Last night, an event occurred that made me very proud, and frankly, amazed me.
Although I retired from the Washington, D.C. U.S. Navy Band in 1996, I did not become a dad until 1999 for the first time, and Peter came along in 2003. I continue to perform professionally in many venues, but until last evening, Peter had never attended a live concert of any sort. His inability to sit quietly for any length of time (when not engrossed in something) has mandated this.
The Navy band came to Lorton for a performance in our high school last evening. In addition to getting to see a few old colleagues who are still playing in the band, I would have the chance to see someone that I haven’t seen since September of 1981. He is Brian Walden, and he has become the leader and Officer in Charge of the DC Navy Band. Brian and I were ‘roommates’ in 1981 – along with 78 others in a fun little thing called boot camp! Brian a trumpet player and I play oboe – each heading to different assignments in the Navy music program.
OK, so the stage was set. Many old friends have not seen Kathy since I retired from the band, and with very few exceptions, no Navy Band friends have ever met my kids. We arrived in 2 cars – just in case Peter needed to be somewhere other than the auditorium before the concert ended. We sat on an aisle for the same reason. Headphones were in hand in case the music volume was too loud for Peter. The concert began, and there was no immediate protest. Overture… march… vocal soloist… piccolo solo… Strauss Serenade (!). One after another. And Peter (and his headphones & Nintendo DS after an hour had passed) sat quietly. If he looked a bit antsy, I nudged him and gave him a thumbs-up – and he responded with the same.
After the great concert, I took my family up on the stage to see some old friends. Peter was cordial and careful, and even insisted on singing a tune for Captain Walden. It was so great to hear the band once again, and to see many talented and great friends that I don’t see very often anymore. Perhaps most importantly, I finally got to share an integral part of what I am with my son. And it went well… VERY well. I was very proud of many people last night. Bravo all!