry on my bike.
Then there is the performance schedule, which was finally handed out two rehearsals ago. Thus far, there have been two performances, which is about the frequency I was expecting. The first was a joke: we hadn’t been rehearsing long; we were inside and it was brutally hot; there was a bean supper to follow, so the beans could be smelled cooking downstairs – I thought I was going to puke! I missed the second performance (a series of three parades on Memorial Day), because I had to work. We have a performance outside at our lakeside bandstand tomorrow for Father’s Day. It will eat up my entire afternoon.
Next weekend is a parade in a town south of here, for which our band has also been invited to do a 2 hour performance afterwards. To participate or not (last minute invitation, reduced fee, poorly organized event) was the issue we were discussing the other night. Boyfriend and I have already been talking about going camping next weekend, because it was supposed to be a rare “free weekend” for both of us. The weekend after that, there is a cancer walk that we are playing at on Friday night, and then a big event Saturday two hours south of here, for which we are chartering a bus and will be gone the entire day. There is a performance, or two, nearly every single week between now and the end of September in addition to our weekly rehearsals and independent practicing. Most of the members of the band are retired; perhaps this doesn’t seem like such a huge commitment to them considering they have forty more hours in the week than I do.
I love my sax. But do I love it to the exclusion of my other interests and my free time? Absolutely not. So what do I do now?
(Song selection? Any suggestions? Or better yet, just go listen to “In the Mood” originally performed by Glenn Miller & Orchestra, because this is one of the songs I’m trying to learn.)
I’m so excited about my newest thing: I joined a band!! No, this is not a garage band dreaming of record deals and groupies. This group is a local community band that performs many summer-through-holidaze concerts, ranging from appearances at fairs, parades, and other country-living events statewide. Fortunately, we will not be playing all country and bluegrass music.
I haven’t played with a group since high school; I am used to being a soloist, free to choose and interpret music as my ear sees fit. It feels strange, yet familiar in a riding-a-bike way, to look over the page to a director at the front reminding us of the beat, the drum behind trying to do the same, and the sounds of many performers playing individual parts to come together as a harmonious sound. Of course, as a tenor sax player, I sit near the back, so I don’t always hear all the sounds in front of me.
I am, by far, the youngest person in the group, which I’m told, numbers 40-50 in the middle of the summer. I also play the oldest looking instrument; my sax is an early 1940’s King Zephyr. Judging by looks and the effort required to play it, it has had a hard life. I really do love my sax, but if I had the money for a replacement, this one could be retired. I don’t need or want a brand-shiny new instrument; I would like a well made, well maintained, vintage horn. The tonal quality matures over time, much like a fine wine needs to age. Besides, a brand new, shiny yellow colored sax doesn’t evoke the same feeling of down-and-out old time blues, which this sax snob feels is absolutely necessary.
I’ve now been to two rehearsals and received brand new music both nights. Or first performance is next weekend, with no more rehearsals before then. I’m one step beyond sight reading, and I’m the only tenor who was even given the music for the performance. We are going to suck!! But I’m having so much fun. In these last couple of weeks, our rehearsals have been the only events in my life that keep me smiling from beginning to hours afterwards.