I play saxophone in a band, or rather, I USED to play saxophone in a band. The pandemic has shut us down, 100% completely for the last year. This has caused a great disruption in my regular weekly routine and my social relationships.
The Power Pep Band had just celebrated our 20th anniversary with an INTERNATIONAL TOUR of White Rock/Vancouver BC Canada in August 2019. It was an epic time. We all rented condos in Blaine, WA, roomed up with band buddies, significant others, kids and other family members. We carpooled to gigs, crossing the border at least once a day, playing gigs in parades in local celebrations throughout the week. We had an absolute blast, a band trip for the ages.
We celebrated by producing a band yearbook, documenting the band’s 20 year history with pictures, stories and memories collected. Books were made by an online publisher and sold to members and supporters. As our season wound down, we all gathered to reminisce and celebrate at our holiday party. After going dark for several weeks in January and February, we had 2 half-rehearsals before covid struck, leading our board to decide to shut down all activities. Not that there would have been any local events for us to play for last summer anyway.
Some of us gathered in an offshoot group for some socially-distanced jam sessions over the summer, but not with any sort of regularity. I went to a couple, but dropped off when the weather started to turn. This has been the longest I’ve gone without playing since 2003 when my sax was in storage for a while when I had moved to a different state.
When will we be able to gather again? What will it be like when we do? One of our members has had covid and was hospitalized for a week or so; I was devastated. I haven’t felt emotionally ready to even call him since. I’m not sure what I would say. Will the band ever be able to feel normal again after so much time has gone by and so many things have changed and are changing? I have changed. Can I go back, knowing what I know and feeling how I feel now?
I’m sure we will return to making music at some point, but I doubt it will ever be “the same.” I’m not sure I will be capable of the same lightheartedness. It will take years to heal from this period, to trust people again, in general. There is much political diversity in the group, up to and including some covid-denialists. So how would we even be able to use music and our group to heal when some don’t believe any trauma occurred?
No answers, only questions. Maybe the answers will come in time. Until then, I miss music in my life.