28 April 2008

The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen

To look at the photographs of me from my ceremonial band conducting days, you wouldn't guess that, inside, I was a quivering mass of nervous frenzy. At every moment during a ceremony, I was frantically considering what was about to go wrong and how my career would suffer.

I later came to learn that I was not alone--worrying about The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen is a job requirement, a practical factor for the position of cermonial band conductor.

Sometimes, The Worst Thing actually does happen. The following sound file came to me from a trusted friend who passed it along as he received it from his source. He has asked to remain anonymous but states that a "top D.C. band Commander" confims the story is true. Here's the poop:

Two military bands--the U.S. Marine Corps band and the Army Herald Trumpets--were recently ordered to participate in the ceremony welcoming the Pope to the White House. The following sound file is a recording of the rendition of honors to the President of the United States. We may not have the answer as to why things went afoul, but we can agree on one thing: the Herald Trumpet arrangement of "Hail to the Chief" is not in the same key as the band arrangement.

Click on the folowing link, put yourself in the shoes of a nervous bandleader and prepare to die just a little bit as you listen to a recording of The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen.

26 April 2008

What's in a name?

Someone posted a comment to the story below about John Fluck's photo-op with President Bush:

John Fluck was once asked by a nice lady what his first name was. He
responded...'Mother'!


Well, maybe. It sounds a little too perfect; sea stories about suggestive or unusual names automatically set off the Too-Good-To-Be-True warning buzzer.

However, I was a witness--well, almost--to this one:

After a change of command on Treasure Island, San Francisco in the mid-70s, I was playing the piano at a reception at the officers' club. Doyle Church, the ceremonial band conductor, walked up to me in dress blues and red face. He said, "I just did something really stupid."

All ears, I stopped playing and listened to his story of humiliation.

"I just met the base chaplain," MU1 Church said. "He looked at my nametag and said, 'You have an interesting name.' So I said, "Yeah, my daddy was named Doyle, too."