When Little Bands Were Big

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That would have been unthinkable in our day. We were double extracurricular, and the music teachers scorned us. We were entirely self-financed and self-dependent. Some of us—a very few, to be sure—might wind up some day playing in one of the name bands or be invited to sit in for a hung-over musician when one of these bands came to town for a one-nighter. But mostly we just got together and played for our own enjoyment or for the enjoyment of someone who couldn’t afford anything better.

We’re grandfathers now, and perhaps gathering dust in many an attic is a battered case enclosing a trumpet that once sent the strains of “Sweet Sue” wafting over a dance floor. We’d rather like to pass it on to a grandson. But he’s only interested in an electric guitar.

Amplified, of course.