At the School Big Band Concert

The Big Band isn’t very big
anymore: Four trumpets,
four saxophones – and what’s
the plural of euphonium?
Well, there are two of those.

A tuba, a trombone,
one guitar, the string bass,
and leader Henry on the Grand Piano,
almost bald now; thin shoulders hunched
over strong hands and still-confident fingers.

The drummer lets his hired hands fly:
A professional, and very kind.
He does the job he’s been called in to do
and a little more: After solo parts
he nods encouragement to amateurs.

The swing swings smoothly enough
and the crowd, huddled in the
ten front rows, is kindly responsive:
A small sea washing applause
over a smaller beach.

Of the sixteen performing members
four are students, all of them final-years.
Of the teachers, a couple have been absent, unwell.
Nobody ever smiles and everybody
is dressed in black.

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