Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sleigh Ride

This morning I woke up to the song Sleigh Ride (thanks to my once-favorite radio station which has been playing Christmas music for TWO WEEKS prior to Thanksgiving), and I was suddenly cast back to my high school years.

I played flute in the high school band. I started playing in the 6th grade at Breckinridge Elementary School, and then we went on to Botetourt Intermediate (now called Central Academy), where we had two years with a man whose real name I can't remember but we called him "the toad" privately.

During the seventh grade I broke my arm and had to miss about eight weeks of playing time because I was in a cast. I had to be there anyway but it was certainly boring.

Anyway, I became a high school freshman and off I went to Lord Botetourt, where Band Director George Lowe apparently loved the song Sleigh Ride, because every October we started playing it again.

The version we practiced was supposed to sound like the one below. Only of course this is the Boston Pops playing, not a high school band. I guarantee you we sounded nothing like this.

Our little high school band had about 60 members. I think there were about eight flute players, and I was usually either second or first chair most of the time. First chair person got to play the piccolo, which had it's own little line on the score of this song. It makes those high trilling little sounds.

Each year we marched in several Christmas parades. We wore horrid red and black wool suits, huge furry hats, shiny black shoes, and white gloves with the fingers cut out of them so we could play our instruments. We marched in the Fincastle, Vinton, Salem, and Buchanan parades that I remember, and possibly others. It was always extremely cold and windy and I usually became ill after the parade season ended.

Anyway, that's what was on my mind at 6 a.m. this morning. I don't have my flute anymore, which is a pity. The pads rotted out and when a coworker's daughter expressed interest, I gave the instrument to her so she'd only have to pay to have the pads fixed and not buy a whole new flute. I don't know what happened to it after that; the friend has long since moved away and we've lost touch.

Maybe I should buy another one and see if I can remember how to play it.


  1. Oh, Anita... I've always loved listening to this with the little clip clop sound of the horses hooves... SO nice and really puts one in the mood for the holiday, even if they did start playing it VERY early this year....

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful husband. Hugs!

  2. The radio stations here also started playing Christmas music last week. I noticed Walmart and Lowes had the Christmas decorations out near Halloween. It gets more crazy every year.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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