The Sousaphone Player Of My Heart

I was a block away from the Oswego Hotel on a quest to find the Sunday New York Times when I heard the sounds of brass and drums floating toward me on the chill breeze. Rounding a couple of giant motor coaches I found the eighty-odd members of a high school marching band rehearsing in a loose circle. On my return through the parking lot a few minutes later after being confronted with the fact that Canadians, given the alternative, would rather read British newspapers than American ones, my feet started tapping to the new tune burbling from the flugelhorns and tubas. Words came unbidden, fitting themselves snugly into the instrumental music…

Daisy dukes, bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin, we’re so hot
We’ll melt your popsicle.

They may like their newspapers British, but Canadian teens (or their band directors) apparently have no problem importing American pop music. The band that was playing Katy Perry was a separate entity from the group I’d seen the day before, from a different school, blasting Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” from the steps of the Victorian Parliament Building.

The whole thing made me think of my cousin Randy who is a music teacher and high school band director in Ohio. The West Coast doesn’t have the same love for strutting drum majors that the Midwest does, let alone Ohio itself, home of The Best Damn Band In The Land. Randy, wherever this Sunday morning finds you, I’m thinking of you, sending out the sousaphone player of my heart to dot the “i” in our own script Ohio.


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