when life is a fairy tale.

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

When you’re traveling on a bus for 16 hours, you kind of lose any normal conception of time. You get on the bus and it takes you somewhere far, far away. Naturally, your conception of time is distorted, so you feel utterly weightless and alive. Reality doesn’t hit you until you step back on the bus, feeling tired and groggy and back where you belong. That’s always the worst feeling.

The best feeling is when you’re living a fairy tale, if only for six days or so. Sounds like a vacation, doesn’t it? Well, in April, the school bands went to the Rocky Mountain Music Festival. For us, this meant between up to 4 hours of playing my clarinet everyday and dealing with dry and/or broken reeds and chapped lips. Wind instruments can get physically brutal to play, and boy did we play a lot. It was, by no means simply a vacation. If you’re thinking that we were just blowing through instruments, try blowing through instruments for an hour or two without stopping. Try articulating and try getting good tone in the highest registers of your instrument. Music is complex and requires a lot of technique to get right. Our repertoire wasn’t easy.


Still, between wind band and jazz band performances, showcase concerts, clinics, and fancy dinners at steakhouses, there was a lot of time to explore the town. Banff is a cute, little town. It’s not hard to play tourist there. It’s got a variety of cafés and ice cream shops and souvenir shops. Best of all are the mountains looming over you. They’re huge! I had dinner with some of the younger students, and on the way down the mountain (the Banff Centre of Arts is ON a mountain!), one of them exclaimed, “Do you not see the mountain right there? How are you not freaking out?”

Of course we saw the mountains. They were beautiful! So I just laughed and said I’d seen them last year when we played at the same festival. It was refreshing to be reminded of the overwhelming rush of excitement that you feel when you see those big, big mountains for the first time. It’s the knowing that the Earth’s created something great that we can’t comprehend.

Anyway, I just thought I’d like to share this memory with you all. It was like a dream, and I’ll never forget it.


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