For retired high school band director Steve Smarr, the Metro Band first offered a reason to dust off the tuba he had put aside for 20 years.
Now retired from both his school job and his second career as an insurance agent, he's been with the band for about seven years and is excited for Sunday's concert because it will be the first time his 12-year-old grandson, Jarron Paxton, will join him with the band - also playing tuba.
"He attends Dunbar Middle School and he played sax for a couple of years before he developed an interest in the tuba," Smarr said. "So I've been giving him some lessons. It's just a chance for us to spend some good time bonding.
"He's doing very well," Smarr added. "He can play all of the music that the Metro Band has."
Smarr added that Jarron enjoys the company of the adults in the band. He's already talking about majoring in music in college.
"This is something he and I can sit down together and participate in - it's a really good thing," Smarr said.
Cheryl Brinkley sometimes believes she wouldn't see much of her busy son, Matt, if they weren't in the band together.
She plays clarinet and Matt plays tuba. Although he was a music major in college and has worked as a church choir director, he currently is the retail manager for Loop Pharmacy.
"It's about the only time I see him," she said of their time in the band.
Brinkley said she hadn't picked up her clarinet for 20 years when she started to play again.
"I was a little overwhelmed at first," she acknowledged.
Matt actually played trumpet and euphonium in college but was asked to make a switch for the band to tuba.
Her son aside, Brinkley jokes the Metro Band is filled with "a bunch of middle-aged band geeks."
"If you want to play Sousa marches, you have to find a group like this," she said.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.
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