I'm a long-time trombonist who has, sadly, gotten out of the habit over the past few years. Working full-time, being in school, and trying to maintain a life outside of both finally got the best of me, and I decided something had to go. For now, it was playing in the Village Band and the Chapel Hill Brass Ensemble. Last time I played was in December 1997 when a couple of friends and I played brass music for my office Christmas party. Then I took the trombone to my brother's for Christmas and my 2 nephews (ages 13 and 16) and I played some Christmas music. Alex, the 13 year old, plays French horn, and Wesley, the 16 year old, plays trumpet. Even though neither has played very long, they were terrific! I do hope to play again regularly one day.
I used to play another instrument which I'll take up again one day. I did my play electric keyboard a bit this past holiday season... not enough to get back into practice, but at least enough to think that if I ever get my piano accessible again, I *might* be able to play for fun.
But I also like listening to music. Concerts I've been to in the past year or so include the Red Clay Ramblers, Dar Williams, John McCutcheon, the 4 Bitchin' Babes, Christine Lavin, the folk music festival in Burlington, VT, the UNC-CH student a cappella groups, and the UNC-CH student symphony orchestra.
In March 1999, some friends and I saw John Forster and Christine Lavin at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. It was an outstanding experience! It was the first time I'd seen John Forster on stage, and he was very funny, lively, and had great stories--one of my favorite parts of live folk concerts. Christine Lavin was, as always, a fun experience. She was using the wireless mike I'd heard about in rec.music.folk and took advantage of the freedom to roam through the audience on several songs. At one point, she wandered back towards the entrance where about 5 people were standing. She interrupted her song to find out if they needed seats, and got folks up front to identify where they could sit. All this time, she was wearing her spelunking headlight--on low beam luckily! :-) Several folks in our group were not familiar with John and had only limited familiarity with Christine, and they were all delighted with their exposure.
The Birchmere was fun, too. The food was good (the desserts were expensive), and the service was excellent. We all agreed that we would keep our eyes open for another concert there.
For those of you who might go to the Birchmere, don't depend on their Web site for directions on getting their on the metro. When you exit the metro stop at Braddock Road, turn right. Turn right just past the metro building (don't cross the street). You'll go under the bridge referred to in their Web site. When you get to the street referred to in their directions (I'll put it in when I remember it!), turn right and keep walking. If you're running short on time, hail a cab. It was about a 30 minute walk for a group of fairly fast walkers. We paid about $7.50 for a group of 4 from about 3 blocks away from the metro to the Birchmere.
The Red Clay Ramblers, a personal favorite (and Clay Buckner is a bicyclist, too, which is an added positive factor! :-)), is now doing their latest musical, Kudzu. I saw it in Durham; its next stop is the Ford Theatre in Washington, DC. Well worth seeing for anyone who likes the Ramblers. Even though they're not featured particularly, the cast is excellent, the sets are incredibly well-done, and what the Ramblers *do* is, as always, fun.