It’s been a busy week, with no blogging time. Meetings in two ngos I’m a part of, and organizing a music workshop/talk. On top of that, it ended with Saturday being spent in a house in the countryside. Together with my husband’s bigband. They were having their annual big meeting, summing up the passed year’s activities etc. And a few of us life partners tagged along. The meeting was held in one of the musicians’ home. While the band held their meeting, the rest of us finished the preparations in the kitchen. Big delicious meal. We like good food.
My husband created the band 20 years ago. For students of pedagogics in a college university where he works as a music teacher. He is the conductor in the band, and he finds songs and makes arrangements/notes for all the different instruments. 18 members as we speak. Some of the members have been in the band for many many years. Others are new, some quit after a handful years. When they have played enough gigs, they go travelling together. Partners and kids are welcome to join them on their trips. They have been to Norway, Cuba, Florida, Spain… I have been on two trips with them.
But here now I just want to say something about Saturday. I want to point out how special that group is. When we meet we are always so happy to see eachother. As we have f.ex.spent a week in a house with a pool in Spain together last easter. We have shared so many fun experiences, many meals, and loads of evenings singing and playing guitar together, somewhere warm and lovely.
So we met, and hugged, and it felt just like we were back again to the last time we were hanging out together. Us in the kitchen caught up on eachother’s life events whilst chopping and stirring stuff, and then their meeting was finished and we were all to share the great meal in the renovated barn that they have turned into a party space. Oh do I fancy a barn like that! Long long wooden table, green sofa group in one corner, stereo, drums, keyboard, guitars, separate smoking area… plenty of dancefloor…
We sat down at the table, and everyone had brought their own favourite drinks, whilst the food was paid for by the band. We chatted away with the people we were seated next to. When food was finished, some went for a cigarette, people swapped seats, some tidied up in the kitchen…. things get organized without needing leadership, people just tend to help out and get things done. It’s a lot like in a family, really. 22 members big.
The evening developed as it normally does. A lot of laughter, a LOT of singing, everybody joining in, harmonizing endlessly, the guitars go between different players… hand drums appear… you dance for a while, you go sit with the smokers and share some laughs…you go sit next to someone new…
Very relaxed and easy, everyone daring to sing out loud,
everybody being polite and nice to each other.
Why is it so special, you might ask. This is like any other party. Well, to me it isn’t. Most of the people there, I don’t see regularly, only in the context of the band. We are not close everyday friends. We are very different people, too. Agewise we are from 20s to 60s. We have different interests snd ways about us, some of them I connect deeply with whilst others remain more distant…. and it’s fine, it’s part of the fascination for me. It’s a lot like family actually, just that we are all in it volunteerily, and we share this great big common interest; music.
Most of the people left around two that night, picked up by friends in cars, filling up to the rim, being brought back to town from this farmhouse in that little village. I stayed up until half past three, listening to cds, discussing the lyrics… I was just exhausted then, and was happy to spend the night there in their kids’ room. The last three partymembers stayed up until five!
A very typical Not Big Bot Band night, everybody jolly and merry after many hours of singing improvized harmonies together. No pressure, no stress, no harsh words, no drama. Just enjoyment of good food and drink, music, dancing and talks, in a totally relaxed manner where people feel they can be themselves and be accepted and appreciated as they are.
I’m hoping to bring the kids along to a couple of the band’s events this spring, one is a gospel concert where they play together with a gospel quoir, the other event is a carnival march with school and kindergarten children.
Yeah. Not Big Bot Band. A big deal in my life. One big happy musical friends-family. It doesn’t have to be blood ties to feel familiar. It is one of my favourite communities, that I belong to. I wish everyone in the world were connected to a group in this way. I’m sure it would make the world a happier and more jovial, peaceful place. Actually.