A busy Saturday:MINNIE PEARL ACT:
First stop was routine personal business at my bank across the street from the Dimond Mall. A kindly lady in line with me asked if she could help me – to remove the price tag hanging from a new shirt I bought yesterday!! She asked if I was related to Minnie Pearl (the old time country comedian famous for the price tag hanging from her hat). I thanked the lady for her help and advised her that, "no" Minnie Pearl isn’t on my family tree and, despite the price tag, this politician isn’t for sale! I can rationalize the whole embarrassment by thinking that, for every politician with a price tag hanging from their shirt, there’s a voter out there someplace with a price tag hanging from their shirt.PICNICS AND AWARDS:
Dropped by to say hello to folks at the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA) picnic on the grounds of my American Legion Post on Brayton Road in Anchorage. Good food and camaraderie. Next stop was the Anchorage Senior Center to attend the Alaska Assisted Living Association award gathering and picnic (as both my schedule and my scale will attest, I like picnics). At the picnic, Rep. Sharon Cissna was recognized for her good work on assisted living issues. And thank you Sharon, for your nice words about me - I was so impressed that I might even vote for myself!!TOOTING MY HORN:
Played a gig this afternoon with the Anchorage Community Concert Band, of which I’m a ten year member, at the Anchorage Saturday Market. It’s conducted by Neil Haglund, also a resident of District 31, and a music teacher with the Anchorage School District.
I play an antique Buffet Baritone Sax. The instrument weighs a ton, and when I lug it around, I wish I’d taken up piccolo in its place. But the bari sax is “me,” and I love playing it. Music (and photography) is how I unwind from politics and other business of the day.
Most of us in the band are amateur musicians, and we couldn’t make a living at it if we tried. We come from a variety of musical backgrounds. I started playing sax in the fifth grade. As a kid, I played in the Los Angeles Sheriffs’ Boys Band (marched in the Pasadena (California) Rose Parade six times with that band), the East Los Angeles Lions Club Band, and the Elks Junior 99 Band. In those halcyon days, almost every community had a kid band, ands the community was better for it. At my alma mater Garfield High School, I played in the Bulldog Football Band (also Drum Major and baton twirler), the school orchestra, the swing band, and the advanced ensemble (played bassoon in that group).
When I enlisted in the Air force, my first assignment was the 541st Air Force Band, at Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Arizona (the base is now defunct - but not because of the band). One day the Band First Sergeant called me into his office, and explained to me that while I was doing OK as a musician, that I should put down my horn, join Aviation Cadets, learn to fly, and get an officer’s commission – which I did.
Thirty-six years later in California, I took up my horn again (Buescher 400 alto sax - paid for by income as a bit actor in "State of the Union') and joined the American Bavarian Brass Band, known affectionately as the “Pass Gassers” – playing oompah pa pa Bavarian polkas, cry-in-your-beer schmaltzy waltzes, and stirring German marches. We played all the Okterberfests, attired in lederhosen, stutzen socks, embroidered shirts, and edelweiss ties. I was also the “chicken dance” instructor, and led the “Grand Marsch” with a big baton which I traded at the end of the march for a twirling baton for a short baton twirling act. I didn’t do the twirling as well as I did in high school, of course, but folks didn’t notice because they were surprised to see a fat old man twirl a baton, regardless of his current skill! I love Oktoberfest music – and, in fact, all types of music including country, classical, and big band swing. . .
The point of all this is, music has a place in the school curriculum. It teaches more than just tooting your horn. It teaches teamwork, discipline, counting, and among many other things, an appreciation for music. .