I will Literally FIGHT to Photograph the Empire Builders!

DSC00348_transparentI am so proud of my husby, Christopher.  As a member of the Oregon Army National Guard, he plays in the 234th Army Band throughout the year.  But for two weeks every summer, he leaves with the army band on tour, playing free concerts for the public all over Oregon.  He has been away for about ten days, but I was able to drive down to Salem to see the concert band (a.k.a. The Empire Builders) perform at the Historic Grand Theatre.  Chris said that this was the best concert the army band has put on since he has been in the National Guard, so I wanted to make sure that I got to see it!  Chris’ principle instrument is the oboe, but he’s just as good on saxophone, and he often plays percussion or other instruments (but he can play nearly any band instrument you throw at him).

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The theme was “Heroes and Villains”, and they performed lots of popular songs, including pieces from Superman, Frozen, Les Miserables, and Godzilla (which featured a story-line slide show that played as the band told the story of how Godzilla attacked Las Vegas, which was ultimately saved by multiple Elvi armed with various types of weaponry).

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That was all great, but I was mostly excited about the show because this year, Chris has moved into a conducting position and I wanted to see him do what he does best!  He loves conducting, and I think it has been really exciting for him to move into another position and take on new challenges.

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My favorite piece of the show was The Padstow Lifeboat March…I’m a big fan of marches in general.  This piece was unique to me, though, because I could really visualize the waves getting bigger and the wind picking up…the song really told a story, to me!  And, it was entertaining as well – every time the fog-horn sounded, Chris emphasized the horns by doing something exaggerated (like in the picture above).  The audience laughed a lot! Want to hear The Padstow Lifeboat March by Sir Malcolm Arnold?  Click HERE and hit “Play Song”!

NoPaparazziWell, you probably want to hear about this FIGHT that almost went down, huh?  I was sitting in the balcony with a couple of friends, and I had my camera so that I could take some pictures of Chris as he conducted.  About the third song in, I get this insistent tap on my shoulder and I turn around, and there’s this old lady who rudely commanded to me “DON’T DO THAT”.  What???  It’s a free concert!  There was absolutely no ban on photography!  Further, my husband, who had been gone from his family for 10 days, did so in order to play free concerts for the public, for her!!!  I gave her a death stare, and took a couple more pictures.   I didn’t know exactly what was bothering her (I wasn’t using a flash), but I thought maybe it was the screen on my camera…but there were other people around me taking pictures with their iPhones, which also had screens.  I tried taking some pictures without the screen on, just using the view-finder, but that didn’t work well, so I got up and took more pictures from the side of the balcony.  The whole rest of the show I was stewing, thinking about all the things I was going to say to that lady if she pestered me again!  Seriously, I really try to be kind and considerate to people, but it seems like there is always someone yelling at me and telling me what I can and can’t do.  No wonder I don’t like being around crowds of strangers!  Sheesh…well, she got up and left immediately after the show ended and didn’t say anything else to me.  But I tell you what…things were about to get REAL in up in that balcony!  If my roller derby experience has taught me anything, it’s taught me how to hit a bitch, so look out, and don’t tell ME not to take pictures!

I mean, seriously, if I didn’t take pictures, this post would be much less entertaining, right?  😉

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12 thoughts on “I will Literally FIGHT to Photograph the Empire Builders!

  1. Oh congrats to your hubs for the conducting promotion!

    And woman can stuff it, she sounds like a right pain in the arse, especially if you weren’t using the flash. Good on you for still taking those photos! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Celine! I think he really is having fun with it. And as for taking those pictures, see what I go through to bring my faithful blog readers quality content??? I’ll put my safety on the line to get a good photo…ha! 😉

    • Ha ha ha!!! Whip It is a great movie 🙂 but I don’t mess with anyone unless they’re on skates! The lady I described in my post was clearly at a physical and mental disadvantage, so I decided it would be best for my own karma to just leave her and her pettiness alone! And isn’t Sammy great? I’ve found so many awesome blogs through her; I just gave her a readership award, and if anyone deserves it, she does! Ok, I’m off to visit your blog…I took a quick glance and am looking forward to a more in-depth examination! “Non”-crazy-cat-ladies unite! 🐱

  2. Marci !!!! I had no idea hubby is in the National Guard! I have the utmost respect and gratitude for all who serve and the families who support them. Please tell him thank you from me.

    He looks quite debonair in his band regalia (of course I rarely can resist a Marine or Soldier in uniform) and I SO wish I could have attended a concert; I’m glad you got to see him :-). Now I’m going to have to research if the Colorado Nat’l Guard gives public concerts.

    I’m going to listen to the march after writing thus because I’m not familiar with that one.

