Stella by Starlight

Followed immediately by A Sunday Kind of Love. With these historic chansons, my clarinet “playing out” cherry has been popped. 

For the last few months I’ve been going sporadically to the Wednesday night open jam at the Vermont Jazz Center, trying to follow along in my own score. Last night I actually got the horn out of the case… and got up… and played a few numbers. 

Astoundingly… I didn’t die! I mean, most fourth-graders could’ve done better, but in terms of actually physically dying, it didn’t happen. I hit more notes than I missed, and only squeaked a few times. I hit the pickup notes on Sunday Kind of Love sweet and clear, all by myself. I solo’ed. 

There’s a whole A&E documentary series to be made about these Wednesday sessions and the people who show up. From working professional jazz men to the busboy at my local bar to the girl singer (sorry, my language-correct sisters… in this world you’re a girl singer until you’ve got grandkids and rehab on your CV) (and maybe more) whose pure voice seems ripe for coaching and more practice, everybody plays as well as they play, they all figure out each week how to make the available instruments work together, and they all have a good time doing it. 

My debut was recognized warmly, particularly by the pianist, a retired psychotherapist, and so perhaps especially empathetic to my abject terror. This is an overtly, intentionally supportive environment, and I needed every bit of that support. Maybe it’s better to say they didn’t let me die, and thank you for that. 

Whew! What a rush. Having now tasted the limelight… I’ll be back. 

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