If you’re a teacher…or a parent…you may be thinking: What? On a school night?
We discovered a few days ago that the UCONN Symphonic Band would be giving a free concert at the Palace Theater just a few minutes from us. As a band family we considered making it a family outing. But it was a school night. Our youngest had lacrosse practice. Our oldest had math homework. So thanks to a carpool (and one son we headed to the symphony as a date.
We’re a little out of practice at dates. My husband sometimes still holds the car door for me. Last night we were all about efficiency. We managed to arrive at the concert with only ten minutes to spare after dropping Qaiden off at practice. We sometimes hold hands. Last night he asked me to hold the keys…because moms carry things I guess. We did share a soda.
As we sank into our seats in the center and near the front of a mostly empty theater we turned and smiled at one another.
This school night date was uncharted territory.
How do you capture the sounds of an orchestra? This was NOT a middle school concert. I know, now, how much my parents loved me. They came to every single one of my school concerts and Saturday night band competitions. As a mom of musicians, I’ve been to the elementary and middle school concerts. 125 recorders squeaking out similar, but not quite the same, notes. Young percussionists not quite on the beat. Honking clarinets. I’ve gushed over my boys and taken an Advil afterwards.
So as I sat listening to this concert with no child to cheer for, I found myself listening differently–and sometimes not so differently.
Daniel plays tuba and is fascinated by the lowest possible sounds he can produce. So as I heard “The Lion and the Mouse” I found myself tuning in to the low roaring brass and wishing I could peer over the top of the orchestra into the back rows. I could barely see the tops of the huge brass horns. My sons are both small for their age. Daniel is the smallest member of his band, playing the biggest instrument. In middle school it was such a joke that you couldn’t see the little ones in the back rows, that his band director used to have each row stand so their parents could spot them once before they started to play.
As the orchestra played “The Pied Piper of Hamlin” I was mesmerized by the flute solo with trills impossibly fast. The clarinets played such a smooth sound behind the solo, it barely sounded like the instrument I thought I knew. I thought back to the concerts and dance performances I reviewed for my college newspaper. I used to have the words to evoke the sounds I heard. On this date night I found myself drinking in the music wordlessly…and occasionally parrying my husband’s whispered jokes.
The concert was over before we knew it. And even though it had been delightful, our parent brains were relieved that we’d be home just in time to tuck the boys in for the night. A contented quiet filled the car for the few short minutes between the theater and home.
We turned into the driveway to find the boys and their hockey net illuminated by our headlights. They most certainly were not ready for bed. Oh well. This was a sneak peek at school night dates of the (possibly still distant) future.