Friday, May 27, 2011

It's All About....Timing

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the crazy things that happen in life, and that holds true even in a combat zone. I recently experienced a couple of moments at Kandahar Air Field that I thought I'd share here. Incidentally, I include this photo because I thought that the warning label graphic was amusing.

Every so often, stuff blows up here. Most of the time, these are "controlled explosions," meaning that bomb technicians are blowing things up on purpose. We are typically not informed *what* it is that's going ka-boom, but we are often told when it's going to happen. Normally, an announcement is made over the loudspeakers that there will be an explosion in x minutes, and x minutes later we hear it. Sometimes we don't hear anything. But one night a few days ago, a painfully slow announcement came on. Perhaps if the guy had been speaking more quickly it would have worked out better: "
BOOM!!!!!...minutes. End...of...message."

Yesterday, the Brass Quintet was playing music during lunchtime at one of the dining facilities. We were doing our usual eclectic selection of non-standard quintet music, which has expanded in recent weeks to include tunes like the "Pennsylvania Polka" and "Come On Eileen." We had spent some time working on an arrangement of John Williams' "Imperial March" from The Empire Strikes Back, easily one of his best pieces from one of his finest film scores. It is a very good arrangement, but tricky for all the players in the group. We had a good run-through in our last rehearsal, but hadn't yet performed it for an audience. A couple of us in the group were lobbying for a performance, but the others weren't sure we were ready. As we prepared to start up our Metallica medley, someone walked up and asked, "Do you guys take requests?" We responded that we would take requests, though we might not necessarily play them. "Can you play the Imperial March from Star Wars?" We took that as a sign of Divine Intervention, and flipped over a few pages to play the march. It actually came off really well, though our requester was nowhere to be seen, probably departing the building after the first few notes. At least we could vent our frustration by playing Metallica.

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