A Better Band, A Better Body

Written on: June 8, 2024

Article by: Thayer Salisbury

My brother is the musician of the family. I like to sing but have never been much of an instrumentalist. I did play in the band during middle school. I started on the trombone but was terrible at it. I switched to my brother’s hand-me-down coronet and began playing in the trumpet section.

Band music often has two or three trumpet parts.

Ted Nichols, our first band director, had the best three or four trumpet players play the “trumpet one” part. The next three players played the “trumpet two” part. The three weakest players played “trumpet three.”

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A week or so into grade seven, the school principal had an accident with a gun and was hospitalized for a time. Ted Nichols had to take over running the school. Ron Balough became our next band director. He took a different approach to the parts. Mr Balough assigned the best player to play “trumpet one.” The next best player was assigned to play “trumpet two.” The third best player played “trumpet three.” The fourth best player joined the best player on “trumpet one.” The fifth best joined the second best on “trumpet two.” The sixth best player joined the third best on “trumpet two.”

The new arrangement made some players mad; but it improved the sound of the band. Those who were out for personal glory, those who imagined themselves the next Al Hirt or Herb Alpert, were highly displeased. In middle school, few are in the band for the good of the band. Most of us were thinking of ourselves. If we had been thinking of the band, we would have embraced the new plan gladly.

We cannot all play “trumpet one” in the band. For the band to do its best, some excellent players need to be on the other parts. It should not bother us in the least if we are asked to play “trumpet two” or “trumpet three” while others – perhaps inferior to us in the quality of their playing – are playing “trumpet one.” We should have accepted that for the good of the band.

A better body

Looking back on that band, I am reminded of many scriptures, but I will start with just two.

“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Cor 12:17-30)

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Rom 14:19)

We cannot all play “trumpet one” in the church “band.” Some excellent players need to be on the other parts. It should not bother us if we are asked to play “trumpet two” or “trumpet three” while others – perhaps inferior to us in the quality of their playing – are playing “trumpet one.” We should be able to accept that for the good of the church and for the glory of our Lord. After all, he was perfect, sinless, almighty, but he washed feet.