Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Who, Me—Aspire to Inspire—Really?

Posted by glennled on September 2, 2011

“I was only two years old then!” said Dave after he heard me say that I graduated from the University of Washington in 1962. The tall trumpeter with his bright eyes, wide smile, and salt and pepper beard is a fellow-member of the Husky Marching Band Alumni Association (HMBAA). A few minutes before, Dr. Brad McDavid, Director of Athletic Bands at UW, had asked for a show of hands of those Alumni Band members who graduated in the 1990’s: many hands were raised; 1980’s, fewer hands; 1970’s, very few hands; 1960’s, one hand—mine!

We were standing on the field of Husky Stadium last Wednesday night, about to begin a three-hour rehearsal with the Varsity Band in preparation for the pre-game and half-time shows at this Saturday’s football game, opening the new season. The Huskies are playing the Eagles from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, near Spokane. Last season, the Eagles won the 20-team playoff and are the 2011 national champions of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) of the NCAA. And this year, they are again ranked No. 1 in the nation in the pre-season polls. FCS is only one level below the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in which the Huskies play.

New Pac-12 logo painted on Husky Stadium field (photo by Dan Niven)

Classes at UW begin in about four weeks on the 28th of September, and most students have not yet arrived on campus. So, it’s traditional for the Varsity Band to combine with the Alumni Band to perform for the fans and team at the first football game of the year. A few weeks ago, when I volunteered to play at this game, I did not realize what I was getting in for. This Saturday, I’ll be marching on the field alongside and among those smart, lively, 19-22 year old kids, all good musicians, pumped full of adrenaline and testosterone. There will be about 160 of us. That’s bigger than the entire Varsity Band when I was in school. “What have I done?” I thought.

Then I counted the years since I last marched in the band on this field, playing my Super Olds cornet—50 years ago, in 1961, the year the Huskies, led by Coach Jim Owens, won the Rose Bowl game, beating the Minnesota Gophers, 17-7. Holy cow, it’s like a Golden Anniversary! And this is the last year for this stadium. It will be demolished and rebuilt after this season.

After rehearsal, as I was walking slowly back to my car on tired feet, Dave caught up with me, and we chatted about the experience. As our pathways diverged, he shouted, “You’re an inspiration!”

 No—really? Shocking! I didn’t aspire to that. But age just happens, doesn’t it, if you’re lucky like me. I arrived home after 10 p.m., and my wife and I had a long chuckle before going to sleep.

2 Responses to “Who, Me—Aspire to Inspire—Really?”

  1. Nancy said

    Nicely told, Glenn. When you add up the years, it is something of a shock. It reminds me of that line in “Anne of Green Gables” where Matthew says, “I got old and didn’t notice.”

    • glennled said

      Great comment, Honey. The surprising thing to me (duh) is that other people notice. Looking out these eyes, things look pretty much the same, but looking in the mirror, I see what they see (uh-oh, what happened?).

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