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Marching to the beat of different drummers---who don't.

Another visit with Mom: it's usually about having lunch and going up to her room. A current bulletin from the long-time church is much appreciated, for at this point it is one of the few things she seems to concentrate on at any length. The hi-def television---all are hgih-def now but I have yet to buy one---is a way to provide some fallback hubbub but what, really, to put on?

A certain local channel as well as a national cable one has news much of the time but after awhile the awful stories jostle for space under my skin with the awkwardness of the family situation. Flip around and one after another of telenovelas, infomercials, soap operas, vanity interviews----someone once made the musical statement, "[So Many] Channels And Nothing On".

Ah, music. On what would be one of the more formless smudges of filler in this cable stew, a local cable access channel, is something that catches my interest. The setting is a high school football field, covered by a fixed camera always at the same medium elevated angle and with a "video stock" look from the mid 80's. Video stock---a new quaint one for the 10's.

The program featured Conejo Valley high school marching bands performing in a non-competitive get together that took place in September. I often describe the community band format as a marching band sat down; these ensembles were revealing.

They did marching formations but on the sideline the percussionists, augmented by keyboards, vibraphones and electric basses, stayed put. One band intrigued me: the tune was rather starry eyed---darn, what was it? It had me thinking Chick Corea and then two of the alto sax players traded runs at a microphone: they were bright, solid, and the high notes climbed above the field and didn't come down.

A band would play ten minutes and then a vibrant lady with an air of a rather with-it 4-H mom interviewed the directors. Well, this band had just played The Pat Metheny Group's "First Circle". There's one on me, I've heard the PMG play it several times, a classic they use to signal the end of the arguable first half of their long sets.

Such a nice trend: the school jazz bands, classical programs and kids who back the school musicals are informing each other nicely. For the finale the amassed units---no marching, be real and realistic---played a few numbers. One was the perennial "Celebration" from the Gang of Kool and what's the delight of a developing scene without "some things never change"? September, it was, they also played Earth Wind and Fire's song of the same name where not long ago I found out the refrain was "badaya", not "on and on". "Bah, humbug", meanwhile, was then ahead of them and now, this probably having been aired a few times, behind the pair of viewers.

Mom stayed awake, anyway.

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