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The Republic | The Republic Conductor David Bowden looks around at mascot Phil Harmonic during the 20th annual Adventure Concerts by the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Symphony Orchastra at Erne Auditorium at Columbus North High School Friday March 6, 2009. About 3,000 area third and fourth graders attended.
I’m typically not one to toot my own horn, but last week I succumbed to temptation. It wasn’t exactly music to my ears — or anyone else’s.
Yes, I tooted my own horn, a 1960 Olds cornet.
That’s an instrument, by the way, not to be confused with the Dodge Coronet. I had one of those, too — a 1966 one — but I digress.
Playing an instrument requires practice. More precisely, playing an instrument well requires practice.
Playing an instrument badly? There’s nothing to that. I am proof.
It’s irritating ... grating ...
It’s easily mistaken for an elephant’s mating call.
If curiosity didn’t kill the cat last weekend in my basement, the blurting that came out of that beautiful-looking horn of mine might have. Or at least scared the darn thing silly.
After resting up 40 years for a much-overdue encore, the old horn deserved better than what I could give it.
Pulled out of the original hard-shell case last weekend, it looked phenomenal after a 1972 reconditioning and was played little after that. But pressed to lips it hadn’t touched in four decades, it sounded miserable. Actually, put that on me. I sounded terrible.
So back in the case it went, with continued hopes that a grandchild one day will see the potential, fall to temptation and pick it up, as I did 50 years earlier — and again fleetingly for a few moments last week.
Music has been an important part of my life, beginning in sixth grade when I took my first lesson.
That flashback to my musical youth was a good conversation starter last week when I met with a couple of Columbus Indiana Philharmonic executives, new Executive Director Margaret Powers and General Manager Brigitte Halvorsen.
They paid a visit to The Republic, a longtime supporter of the philharmonic and especially its annual Salute! concert — May 24 this year on the lawn of the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans.
Sure, I had heard of the philharmonic. As a relative newcomer, however, I have not yet heard the philharmonic.
And I was clueless — maybe tone deaf — about one of the philharmonic’s most important missions. That’s to educate all ages in the joy of music. By all, I guess even people my age qualify.
Clearly, its educational mission is on our youths, as it should be.
Each year through its Adventure concerts, the philharmonic has an audience with 9,000 third- and fourth-graders throughout Bartholomew County and in nearby school districts.
In back-to-back-to-back concerts on one day each April at North High School, philharmonic musicians present 45-minute programs to 3,000 students at a time. And through music lessons and other programs, the number of affected youths rises to about 11,000 each year.
This year, the Adventure programs will be April 9.
Keeping in mind its all-ages commitment, there are upcoming chances for adults to enjoy the philharmonic. Next up is the 6 p.m. March 2 PhilTastic fundraiser at The Commons.
Then the “Joy” concert, featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. April 6 in the Erne Auditorium of Columbus North.
When the musicians pick up their instruments, I am confident it will be music to your ears.
I may see you there, but I won’t be on the risers with the other musicians. These days, I am better off — and you are better off — if that classy-looking cornet of mine stays in the basement.
Tom Jekel is editor of The Republic. His column appears each Sunday. You may reach him by phone at 379-5665 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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