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Woody Brubaker: Blog

A little bit of teamwork.

Posted on September 27, 2015 with 2 comments

First of all, let me say, it is a real pleasure to be able to put down my feelings and thoughts and have them resonate so strongly with some of you.  I have moments of so many things going through my head that trying to type them out seems almost archaic. I know. Get a voice program.  Yes, but then I wouldn’t have anything to write about.  I remember getting this worked up about projects when I was in the Air Force and would continually get ideas about compositions or arrangements for the band.  My mind was constantly working.  It was probably the best job I ever had and I could do just about anything that came to mind. It was creative, fulfilling, challenging and satisfying let alone accomplishing the overall mission that the band had to do for the Air Force. I remember many people commenting, when I first enlisted in1966, that they were not aware that there were military bands.  I even get that to this day. This must have been the best kept secret in the world.  It was thanks to one guy I knew, Rick Green, who turned me on to this “hidden” opportunity.  Thanks, Rick.  It probably saved my life.  My dad was shocked when I told him this is what I was going to do. He wanted me to go into the trades like his father and him but it just wasn’t me. I had already put almost ten years into learning several instruments and music theory and I couldn’t see throwing that away.  Like in my first writing, I was considering time spent.  He must have swallowed the wish for his son because he turned it into a camping trip to Wright-Patterson AFB so I could take my audition.  As I look at my words here, I realize that this wasn’t what I was going to discuss but I’m in to it now so I will continue.  Like I said, the ideas keep coming.  The music atmosphere in the military is unique.  We have our own set of rules we follow but it must be compatible with the military way of doing things.  Salutes to our commanders were junked around the band hall and many formal military protocols were put aside.  After all, we were musicians and we operate by a different set of standards.  But, when we were out performing or at other places on the base, that’s right, it was “showtime” and everything was spit and polish and strictly military.  And that’s the way we looked at it.  It was a show.  This was somewhat of an odd thing to reason to a nineteen year old that was getting his feet wet in the service. Sure, as musicians in civilian life, we wore our “uniforms” on stage when we worked but no one inspected whether or not our blue blazer was clean or shirt pressed or our tie was correctly knotted.  As long as we looked “uniform” So, in the long run, it really wasn’t such a stretch.  After a while though, you didn’t even think of the proper procedures.  It came naturally, by design.  One of our guys had a unique problem though:  Whenever he would put on a freshly pressed uniform, it would promptly wrinkle. Enough of our guys witnessed this event that this fellow became legend and I suspect that, even now, he is remembered for this fact.  We were all a very tight knit group of individuals that worked well together no matter where we came from.  You can talk about sports and how it forms team work all you want, but playing music with sixty guys really forms your character and develops real work habits that, I suspect, carries over into other careers.  There were no stars in this environment and you actually had to read music and play when the music told you to play. Oh my! This was a job that we were prepared for before we went into the military. The services didn’t have to send us to school to discipline us.  Although the Air Force and the Navy did have music schools to evaluate your level of accomplishment. I thank all my Air Force comrades for that great experience.  That’s all for now.  Until next time, be good.

Duane Flesher

September 27, 2015

That time was a learning experience for all of us. And one of the most memorable times in my career. For a 19 year old kid from West Virginia to get to play with the caliber of musicians we had there was something that could never happen anywhere else. I was always amazed at your writing abilities and loved playing your concert band arrangements. And the quartet we put together with you, Rick, Pat and me was fun too. Best wishes in whatever path you choose from this time forward.

Duane Flesher

September 27, 2015

That time was a learning experience for all of us. And one of the most memorable times in my career. For a 19 year old kid from West Virginia to get to play with the caliber of musicians we had there was something that could never happen anywhere else. I was always amazed at your writing abilities and loved playing your concert band arrangements. And the quartet we put together with you, Rick, Pat and me was fun too. Best wishes in whatever path you choose from this time forward.