Chuck

Chuck: (informal) another name for Charles

I guess his real name was Charles, but by the time he matriculated in my direction, he was “Chuck.”

He liked music and I played music, and I offered some opportunities to gig–which in the world of the common street musician, translates as
gold.

He had a heart for people, a love for God and a thirst for music.

I liked Chuck.

He was just about the age of my two oldest sons, so they befriended him, started a band together and played a lot of different music–covers and even some of my original tunes.

He was always around, but it was pleasant. There are people who are sometimes around, unpleasantly. Not Chuck. He was helpful, he was kind, but he was burdened by internal demons which seemed unlikely for him to possess, but certainly did possess him.

But he talked about it. He was worried about it. He wanted to be different than he was.

This is the only redeemable part of humanity–when we realize who we are and instead of making excuses for it, we make a plan to improve it.

After a while Chuck floated off, got married and had a beautiful little daughter.

I do see him from time to time. It is amazing how we are able to restore the exact same creative chemistry from when we plodded together for a season.

But I guess friendship never dies–it just sits around, patiently waiting for the day it will once again be uncorked and celebrated.

 

 

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Cacophony

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Cacophony: (n) a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.

To blend together as one while still maintaining the presence of an individual tone.

That’s what a band is.

You should be able to close your eyes and hear each magnificent instrument. It should not be a wall of sound. It should not blare. It should co-exist without disappearing.

Part of this is the sensitivity of musicians playing with precision while honoring their collaborators, and part of it is the ability to mix the sound in such a way that everything doesn’t blur into a cacophony of colliding notes which often do not seem to coincide.

Some people choose to go solo because they don’t believe it’s possible to find harmony. Other people have surrendered to the inevitable orchestration, often ending up as a cacophony.

It’s the same thing with people.

Freedom is not an overwhelming explosion of celebration; it is a distinctive melody played by each human soul, which is not smothered by the harsh overtones of the brassy.

 

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Bandstand

Bandstand: (n) a covered outdoor platform for a band to play on, typically in a park.Dictionary B

Summertime in Middle America is a collision of tradition and revision.

Because right in the midst of the Internet generation are the simple pleasures of small towns, gathering a handful of local musicians to hold 25 rehearsals to play 12 songs in a bandstand in the center of the town square, to the delight of the old folks, and an opportunity for the younger generation to meet together on summer vacation outside the confines of the local school.

It is a sight to behold.

The musicians are a little nervous, uncertain of themselves, yet self-possessed with the importance of the moment.

The director has dressed for the occasion and struts around like he’s Leonard Bernstein at the premiere of West Side Story.

And the old folks sit in rickety wooden chairs, turning to one another and conversing about as many inane topics as possible before being silenced by the orchestra tuning up (and never quite achieving pitch.)

The little kids run and play, and the teenagers yearn for dusk, when they can slip away from their parents and investigate the pleasure of one another’s bodies in the alcove of the staircase next to the local library.

It is America.

It is the blending of the old with the new, in some sort of temporary agreement over a poorly performed Sousa march.

It is something we must never lose, although we should never regale it as being more important than mercy and justice.

The bandstand sits quietly the rest of the year, part of the time covered in leaves and on other occasions nearly hidden by snow.

But when it is ready, and when it is time, it encircles the warmth of feelings which can only be expressed by those who awkwardly care for one another.

 

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Band

Band: (n) a group joined togetherDictionary B

We can learn a lot from music.

First of all, music admits that it gets better as it includes more elements.

  • Melody welcomes harmony.
  • Harmony is not prejudiced against rhythm.
  • And rhythm doesn’t think it has a beat on everything.

What makes a great band?

  1. Find your heart.

Whatever makes you tingle, feel and think.

  1. Find your voice.

How do you want to say it–in a way that will edify human beings instead of depress them?

  1. Find your mates.

Locate those of like, precious integrity and purpose–and hang onto them.

  1. Find your sound.

Create something which only exists because you do.

  1. Find your audience.

See if your chimes ring anybody’s bells.

If we apply those principles to everything we do–politically, spiritually and emotionally–we will come up with much better solutions.

A band does not believe it’s the only thing on the scene, but it must know that it’s on the scene… because the only thing it brings is another reason to believe.

 

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Accompaniment

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dictionary with letter A

Accompaniment: (n.) 1. a musical part that supports or partners a solo instrument, voice or group 2. something that is supplementary to or complements something else, typically food.
Every single week of my life I play in a two-part combo, where we have chosen to focus on my partner’s musical abilities so as to allow some laser-beam consideration for my writing. After all, it would be ridiculous to have two people sharing, with one of the pair appearing to be superfluous.
So even though I play a musical instrument on stage and must perform with equal proficiency as my partner, I find myself viewed as “mere accompaniment.” I honestly do not mind this. Matter of fact, I promoted the concept. I think it’s difficult for an audience to view two people equivalent in capability. We are human beings–we like to compare.
So likewise, unless you are willing to become the accompaniment to an endeavor, you will just be part of a great ego struggle over authority and notoriety–which normally ends up with NOBODY being noticed.
It’s a problem in our society. We are constantly creating new titles, new positions and new ways of communicating the importance of the occupations of those around us so that nobody has to be in the “accompaniment” profile.
There just are times that you lead the band and other times that you load in the equipment. Any band will tell you–they are only as good as their roadies, and any roadie will tell you that he or she does not have a job without the band.
Any singer would be painfully boring without musical accompaniment and any musician would be stuck trying to sell an instrumental CD without lyrics and a vocalist.
Sometimes you have to realize the value of accompaniment. Even in heaven this discussion must go on:  which is the greatest–the Father, Son or the Holy Ghost?
The thing about that particular dilemma, though, is that a long time ago the three of them decided … they are one.