At the ripe old age of 11, I decided that I was going to play the oboe. And I did. And I still do. That pretty much sealed my fate right then and there: band geek. And not even a cool member of that ubiquitously uncool crowd: an OBOE player – queen of uncool. Didn’t even get to play in the pep band or marching band. Did that bother me? Hell. No. ‘Cause I also got to play in the orchestra (this was back in the day when even pedestrian, inner city public schools could offer both a band AND an orchestra).
And playing in an orchestra WAS cool. Least I thought so (and still do). I felt PROUD to sit in front of my classmates at assembly to play Beethoven’s Egmont Overture in middle school orchestra (even though I sounded like crap). I got to sit next to VIOLIN players – fancy! And CELLO players – even fancier! (WAY fancier than sax players, you guys!) Later I joined the metropolitan youth orchestra and got to go downtown every week to rehearse in the VERY BUILDING where the PROFESSIONAL orchestra got to rehearse. (I was pretty sure that meant I was practically a pro.) I went to college and conservatory, hobnobbed and made best friends with wind players, string players, and even brass players. We all busted our asses to win auditions and impress teachers.
Many of us left school and continued busting ass to win auditions and get gigs and teach. We march around in regular, shorts-wearing society on nice spring days in our ‘orchestra black’ (or for men, actual tuxedos) on concert days, hauling instrument cases around…Yes, people look at us strangely sometimes. And yes, it sucks to miss all the good parties because we are playing gigs on the weekends. And no, we don’t make a living wage. But we love it and we think it’s worth it. And cool, y’all!
Imagine my SHOCK when one day I realized that not only did much of the greater society not even know what a live orchestra sounded like, but probably also thought that we ass-busting, black-wearing classical musicians were…geeks! (And not even the semi-cool-because-they-aren’t-cool band geeks!) Gah! How did THAT happen?
Meanwhile, the non-classical live music scene everywhere is bursting out of the seams – in bars! Coffee shops! Street corners! Full of cool, vintage-moustachioed hipster banjo players and rockin’ tattoo-ed chicks on bass…playing music and living a lifestyle that is universally acknowledged as the epitome of cool. And – jeez – that includes EVERY kind of music: rock, indie, bluegrass, r and b, funk, metal, punk, acoustic, country, folk, pop, alternative….(and by now, I’m just pulling these genres right off the FoCoMX page…) Everything is cool BUT classical.
It’s SO uncool and irrelevant that when we went to apply with FoCoMX which “has, for the past six years, served as the largest showcase for northern Colorado music,” we didn’t see a category for classical music. We applied as, and are featured as “experimental/noise/visual”.
We hope you’ll join us at Compass Cider on April 25 at 8pm. We’ll be playing there, wedged in between hundreds of other amazing, interesting, cool, relevant bands and groups. It’s this willingness to break out of societal norms and experiment and try new things (like old classical music) that makes Fort Collins such an awesome place.