If you know my little burg of Renton, Washington then you know we’re the unofficial HQ of antique stores in the area. We have a dozen or more in old downtown alone. I love peering through the windows and rummaging around the shops. I’m no big antique collector, but I’m fascinated by what I find, imagining what it might be worth, then looking at the price tag to see how I did.
It feels like time travel gazing over stuff I remember from my childhood. “We had one of those!” I ponder the meaning of antique. The dictionaries online all use explanatory phrases like “belonging to or lasting from times long ago”. I can’t relate to that. It wasn’t so long ago at all.
My eye caught this old bass drum in one of the store windows and the first thing that popped into my head, PRICELESS! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. A work of art! Totally friggin’ absolutely cool, I want it!,
Funny how random events can trigger a memory.
It’s friday night, football night, home game, 1966. The RHS band is leaving the music room to assemble in the parking lot. We’re goofing around a little when director Wilson gives cue #1. We scramble into formation half listening to his pep talk, then cue #2, all is quiet, and we're at attention.
Wilson walks the final check with a discerning eye and almost a smile prompting us to straighten our rows here and there then signals the percussion to begin. I’m loving the sound of those drums echoing like a thousand firecrackers off the side of the school!
Cue #3 and like soldiers marching out of antiquity we left right left with the cadence for the stadium. Out of the school lot and down Tobin Avenue, neighbors gather in front yards down the entire block to witness this hallowed tradition on a beautiful fall evening. There’s Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle George!
Left onto Logan, the cars line up for blocks heading to the game. Hands are waving, horns are honking, and the shouts of "Go Indians!" fills the air. It's mesmerizing and I never want this moment to end.
Music has a long tradition in schools and the military. Perhaps it’s antique, but not outdated. Don’t let the music disappear from our schools or the military. Some traditions are worth keeping.
Bang that drum!
The 13th Naval District was established in May of 1903 and disestablished in 1980. So the drum is over 30 years old at least. I’m thinking it’s from the 1940’s or 50’s by looking at it through the window. The store was closed so I’m going back to check it out.
A few years after high school in the early 1970's I had the honor of writing several arrangements for the military bands stationed in the Puget Sound area.