Sunday, May 30, 2004

The Class of '04

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see three of the senior members of Team Demon/Dingus graduate at the same time (almost literally, as Dingus, Fizban and Halfling were numbers 6, 8 and 9 in their class, respectively). I spent most of the day with Halfling, his extended family and Angie, doing lunch/presents beforehand, riding out there en masse in this huge van that his parents rented (I was more than happy to avoid the massive SMU traffic) and having dinner afterwards at this great seafood place in the West End called Newport's, which is housed in a renovated turn-of-last-century brewery and includes a 55-foot deep artesian well in the middle. When we got back, we played a bit on Halfling's new PS2, just because it was there. Afterwards, I met up with Coop, Demon Matt and Fizban for (what else?) more bowling. The lost mojo from the other day came back with a vengeance, as I rolled a 170 in the last game. The celebration will continue this afternoon, as Dingus's party starts in just a few minutes.

Since so many important people in my life achieved the same milestone this week, I just wanted to take the opportunity to salute them for a moment:

Halfling: My li'l bro. It's been such an amazing year for us, both personally and musically. We really did cram all four years' worth of stuff into this one year, with extraordinary results: everything we set out to accomplish (making region jazz, excelling in Combo PM, getting him accepted into the UNT College of Music and the jazz studies program, getting him the lead alto spot for the last concert, pulling off our duel on Foosball) actually happened, and in a big way. In the process of all that, we forged a bond like no other. There are plenty of challenges ahead for him as he goes off into the pressure-cooker that is UNT, but at the same time, we have a lot of fun stuff to look forward many great times to be had, so much great music to be made.

Dingus: Let's face it, the world needs more dingii (yes, that's the plural). A dingus is defined as someone who does goofy things that make people laugh, and this Dingus more than fits the bill. It's also refreshing to see someone who says whatever he feels without worrying about what anyone thinks (I'm sure he'll rein that in as he gets older, to avoid being pummeled...but then, who's actually big enough to pummel him?). He's made a ton o' progress on the horn in my combos the past three semesters (in one of those groups, he was more responsible and farther along musically than many of the regular college students), and I look forward to him being at the college full-time.

Fizban: This guy has musical talent coming out of every pore in his body, and he's been well-rewarded for it thus far. Now it's on to TCU, where he'll have new challenges and a wonderful mentor in Micah. He has several possible career paths he could take, but he'll make an impact no matter what. Lately, he's gotten more attention for his singing, but I hope he rediscovers his love for the bass trombone in college, because, as a bari player who's had his hair parted by the best--and worst--of them, I know the importance of having a strong player in that chair, and strong he is. He's also reminded me, by example, of how cool it can be to step back from the computer and read a book sometimes.

Those are the Big Three, but yes, I have way more shout-outs:

Woody: An associate member of TD/D, she accomplished a lot while learning to play jazz on her secondary instrument. She also crashed through the almost-all-guys barrier that sometimes exists in the jazz world, being the first female participant in my famous jam sessions (memorable quote from Demon Matt at her first one: "Oh my gosh, it's a girl!") and bowling with us on occasion...Frobird: Just this semester, in reacquainting himself with the bari, he may have discovered his true voice on the saxophone. Now he's headed north with us to the land of the Express Cougars, setting up an epic battle with Sassy for the bari chair. This one will be fun...Gold Dingus: Talk about a fun guy (fungi?)--he's a natural-born comedian/prankster and one of those sickening people who plays really well without a lot of practice. He's off marching Blue Devils this summer--got to leave school a week early, even. He needs to come back and re-attempt his failed 2BC before he heads off to Tech, though...Ryan: One of the original Renegades, he really developed a love for jazz over the years. Sure, he had a fondness for odd noises on the horn and other moments of goofiness (he may have been the first saxophone dingus), but he's another one around whom there's never a dull moment...Trevor: The best classical player I've ever taught, bar none. It's too bad that a panel of five random band directors never saw fit to award him a trip to State, because he certainly deserved it. He was also one of the original Renegades, as well as the valedictorian of his class; evidently his speech at graduation got him a standing ovation. He's going into biomedical engineering and may end up earning more than everyone else on this page combined...Zach S.: Talk about progress--he made quantum leaps, especially during his first year with me, after having no lessons in middle school...another one who's always fun to be around...Jeticia: One of the quiet ones, but she always had a smile. Seems like she was in the local paper every other week, winning awards and contests in the pharmacy area; I know she'll go far.

So there you have it--my salute to the Class of '04. A few of you I'll be lucky to ever see again, while several of you I'll see in a few minutes...yet all of you have touched my life in some way, just as I hope I've done for you. Even if music isn't destined to be your life, I hope it remains a special part of your life. I wish you all the best on this happy occasion.


Steven said...

Thank ya.

Kev said...

Ya welcome. Glad I was able to be at your party yesterday; it was especially hilarious to hear everyone bash on Shan. :-)