Saturday, January 11, 2020

Andy's Angles: Mini Me

The photo isn't mine.  I think it's from an old yearbook.  My friend Linda recently put this on her Facebook page.  I'm in it, so I have no problem stealing it for my blog.  Back row, far left.

The photo is of the Mid Valley band in the 74-75 school year.  I see that George Kinsley was the director back then, so I calculate this was the third of my four years with the band.  The first two were under the great Anthony Angeli.

I was 12 or 13 when this photo was taken, and yes, I was small.  Very small.  My growth spurt, complete with peach fuzz mustache, came a few years later.

When I saw the photo, I was shocked by how small the band was.  I really remembered it to be larger.  If memory serves, the photo was taken in the basement music room of the junior high building in Dickson City. The lack of kids coming out for the program was the way a punk like me snuck in.  There was no "junior" band back then.  The district were hurting for participants.  There was no age requirement.  If you could hold a horn, you were golden.

Kinsley made great strides in making the band bigger and better.  In an odd way, it led to my departure.  I kept getting yanked from a favorite 9th grade science class for late afternoon band practice.  Kinsley and I butted heads over that.  As I have noted in this space before, I wasn't a good musician.  I was enjoying it less and less, as Kinsley made more and more demands on my time.  I'm not blaming him for that.  Sacrifices are necessary for growth, and this band eventually evolved in to a top notch unit.  It was best that I wasn't around for it.

I eventually came to realize my future was playing songs on the radio, and not playing songs on a football field.

George Kinsley died several years ago.  I ran in to him a few times before I graduated.  He wasn't very nice to me, and I don't know why.  I added nothing to his band, and he shouldn't have been torqued off that I quit.  In fact, my departure improved the thing.  I will not dispute the man's organizational and musical skills.  Snubbing a kid, even a quitter, wasn't very nice.  The band got four years out of me.  Smile because it happened.

As for the others in this photo, not a bad egg in the bunch.  Good people.  I'm still in touch with Linda, to my left in the photo.  I think she stayed with it until graduation.  I admire her commitment and value her friendship.

My band time wasn't a total loss.  I did gain more of an appreciation for music, even if I wasn't very good at playing it.  I saw plenty of high school football games, which came in very handy later in life.  Most importantly, I made some great friends.