Friday, April 13, 2018
As a student I was pretty much a straight arrow. I may have tried to bend the rules a bit, but not severely. I was no troublemaker.
In musical ensembles, when I played bass trombone, I used to do things like play pedal B-flats to fatten a brass chord when the octave higher was indicated. I don't suppose that's exactly the model of rebellion, but it wasn't in the score, and I did believe in playing things according to the score.
About the only time I really rebelled was once when I was utterly ticked at the university band department for something (I usually was), and went to the performance and moved my slide around, but did not play a single note.
The summer after my freshman year I worked as a lifeguard at Lee Street beach in Evanston and had an opportunity to return to that job after my sophomore year. It was a perfect summer job for a college student. However, the starting day of the job, which was absolutely required to get the job, was the day of graduation, and the director (who shall here remain nameless) wanted all hands on deck for the performance.
Band members got stipends in those days. I tried to beg off, but the total non-musician and charlatan director pulled a political move, insisting he needed exactly so many trombone players (the same for other instruments as well), and that if I failed to show up, I'd lose my stipend. Worse than that, I'd have a black mark against my name, and even though I planned to have no more dealings with the band department from that time forward, I was righteously indignant and concerned about my personal integrity.
So I showed up for the performance. But I did not play a note, thereby belying the director's insistence that eight trombones were needed to fill out the "sound" he imagined. And as a result of that, I did not have a summer job.
I've remained resentful of that utterly stupid situation to this day.