Monday, April 13, 2009

DYB & Impact Brass Anniversary

This past weekend I spent Saturday in what felt somewhat like a time warp. I attended the 25th anniversary of the brass band I played in as a teenager. I was able to participate by playing in the Alumni Band as well as watch and listen to the current band. When I was involved it was called the Ontario South Divisional Youth Band or DYB. Since then the Ontario South Division of the Salvation Army has changed which in turn required a name change of the band so now it is the much more sleek sounding "Impact Brass".

The photo above is from our trip to England. I'm the guy standing in case you can't tell.

This was the first real "anniversary" type thing I've attended where I'm starting to realize how much time is passing. I guess this kind of thing is only going to happen more often and more rapidly as I age.

I started playing cornet at the age of 5 and come from a long line of brass players. My Father plays the euphonium, Grandfather played the cornet, my Papa on my Mom's side played tenor horn, my Great Grandfather played tuba and I think it may go on beyond that but we've kind of lost track. So playing in the brass band was something I just did as a kid and it seemed like the normal thing to do. This was where I really learned how to be a musician, what melody was, how to play with others and how harmony parts fit in within music. The years I developed this the most was while I was a teenager. The strong music program at my high school really helped round out my musical abilities - writing, singing, guitar, bass and even some percussion. But it was the DYB that really challenged me in my principal instrument to reach towards my full potential. I still miss those days of reading and playing challenging music with a big band like that. When everyone gets it right there is a sense of accomplishment as well as the journey that a well crafted piece of music will take you through. These are all such great things for a kid to experience.

Beyond the music there is of course the camaraderie of the band members which will last a lifetime. There is something special about making music together that creates a bond. I think it has something to do with the need to give of yourself to allow the others to play their part and shine. There is always give and take in music whether it's a brass band or a rock band. This giving of ourselves brings us closer to what I believe God's purpose is for all of us which is why I think it is so rewarding.

In the alumni band I sat next to an old friend whom I haven't seen in maybe 12 years or more. We used to sit next to each other in the "good old days" so it was really great to have him playing next to me. Although we did both mention how we wished another cornet player was sitting up there with us. (Rod!) Then I looked over my music stand and all the old familiar faces were in all the old familiar places. Almost all anyway. One old friend has passed, some have moved away and some just couldn't be there. I understand it'll never be what it was but all the same it was great to see everyone as well as play together once again.

Lastly, I was very proud to see how the band is doing today under its current leadership. Impact Brass is such an appropriate name as the kids playing there now will come to realize as they move on and look back on their time there. I hope all the best for them and maybe one day I can continue on the tradition and send my boys in with whatever brass instruments they end up playing. (Cornet of course, it's the coolest.)

Since I'm on the topic I thought I'd include this old video of my Grandfather Norman Lavender (on the right) and my step Grandfather who we call Grandpa French (on the left). Grandpa French by the way is 94 now and still up and about, still driving a car and exercising daily.



Lynn,  4/14/2009 1:37 PM  

What a great video! Do you have a year on that one? Bert still amazes me with what he can do. Just a month ago, performing at the Corps (church) anniversary concert, at age 94.

I'm one of the very few kids raised in the SA that never learned to play an instrument, so I missed the whole DYB experience, but went to many concerts. I wish the Divisional Youth Chorus had started up before I was too old to be a member!!

kathryn 4/14/2009 10:43 PM  

your grandpas played kick ass cornet!!! Must have been Johnny Maidment doing the camera work??!!! LOL!! All of us born and bred Salvos have music in the blood. . pretty awesome! I played first baritone until i came to Cambridge and they wouldn't let me play in the band cuz i was a woman??!! hmmmmph!!


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