Notes From Nestipac

By Phyllis Rauch

A Romance with Band Music


big-bandMy iPod contains an eclectic mixture of music—anything by Mozart, Bach’s Goldberg variations, female Latin vocalists such as Mercedes Soza, Amparo Ochoa, Cesarea Evora, and Chavela Vargas. Most of the downloads are thanks to my generous B and B guests who have shared their CD bounty with me.

The only kind of music not included on my iPod is recent rock and a genre with which I once had direct, personal contact. When I entered the 7th grade my grandmother announced that amongst the many treasures in her vast attic lay a French horn. She also decided that playing in the marching band and the off-football season concert band were necessary parts of my junior high school experience.

Being a studious sort, attractive enough, but certainly not the kind of girl who would have considered trying out for majorette or cheerleader, I accepted her offer and became very fond of my horn and its lovely sound.

Early on, while I was countermarching from the front to the back of the band, I took note of a handsome, dark-eyed drummer, Johnny. Soon; band practice existed primarily for the minutes of countermarching and my brief glimpses of Johnny. Our first game away from home found me sitting alone towards the back of the school bus. Johnny came in the door and glanced around until he caught sight of me.

The aisles were filled with kids talking and stowing their instruments, so he came climbing over the seats until he slid in beside me and threw his arm over my shoulder. Until then we hadn’t exchanged a word. It was the most exciting experience of my life and I thought my 12-year-old heart would fly out of my chest. It was over two years until Johnny would eventually break my heart, but I had been cruel to him as well.

Most people, if they consider band music at all, probably think of Sousa, the 76 Trombones or of a military band. Thanks to my French horn and Johnny, this music has always had a special significance for me.

One of my favorite repeat B and B guests is Ceci, the bassoon player in the Jalisco State Band. I had known for years that this band plays Tuesday evening concerts in the beautiful, French, art nouveau bandstand in front of the Governor’s Palace in Guadalajara. I had always fantasized about but never succeeded in attending one of their concerts.

Ceci told me that the band often is invited to play at fiestas outside of the city, and that she would let me know if they came to Jocotepec. Less than a month later she called to tell me that the band was scheduled for the last day of the Joco annual festival, El Señor del Monte.

I’ve become somewhat jaded after 30 plus years of parades, Indian dancers, fireworks etc., but no way I was going to miss this band’s performance, and once I’d found a place in the midday shade, I loved every minute of it.

I shared the photos I took with Ceci, and she told me the band will soon perform a large anniversary concert in the Degollado Theater, celebrating 100 plus years of the band’s existence. There will be a special program with a different selection of music. Maybe State Band of Jalisco CD’s also will be available so that I can finally add band music and new memories to my iPod.

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