Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here but ol’ Robbo has been dealing with a sinus infection off and on for the past few weeks, something that always seems to happen round about this time of year. I say “off and on” because the symptoms have waxed and wained, sometimes getting to the point where I think that yes, I probably ought to go see the doc, but then moderating again so as to encourage just toughing the thing out. (One of ol’ Robbo’s medical maxims is the avoidance of antibiotics unless and until they’re absolutely necessary, lest trivial dosings render them ineffective when they’re truly needed.)
The past couple days, the symptoms seem to be getting worse again. My sinus cavity feels as if it’s lined with several inches of lead, there’s a constant irritation at the back of my throat and I’ve been feeling generally run down, dizzy and beat.
I report all this not in an attempt to to garner cheap sympathy or to worry teh Mothe, but to lay the foundation so that friends of the decanter will understand the dread with which I faced the prospect of attending teh youngest gel’s recorder and choral concert at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method this evening. Nineteen 4th, 5th and 6th graders, of (shall we say) varying degrees of talent, playing about fifteen different tunes, from “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple” through some Mozart, some Stravinsky and a couple of Irish jigs to “Amazing Grace”, all tutti ensemble and maybe 20 feet from where I was sitting would have been a tall order even were I in perfect health.
So, pardon me a second while I close my weary eyes just remembering it.
Anyhoo, I did a bit o’ research this evening to try and discover who had the bright idea of championing the modern, plastic recorder as the grade-school musickal instrument of choice but, after a whole five minutes on the Innertoobs, drew a blank. The closest relevant information I could find came from the ‘recorder’ entry at “Simple English Wikipedia”, which seems to be a dumbed down version of Wiki prime. The relevant paragraphs:
Plastic recorders were invented in the 20th century. They are cheap and vary greatly in quality (that is often not related to the price) depending on the manufacturer. They are easy instruments to play simple music. Many elementary schools use plastic recorders to teach music to children.
The head joint of the recorder is used as a noise, rhythm and effect instrument, and as a toy musical instrument with children. Because the recorder head works like a whistle, it can be used as such. With a bit practice, it is easy to play all kind of rhythms. Effects are made by opening and covering the lower end of the head joint with the hand while blowing. Many players blow harder like “normal” recorder playing (like with a pea whistle), to get a very shrill and loud sound. Professor Agnes Dorwarth of the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg argues this is an attractive way to get children to play with part of the instrument, which can make playing the entire instrument more inviting.
Yeah. Whenever I’m subjected to this particular “shrill and loud sound”, I renew my resolve to track down the originator of the bright idea of mixing school kids with recorders and doing something to him or her with one or more of the latter quite unprintable on a family blog. If nobody else comes forward, Professor Dorwarth better not let me catch her alone in a dark alley.
At any rate, I survived. So I got that going for me.
Still, it’s slowly sinking in that after fourteen years (if my math is right) of having one or more of the gels at St. Marie, we are down to our final semester of student participation there (although Mrs. R will continue to teach and I’ve a feeling they won’t let me resign from the Board no matter how much I want to). Somehow, that makes these little events – however teeth-gritting they may be in themselves – all the more important in a symbolic sense, the back markers (as it were) of a particular stage of the life of the Family Robbo. Next year, teh youngest will go off to middle school, while her elder sisters will both be in high school with the eldest eyeing her collegiate options (prayers, please). This nostalgic reflection provides at least a bit of armor and is allowing ol’ Robbo to treat these things with something approaching good will. Why, I might even go so far as to attend the annual spring fair without becoming enraged by the inevitable clown’s refusal to confess, confess!, that wearing thick face paint, a heavy wig and a polyester suit while making balloon animals under a bright sun and in humid, 90 degree heat makes her happy-go-lucky air a complete put-on.
Lousy, rotten clowns…..
But that’s a topic for another post. In the meantime, as I say, as much discomfort as this evening’s concert caused on one level, on another I’m glad I went.