welcome to holland

27Aug08

The following is a post from my other blog, …eats bugs:


band camp 2008 six: welcome to holland

Here at camp, there is a band composed completely of old camp alumni, band directors, and former students of the university. It’s a fun little ensemble. We play songs you normally don’t get to, and we have a pretty good time learning them. Used to be that the songs were quite difficult and far beyond my ability. This year, they are well within my means, and I only really need to work on a couple passages.

One of the songs is called “Welcome to Holland,” by Steven Barton. The statement in the program notes tells a story very similar to this one (I wasn’t able to secure the actual text, so bear with me):

Ever since you can remember, you’ve wanted to go to Italy. Everyone around you goes to Italy eventually. It’s a trip you plan for, and it’s one you expect to make. Well, finally, you come to the time in your life where you decide to make your trip, and you dream of all the things you’ll see. You board the plane to go, and as you land, the captain comes over the intercom and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

Naturally, you are confused, and maybe a little angry. You expected Italy, yet here you are in Holland. Granted, after wandering around, you find that Holland is beautiful in its own way.

Everyone you meet now tells you about their trip to Italy, and they talk about all the things you’d dreamed about. You didn’t get to go to Italy, you went to Holland. It’s maybe a little disappointing, all of this. However, as you make your way through Holland, you discover its own separate beauty, and learn to love it all the same.

“Welcome to Holland” is a song that tells the tale of a parents who never expected to have a child with Down’s Syndrome. A tale of love, chaos, and learned to love what you have. It’s a beautiful song, with some very fun and interesting moments. It’s not often that you get to play a song so personal and realistic.

Songs like “American Elegy,” “Elegy for a Young American,” “Heroes, Lost and Fallen,” and “Inchon,” that tell about veterans, survivors and targets of violence at home and at war are very haunting, and beautiful tunes. Sometimes, in this business of making music, you have to cut open your own flesh and reveal some nerve endings. If you’ve ever listen to a piece of music and gotten chills, for whatever reason, you know what I mean.

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