    As for the woman …. I hate that you (and probably she) are leaving the concert with that piece of unpleasant memory in what was otherwise a wonderful event. I can see both sides on this one, and I DO understand how you felt when she admonished you … Whether it’s a concert, movie or baseball game, the “quiet listening” etiquette has definitely decreased. While I wouldn’t have asked you to stop, and she clearly wasn’t very tactful, I don’t think she was trying to be mean. She might have what I have – neural difficulties with concentration and interference – things like keeping connected to a performance when someone around us is moving around, making noise, etc. Mine stems from too many concussions.

    On the other hand, as you say, it was a free concert, and you were being as quiet and unobtrusive as possible and he’s your husby!! I learned something from this: #1 DON’T PISS MARCI OFF (just kidding!!) #2 if I’m taking photos, make sure flash/screen are turned off #3 figure out ahead of time if I can scoot to side wall to take photo #4 explain before concert starts to those behind you (who are the most affected) that you will take a few photos.

    I’m overwhelmed by the amount of anger and conflict we have in our world; the only part you and I can control is our small interactions with others. I used to be quick to judge, react and lash out or walk away feeling hammered and pissed off. All it did was give me more moments of ill will. I’ve made a commitment to try to give others the benefit of the doubt, try not to react in my moment of anger, and accept my share of responsibility for improving our level of civility.

    • Hi Sammy! Thank you for your lovely words about Chris – I will pass them along to him. He actually has a fair amount of military experience; he was in the Marines for four years, then got a degree in Music Education and a Master of Conducting, then joined the army band in 2005. It provided him with a lot of benefits (including his education), and great opportunities to play with other skilled musicians! It’s always weird to me that he has to go out periodically and get his rifle qualification and do weekends of crazy soldier training but then he goes and plays military ceremonies and concerts. But a soldier is a soldier!

      I totally appreciate your thoughts about the little kerfuffle I had with the lady sitting behind me. I would never actually make a scene during a concert, which is why I moved off to the side (because really, she had a right to enjoy the concert just as much as I did; and who knows, maybe she had a friend or family member in the band, too). It was her rude manner that offended me, which is something that I have little tolerance for. But as soon as I stepped to the side and was able to do what I wanted to do without interference, I was able to enjoy the rest of the show (I sometimes exaggerate in my posts for dramatic and/or comedic effect, lol). I really did think the whole thing was more funny than upsetting, because really, what kind of person is that cranky at a fun, free concert?!?! 😀

      Your suggestion to ask people sitting nearby if it is ok with them if I take a few pictures is a good one and I will use that in the future (in addition to continuing to use no flash). As you said in your last paragraph, people are easily angered and so many times interactions start off in a negatively-charged way! While I tend to either avoid negative interactions or have positive interactions with strangers (even if it’s just a smile), it’s easy to flare with annoyance in some instances…it definitely does take practice and a conscious effort to keep an open mind and cool head. But I keep trying – I haven’t given up on humans (yet)! ❤

      • That is just awesome about Chris – it is difficult sometimes to rationalize what military service is, but I am grateful to all who choose to serve. My Hub was a Marine and also benefitted from the educational benefit as well as many of the traits that arduous training instills in young men. I wish I could see/hear Chris – next time you’ll have to video instead of just photos 🙂

        I realized as soon as I replied that you WERE exaggerating for effect, and you did a great job of it BTW. I loved your roller derby “put up your dukes” fighting spirit. And I also continue to learn ways to cope with my individual difficulties in crowds as well as understanding that “the way things were” has been forever changed by the ability and now-common practice of recording most moments. It’s part of today’s culture and us “old bats” just need to accept it.

        I haven’t given up on humans either but …. 🙂

        • Lol Sammy! Even though times have changed, it doesn’t mean that consideration of others should be tossed out the window. I try to be considerate…but I am still learning (aren’t we all)! 😉

  3. My money’s on you, Marci. You could totally take that little old lady!!

    Great pics of your husband conducting. It looked like such a blast! And Oregon, wow. If I were ever kicked out of Pennsylvania, Oregon is where I’d land. I loved visiting there back in the day. Especially the coast.

    Great story. Well told!!

    • Ha! Thanks, Ava! Chris really is a skilled musician, and I admire those skills more each time I see him perform. It is pretty exciting! Pennsylvania is really pretty too…did I tell you that I lived there for a few years? I did my undergraduate work in West Chester, just outside of Philadelphia. We’re a lot less hot and muggy here in the summers, but just as green! And Portland…what can I say about Portland? It’s pretty awesome. I hope that you are having a great summer! 😀

    • Oh yes! He’s now one of the three conductors for the army band…he’ll be taking on more of this responsibility in the coming year. He really loves it, and from what I’m hearing, the band likes Chris conducting a lot as well! 🙂

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