Jazz Ensemble Rumble

Over the summer, Seth started taking trombone lessons. This was completely mercenary on our part, or, as my Magic The Gathering offspring might say, we had a major strategy. Seth would have preferred the saxophone, but everybody plays the sax, and only a few play the trombone, and we have it on good authority that if you play the trombone, you are pretty much guaranteed a spot in the high school jazz band. The high school jazz band is the alpha and the omega, the absolute bees knees, the pinnacle of groovazoid, being run by one seriously suave band director, a really hot Italian number who not only has a facebook page devoted to him by his adoring fans but keeps all the ladies and surely many of the men in a heightened hormonal state when he directs. Those moves! Those shoes!

At the beginning of this school year, I told Seth he should try out for the middle school jazz ensemble (he’s in 8th grade), so he could get in some experience other than the huge, unwieldy school band, but he refused. I mean, he refused quite firmly, probably involving swears, although it has now somewhat faded from my mind. What with fall kicking my ass*, let alone the distinctly unhelpful vibe from my ex, Seth’s other mother (“Ohhh, but….what if he isn’t good enough, I wouldn’t want him to feel bad if he couldn’t keep up with the other kids, blither, blather, blother,” – this about our son for whom competition is life). I reminded him that the whole reason he took up the trombone was to get into the jazz fast track, that they need him, etc., but had to slink off to the tune of his middle finger and deal with the eight billion other fall issues being slung my way.

So here we are in January. In December, there was the all-school winter concert. The huge all-school band wheezed and groaned its way through “Super Heroes R Us” and a few other huge, unwieldy tunes. A young person in the 6th grade chorus swooned in the middle of the token Hannukah song, staggered back to his feet still singing, only to swoon again. And the jazz ensemble tore it the fuck up. They were having fun and kicking out the tunes and were leaving everybody else in the dust.

As we were walking home, Seth said, “I wish I was in the jazz ensemble.”

OH REALLY?? Calmly, casually I asked if he’d like me to email the director, who I happen to know is really nice and is perfectly willing to give my novice trombone player a try, because, they need trombones in the middle school jazz ensemble just the same way they need trombones in the high school jazz band.

“No, Mom,” said Seth. Firmly.

What would you do? This is a child who loves baseball with a burning passion, and yet when Adrienne# set him up with, I believe it was the Tigers, (and I do try to remember this when she is at her most tedious – it was due to Adrienne, not super-un-sporty me, that Seth got on his first ball team), he kicked and screamed and threw fits for quite some time until he finally settled down and started in on his brilliant fielding career.

I emailed the director, and she said, “Sure, come on down.”

But the story doesn’t end there! Seth wasn’t too grumpy with me, as I feared he might be, and he went off to school on the day he was supposed to audition carrying his trombone. And came home and said he forgot to go. I tried not to pop off my head in anger, and while I was trying, asking him mildly what he’d like to do about it, and he, of his own accord composed and sent an email to the director apologizing for not showing up, saying how interested he is in the ensemble and asking for another date and time. She, bless her long-suffering heart, wrote back, telling him to come along to rehearsal today.

This afternoon I was enjoying this really incredible cookie from the health nut store and a cup of Darjeeling tea, perusing the local gay rag, when the doorbell rang. Usually when the doorbell rings on Wednesday it is a certain waif-like lad with the ears of an 80 year old man (seriously pendulous! I am always impressed) who is looking for Owen. Today it was Seth. Carrying his trombone and wanting me to drive him to Adrienne’s (it’s her day today).

We chatted. I said I wanted to finish my tea. Did he want tea? No? Did he have everything? Yes? Ok. I was practically bursting to ask about jazz ensemble, but I held on, and was at last rewarded when he casually said, “So, I guess I’ll be coming to your house to get a ride every Wednesday after jazz ensemble rehearsal because I don’t want to lug this thing all the way to Mom’s.”

Well, I hugged him, gave him five, told him how proud I am of him, that I knew he’d been nervous about it, but he hung in there and did it.

Driving along, we passed a very short boy wheeling a huge case – the tuba player in the jazz ensemble, Seth told me. I said the tuba was practically as big as him, and we both laughed, and Seth said he has a great big personality to match. We laughed again and I had this moment of pure bliss, when the two of us were on the same wave length but completely different people, liking each other, coming together as individuals, no power dynamic, just me and him. I marveled at how mature he’s gotten, how himself he is these days, out in the world.

Then he said,  “Mom, you should have made me try out at the beginning of the year! Why didn’t you? You should have made me, the same way you make me do everything!”

So I pinched him and smacked his arm and gave him hell and we were still both laughing, but back to Mom and kid, but that’s ok. That is always ok.

*see Mommy with a Penis for the penultimate blog entry about fall ass kicking:


and have I mentioned lately how much I love, nay rely on Mommy with a Penis?? Mwah, Mommy!!

#My ex – she gets a different name every post, usually. Hmm, now that I think about it, this could be interpreted as a nod to her completely impossible, schitzy personality…

Published in: on January 5, 2011 at 9:50 AM  Leave a Comment