Tuesday, January 20, 2009

most promising

ok, so i know everyone else is talking about president obama.

but i was watching the inauguration today (and i got to see a LOT of the coverage, because i don't have a job anymore...)

anyway, i'm watching the coverage and i am loving the marine band. i notice particularly that the director has programed all music i like, which is unusual. and there's something vaguely familiar about the director in the way he moves.

a long time ago i stood on a stage with a kid named mike colburn as we accepted an award presented by our state's music educators for most promising senior going on in the field of music education.

it was unprecedented for the award to be given to two students, but for some reason they felt that we both should have the honor. it meant a lot to me.

turns out that he's colonel michael j. colburn, director of the president's own marine band.

i'm a washed-out has-been.

it's easy to see how he got from "most promising" to there, but how did i get from "most promising" to here?

he has one of the coolest jobs in the whole world, a job once held by JOHN PHILIP SOUSA! and he looks so distinguished in that cool nineteenth-century style uniform and it boggles my mind that i knew him when.

and it pains me that my career is over.

and then i think about an old yearbook photo; if you're of a certain place and of a certain age you know the one. i'm standing with another promising young musician. he might have been great, too, but he's been dead fifteen, maybe twenty years. that kid died of AIDS; he was the first person i knew to do so. he got it early on, before they even knew what it was.

i remember hearing the first news story about the mysterious strain of KS. it had to have been a wednesday night because i was on my way home from my lesson in st. a and for some reason i pulled off the interstate at exit 18 to listen.

yeah, exit 18. the interstate exits that mattered: 10, 11, 13, 18, 19. the geography of my life.

promise is a tricky, elusive thing.

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