Over 15 years ago, at the end of my high school career, I put my trombone away. I had been playing that wonderful brass instrument since Grade 4 and it had become an extension of my body. After I graduated and left Barb Stetter’s band at Glace Bay High, I suddenly didn’t have much use for my old friend anymore. For a number of years, I was unhappy because the musical part of me was unfulfilled. But I didn’t pick up the trombone again. I wanted to do something new. I wanted to write songs and play guitar. So I began teaching myself to play guitar. I learned some chords and I wrote songs as I learned. Then, about five years ago, I started to learn drums and I became quite good at pounding away on a drum set. But something was still missing.
Three years ago, I was speaking with a friend of mine who played clarinet in the Second Wind Community Band. We ended up on the topic of band and I revealed that I played trombone. With a little coaxing, she talked me into trying out for the Second Wind Band. I was very nervous that first Thursday night as I went to practice. My trombone hadn’t been out of its case in over a decade and I knew I wouldn’t have any chops anymore. In fact, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to play at all. I gingerly took out the horn as I was introduced to the other trombonists. I was given some music. Laura Mercer took her place at the head of the band and we started with some scales. I put the mouthpiece to my lips and the scales came out, as naturally as ever. I was finally reunited with that lost part of my body. I was rusty and my lips were sore by the end but I was back together with my first musical love. And now I can’t imagine that I actually spent 15 years of my life not playing.
Music is a wonderful thing. There is nothing better than individuals meeting and combining different sounds into a cohesive and beautiful piece of music. Second Wind offers opportunities for people of all ages to do this. We have high school students, university students and folks like me who have picked up their instruments after many years. The band has been performing for 16 years under the baton of Laura Mercer, who has really brought a musical softness out of my playing that never existed before. I’ve made new friends and shared the excitement of playing numerous concerts throughout the year – most as fundraisers for worthy institutions such as L’arche Cape Breton and the Every Woman’s Centre.We are looking for more folks to share this experience with us. If you play an instrument or used to play one and would like to join this wonderful group, please contact Laura Mercer at 564-4419 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact our new co-conductor Sean McLennon at email@example.com. And don’t worry if you haven’t played in a long time. You’ve still got it. I can tell you from my experience, you’ve still got it.